What is this site about?
We will try to explain what this site is about, but we would like to
send-out this notice before we lose your interest with our
small-time, homesteader ramblings.
Below and in the pages to follow, we want to show by example, that one
individual, one family, and one simple philosophy can make a difference.
We don't have to do the things we all have been taught. School
does not teach us how to succeed, how to live or how to make a
difference. We learn by example... not the example of movie stars,
politicians (Yeah! We're talking about you Al Gore) or
sometimes our parents. We need to find individuals and families that put
into practice what they preach.
Thanks much for reading... enjoy the rest of the site.
Decorations at Coyote Ridge Farms
BEEF - PORK
400+, only 30 lbs of
ground beef is available
This is 100% pastured - No fat is added.
We have soy-free, pastured pork - all cuts.
roasts, chops, bacon, breakfast sausage, ground pork & ham
Our ground streak is not the same quality of burger you're used
It is made from the quality cuts of the animal...
not the just the scraps and trimmings.
CHICKEN - TURKEY
SORRY, WE'RE SOLD OUT
We will be raising more birds on pasture in 2013.
CURRENT RAW GOAT MILK CUSTOMERS
We request you call before picking up milk.
This is due to the increase of sales.
Please remember to bring your own container(s)
We do have containers for sale.
Us, Our farm and Our Purpose
This site is not intended to be a "dooms-day, OMG... we're killing
each other" type of site, but simply a "let's do what we can" or more
accurately, a "this is what we're doing" sort of site.
Some of the things we are going to do will, no doubt, offend some,
encourage others and probably make no difference to most of you... and that's OK.
Who Are We?
Our names are Rich and Carol Radtke. Our household consists of 2
children, our special needs daughter, Chastiti (27) and Madison (15). Also, part of
our family is Licorice and Waffles (the family cats) and a Beagador puppy
named Ellie Mae (like the Beverly Hill's hillbilly).
Some of the things we do for ourselves is make cheese, bread,
ciders & vinegars. Carol is a pretty good gardener, canner & cook.
Here are some of the first things we tried while still living in town.
Most of our home improvements are done by ourselves and nearly all the
farm work is done either by hand or with the assistance of the farm's
old, beat-up 300 FarmAll loader tractor.
We like to barter when we can. Watching the $$$ leave our hands
is rarely a fun thing to observe.
Where Are We?
The family farm is located west of Willmar, Minnesota on County Road 7.
We currently reside on the farm, making due with what we have.
Why Are We Doing This?
Madison developed asthma in 2004 and I (Carol) started
researching (and still am) a more natural way of life.
In the pursuit of eating healthier, studies have found that raw
milk can help reduce the symptoms of asthma in the majority of asthma sufferers.
We now consume raw organic milk from Rich's high-school buddy Mike
Lindquist, who is a certified organic farmer just NW of Kerkhoven,
He belongs to the
Organic Valley Network of farms. Since the kids started drinking the whole raw milk, Madison has had
noticeably less breathing problems.
We garden organically, using the droppings (pills) our rabbits
& llamas generate.
This manure is of the few animal wastes that can go directly onto
the garden or in pots... this means there is no need to compost before
using. Carol does have a compost pile, which we started a few years ago
primarily to reduce the amount of garbage we send out. Contrary to
popular belief, these eco-friendly waste-reducing piles have very
little odor... if any. The key is to keep the ingredients
Carol started canning all the extra produce from our garden in 2004.
She decided for health reasons a more natural diet would be better for us
as a family. So we started reading and learning. Carol's mom never did
much canning but her grandmother did. Canning came easy. We guess
must have picked up a few tips from grandma as a young child. Carol
says she doesn't remember her grandma canning but does remember eating her pickles and jellies.
For her, walking into my pantry and seeing all the canned goods sitting there,
just waiting for us to eat, makes us feel pretty good. Not only do
we have healthy food to eat, but we're also helping the planet by
reducing what goes into the trash. Reusing
canning jars produce no waste.
When Did This Start?
We took a proactive approach to homesteading practices, when Rich's
dad, Richard, Sr. passed away in June of 2005. Prior to
that, Richard, Sr. encouraged us to establish a garden in the back yard
of our home in town... and since doing so, the garden has grown every
year. Our approaches to gardening has changed as well.
Before that, we were influenced by Rich's sister Tiff, who
lives more of a hippy lifestyle (our words, not her's) To
us, she is a true hippy; she's educated, extremely intelligent, creative, health
conscious and she does what she does because it suits her and it makes
her happy. And we want what she has... not to the point that we
covet her possessions and her life, but to the degree that it has
motivated us to pursue a better, more natural, healthier way of doing
things. Like her, we are not afraid to live (or strive to live)
in a way that most would consider or label as 'alternative.'
The point in time we consider the moment of change was during a family
Christmas, when Tiff was here. We noticed some of the foods she had
for her son Ki. They were organic, especially the fruit juices.
It was then that the seed was planted in our minds. Thanks Tiff!
Please don't get us wrong, we have been reading periodicals such as
Acres, Mother Earth News & Country Side
Living for years. Rich remembers paging through
Mother Earth News in the library in High-school and thinking "wow,
this is a cool magazine". That was in the 70's & early 80's. In fact,
Rich made a solar water heater for
a senior science project... the plans of which, he got from Mother.
How We Got Here?
we now manage, was Rich's father's farm. It's small, with regards
to the amount of production land (only 80 acres) Our hobby farm adventure
began when Dad passed away in 2005. Rich and his 2 sisters
inherited the farm (in the form of a trust)... that's when we took an interest in the land.
Even though the farm had been abandoned for many many years, we saw that there was
potential there - somewhere under all the junk and overgrowth of weeds,
trees and bush. It had the basics... a farmhouse, a dairy barn with a pasture
and couple rotting buildings that once housed pigs, calves, chickens
We worked hard in 2005 and 2006 cleaning/clearing the once beautiful
homestead. We hired iron scrappers in 2005 to clear the land of cars and
iron that had been stocked over the years. It took them the fall
and winter to finish and what an improvement it was.
The state DOT was
also redoing the highway that goes past the place, so we got a new
driveway and lots of trees/underbrush were remove by the highway dept.
We decided to burn down the farmhouse in the fall of 2006. We did
so with heavy
hearts. We hated to see it go, but it was just too far gone to
We moved in a trailer house that fall. We also plotted our first
2 acres of land for the vineyard.
In 2007, we planted about 1200 grapevines. I also ordered 25
chicks to raise for meat and eggs. Our poultry was now residing at
the farm and we were running out to the farm daily. In June, Nick moved
into the trailer house to work as our hired man. Oh, he was a much
Carol was working full-time as a nurse and Rich was full-time at the
farm and was needing an extra pair of hands. We put in a new well
and hired an electrical contractor for the electricity to the trailer.
Rich repaired some of the wiring in the barn, which was a big money
That brings us to now.. fall of 2007 when we started the website.
Carol is now experienced in poultry butchering. We successfully
grew 2 organic gardens. Unfortunately, the vineyard took a hard hit
during the cold winter blast. 80% of the vines died.
We purchased 2 llamas, who are
now putting the pasture to good use. They will work as guard llamas
for the sheep and/or goats that came in the spring.
Any Thing Else?
At the present time, we are very much interested in
pursuing a couple head of heritage and/or rare breeds of animals that fit into a
sustainable farm/homesteading application.
We are at the present time, looking for Kunekune (pronounced
koo-ney koo-ney) pigs as well as St Croix sheep. Kunekune pigs
are extremely friendly, small and easily reach market weight on pasture
alone. For us, the interest is for the vineyard and orchard.
The Kunekune breed root very little and tend to leave vines and bushes
Hair sheep, like St Croix and/or Katahdin sheep,
are other animals we're
very interested in. Like the llama and the Kunekune pig, the hair
thrive on pasture. There is no need to
sheer... they winter well and are extremely parasite resistant.
We are not interested in become breeders, so
registered stock is of little interest. We like what these animals
can bring to the table and we want to help these types of animals to
flourish. We also want to show others that just because your
neighbor, your brother, your dad or your mentor raises certain types of
animals a certain way, doesn't mean you have to or that it is the best
thing for your farm. We urge others to become familiar with the
We would also love to meet with and chat with
others who are interested in clean, more natural living. We are putting
in 3 more acres of wine grapes on the family farm, here in Minnesota.
If you have knowledge about grape vines or are just starting out, give us
a shout. We are also interested in learning more about self-sufficient
If you operate [or just started] a hobby farm, are raising chickens, rabbits,
goats, llamas or sheep, or enjoy eco-friendly gardening... we'd love to
hear from you.