Our desire to cultivate our own land and raise our own livestock developed shortly after we decided to join the nearby Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Ploughshare Farm up the road. Once a week during the summer and fall, fresh, organic, in-season vegetables were delivered by the truck-full to the local church. We would pick them up at, take them home and wash them, and then google for hours on how to prepare vegetables we’d never heard of before – rainbow chard, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, along with the typical garden fare like brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions, and tomatoes. After several seasons with the CSA, and wasting a fair amount of weird veggies that we just didn’t like, we came to realize that we would rather grow just the produce we actually enjoyed – and then supplement that with eggs from our own backyard chickens.
But the city said, “NO!” to the backyard chickens.
So we said, “NO!” to the city.
And we sold our home in town and moved to a beautiful homestead on a dozen acres in the woods, at the end of the road, along a private river, only 10 minutes away.
Zoned for the small, family homestead, we immediately took advantage of the agricultural privileges of the parcel and acquired five laying hens from a coworker and carefully selected 25 chicks to be delivered to our new home from a mail-order hatchery in the spring. We replaced one of the three wood burning fireplaces with an energy efficient wood-stove, repaired the propane hot-water-heater which supplies the home with radiant heat, replaced the two leaking water heaters with an energy efficient model, and did minor repair to the roof and siding. We cleaned out the horse barn and pole barn for storage space, and began taking down dead, diseased, and dangerous trees and stacked their lumber into neat piles for the coming cold-season. Thoughts of growing our own produce, cultivating the raspberries and apples growing in the yard, and raising generations of chickens, goats, and pigs raced through our heads. Concepts like solar power, wind power, and reduced reliance on “the grid” for our energy needs are future goals of our homestead.
Meanwhile, we start with what we know, and aggressively expand our knowledge and skills in order to live, at least for part of the week, the simpler life of a modern day, weekend homesteader.