Are We Homesteaders?
I think deep down, I was always meant to be a farmer. This past year, adding goats and making the decision to grow/raise as much of our own food as possible, made this little farm feel much more concrete. It's safe to say that not many couples our age (mid-twenties) would choose this life of farming/homesteading.. but us, yeah, we kind of love it.
Even in just the short time we've had this little homestead, I've become incredibly accustomed to the looks and responses from folks when we tell them we want to raise our own meat. Some people applaud us while others look at us like insensitive monsters. But at the core of why we do what we do.. it all comes back to wanting to know the source of our food. Last year, we watched an incredible documentary called Food, Inc. that completely changed the way we look at food. If you've ever been interested in learning more about where your food comes from (which you should definitely care about), I highly recommend you watch this film. Knowing where our food comes from is something that's very important to us. We are thankful that we have the space to grow our own food and raise healthy and happy animals for meat.
We live on just shy of two and a quarter acre here in western Washington. About an acre of that land is/will be used for pasture for our animals (goats, chickens and soon, rabbits) and garden space to grow foods like onions, carrots, corn and tomatoes, to name a few! We also plan to farm a majority of the flowers I use for weddings and events for Lake Farm Florals.
The decision to homestead did not come lightly. As we sat and dreamed of the adventures of homesteading, the little goats we could raise, the food we wanted to grow, the honey we could harvest from our bee hive.. we had to also accept the fact that those adventures came with projects like tilling up almost an acre of land, butchering animals for the table, spending summers working in the garden instead of going on vacations. Homesteading might seem beautiful and bountiful and yes, with a whole heck of a lot of work, it is! But with all that, comes sacrificing time, money, and the desire to just pack up and travel. But for this little farm... our little slice of Heaven.. We know this is where we are supposed to be.
A few homestead updates for you:
Last week, we welcomed 25 white Cornish cross broiler chicks to the farm. We've lost a few (likely weaklings) but our 20 remaining chicks are strong and healthy! They'll stay in the brooder in the guest room for two more weeks before we move them out to the coop (still in the brooder). At about 6 weeks old, or when they get their feathers, we will move them outside to a chicken tractor where they can eat grass and bugs and till up some of our garden space. At 16 weeks old (give or take a few days), they'll will be butchered and will provide us with plenty of chicken for the months to come.
We believe that animals that are raised for meat should only have one bad day.
Speaking of chickens! I'm happy to announce that my handsome farmer husband has agreed that we need to expand our laying flock! Sometime this Spring, we will bring home more baby chicks to raise as layers. I'm picturing some gorgeous Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks. Oh, and a few more Ameracaunas like our Josephine because those sage green eggs are worth every penny! With the addition of layers, we are working on tripling the size of the run, adding some more shade for those hot summer days, and adding perennials like lavender, bee balm and rosemary around the run for happy hens.
We will spend the next few weeks starting seeds for the market vegetable and flower garden. We have 150 strawberry starts and 15 raspberry starts arriving next week for planting. Those babies will provide us with berries for years and years!
We brought home our little Boer buck a few weeks ago and he is the sweetest little goat I've ever seen. Our rescued wethers, Dwight and Kevin, went to a new home last week to be used for 4H. We made the decision to re-home them because the wethers... long story short, are bigger and stronger than our little buck, giving him stronger competition when it comes to breeding. Now our little buck has no competition and will be able to breed with Leslie and April, giving us a lot of babies.
There's a lot more to come and I can't wait to share it with y'all!
Happy farming sweet friends!