Lessons From A Year On My Own Farm

You know how all the farming magazines, homesteading books, and old-timers say that you need a whole year on new land to observe before starting up farm projects? They give you all this blah-blah-blah about watching how the land reacts to each season and taking time to build up livestock.

Well, it turns out they’re right. It just happens to be one of those lessons you have to get through yourself. It’s not as if I didn’t believe this seemingly sound advice. When you finally have a place to call your own, somewhere you can do as you please without “the man” comin’ down on you, it’s exciting! You want to get everything going just the way you like in a hurry because –for some reason– the whole house and farm should be as picturesque as a Better Homes & Gardens cover shot within the first few months of living there.

I must admit, I had those expectations even though everyone kept telling me to take it slow, things at a new house took time and this was our first year. I’m nearly thirty and yet good advice went in one ear and out the other.

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May 2014

In this last year we have gotten quite a bit done. I didn’t realize how much we have change the property or ourselves until I looked a photos I took those first few weeks we moved in. We have turned a shed into a rabbitry, painted every surface in the house (with the exception of the cut-in around the ceiling fans?!), we brought home our first dairy goats and built a milking stanchion from pictures of others, Trevor’s parents helped us get two large areas fenced in, with my family’s help we installed one big hügelkultur, we sold some bucklings and bought two more dairy goats, got rid of lazy chickens and brought in new chickies, had great success with cabbage and heritage breed turkeys, added a pair of Viking sheep, made billions of delicious pretzel, and disposed of multiple truck loads of creepy-gross carpet. Oh, and the front door is an awesome egg yolk orange.

So while it didn’t seem like much progress was being made during the year, I can look back and see that we did –in fact– get a whole lot done on our new farm. That even includes the whole month of a “screw the drought and the world” attitude I had during the summer while I got absolutely no blogging done.

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May 2014

Well, now our first year is almost up. (I can say that because our mortgage is paid through the month of February and we moved in on March 8th of last year.) Close enough I’d say. After a year of home ownership my best advice to others looking down the same path is: to spend a whole year taking it slow.

5 thoughts on “Lessons From A Year On My Own Farm

  1. Thanks to someone sharing a link to your blog in a comment on Leigh’s “Five Acres and a Dream” blog, I’m here! Looking forward to reading past posts and learning more about your adventure.

  2. Well, I very happy that you found your safe spot. I guess things should go better this year for you. From what I’ve read this past year. Your home has grown a lot. Maybe it just time to relax and take one day at a time. I’ve been homesteading now for 7 years going on 8 and still learning new things from time to time. With Sara-lu no 2 days are the same. Matter of fact she’s mooing again this month. So I found a place that I can send her blood to so I know for sure she’s not pregnant. And then I’m going to change the A.I. to a devon instead of jersey. Well I’ll let you get back to homesteading. Your doing a great job!!!!!!!!!! Hope all is well there. Mare

  3. As with any business, a farm takes five years to succeed and flourish. Again a cautionary note to you. Everything is easier and somewhat faster in a small homestead 1/4 or less. Or bigger homesteads it’s slow and steady that works even if you want to get it done yesterday.

    I started with an acre of land including my home and had a five-year plan to achieve my urban homestead. Yes I do have an acre lot inside the town. The first year was beautification. I planted roses, gardenia, and a couple of fruit trees. I also started researching chickens and rabbits. I didn’t buy chickens until my 2nd year. I knew it would take five years to grow anything organically (be organic) so I planted salad goods and herbs in pots. I also started working on composting bins. The key was I started slowly as not to get overwhelmed by doing too much at one time.

    My first garden was a 10×10 plot and it eventually grew over the next 4years to 1/4 an acre. I had my chicken, raised meat rabbits, and had my garden which fed seven of us (us and an elderly neighbor) very well. That’s with raising my kids and holding down two jobs.

    Now I’m looking to enlarge to five acres after twenty years of doing this. I’ll be adding goats and doubling my livestock population. Not because I need to, but it has been what I’ve been working towards all these years. Sarah, keep in mind I’m twice your age and had a stroke leaving me with only one arm working, but I’m doing it.

    Every step forward is progress, even if you have to take two steps back as a learning experience.

  4. I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve been on my 3 acres since mid January and I have to say I’m going full steam ahead with a ton of projects as well. I jumped into it knowing that the journey will be rough but we chose to do and learn from it. I love your videos and blog! Keep up the great work!

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