By Haley Malatek, Justin Butts and Anna Caroline Barker
In a world where we are surrounded materialistic items, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s important in life. Jake Keiser, owner of Gucci to Goats, was a city girl who longed for a change in her life for the better.
While working in Tampa, Florida, she ran her own public relations firm called Keiser and Company, where she made six figures. With all of these luxuries, there was still something missing. She desired more authenticity. After coming to this realization, she decided to move to Oxford and start a small farm where she could essentially start her life over.
“I am happy to not be living a life full of a lot of busyness anymore,” Keiser said. “But, the energy of a city is still something that I miss.”
In 2012, Keiser found a five-acre cabin in a rural part of Oxford that she immediately fell in love with. Eager to reunite with her family in Lafayette County, she left Tampa and built a new lifestyle.
Keiser said she used the trial and error method when she started the farm.
“I had not even held an adult chicken or milked a goat before I moved here,” she said. “I am almost 100 percent self-taught.”
With little to no farm experience, she was ready to try her hand at raising animals. She began with raising geese, quail, ducks, and rabbits. She now successfully runs Daffodil Hill Farm, where she raises chickens, turkeys, and dairy goats, alongside her two cats and two dogs Luca and Kahuna.
Daffodil Hill Farm has a long, uphill driveway leading up to the cabin-front. There you can immediately see animals roaming freely – whether it’s a group of chickens, her colorful, voluptuous male turkey showing off his feathers, or her goat.
The backyard has a large shed where the chickens—primarily the babies—stay and where her rabbit is also kept. Walking out the back door of the shed, to the right is a chicken coop where Keiser keeps the full-grown chickens and their eggs. The chicken coop even has a chandelier. The rest of the backyard consists of acreage where all of the other animals roam freely. The layout of the farm is the ideal amount of land for the number of animals on the farm, she said.
To Keiser, these animals aren’t just animals. They’re family. She has a name for each animal and can recognize their behavior patterns and voices.
The Farm Routine
Each morning she gets up and feeds the animals. She no longer needs an alarm clock because the animals wake her up. She spends her days working, collecting eggs, showing the animals attention, and keeping the farm up and running while making time to take care of herself as well. In her free time, Keiser enjoys cooking. On her blog, she has a column dedicated to food where she posts different recipes.
While farm work is how she devotes most of her time, she also enjoys helping others as well. One of her main goals is inspiring others who may have dealt with the same unhappiness she was dealing with prior to her transition to Mississippi and how they can turn their life around the way she did. She enjoys letting others visit the farm and sharing the joy that can be found from the animals.
“Jake is kind and generous. She offered to host our children out at the farm in her free time,” said Ronnie Heard, a friend of Keiser. “She has brought us fresh eggs, which reminded me of when my grandma would make us ‘fetch eggs out of the chicken coop’ for breakfast.”
Her friends also recognize her positive outlook on life.
“Jake is the ultimate friend. She will fight with you and for you. She will make you smile when you are having a bad day,” said Jess Poole, a friend of Keiser. “It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood around her. She has an energy about her that makes her amazing.”
Keiser shows that pure, genuine happiness can be found in the simplest of lives, and that joy and fulfillment is plentiful at Daffodil Hill Farm.