Brooder box is being planned. This picture is from the first one we ever had with our adventure into chickens just beginning. Oh, I remember the excitement of feeling like finally, I'd taken a step towards fulfilling that dream. That was 3 years ago. I had dabbled in gardening before that, trying, failing, trying succeeding, learning always. This was my first livestock, and I will never forget that feeling. Anyone who's had to wait an entire lifetime before they could really start knows just what I mean. The excitement was palpable. And since then, we've been through sickness in our coop and three of our treasured hens died, an aggressively mean rooster that had to meet his maker and another that had to be given away because we just didn't need more then one testosterone maker in the hen house.
I also started this plot of garden over at the rental house we were living in. It was also success and failure itself, but never failed to provide knowledge and the feeling like we're finally starting something. I have wanted a farm since I was a little girl and worked on everyone else's farm. I needed the knowledge and courage to be able to make that happen for myself. That, and getting my city loving husband on board. He lived in a small town for a good portion of his life, one which has grown exponentially enough for us to want to move away from it to find something more conducive to what we are trying to achieve. But Music Man was not what I'd call a country boy. It was in there all along, he just needed someone who could nurture that side of him. He found that in me and now can turn soil, collect eggs and build coops with the best of them.
We have a strong desire to raise kids who know the value of farming and where their food comes from. We want them to have a wholesome childhood, not so absorbed in exactly the right label on their clothes or the latest electronic device. My kids aren't afraid to get dirty, dig in the soil, clean a chicken coop, stack firewood, explore a trail, pick apples, cook those into sauce, or any of the other multitudes of things they know how to do. We wish they knew more and cared less about those labels and electronics, but they are good farm kids just the same. This summer, now that we have our own farm, their education will become more hands on. No, they aren't always happy about having to do those chores, they do complain like all other kids their age. They have no idea how good they have it, honestly. But I want to turn out boys into the world of men when it's their time that know how to accomplish things. Tangible, real and valuable things. Yes, earning a living is key in that, being a good person is a must (as is not living in our home until they are 30!), but we also want them to know how to provide for themselves. Not just money, because let's face it, though it's important, you can't eat it if you have no access to food to be purchased. But not just for the survival reason. Also, because those skills and knowledge give a child confidence in the world. A firm belief, deep inside, that if they need to, they can really do anything. Their father is a great example of that, he teaches himself things and learns constantly and puts into practice the skills he gains. We both try very hard to be living examples of what we'd like to have the boys know and be when they start out. So that, even if they never pursue farming, they know how it's done and how to take care of themselves and maybe their own families some day.
We've got lots of plans for the new homestead. Music Man put my hoop house back together this weekend and I'm hoping to put that to use first as a start to the stuff that needs the extra length in its growing season, and second to house the meat birds we've got coming on April 14th. However, we woke up to 9 degrees again this morning, so not much will be planted in it until it warms up more then that! We want to put in some fruit trees, berry bushes and a host of perennials that will supply food for us for as long as we're stewards of this old place. And, leaving something for the next family to own it in the form of food is a fitting legacy for us, I believe. The skills I learned and practiced before getting here have me confident in the fact that I have some knowledge now, I can start from a place other then zero, and that's a great feeling. For anyone thinking about being on a farm "someday" and still in a city on a postage stamp lot, my advice to you is this. Try stuff. Don't be afraid, don't feel like you don't have space. So much can be done in a few pots on your deck or balcony if that's all you have. Read, read, read the advice and knowledge of the masters. Join a garden club even if you don't have a garden, tour every farm you are able, talk to people who do it, just do. Don't think, wish or want, but do. Do what you can where you are with what you have. And you'll be more confident and in a place other then zero when you get there, where ever there is for you.