Our Homestead Then and Now
Where we were.
We spent the last 6 years in a run down rental home trying to find our dream home. It had 6 acres most of it woods that we were able to hike in and enjoyed that. In the small area that was open around the house we had a large organic garden and a small flock of chickens. Of course we canned, cooked from scratch, and made our own natural hygiene and cleaning products etc. But we longed for more…
Where we are currently.
In October of 2014 we got a lucky break! A friend of ours had a rental house and had talked about it for a couple of months before that and we were really hoping it would become available. It was perfect for us! It had all the features we were looking for in a property: a big barn with four horse stalls, a three acre pond for fishing, fenced in pasture, woods, outbuildings, a big old farmhouse with hardwood floors and fireplaces… oh and did I mention 14+ acres!!! We fell in love at first sight! We were over there cleaning and painting before we even signed the lease!
The hardest part of the move was getting our crazy, tree perching, free-range chickens all caught and transferred. And the fact that we left behind 500 three-foot tall fully producing pepper plants and sweet potatoes that were almost ready to dig up. The first night in our new house made me forget all that, I was finally home!
Where we want to be.
I have been saying for years that I will have goats someday, it’s probably my biggest dream! We had goats growing up and I can’t wait to have them again. I want to wake up in the morning and go greet my does and milk them for that nutritious, versatile white gold! I want to make, consume, and sell goat cheese and soap. This is going to be a little harder to obtain and wont happen right away. There are a lot of upfront costs to starting even a small herd. Proper fencing alone is expensive. Purchasing some high quality Nubian does will be a small fortune to us. So… Maybe next year? In the meantime, I’ll continue to learn all there is to know about having goats and caring for them.
A goal for this year is to expand our organic vegetable garden on this new plot of land. We will add organic compost to build up raised beds and fence it in so our veggie loving chickens will not be able to eat it all like they did our fall/winter garden. If we can grow enough, I’d really like to be able to sell excess produce at the farmers market.
I would like to add some more chickens to our flock so we have more eggs to sell to help cover food cost and because chicken math… You never have enough! Some ducks for our lake and hopefully eggs would be super nice and doable. A few turkeys to raise for Thanksgiving would be very helpful to us and our friends that like free range turkey for the holidays. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a few other poultry varieties made it in the order as well (guineas make great guard dogs!).
Bees! Yes, the sweet taste of honey and great pollination for our garden, a win win! We plant lots of herbs and flowers in and around our garden to attract the bees etc. but lets face it there is nothing like honey! We have some hives we rescued from the trash and are in pretty great shape, we just need to clean them out and order our nuke! I can’t wait to have enough honey to make more mead and other honey ferments!
How are we going to get there?
A wise man once said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
I think it is important to keep in mind we have very high expectations and dream of big goals but we need to give ourselves a chance to get there as the universe sees fit. Anytime I have tried to push things too hard in life they have pushed right back with a greater force! If we allow it to happen in its own time, on its own course, the advances occur more smoothly and in a magical way. Let go and let God…
We use our tax returns to make our bigger purchases and budget wisely throughout the year. We try to remain debt free with the exception of emergency loans from family members. We do not spend money on entertainment and material things like most families do. These money-saving techniques have allowed us to get the tools we need to further our homesteading dream. Eventually the land will provide enough to generate an income if we do it right. We can be self-sustainable if we keep our goals in front of us and stay determined. It is a lot of hard work but it will pay off for a lifetime of benefits. To me that makes it all worth it!
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