Yes. Yes I do. And I would not trade it for anything. Most days anyway. So before you choose to take on a farm or try to be self-sustaining, please remember this……it is a hard life. Rewarding, but a lot of hard work.
In addition to normal household duties and off the farm jobs that I have to maintain, I am needed at the farm at least every 12 hours. The feeding and caring for the animals has to be done twice a day. Then there are the additional things that are always coming up like hauling gravel, playing with a poltergeist that stops my ram pump when I get 100 feet away no matter how long I stand there in the first place, fixing fences, dealing with broken water pipes, sloshing through mud, digging ditches, dealing with cobbled together things, catching escapees, and the list goes on. I live without electricity and that presents its own set of complications. I am an expert in multiple uses for wire clothes hangers, duct tape, and baling twine. And where I live, there is always a need.
But the person that made that comment has not been around a farm in the spring. That is when things get really hard…..and really exciting.
Spring brings birthing. This alone can be hard if there are complications. I have had to help goats birth enough times that I am now fairly competent at it. But it still does not calm the fears that come with it. How do I know for sure that she really needs help or if I am being over anxious? Which part of the baby am I feeling, and which way do I turn it to help it be born? And will it be okay? I have done some drastic measures to resuscitate babies. But the fun associated with newborns is like nothing else. Nothing yet has beaten the sheer pleasure of watching a newborn baby goat learn to walk. That only takes a few minutes….then they learn to run and jump! Watching their antics is worth all the work. When that time comes, I will be posting stories, pictures and maybe videos. This year I will have sheep to birth….and a foal. And a little later, piglets. I have some learning to do about those, but they can’t be much different than goats or puppies. I love farming. The learning process never ends.
I used to live by the clock, never missing chore time by more than 15 minutes either way. But I have lightened up. I do have a little bit of a life that I like to live outside the farm, so to make up for a big time delay I split the difference. I have had some 2 gallon a day milkers and I do respect the pain that the goats are in when they are in top production, so I try not to mess with their timing. Then there is the feeding the babies, because I bottle feed them. And I usually purchase a baby calf around that time and bottle feed him too. Early in their lives I feed every few hours, so I have to be home for that. Life off the farm is almost non-existent for a couple of months in the spring.
I love making soap and cheese. With an abundance of milk, it has to be used. So I will be making some of my favorite goat milk soaps and offering them for sale here soon. I have some that are left over from a few years ago that I am using until I get some more made. I love homemade soaps. I feel cleaner using them than anything else. As I make soaps I will be sharing how to do it at that time. And I have totally missed my favorite chevre cheeses. Those are a must have…..as soon as I can. All these take work and skills that I have built up over time. And a host of tools that need to be made or acquired. I will be sharing more of these as I get back into the swing of life on the farm and the times are right.
Gardening is another springtime love of mine. Selecting, ordering, starting, and sharing seeds. Preparing the ground for the garden, pruning fruit trees, and then planting. That takes a lot of time and work that starts in the spring and continues throughout the summer and fall. I also will be winter gardening next year, but that is another story.
Yes, I live a hard life, but there are great rewards that far outweigh the comfort of a house in town and a fancy car. I love the life that I live and there are very few things that I would change about it.
I live in the country surrounded by wildlife…….fresh air and stars.
I forage for wild foods……these are full of nutrition.
I do not have a boss that tells me what to do with my time…….I choose.
I do not have to drive to work in heavy traffic…..I walk out my front door.
I am never bored…..there are many different jobs to choose from.
I watch things come to life…..and die.
I am always learning……it never ends.
I have the opportunity to learn whatever skills I want……and I have.
I eat very wholesome foods….and have stayed away from the doctor for 23 years.
The reward of being self sustaining is like nothing else that I have ever experienced.
What kinds of things are you interested in learning about? I have been living this way for years so if I have done it, I will share what I know.