One year ago nearly to the day we moved to our new home. Some of our family wasn’t thrilled that we moved so far away from our cute little suburban home and I admit it was a hard decision for us to make. But we had a goal in mind for our children, our family. We wanted to raise our kids in the country, to teach them that there was more to life then video games and the latest, greatest gadget. We wanted to raise them knowing that good things come to those who work for it, that there is pleasure in the peaceful moments and joy in the simple things.
More has changed in this last year then I could have imagined. We planned on having a large garden and raising a few chickens. What we didn’t really plan out is the direction our lives would go given this land we now live on. About 7-8 years ago I raised a flock of chickens for eggs and started researching and learning about sustainable living. However on our 3/4 acre lot surrounded by growing neighborhoods, my dream felt out of reach. When we moved here 10 acres seemed like Eden-it almost felt like too much land-what would we do with it all? My how things have changed. I’m now itching to buy more land or rent some nearby!
As we learn more and more about the way our food is supplied here in America, we wanted to get away from buying most of it at grocery stores. We grew a garden (another post on that in the next few days) that supplied us with much of our food this summer and is still feeding us now. We now have about 10 mature laying hens and another 20 pullets who should lay soon. We are about 2 weeks away from processing our first batch of meat chickens (we still have a few left for sale). We have a small flock of heritage breed turkeys-most of which are destined for the freezer and a few of which we’ll keep to produce next year’s flock. Since we weren’t quite ready to grow larger animals for meat, we bought a side of beef and a whole pig for our freezer. Next year we hope to raise some pigs ourselves. We plan on bringing a dairy cow into the mix to supply ourselves with fresh milk and to make cheese and butter. If I’m able to buy more land someday we’ll raise grass fed beef, but for now our 5 acre pasture can’t support them.
Our kids have learned to care for the land and the animals. We have a strict no electronic rule during the week and 45 minutes of game time per child on the weekends. We do often have movie night with the kids on Fridays. Christian has had time to pursue his love for cooking and tends to make delicious desserts for the family when he gets bored. Garrett likes caring for the chickens. He’s still a kid and sometimes balks at going out to do the chores, but once out there he gets lost in watching them and we don’t see him for 45 minutes.
It’s been a learning experience and many things have gone according to plan and some have not. Next year we plan to expand what we’ve done and offer locally grown, naturally raised meat (this means no GMO’s, antibiotics or hormones and and it means letting the animals free range and feed on forage) as well as possibly some vegetables. With 4 kids in tow things may grow slowly, but we have some big dreams for this place.