Before I get into the good stuff, I’m having my first giveaway, which ends next Wednesday, November 1, 2017. To enter, click right here.
Now…all about the farm…
Living on a farm is quite interesting, especially if you grew up a city girl, like me. It can be messy, busy, hilarious, time-consuming, and very expensive, but seeing God’s creatures–how they love human interaction and live on a daily basis the way we feel God intended–is quite fascinating.
So, when we bought this property from one of the most precious women we will ever know, Mrs. Janet, there were no farm animals on it. Basically, we had a gorgeous blank space to make our own. We have 26 acres…about 10 acres in pasture, and about 16 that is wooded. It’s not small, but it’s definitely not huge. I honestly can’t imagine having to keep up with more land than what we have at the present. People who own 50, 100, 200+ acres amaze me.
Our property backs up to a 40 acre lake, which to us, is breathtaking. Sometimes the kids fish. Sometimes Rooster takes the boat or kayak out.
There is a creek running through the woods and if my brother, Ben, and I had had anything close to what my kids do, our parents would have never seen us. Ben and I were always going on “explores”, as I called them, and being spies…trying to solve mysteries in the woods (what little we had) and it was the most fun ever. Right, Ben??? He says “yes”.
In the woods, live the ticks. SO…..I don’t go out there unless I absolutely have to. The kids don’t really go out there much…I think it’s because I’ve terrified them about the ticks.
We moved here with the intention of having a lot of animals that would teach us, but also, work for us. Neither one of us was raised with anything other than cats or dogs. We knew that making this step was going to be a risk. We knew that we would pretty much be learning on the spot, completely messing up along with the way, but with the hope that we would one day figure it all out. Adding a 1,200 lb animal(s) to your list of things to take care of when you’ve never done it before is hard. We’ve been criticized and talked about by people who didn’t know our hearts, they just saw our every mistake. But we remind our children that making mistakes is how you learn. It’s how you grow. So, for that reason alone, I wouldn’t change a thing that we’ve done wrong. The mistakes have only made us stronger.
So, we have three horses. Millie, Sheba, and Daisy. Millie is a Palomino quarter horse…so sweet and docile….she is probably what really hurried us to get out here. We were boarding her when we were living at our last house and that right there is expensive and unless you can get out there every single day, quite sad, in my opinion.
Sheba is also a quarter horse. She’s actually my dad’s. She is super low maintenance and quiet, but she came out here and decided that she was indeed going to be the boss. And she is, in every sense of the word.
Daisy, on the other hand, is quite the opposite of the other two. She is a buck-skinned Tennessee Walker and is as sassy as they come. I have a couple of little girls just like her. She is 3rd in rank and is very sore about it all. Eating everything in site is her hobby and getting into everything she is NOT supposed to get into is her specialty. She knows how to open the back door to the tack/feed room and has been caught inside, tearing into chicken feed, horse feed, goat feed…more than once. She has also been caught all the way–absolutely and completely–inside of the chicken coop. How she got her big butt in there is still a mystery. She’s really lucky to still be living here. Rooster disagrees. He says that she’s lucky to be alive.
The horses’ main job is to fertilize the pasture. With their poop. Sometimes it’s smelly. And there’s lots of it. LOTS. Which is where the chickens come in.
The chickens are my absolute favorites. (especially the broody ones) If you’ve never sat around and observed chickens, you should. They are f-u-n-n-y. Each one has a different personality and watching them communicate with one another is a thing of wonder.
When a hen lays an egg, she wants everyone to know. And I mean everyone. As soon as that egg pops out, you know it because they are LOUD and PROUD. It’s really hilarious how they brag and carry on about it.
We always have roosters. Right now, we have 2 roosters the rest are hens and chicks. The roosters have a big job. They protect the girls and of course, make more chicks.
Our first two roosters were named John Henry and Charlie. John Henry was a Buff Orpington (solid yellow in the above picture) and Charlie was a Road Island Red. When they became of age, they started crowing and breeding. John Henry had the perfect, classic crow. Charlie’s crow sounded like he was dying.
One day, Jack was outside with the chickens and came inside telling me that the roosters were jumping on top of the hens and hurting them….this is called chicken breeding, people. All normal, all good. But Jack didn’t share our opinion and threw sticks and rocks at them every chance he could. If you know anything about roosters, they can be cool as cucumbers, or mean as hornets. Jack’s innocent abuse turned those roosters into kid killers. They started off chasing the kids and if they caught up with them, they’d peck their legs or jump on them. It was all fun & games in the beginning, but pretty soon, if a little person stepped foot outside, the roosters would immediately head straight for them, ready to attack. I can’t tell you how many times Jack would bust through the door, completely distraught and outraged, telling Rooster that he “HE HAS TO KILL THOSE GUYS!!!” And it was Jack’s fault all along for trying to beat them with sticks. So, lesson learned. Let the roosters do their things with the chickens, buddy. Believe it or not, the girls like it when they play rough.
We’ve had many chickens come and go over the past 2 1/2 years. Some have been accidentally stepped on by a horse. It makes their eyeballs pop out. Not a pleasant sight. And others have been killed by predators. Our chickens free range, meaning that we let them out of their coop every single day and they roam our property. They eat whatever they want, along with chicken feed. They keep the bugs down, give us lots and lots of eggs, and scratch through the horse poop, which is truly amazing.
Chickens LOVE scratching through horse poop. Cow poop. Poop. It starts out in a ginormous pile, but when the chickens finish, it is evenly spread out all over the ground. Flies lay eggs in the poop and this to chickens is like cheesecake to us. So, they keep down the flies and we don’t have to shovel the poop anymore. They are incredible birds, y’all. And did I mention funny??
The most recent animals we’ve added are the goats. We have two Nigerian Dwarf goats, Dixie and Mae…..they are lots of fun. SO sweet, so loving, always hungry, and always yelling at you because they are hungry. And because they want to be rubbed on. They will stop eating and stand completely still if you start rubbing on them. I am just like a goat.
One of the most important things we have to do is make sure our animals are happy and healthy, or else we have no business having a farm. The kids feed, water, and are encouraged to spend time with all the animals every single day. I mean, that’s the main reason we’re here. After we get really good with what we presently have, we are hoping to breed one of the goats so that we can have goat milk. And if you’ve ever seen a baby goat, you know how absolutely precious they are! We also want to add pigs….one day…not any time soon. If you have had any experience with pigs, I’d love to hear about it. The only ones I am familiar with are Wilbur and Babe.
Since moving here, Rooster has bought a tractor, we’ve added a barn and horse stalls, a round pen, had to put up fences, and more. We knew that it would be a lot of work, but man…it has been a lot of work. And we’re nowhere near the finished line.
We have a lot of fun here, but it’s been quite a ride. For the very first time, our children have experienced life and death, sometimes both in the same day. They’ve learned about the importance of respecting animals, and what happens when you don’t. Most importantly, though, I feel like they are learning that you have to give of yourself, focus on others that depend on you, and take responsibility for what happens around you if you fail to do so.
They have learned that life is precious. No matter how many times a chick hatches, it’s like they are seeing it for the very first time. And when something dies, no matter how many times they’ve see it happen, there is always pain and sadness. The reason for this is because of love. And that, my dear friends, makes what we’re doing worth it.
Horse poop and all.