Monday, December 23, 2013
If I can do it anyone can!!
It was not too many years ago I lived on a resort in the Caribbean, I had a nanny, a gardener and drove a golf cart to pick up my children from one of the top privet schools on the island. I had a pretty fluffy life.
Eight years later I sit here after coming in from morning chores thinking of that life and how I got to where I am now. It is odd to think about really, I wanted to be self sufficient and provide healthy food for my family. I had no farming experience really. I had a few chickens and a little garden but it was all in play. I didn't produce enough to feed our family, in fact I had to buy eggs even though we had chickens. How silly is that?
I read all I could get my hands on about homesteading and small scale farming.. I got information overload for sure. All those talented people out there figuring how to use their land to it's fullest possibility down to the square inch. All those beautiful romantic photos of farms and gardens. Ahh how I longed to have that!
We bought our land and a 1,000 square foot house(for 7 of us) and set to work. Our first garden was pretty good despite all the weeds. I spent so many hours weeding and yet my garden was nothing to be proud of, but it fulfilled the propose and we ate beautiful fresh veggies all summer and I did can some tomatoes. We also had to build fences that first year. UGGH! what a challenge. I pounded fence post.. hunky hubby pounded fence post...the kids that were big enough pounded fence post... I really thought we were never going to get done and my arms were going to fall off at any moment. Fencing is hard work!! I don't remember any of the books saying that!?
We bought a few dairy goats, paid way too much because I got talked in to buying registered does. I could of bought a cow for what I paid for two goats. What a mistake. I just wanted milk I did not need papers for them. The goats were sweet and milking them was a joy. The problem...we didn't really like the goat milk. We decided to get a cow. More fencing...new wiring for the barn...a stanchion needed to be built. Things we had never done. Then we had to build housing for the chickens..nest boxes more fences. Ordered 200 chicks, raised them to just starting to lay and the coyotes found out we had chickens. Lost all 200 in a matter of weeks. Again we tried and lost so many that I quit the chickens.
I love bacon! Really who doesn't? Let's raise some hogs! More fences and housing. Bought some feeder pigs from a local commercial hog farm. The little cute pink ones. Ya until they get big then they turn in to horrible farmer chasing,growling,scary hogs! I hated those first hogs, they would bite me every chance they got, and I was scared to death of them. I rejoiced the day they went to the butcher! Maybe I could live without bacon......
We have come a long way... made so many mistakes and our farm is FAR from those romantic farm photos in the magazines and books. I worked long hours and probably have liver damage from all the ibuprofen I took that first year. It has gotten better..not much fencing to do now. We are many years in to out farming journey, one that has given me many blisters, and still I feel that we are making progress, slow steady progress.
I used to sit on the beach reading Mother Earth news while the nanny watched my kids and cleaned my house. I was about as girlie as you could be. Now I milk cows, raise heritage hogs, herd chickens, feed lambs, home school the kiddos and produce most of the food we eat. I have come a LONG way.