Our Story

Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm
(pronounced: fruu-lings-cab-ee-na)

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Frühlingskabine is a very long, very confusing German word meaning “Spring’s Cabin”. Most of my family is of German or Swiss decent, but is was my dear Uncle Jack who named the original little farm house, Frühlingskabine, for my family. He was a man with great cynical wit and delivered sarcastic retorts with a sly little wink. We would like to remember him always by naming our homestead attempt in his honor.

Thus, Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm.

Our little family of three enjoys days on our always growing and ever evolving farm. We started this farm in the backyard of a rented quarter-acre lot. Even a small space couldn’t hold us back and for three-years we experimented, learned, and prospered. Everything started as a study to see not only what we could get away with, but also to observe first-hand what we wanted to experience in life.

Everyone starts somewhere and that tiny quarter-acre lot will always be our roots. Since starting on this grand journey three-years ago, we have purchased and moved to our first house. We now live on four and a half acres and have much more possibility of intrigue and adventure.

On our farm, we raise: a herd of French angora rabbits, a flock of chickens, a few hives of honey bees, turkeys, dairy goats, and Shetland sheep…. we don’t dare try to count them all. This blog documents our journey from the very beginning while we learn to live a more self-sufficient life through gardening, animal husbandry, and good ol’ do-it-yourself projects.

As for us, the workers, Trevor works at a full-time job during the week and helps me with the big projects on weekends. He is the beekeeper, barbecuer, builder, and also tempers all of my more whimsical ideas.

I am the one who wants to do everything. Raise rabbits for wool and meat, chicken everything, backyard fish farming, and build sheds and coops and greenhouses. I even was seconds away from bringing home a turkey from the feed store to grow out for the Thanksgiving table. Thank god I have someone to keep my feet on the ground!

Our daughter is now four years old and has learned so much in the three short years that we have led this life. She knows the path the deer take through our yard, she learned to count during egg collecting, she discovered that every creature has its purpose, and she knows with conviction that the food from the garden always tastes better than food that comes from a bag. I should also note that she is official “boss of the chickens” and can herd them back into their coop much more effectively than we can. We are so proud that she already knows more about real life than we did at that age. How wise she is.

It seems like the more time we spend moving backwards into a simple life, the more confident we are in what we want our lives to be like. Isn’t the journey what life is all about?

70 thoughts on “Our Story

  1. Your story is so adorable! I wish you all the BEST of luck!! The world is blessed to have more homesteaders like yourselves! And cheers to papa bear who goes and works a full time job! My husband does the same and I am so grateful for his steadfast-ness 😉 …our life sounds a lot like yours actually. We have a 2 year old wise lil girl as well. Beauty be!

  2. Thanks so much for the encouragement Elise! All we can do is our best and thanks to Trevor my daughter and I can spend our days playing with and caring for rabbits, bees, and chickens. These two-year olds are a lot wiser than they let on. It really amazes me sometimes how much she knows just from living here the last year.

  3. Sarah!!! I am so happy for you and your family – congrats on this amazing little farm and raising that little girl up right! Thanksfully, Heather N. told me what you’re up to. Sounds like we’ve got a lot in common right now 😉 We don’t have rabbits, but we do have dairy goats (Dwarf Nigerians – perfect for the micro-farm!). I totally want rabbits next though – maybe we could trade some rabbits for a goat? Would love to visit your place and have y’all over here. I’ll message y’all on FB. Take care and good luck keeping up with everything! Thank you for blogging about this, you are a great writer and designer!
    Cheers, Traci (Fesko) Gardner

    • Oh my gosh! Hi! It’s been forever since we’ve seen each other. I would love to trade a goat for some rabbits, but I don’t think I can keep one here. I’m sure we could work something out though…
      We should get together and share micro-farming tips and tricks! I hope to see you soon and keep in touch!

    • Hi Traci, I’m looking into getting a couple mini-nubians for milk and soap making. Do you have any suggestions on supplements, and do you feed fodder to your goats? Sarah if you have any knowledge about goats and feeding them fodder I would like to hear from you as well.

      • Hi Kory! I do know that you can feed goats 2% of their body weight in fodder daily, but you need to transition slowly to avoid bloat. I also know that goats require other supplements and other than that, I am pretty clueless on goats. I can post your question on my Facebook page to see what experienced goat-owners come up with. Thanks for reading!

      • Hi. I have dwarf dairy goats (Nigerian). I am told that you can feed dairy goats 3-5% of their body weight in fodder and then supply hay and minerals. Good Luck! FYI – I too have a wonderful husband who works full time outside of our home with me having the responsibility (and pleasure) for the animals (goats, rabbits, chickens, a pair of turkeys, a pair of ducks and a pig) during the workweek..

      • Thank you for commenting Christine! I am going to copy and paste this in a couple places to help out a few goat-owners that wanted to know about feeding a fodder-based diet.

        Trevor certainly does carry a great weight for our little farm. Thanks to him, I am able to stay home and care for the critters (Cami included) and garden and provide for the family in my own way. Thanks for reading and have a fantastic week!

  4. I am getting so much out of your blog. Love your story and the way you’re going about setting things up (your crafts are adorable too). Thanks so much for sharing – I will have to keep coming back to see what’s next, so keep up the good work, lol!

  5. I love your determination! Living the wonderful farm life on a quarter-acre is truly awesome! We live on a large ranch in the bewilderness. 🙂 LOL! l

  6. You and your family are an inspiration to our family. We have 4 wild mustangs, 23 hens, 2 roosters and we would like to add bees, and the Nigerian goats. Starting out first garden this season, fruit trees and all.
    Think we are cut from same cloth, I am always dreaming and need to get to the basics to make it all happen. I can’t wait to see more of your site, might be up all night… Haha
    Was curious how often and when do you shear the rabbits for wool?
    Did you get them mail order or locally?
    Have a great evening, hope to hear from you
    All the Best, Brigitte
    (Bunyshoes@aol.com)

    • Hello Brigitte! It certainly sounds like we are dancing to the same sheet of music! The rabbits I purchased from a breeder (who has since, unfortunately, gotten out of the rabbit biz) in Northern California and took me an 18 hour drive to pick up. Now that’s dedication! Anyhow– I pluck each rabbit’s wool 3-4 times a year and then shear everyone once during the heat of the summer.
      Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the site!!!

  7. I’m so happy that I found your blog! I just recently became interested in Micro-Farming myself. I raise Devon Rex cats, have a small flock of chickens, got some eggs in the incubator should end up with some interesting cross breeds, gonna start my first garden this year, and cannot wait to add a couple mini-nubian does to my family! Thanks for all you knowledge and info!

    • How fun! I am so jealous of your future goats! (We rent a house in a homeowners association that bans “livestock”.) Nubians are so beautiful… I just love their coloring and the shape of their face, but I don’t think I have ever seen a mini-Nubian. I’ll have to look that up. Maybe someday we can fulfill our goat dreams too.

  8. I am so glad I found you. I first met you thru your fodder video on youtube. We have a few things in common, my husband works a full time job and I stay at home also. My youngest is now 6 Luke, and Gabe is 7, Tony 16 and Michael is 20. We have 8 dogs (anyone need a dog?), 2 cats, 2 turtles, 52 chickens and I dream of getting goats, while my precious Gabe dreams of adding rabbits. Right now we’ve been working on clearing our land so we could get some goats but as luck would have it my tractor has went down – don’t think it will be a difficult fix. The hard thing to fix will be one particular neighbor – she is – well I will be nice – she is difficult to say the least! But by golly one day I will get my goats- I want them for milk, butter, and cheese, my husband wants them for the meat. Right now he is baffled cause I won’t let him eat my chickens – I feed him their eggs – and for now that will have to be enough. Besides we are 2 chicken tractor away from a meat flock. This year is becoming difficult to plant my garden due to the weather but I will manage to get something done.

    • Well, pleasure to meet you Stacey! You are in good company here. 🙂

      I think that if I had the room for 50+ chickens, I would have one of everything. No wait… I KNOW I would have one of everything. It’s just so fun to watch a flock of chickens with a variety of patterns and colors. You must sell a lot of eggs with that many chickens! Or you eat a lot of quiche.

      I will be dreaming of goats along with you and in the meantime I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get your garden up and running soon. Thanks for reading and following along!

  9. Hey Sarah, I’ve been reading and watching your videos on growing grains. Your have done a great job the step-by-step. I’m trying the grains first. I found some wheat that I can try. We to have a minni farm. I called it The Funny Farm. I have 2 cows 1 heifer, Both cows have already dropped 1 bull each. 1 for the fair and 1 for the freezer. That was 2 years ago. I’m now waiting for Reba to drop again July 18. We have a garden we eat out of. 12 chickens 1 rooster still trying to learn the best way to kill a chicken. So we eat just the eggs. 1 duck just for fun. 1 dog 2 cats. And yes my dream is to have goats too. For the milk and making cheese. But I did learn how to milk on my beef cow. I got about 1/2 gal. every morning for 6 month after Cubie went to the butcher.He was 15 month when we took him. Please keep up the good work. It gives me hope that I can follow my dream as going back to the basic. Since I also make everything from stratch too. Hubby work fulltime, and I’m a fulltime wife,mom of 3,grandma of 16 & great-grandma of 2. Thank You again!!!!!!! Mare

  10. Sarah,i met you today as i was searchhing for info on growing barley for animals and i havent stopped reading your various articles for the last 2 hours!I feel like a professional barley farmer!I live in Kenya and i own half acre ‘farm’ 25 kms from our capital city Nairobi where i keep rabbits and planning to keep dairy goat or even a dairy cow and indigeneous chicken besides growing vegs.You are a great writer full of humuor and ofcourse i love your family!That little lovely girl is growing up in a great envirnment.I will follow you permanently!
    Best wishes and keep up the great job of sharing crucial info on farming!
    Lydia

    • Thank you for all the kind words Lydia! It sounds like you are doing almost all the same things. I would LOVE to have goats or a cow for dairy also, but the rabbits are my favorite so far.

      Thanks for reading and keep working towards your farm goals! I look forward to hearing from you again.

  11. Hey, I am new to your blog, but am not going to leave until I have caught up. I started along the “homesteader” path a couple of years ago but unfortunately had to move from the house with the garden. Now, in less than six months, I am emigrating to Bulgaria and have 2.3 acres of land on which to attempt to become truly self sufficient.

    I look forward to reading through everything you have gone through (just reading this intro makes me smile as that requirement for feet-on-ground encouragement I know well).

    Cheers

    Andrew

    • That is awesome! I wish you the best of luck on your new 2.5 acres! There is so much you can do on that size lot. Oh, the things we could do with that much space. We are getting close to buying our own land too (maybe not quite 6 months, but hopefully in a year) and the adventure is going to sky rocket from there. What is the climate like in Bulgaria? Hopefully you don’t get too cold of temperatures so it is a little easier to keep a year-round garden. Tell us more about what kinds of crops and animals you hope to raise… I am very intrigued.

      Thank you so much for reading! I’m glad to hear you are enjoying it from the beginning. (Hopefully my writing has improved in the last few years!) 🙂

  12. Your story and all you are doing on your land is inspiring. My husband use to own a 15 acre farm before we met and really wants to return to country living. Being self sustaining while teaching our nine children to be helpful and good people is what we strive for. We have been researching many of the farm aspects that you are already doing. I mostly want to raise animals to ‘feed’ my fiber habit as I started spinning this year after years of knitting commercial fibers. Natural fibers as so much better! Thank you for sharing your life online with us all!

    • Thank YOU for reading! I hear ya on developing and feeding a fiber habit! I was never much of a knitter until I started raising my French Angoras. Now I’m afraid I’ve some down with Rabbititis… I need one in every color so I have a wide variety of colors to spin with! 😉

  13. Sarah,

    Rick Wardeen from Rise and Shine Rabbitry just wrote a book on how to feed your rabbits naturally. In it he says you must feed 1 quart of greens per day. I flipped as my guys do not get nearly that. I have your chart on how to feed the fodder (as that is what I feed) along with very good quality hay but I find all that multiplying confusing. Could you just provide, in general, how many square inches the fodder you feed is and whether you provide other greens EVERY day or is once in awhile enough.
    PS I also feed BOSS every other day and kits get organic rolled oats when its time. Lactating does get sprouted oats in a separate crock as they do not fodder well
    Roberta

    • Measuring by square inch will be different every time because of growth variables so it not dependable… at all. I would suggest figuring out the average weight of your breed and then feed everyone the same. Of course, does should always get oats and boss to keep them producing enough milk when on fodder.

      I’ll do the math for you if you tell me what breed you raise. 🙂

    • You should feed daily:
      0.66 lbs. of fodder per Silver Fox
      0.66 lbs. of fodder per New Zeland
      0.55 lbs. of fodder per French Angora

      A nursing doe should receive about 0.20 lbs. extra fodder as her litter grows. The doe will not eat the entire extra ration in the beginning, but will eventually as the litter gets bigger. A nursing doe should also receive 1/4-1/2 cup of rolled oats.

      All rabbits should also receive: at least 2 Tbsp of black oil sunflower seeds daily to help them keep condition, free choice dry hay (Timothy or grass hay okay), and a mineral salt block.

      • Hi Sarah. Many thanks for the information. It is very helpful and I am grateful. Can you please tell me about the mineral salt block that you recommend? Do you break off pieces and put them in each cage? Also, when you buy the block what animal is it designed for? Where I live we have blocks for goats, cows, and horses. Which is best? Many thanks again.

      • I buy one of those big horse mineral blocks that are the size of a brick. Then I break it into chunks and throw a chunk into each rabbit’s cage. They will take it from there. Just don’t give them a goat mineral block because I believe those have copper in them which is not good for rabbits.

  14. sarah,

    im sure you’ve got christine’s question but to be sure tractor supply has a double pack salt and mineral “wheel” just the right size for rabbits. i hang them on each cage with shower curtain hooks. they are also cheap enough there.

  15. Hi Sara
    I currently live in town. My daughter and I are raising rabbits together. My daughter is almost 13 years old. Together we have 29 rabbits, 27 are Holland Lops with the last two being Californians. My Son (he’s 10 ), and daughter and I also raise poultry. My son has five Bantam Modern Game Birds, my daughter has six Bantam Cochins, I have five Buckeye Chickens, two Andalusians, two Welsummers, and one Wyandotte – all standard size chickens. Plus four Tufted American Buff Geese. I recently put five ducks and two turkeys into the freezer. My feed bill is more then what my husband wants to allow. I have been searching for a way to maintain my small Urban Farm animals without putting us into the poor house. The fodder system sounds like the perfect plan.
    I too have a wonderful husband who works outside the home, while I get to stay home and take care of our mini farm. I also homeschool my two children.
    A few years ago my husband and I bought 40 acres out in the country, but it is raw land and there are so many things we have to do before being able to move out onto it. The land is almost an hours drive from town and my husband works here in town. But our dream is to be self sufficient and homesteaders. We are currently working hard to pay off my car, our land, and our house here in town. Our goal is to be able to do little things over the next three years, like fencing off the last side of the land – it is already fenced on three sides. The end of this winter I plan on getting my small orchard started by planting a few apple and pear trees – but I also have to fence off an area for the small orchard so the deer don’t destroy the trees. I’m hoping to take a travel trailer up there this late Spring so that I can have a flock of free range turkeys – I already have 12 pre-sold for this next fall.
    I’ve been wanting a Mini Jersey Cow and some type of dairy goat for milk, butter, cheese and Ice cream, as well as to make soap with, but my husband says I have to wait until we move out to the land. Along with the one dairy goat (I want to try different goat breeds to see which one I like the flavor of first) I also want a small herd of Angora Goats and a small herd of Cashmere Goats. Probably five or six each. I’ve had Angora Rabbits, a couple in each color and quite a few of each breed and found it too hard to keep up with their grooming needs. I switched from my 37 Angora Rabbits to 8 Alpacas, both Suri and Hychias. Loved their fiber and easy keep but my homeowners insurance didn’t like them in my Urban backyard. I might go back to alpacas once we move out to the land. Time will see.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to write so much. Thank you for all the information on your sight. Look forward to reading more in the future.

    • Oh my gosh– I am GLAD you wrote so much! You sound like you have quite the life going for you. That is exactly what we are working towards (minus the cow and ducks). Fodder saves me a lot of money every month, but it does take some effort to keep going. More than just scooping feed from a bag.

      After Trevor butchered our 6 laying hens this past weekend with a fair amount of ease, we think we could handle a couple turkeys when we purchase our own property in the next few months.

      What breed of angora rabbits did you have? I’ve noticed that English angoras are an incredible amount of work. Not that French don’t require any grooming, but it is a hell of a lot less than French. Even when we get our larger property, I’m going to skip the alpaca/llamas and wool goats. For one, I have a strange fear of camelids; and two, I love the feel of angora wool over the goat’s mohair. That’s just my personal preference though. I bet you like having more fiber from just one animal than the same amount from ten! Haha!

      I’m glad you included a link to your blog/website… I hope you blog about your adventures because I would love to keep up on you and your family.

      Have a great weekend!!!

  16. What a beautiful family you have! I have 5 acres that I am renting/buying. At present I am living in the city. I am trying aquaponics here and hugelkulture at the farm. Both are very interesting concepts and seem to work well. The only animals I have at present are fish to feed my grow beds. I want to switch to tilapia when I have a better idea of what I am doing. You have a nice site and what intrigued me most was the fodder production. I want to get some goats to help in clearing the land and the fodder sounds like a good way to feed them. Learning to walk one step at a time.
    Keep up the good work.
    Dusty

    • I am really excited to start my hügelkultur garden (hopefully) in the spring! Raising fish in a small hydroponics setup would also be fun I think. Does it get very cold where you are? I think trout would do best because of our freezing temperatures for four-ish months out of the year. If you are thinking of switching to tilapia, what are you raising now?

  17. Sarah. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you so much for sprouted fodder information. I am in Kenya and I have looked for this information all over without success until i talked to a colleague (David Muya) who know you and who turned out to be my saviour by introducing me to your page. Oh you just don’t know how happy i am. I am going to try it and i know deep down it will work for me and my livestock. God bless you so much.

  18. I am sincerely humbled by you guys! I live in Uganda where many people have land and almost whatever you grow requires much less effort, but we are poverty stricken! These are simple, yet very productive home-based ideas that every homestead can afford without much financial input. This is a great eye opener to me. I will be grateful for more such ideas. I am specifically moved by the sprout barley fodder. Thanks.

  19. Hi there! You are sooo much like me! Only I’m waaaaay behind! We have settled onto our little 1 acre parcel of land in TN (transplanted from the Midwest – right outside of Chicago). In the 2 years we have been here, we have invested in laying hens, herbals, and gardening. This year we will be embarking on a journey into more chickens, meat rabbits, a medicinal/herbal/chicken treat garden as well as the regular garden, AND other ventures such as homemade soaps, cheeses, fodder, and food storage. Unfortunately, my hubby and I both work outside of the home. He is “on the road” and I am a teacher. Neither of these occupations lends itself very well to full-time homesteading! I do have my son in the mix also, but seeing as he is already 17, it would probably be easier to pull hens’ teeth then to keep dragging him “back in time” with us. I am glad that I can make some kind of a “back to basics” impression on him before he attempts to “fly the coop”. I am blogging my way through our experiences also but, as you can imagine, time is not on my side. I literally have a list of my blogging topics and pictures that I need to catch up on already! My true dream is to be able to pursue all of this while having the ability to stay home. I truly appreciate what you share with us, and I often live with the “someday I will do that” dream as I live vicariously through your accomplishments! Thanks for all that you do!
    -Tammy

  20. OH!!! I forgot to add the bee hives and the dwarf orchard that we want to start this summer! Sheeeeshhh….I’m tired just thinking about it! (At least teachers kind of get the summer off…)

  21. Hi!
    I’m urban homesteading in Sacramento with chickens, bees, and a garden. I’m currently trying out a fodder system with moderate results (still working out the kinks). Congrats on your awesome spread. You’re doing exactly what I want to be doing. Just have to finish nursing school fast so I can get on with it!
    Keep up the good work!

  22. I just found your blog while looking for plans to build a rabbit hutch. We have been on our own adventure for a little over a year now. We finally found a home in the country and we’ve been “experimenting” all year. It has been such a blessing for our family and in just 13 short months our 16 yr old son has gone from a city boy wanting $14 a pair socks and worried about getting the newest Jordans to a young man who successfully raised 24 chicks without losing a single one (they say 1 in 3 chicks die so we figured he did an excellent job), and taking on the care of 3 hogs and 2 piglets. We had our first garden this year too and have learned so much about what we will be (and will not be) doing next year. Thank you for sharing your family’s adventure, I’m looking forward to reading more.
    Kat

  23. Thank you for this site . I would like to raise Rabbits and this has been a great site for this . i am wondering if you chose the Rabbits for their skin or the meat , why u made the choice u did ..( close by?) we have a mango and pineapple farm ? Thx again Pau

  24. Hi Sara,

    I originally found you on YouTube while looking up info on Angora Rabbits (I’m an apartment dweller who longs for a rabbit but has no space) and ended up being drawn into the story of your micro-farm here on your website. Your blog has been so fun to stalk, I mean, read! I’ll miss your updates about the rabbits, but I understand how situations are evolving over time.

    Thank your for keeping up with it over the years and supplying tons of useful info and insights. You’re doing things I dream of, and I, too, wish I had a donkey. I just love their sweet faces and how smart and sturdy they are. I’m also an artist and have a shop on Etsy–I will definitely be adding watercolor prints of rabbits, sheep, and goat breeds to my listings!

    I’m so sorry to hear about your town burning and the losses you and your community have suffered. Please let me know about your local charities so I can pitch in.

    Happy Holidays,
    Meilani

  25. Just so you guys know, you don’t need to shear your sheep. If your sheep are pure Shetland, you can do what’s called ‘rooing’, which is when you can literally pull their wool off of them without hurting them. It’s like when your bunnies blow their coats, except with sheep.

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