After a decade of searching for the perfect farm in two states, we finally found our slice of heaven. We bought a 10.25-acre piece of land in Centerville, Tennessee. It took some convincing to get the trophy husband to move an hour away from any major civilization, but after years of gardening, raising chickens for eggs and meat, complaining about the current industrial food/additive state of the country, and a lot of whining from me about lifestyle and health, he finally agreed to go. Yay! Guess I need to start referring to him as the farmer husband.
Our new land consists of a beautiful home, a pond of unknown origin, and a very, very old barn that needs a new roof. There are no fences, no garden plots, and half of the property is wooded. We don’t own anything that will clear out the wooded part of the land, but we have delusions of grandeur to use pigs to clear a section of it to create a place for goats, mushrooms, or whatever else we come up with in the meantime. Of course, keep in mind we know nothing about pigs, so this should be a great source of amusement in future blogs! Learning new things is half the fun of creating a working homestead.
We've also inherited a gray barn cat named Templeton. I haven't seen him yet, but I'm sure he'll come around eventually. The animals are starting to arrive already. Can you feel it? "Build it and they will come."
Our heads are spinning with a gazillion ideas and plans and schedules and finances to create the perfect layout. What do we want? When do we want it? How do we prep to get it? And the trophy husband’s/farmer husband’s favorite, how much is all this going to cost?
Our first step is the garden. After all, we’re doing this for the health of it, right? Our ultimate goal is to live 75-80% self-sustainable, and raising a garden is the biggest part of that equation. About two acres of our new land is knee-high over-grown pasture. The neighbor cuts that grass to feed his horses. Well, I think I need my grass back! …in the form of manure, please! The first farm activity is to start a compost pile. The second is to till a half-acre and get the soil ready for next year’s garden. The neighbor certainly needs to do something with that manure, so I'm going to suggest we put it in my new garden bed. I'm hoping he doesn't say, "Sure, you can have all the manure you want... if you clean out my barn." Ugh. I don't have time for that. Let's just pray for generosity.
We also have a pseudo-greenhouse on the back of the house. It’s really a 5 x 8 mudroom, but it’s not convenient to actually use for backyard entry, so we're considering taking the roof off and covering it with clear polycarb panels. I’m not positive what we’re going to do with it yet, but whatever it is, it needs to be done before we start seeds in the spring.
Sometime before spring, we also need to set up a place for meat chickens. We processed ten last year in our suburban house. Boy, did our garage stink while they were growing! When they got big enough to go outside, the laying hens weren’t happy about losing half their run to the fat little stink bombs for two weeks. I think we'll process about thirty next spring. This is going to require we build a chick-shaw or fix the roof on the barn. Whichever option is cheapest and easiest will be the answer. Though cheapest and easiest are usually two opposite things.
2020 will be the year of trees and birds!
In the spring, along with the massive garden, we’ll plant fruit trees, berry bushes, and grapevines. We already have laying hens and we're going to add to our flock. We're also planning turkeys, guineas, and wouldn't it be fun to fill that pond with ducks?
2021 will bring bees!
I am excited about beeswax and honey, not to mention all the pollination they'll do. I also look really cute in that stay-puff-marshmallow bee suit!!
Our plan is to do multi-species rotation with goats or sheep (jury is still out on which one), pigs, chickens, and a dairy cow and her calf. And, I’m 100% set on adding a donkey or three. All of this is going to take a lot of fence planning. If you stop by, bring your post-hole digger.
I LOVE herbs and flowers and creating salves, balms, tinctures, and healing lotions. From my own herbs and flowers, I am starting a botanical line of high quality, holistic, natural skin care products. All natural products rock my world, and I hope they'll rock yours, too. We will have our online store open right here as soon as I get settled.
This move has been a long-time dream finally come true. Wish us luck! Here we go!
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