A few years ago my farm dreams were just that – Dreams. I never in a million years thought I would actually have farm animals and operate a small farm. I mean come on we were suburbanites without any prior knowledge. But with dreams come a drive to learn and exceed. Here are the top 5 things I never pictured myself actually doing!
1. Owning and caring for animals – On the farm we have bees, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits. I keep everyone clean (so much poop!)….this makes great manure! This is a huge learning curve. I have had to deal with births, deaths, fleas (ick), illness, sore legs or hocks, runaways, the list goes on. I help out at my friends farm down the road and recently her and I had to cut spurs off a huge buck. This goat was unhappy to be apart of this. I have loaded sheep into a pick up and guided an escaped pig back to where she belonged.
2. Processing animals – We process all our own animals on the farm. We have processed chickens, pigs, rabbits, and turkeys. I don’t have specialized equipment so I do it all by hand.
3. Canning and Preserving – I still have so much to learn but I can all my own fruit and make all my own jam. This past year I made up a lot of my own recipes too. I traded chicken for a dehydrator and use it often. The honey harvest yields many jars and I render all the fat from the pigs.
4. Loading Hay – I go out to a farm a few hours away to get the best hay. The bales are 80 to 100 lbs and I manage to toss them from the field into the trailer. I’m working on my farm muscles. It is very clear that muscle is key and on the farm you use muscles that you didn’t even know existed!
5. Dumpster Diving – I find myself at the dumpster often. I am a scavenger! Looking for delicious fruit and vegetables for my chickens, pigs, and rabbits. People drive by and give me the side eye but I stand tall (from within the dumper) knowing I am giving my animals healthy food.