A Farm is Born
Free Reign Farm began with the dream of simple living and farming a small piece of ground. The purchase of our property and subsequent adventure of remodeling it left us with a house and a few acres of ground. I already had a thriving flock of chickens which I’d smuggled into my storage shed in town before moving out to the farm. But a flock of chickens does not a farm make! In the interest of self-sustainable living, I brought on dairy goats for milk, ducks for eggs and meat, sheep…. apparently to feed the bears but that’s a story for another day. We also raised rabbits presumably for meat…. and accidentally add a couple turkeys (oops). And then my husband decided he too needed to make an addition, and two piglets arrived as well. Not to mention the apple trees, strawberry plants, blueberries, and planting of the annual veggie garden. Now we were farming!
Boy did we get a crash course on farming. I grew up around animals, trained horses for years, raised every animal my parents would let me keep in town (and some they wouldn’t) but there are some lessons you just don’t learn until you start. Let me make a short list for you:
Lesson #1. Goats like to jump. They jump on stumps, goat houses, windows, each other but mostly they like to jump FENCES. Woven wire will not keep them in. Neither will two strands of hot wire… or three… or four. Five! Yes, now five will keep them in (most of the time.)
Lesson #2. Piglets turn into pigs QUICKLY. Even though they look fat and slow pigs are fast. Catching a pig to take it to market is material for a reality show!
Lesson #3. The taste of REALLY GOOD sausage instantly erases from your memory how hard it is to load pigs for market and you end up with more piglets.
Lesson #4. Rabbits don’t like rabbit tractors and are harder to catch than pigs.
Lesson #5. The taste of rabbit does not instantly erase the memory of how hard they are to catch.
Lesson #6. Loose goats eat blueberry bushes first… even if the blueberry bushes are caged.
Lesson #7. Chickens like chicken tractors even less than rabbits. Loose chickens in pastures learn to fly.
Lesson #8. See notes on catching rabbits for sentiments on how hard it is to catch flying chickens.
Lesson #9.Volkswagen Beetles don’t like to be used as farm trucks although amazingly you can fit sheep, goats, pigs, and even 500lbs of feed into a VW bug (albeit a very unhappy one)
Lesson #10 Items 1-9 will lead to your neighbors thinking you are even crazier than they previously estimated.
All kidding aside, the first year on the farm was a huge learning experience. In the coming weeks I will go into detail on the various different projects we started and why they did (or didn’t) work and what we learned. We also started living more naturally the first year on the farm as well. Cooking real food and a few major dietary changes came in. We started using more natural and herbal remedies and learned to identify and cultivate various herbs. Essential oils came into our home for the first time and completely changed the way we look at treating various conditions. We also learned a lot of skills on how to do things from scratch, everything from canning and cooking, to cheese making, sewing, weaving, fermenting, dehydrating and more!
Watch for future posts on all of these topics!