A Morning with Goats and Farmers – The Simple Farm – Scottsdale, AZ

I had the pleasure of spending this glorious Arizona morning with my friends Lylah and Gretchen, visiting with goats and kids and sipping coffee amidst the spring-time abundance (with apologies to my cooler climate friends 🙂

Being a desert, Arizona presents its own set of problems for farmers. Scarce rain and scorching summer temperatures give us two distinct growing seasons – spring and fall – separated by a summer that wipes away pretty much everything, as the cold of winter does elsewhere. I hope this glimpse of springtime warms you, wherever you may be reading. Lettuce & Chard

Lylah-and-Goats---The-Simple-Farm---Scottsdale-AZ2510And there were goats, lots of goats. Visiting with the goats and my sweet friends Lylah and Gretchen was the inspiration for the visit.

I’m lucky enough to have this working, suburban farm just a few miles from home. I wanted to feature some posts about the arrival of new babies each spring, heralding the start of cheese production for the year so we set up our visit.

The Simple Farm is sandwiched between suburban communities just off the 101 at Cactus Road, an unlikely place for an agricultural oasis.

Simple Farmers Lylah and Michael Ledner are second-career farmers, nurturing their own plot of suburban self-sufficiency with goats, chickens and raised beds galore.

Their venture aims to connect the local community with the hard work, dedication and passion that goes into producing fresh, healthy food. Through their efforts, they hope to inspire others to become more self-sufficient and connected to the earth and abundance in the everyday.

I was there today to visit the new arrivals to the farm and had the pleasure of visiting with four 6-week-old kids and Miss Storm, the farm goaty matriarch, who birthed quads this year and adopted a doeling from another mother who was less than nurturing after a difficult birth.

It is so calming to be around these curious and fascinating creatures as they tumble on hay bales and cozy up together on flower pots. Goat collage - The Simple Farm

Floppy ears, a hallmark of the Nubian breed, are endearing and always remind me of long, flowing hair. The kids have unbelievably soft coats and come nibble at just about any article of clothing that isn’t skin-tight.

Photography notes about the shoot: The rare, overcast day created a nice soft light with the layer of clouds acting like a giant diffuser.

Goats are extremely quick, making it a bit of a challenge to get them framed, focused and connecting with the camera for more than a split second. Use auto focus and take several shots in rapid succession. You’ll often find one is far superior to the rest. Use a program like Lightroom to choose your favorites and edit them.

The public is invited to visit Thursday mornings from 8 to noon for coffee, breakfast items and a Farm Market selling farm-fresh produce, eggs, Crow’s Dairy Chevre and goat milk and award winning Goat Milk caramels Lylah makes using milk from the farms’ small herd.