My name is Hannah, and I am a senior at Oak Meadow. I live on an organic permaculture homestead in the beautiful state of Vermont, and raise and breed ADGA registered Nigerian Dwarf goats. I am also passionate about photography, singing, music, cooking, and growing organic food.
Raising goats for ten years has taught me many things, and in my mind the most important value is patience. Whether it’s during kidding season with our does going into labor in the middle of the night, or a new goat that is terrified of people and just needs love, patience is absolutely key. Raising goats is a lot of work and expense: hauling water buckets to the barn and wheelbarrows of hay/manure to the fields, shaving goats in the summertime, hay deliveries, daily milking, setting up gates and pastures, taking care of goat kids from birth up until the time they leave for their new home, registering goats and filling out health records, making/researching herbal and homeopathic remedies, and countless other things. But there is joy in every single moment and it has always been worth it. My life is a rhythm, and I dance to the beat of each precious moment. At the end of a long day, I sit on the old milking stand listening to the sounds of the night rolling in, and my favorite girl, Capella, comes over and puts her head in my lap. Nothing can top these moments.
When I’m not out in the barn with the goats, you can usually find me with my camera. I am very passionate about photography and I have had a camera in my hands for as long as I can remember. When I am photographing something, whether it’s a goat or landscape, it’s like I’m looking at the world through a new set of eyes and capturing such a beautiful moment. There’s absolutely nothing else like it. I particularly enjoy photographing goats (especially for our farm website SweetMeadowsVT.com) because each one has such a different personality, but I also love macro photography and shooting general nature/landscapes as well. My photography has been featured in Stone Soup Magazine multiple times, winning the cover four times, and also a featured editorial about my years of published work. I have also won first place and other awards in state photography contests.
Along with raising goats, growing organic food and propagating all kinds of different fruit trees and bushes is most of the focus of our farm. We have a fruit orchard, and various permaculture garden beds that contain a variety of herbs and vegetables. The process of growing food, caring for it with love for many months, and finally harvesting it (usually towards the end of summer) for a meal is just a beautiful thing. Since we moved to Vermont in 2010, we have dramatically changed and reshaped the landscapes on our farm, and defined various gardens and ecosystem habitat areas. I have learned so much about growing healthy food and medicine, why it is so important (and easy!) to grow your own food, and why going back to local food movements is critical for the future of our planet. I have developed many of my own recipes, and one of my goals is to publish a cookbook with my mom at some point in the future through our publishing company. My mom and I have published three farm books with our joint photography and creative writing so far and I can’t wait to start the next project!
Animal rescue is also something that I would like to pursue once I graduate. In the past I have fostered cats on death row from NYC kill shelters, as well as rehabilitated stray and feral cats. I have also rescued bunnies from terrible living conditions, and after I brought them back to good health and showed them love, I adopted them out to wonderful families across New England. My faith in God is central in my life, and I have worked through our church with a local homeless shelter by making meals. It has been amazing to be also able to bring clothes, food and other gear directly to the homeless people living on the streets of Burlington, or to simply stop and get out the car and help someone in need. I have also worked on various projects with other Christian organizations to benefit youth around the world. I hope to become more involved in community outreach and mission work going forward as the farm demands allow. I also strongly believe in personal freedom and choice. If you don’t have basic rights, then what do you have? 2020 has really opened my eyes about what is important, about how much we take our freedoms for granted and also why it is important to stand firm in your beliefs. Taking a stand for what you believe in is so important.
Being enrolled in Oak Meadow for ten years has been a truly amazing experience, and all of the wonderful teachers that I have had over the years have really helped to shape who I am. I have created such a strong sense of who I am, a strong work ethic, and important organizational skills over the years. I am forever grateful for my Oak Meadow teachers and staff and for the amazing life and support my parents have given me here in the beautiful state of Vermont.