If 10 years ago you would have told me I'd be happily nestled onto a small plot of land surrounded by children, animals and dirt, I would have never have believed you. I didn't grow up thinking, man, I can't wait to bake everything from scratch, get my fingernails dirty in the garden and scoop poop. Nope, I would have laughed in your face.
After having my first child, I struggled terribly to lose the baby weight. I also struggled emotionally and spent a good year not even knowing who I was anymore. I wanted to not only look better, I wanted to feel better. I don't remember quite how it all played out, but I believe it started with a friend giving me the book “Nourishing Traditions.” I read it cover to cover and immediately informed my husband that we needed some backyard chickens.
Chickens were our gateway drug. Once we had fresh eggs, it was over, we had to move out of town. We planned ahead and started saving and then slowly started scanning the real estate pages. We knew we wanted more land but didn't want to be so far out of town that it would give my husband a long commute to work and cost us an arm and a leg in gas money.
So here we are, just about 10 to 15 minutes outside of town on about eight acres and loving every minute of it. Every hard working, sweaty or frigid minute of it.
My husband Jacob and I along with our three children, ages 5, 3 and 1.
We were lucky enough to inherit a small herd of hair sheep from the previous owners as well as a few laying hens. Since then we have increased our flock to about 30 gals, added two livestock protection dogs, and have been raising spring and fall broilers. We sell fresh eggs and broilers to friends and family. The sheep continue to thrive, and I look forward to the day that we get a family milk cow.
Our beautiful, and curious, Barbados sheep.
The pastured broilers we processed in May 2014.
Country life is rather addicting I've found, but we are careful not to jump in too deep too soon when it comes to animals. I'd rather work on being really good at raising a few animals than raise a lot of them and just be hanging on for the ride.
This mid-March week has been busy. We picked up our spring broiler chicks from the post office early this morning and have been busy making sure we have the temp right in the brooder. Plus, the kiddos like to check on them often so we usually oblige.
Tomorrow I plan to get a few things for the garden in the ground, including kale, spinach, broccoli and potatoes.
We have been gifted with more than 40 strawberry plants, so today I plotted out where we'll be setting up our patch. I know very little about berries, so we've been doing a lot of reading. We're going to start with a soil test by the local extension office to see if we need to make any soil amendments. I'd hate to throw this many plants in the ground for them not to do well! Plus, we want to space appropriately so we can keep the daughter plants that will hopefully grow later in the season.
I'm already dreaming of fresh strawberries and looking forward to the day when we have a lot to freeze, dry or can for future use.
We're so excited to be a part of the Capper's Farmer family and be surrounded by like-minded folks, even if it may just be in the cyber world. I look forward to receiving advice from readers who have been at this country thing much longer than we have.
What all have you been up to this week? Any strawberry professionals out there? I sure could use your best growing tips!