The story of how the Neilson-Hall Family and The Freckled Farm came to be:
I have always been drawn to farms. I love animals, especially goats, and the idea of peace and quiet is very attractive, but I could have never envisioned we would be where we are now… 29 and 30 years old, two children, dairy goat farm with a menagerie of animals, living in the middle of no where. We always talked about living on a farm, but not until retirement. We had big things to accomplish before we finally settled down in the country but here we are…
Many, many years ago, when Kevin and I were dating, we would talk about our future… We had big plans of big city living. I was going to have a fashion/photojournalistic photography career. Kevin was going to be a sound engineer and do live sound. We would have big important careers. Isn’t this what all people enter adulthood thinking they want? After I graduated from college Kevin and I moved to Philadelphia (from Richmond, VA) and got our first dose of reality. During our 8 months in Philly we encountered a lot of bad luck… A LOT of bad luck. We were planning our wedding, renovating an old house in South Philly, Kevin was working for a production company, and I was trying to build a photography business. I wont go into all the details of the difficult things that happened to us during our stint in Philly, that would take a book, but after only 8 months we were done. We were ready for a drastic life change.
A few months before our wedding we put our house on the market and decided to move up our “retirement plans.” We had started to think about children and we were considering the best location to raise them. I had always figured I would raise my children right outside of a city, the way I grew up, but that wasn’t what I wanted anymore. It all became very clear that the best place to raise our children would be in the country. Luckily we sold our house in three months. We moved back to Virginia, rented a house in the country to make sure we could handle living so far away from everything, and began looking for our farm.
Shopping for a farm gave us our second dose of reality… There was no way we could afford the farm we envisioned. The dream of rolling hills, and a big white farm house was out of reach. We decided we just needed to find a house with a little bit of land and make it work. We searched for months, but never found anything that really screamed “home.” Finally, I came across a listing for a house in Western Goochland. It seemed too far away from Kevin’s work, but it was in our price range and the ad said it was a little farm and to “bring your horse.” So, one Saturday afternoon we drove out to check the property. It was very difficult to find, but once we did it was obvious that the listing took some liberties. The house was precious, but the property was in no way a farm. It was a house sitting on some acreage. No barn, no fencing, the only outbuildings were a shed and lean-to. I saw the potential though. We called our agent and asked to get a viewing the next weekend. When we finally got to see inside the house it was like we were coming home. We ran through the house like we were children at Disney. It had everything we wanted. It was loaded with character. This was our home. We were just going to have to make it a farm on our own.
Long story short, we got the house and spent the next 4 years slowly fixing “issues” with the house. We also spent those 4 years dreaming and making big plans for the farm. We wanted a dairy goat farm that supply would our family with all it’s dairy needs and a goat milk soap company that would help financially support the farm and our family. We talked about it for years, but were afraid to pull the trigger. The barn was going to be a large cost, the fencing was going to be a lot of work, and we were in the process of building our family. How was I going to milk goats with a baby?
Shortly after moving into our house I got a job teaching art at the high school. I wasn’t sure I would be able to run a farm, a family, and teach. It was a lot to juggle. I had already let go of my photography business when our first was born, because it was too much to handle with all my other responsibilities. I was beginning to get frustrated. I just wanted my farm and I wasn’t sure how we were going to make it happen. Our dreams of having a small diary goat farm with a goat milk soap company had grown into a dream of having a full self-sustaining farm that could support nearly all of our family’s food needs, and hopefully one day our energy needs. In 2011 I was pregnant with our second and it became obvious to us that this was the time to make our move. We had been saving up for our barn for years and we finally had the money. After a great deal of discussion we decided that when our daughter was born I would leave my teaching position, reopen my photography business (Neilson-Hall Photography), start homeschooling our son his preschool, and begin building our farm.
Everything started moving at lightening speed. Our daughter Bryce was born April 2012, the chickens moved in June 3rd, the barn went up in August, the fencing went up in September, the goats came to live with us in November, the llamas came to live with us in February 2013, two new baby goats joined us in June 2013, and here we are.
We have spent time perfecting our recipes and getting the soap to the point that we are proud to sell it and have it represent our farm and family. We hope that you love it as much as we do.
I hope you enjoy following along in our journey as we continue to build our farm, our business, and work on becoming self-sustaining.
The Freckled Farm Soap Company makes handmade goat milk soaps. Our body care products are all natural and made with love. For more information about our products and to read more about the farm please visit our website: www.thefreckledfarmsoapcompany.com