Hello, most likely you will hear the most from me, Carrie, Farm Mom. I am a 43 (almost 44) year old wife, massage therapist of 20 years, and homeschooling mom of two farm kids aged 7 and 6, yikes! My 83 year old mother recently moved in with us into an addition we added to our house. Combined, we have 3 dogs, 15 laying hens, 2 roosters, and 3 Nigerian Dwarf goats (2 Does and a Wether). The 4 Pigs will be here sometime soon. We all live on almost 12 acres of land in New Hampshire.
My husband, David (you'll meet him in a minute) and I moved to this completely wooded lot in November of 2002. We broke ground for our new homestead on our 1 year wedding anniversary, June 2002. At that time, we had no idea what we were in for. As far as we knew, we lived in the middle of the woods in New Hampshire and were loving every minute of it.
Then, in 2011, we had a 4 year old and a 2 year old and realized that our hearts truly were moving towards being able to provide for our family, as much as we could, from our own land. Fed up with not knowing where our food was coming from. Not knowing what the future holds, we decided to clear about 8 acres of our land and start with a small raised bed vegetable garden. Mind you, even though my ancestors and relatives were mostly pioneers of vegetable farming, the only experience I had ever had with growing anything was in my very small perennial garden. At this time, the only area of sun that we had was in our front yard, over our leach field. <sigh> Knowing that we weren't going to dig into that soil, we built soil up. At the same time, we purchased a chicken coop and 12 chicks. We were on our way to growing our own, organic, highly nutritious food.
|Farm Kid 1, Farm Dad, Farm Kid 2|
Now he finds himself working full time as a school counselor, Deputy Chief of our Fire Department, teaching for Lesley University online (mostly), and building a growing homestead. I'm so lucky to have him, his quick thinking, and abundance of common sense. Together, we would not consider ourselves experts on any one thing but, we are gaining knowledge everyday on A LOT!!!!!
That's where this BLOG comes in. We were looking for an avenue to share our experiences while also learning more about what we are doing and where we are going. We try to approach our growing farm with permaculture principles by building up the land and working with it, not taking away from it and destroying it.
It is my/our wish to learn as much (if not more) from you than you may take away from us. We will share our trials and tribulations, our failures and successes. My hope is to not portray myself as an expert on any one thing but, provide an avenue to share, collaborate and learn.
Our future plans include, but are not limited to:
1) Completing the construction of our barn!!! I've had horses in my dreams since I was a child. I've been riding, on and off, lately mostly off, since I was 9 and never owned my own horse. So close, yet so far. Maybe next year.
2) This fall we will breed our two does in order to have fabulous milk not only to drink but to make creations from ie: soap, cheese, etc.
3) We have raised pigs for the past 2 years. Two the 1st year and SIX last year. This year it will be four.
4) Someday, I/we will have a dairy cow to provide milk, obviously, but also to breed to keep fresh beef in our freezer. Look for our adventures in making butter and cheese.
5) I'm starting with a heritage breed of chicken called a Light Brahma. I hope to incubate my own chicks at some point for meat/egg chickens as well as the possibility of offering live chicks for sale.
6) I grow fodder to feed the goats and chickens. This year I hope to feed it to the pigs. Stay tuned for those adventures.
7) You could see turkeys and/or ducks in our future, still on the drawing board. Maybe even Guinea Fowl.
8) As for the gardens, we had two sheet much beds last year and they were VERY successful. We will be expanding those beds and possibly phasing out the raised beds in front of the house.
9) Seed starting season is here, I'm starting our first round of seeds this weekend. I'm a little late, I feel, but, better late than never.
10) Stay tuned for adventures in preserving our harvest!!!
11) Bees, can't forget the bees! We started two hives last year and ended the season with NO hives. First year...FAIL! But, is it every truly a fail if you learned from the experience? We will be getting two more nucs this year and try again. Wish us luck, we need it!!
12) Oh yeah, last year we planted nine fruit trees. Apples, mostly, with a few peach thrown in. Hopefully they made it through this crazy winter. I haven't had a chance to check on them yet, there's still 3' of snow out there!!! Time to break out the snow shoes. :)
13) At some point, I'm contemplating an online book group focused on, what else, farm, garden, livestock related material. To be continued...
14) Farm Dad will post periodically. Being a firefighter he is very conscious of farm safety, fire and otherwise. Be sure to look out for some great tips from him. I'm also sure that he will chronicle his exploits around the homestead.
WHEW, I truly am Rambling! Anyway, there inevitably will be plenty more added to the list. Keep checking on us and our progress. We would love to hear about your successes and failures. Remember, I hope to learn from you!!
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Homemade marshmallows sweetened only with honey.
Marshmallows by the fire pit!!!
|Year 1 with pigs: Bacon and Pork Chop|
|L-R Molly, Minnie and Emmett|
|Buff Orpington, NH Red, Aracaunas|