Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Farm In the Making

We had a group of toddlers and their parents come out to our farm for a field trip the other day.  Oh, the sweetness and wonder of precious little’s running all over the farm.  Made me want another child badly.  :)
Every time people come out to the farm there are a few people who are trying to get into growing their own food in gardens, raising chickens for eggs/meat or getting into raising goats for milk.  They look around the farm and are overwhelmed seeing what they see up and functioning and them just starting out.  Or sometime God leads people to me who are about to give up because of some start up failures or who have questions because they like the way we are doing something.  We have been there our selves at times so I often can share and encourage them. 

I will share with you that we had very humble beginnings as well.  We didn’t just start out where we are now.  When we started out I didn’t know how to milk a goat, raise chicks, tack a horse, or butcher a chicken properly.  When my dad bought the property it was and still is, a beautiful piece of land.  So peaceful and lovely that my dad named the property Sanctuary.  A sanctuary it has been for my family as we lost our home years ago after my husband’s extended illness.  It has been a sanctuary and safe place for so many foster children that we lost count.  Home to too many stray cats and animals to count that needed a place to live, grow old and die.  There is just something about this farm.  I am so grateful to God and my dad for us being allowed to live here and enjoy God’s creation. 

When we moved here there was no barn.  This property used to have a huge long chicken house on it.  At some point when the people that lived here before us decided not to raise commercial chickens for eggs anymore they bulldozed down the whole  middle section of the long production house.  They left about 60 feet of the building up at my dads end of the property and about 60 down by our home.  So when we moved here the part by us of the old chicken building was just poles and a roof with some falling down siding.  It had rotting wood half way up the sides, decaying chicken wire on the top half also old tarps that used to pull up and down on it.  It was also used to store junk.  We all worked hard and took many loads of stuff to the dump.  We pulled off old boards, brittle rusted chicken wire and stripped it down to the poles and roof.   Over time as we had time and could afford it, it slowly was built into a really great barn.  Pen by pen.  Stall by stall.  For a long while there was no electricity in it or running water.  It took years, money, patience and hard work to make it into the barn that is there today. 
         The barn as it is today complete with barn cats sunning themselves on the roof!

When we moved here there was no fencing for livestock.   No chicken house for our chickens.  No raised beds for gardening.  These things have come about bit by bit over the years.
                            Carolyn job is to gather the eggs!

Let’s just take chickens for example.   We wanted eggs and did a lot of research.  Got some chickens and oh my, the learning curve started.  We had predator troubles right from the start and over the years found out we are not the only ones that like to eat chicken!  We had a time of overcrowding as we were such new exuberant chicken owners and there were so many kinds to choose from that we bought all kinds.  I have tried chicken tractors, Movable pens, free ranging…we have had our chickens, in 14 years, in no less than 5 arrangements and places all over the farm.  Where we have had them the last several years works the best for our farm.  I have done experiments, lost birds, tried different ways to feed them, learned and come up with what works best for our farm. 
The chicken coop.  It wasn't expensive and isn't fancy but is predator proof and the chickens have never complained!  Learning chickens has all been more time consuming and more costly than going to town for a dozen organic eggs regularly!  Backyard farming is not for the faint of heart or people that want to do it on a whim.  It is like the Bible says in

Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Because He is saying this knowing that farming is hard work!  You can’t go into farming of any kind without a dream and passion for what your goal is.  If you aren’t full of determination you are going to look back at how easy it used to be, before trying to farm and give up.  You won’t put your all into it with gusto when you are always looking back, always wondering if you made the right choice.  By the way, if you are plowing and looking back your rows aren’t going to be very straight either.  You won’t have your mind fully on the task ahead.  God wants us on fire for Him and once we get saved and start to serve Him and work for Him, we can’t look back.
Me and my morning and evening fan club waiting to see if they get any warm milk.

Backyard farming has been a journey and a learning curve.  Something we have learned and grown in over the years and are still learning and growing in.  Our farm has become what it is by the grace of God, thru sweat, hard work, successes, defeat and might I add…money invested buy us all.  Just as a side note.  Backyard farming is not a way to feed your family cheaply.  But IS a way to give your family quality food that you have control over how it is grown and handled, that if done right, can cost much, much less than buying all organic at the store.  But might I add, at the high cost of time and hard work.

I am not writing this post today to discourage anyone from backyard farming.  But to encourage and show that we started small and it is an always growing always evolving journey.  I love to talk about our farm and what God has shown us and we have learned over time.  I just wanted to share that we are not wealthy people.  We haven’t always had this farm the way it is all around us.  God gave it to us and we developed it thru His guidance and thru the sacrifice of not spending our money on other worldly things that we might have wanted.  Also thru working hard outside on the farm morning and night instead of having other hobbies and interests.  This IS our hobby and interest.  This is our life.  Serving God, Tim and I striving to have a good marriage, raising kids, home schooling, milking and caring for our animals.  Morning and night, hot or cold, spring, summer, fall and winter.  And we are loving it!

Praise be to God from Whom all blessings flow.  Thank you God for allowing us to have this wonderful season in our lives.  I am grateful.


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