The Van Horn farm consists of goats, chickens, cats and one very happy 8-year-old girl.
Dressed in her pink cowboy hat and watermelon printed flip flops, Chloe Van Horn skips off to the wooden enclosure her dad built that houses all her furry friends. It's just after 6:30 p.m., and the animals are hungry. And though she can get busy with school, play and all the other things 8 year old girls can get busy with, she always makes time to see her favorite goat, Linda.
"She's really pretty," Van Horn said while stroking her head. This evening is like most, quiet and easy — just how the self-described "simple country girl" likes it.
"She loves it," her mother, Heather Van Horn said. "We're never moving again."
Her and her husband, Mark, decided to move into one of the farm subdivisions surrounded by woods in Ormond Beach way out past I-95 over five years ago after feeling uneasy about where they wanted Chloe to grow up. They were living in Holly Hill at the time, and while when they first moved into the neighborhood they felt safe, a shooting in a neighboring house made them feel a little differently.
"We were listening to the cop thing on our phone, and [the suspects] were hiding in the woods behind our house," she said. "The helicopter lights were shining in our bedroom just about every night, and I was like 'We've gotta move. We're not raising our daughter here.'"
That's when they found their house, an old, two-story that was build by Mark Van Horn's childhood friend. While they already had some chickens on their property in Holly Hill, Heather Van Horn knew she wanted to expand her farm animal collection. Now they have two Nigerian pygmy goats, three fainting goats, over 20 chickens, one dog and two farm cats.
"I grew up in an area like this in Flagler," she said. "Ten minutes from the beach, but it's all cow pastures and a lot of trees. I loved it. So Chloe kind of gets to grow up just like I did."
A handyman at heart, Mark Van Horn took it upon himself to build an additional porch around the house, a small wooden bridge and even a little pergola in their front yard. Though he's never lived on a farm before, he wanted his daughter to experience something outside the norm.
"She knows the circle of life now," he said. "You know when the animals come and go, there's a reason for it. We just wanted to come out to the country and give her a different life."
SIDEBAR: Fainting goats?
A fainting goat is a domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly three seconds when the goat feels panic. Though painless, this generally results in the animal collapsing on its side. Heather Van Horn said one of their goats, Tar Tar, is especially jumpy.
"You look at her weird, and she falls over," she laughed.