Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
My name is Steve and this story is about finding the farmer inside me. Some background about me is I was raised on a farm in the Midwest, moved to Texas as an adult, and now in my forties I have now moved back to the Midwest.
As a boy growing up on the farm in the Midwest we raised the typical livestock consisting of milk and beef cows, hogs, chickens, sheep, and I even had a pet rabbit! I was one of seven kids and we lived on a 200 acre farm and rented another 300 acres. We grew hay, corn, and soybeans. We were also fortunate enough to have an orchard that was planted when my father was a boy and some of my favorite memories were harvesting all the wonderful and diversified fruit. We also had a 3 acre garden for our vegetables which keep us kids busy hoeing and taking care of the garden. My brother and I also raised chickens for the eggs which we would eat and sell the surplus. I was told by my mother that I was self-sufficient by the time I was seven, and would often try to live the farmer life as a child. However; the first years of us living on the farm we really did live like farmers. I remember not having running water or a toilet in the house and baths were taken in a galvanized tub standing up!! I further remember harvesting acres of corn by hand and we put up loose hay. Our milk was stored in metal milk cans and we put them in our water spring by the barn to keep the milk refrigerated.
When I graduated from high school I got married and moved to Texas to work in the oil fields and later worked in the semiconductor industry. During that time it was always a dream of my wife and me to return back home and to our roots. Our wish came true about 7 years ago when we returned to the Midwest.
Upon returning to the Midwest we searched for some land that we could buy but the prices were all out of our price range. So we settled on a house on the edge of town which was nice but not what I needed to do farmer living. So during that time we did what I call the 3-P’s which is PLAN, PREPARE, AND PRACTICE. However; in 2010 we sold our house and bought a house with 20 acres in the country, which consists of about 12 acres of woods and 8 acres of pasture land. Yes we are in heaven. We moved in around Thanksgiving right before we got 12 inches of snow and we then weathered one of the snowiest winters in years! Spring came in 2011 and we were ready to start our farmer living. One thing that we would need to do is get the infrastructure up and we spent all of 2011 doing so. I knew with 20 acres we would need a tractor and we purchased a tractor with all the implements that I thought we would need. We also bought tools for woodworking, firewood, and other tools for farmer living. We took the rest of 2011 planning and preparing for our farmer life. The year flew by fast and we soon found that with our jobs it would take longer than expected.
So now it is 2012 and we have been busy thus far. We bought some goats to use as weed mowers and we will butcher them this winter. We also bought 12 baby chicks and are raising them for the eggs and meat. Plus chickens are one of the best animals for getting rid of all our produce waste since we have not started composting as of yet. We have already found a farmer for our beef and pork needs so we are set up in the meat department. We have just started the garden as it is not yet warm enough to put the whole garden in. We have tilled up quite a bit of land for the garden and I am looking forward to getting some fresh vegetables. We took our income tax refund and put in our own orchard. It is one acre and we put in apples, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, grapes, and blueberries. We invested our time and money in putting up a 8-foot tall welded wire fence to keep out all the deer and rabbits that we have at our place. While it may seem excessive and to some overkill I could not get any sleep knowing that my tree investment was just deer and rabbit food. Plus with the many years it will take to get fruit just one bad eating from the deer can set us back many years if we need to replace the trees. In the end when the trees are mature enough not to worry about damage we will simply use the fencing material for another project whether it be simply expanding the goat pen or using it in some other way.
Well you are now caught up on our progress and in the future we will keep posting on our progress. I am a person who believes in living off the land and taking care of the land that takes care of you. We are organic people and we don’t use chemicals or anything bad for our earth. In the future I will be sharing some of our tips and tricks for growing vegetables, animals, and other things like beekeeping, blacksmithing, and other homesteading, and farmering ways of life. I was also fortunate enough to grow up a carpenter’s kid and I learned mechanics so I will be sharing wisdom in those arenas as well.
Till then “Keep living and enjoying the simple life” - Steve
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