Monday, May 21, 2012

Keeping it real: Realistic expectations about your homestead Part 3.

Keeping it Real: Realistic Expectations about your Homestead Part 3

I've written two other posts about this subject, you can find Part 1 here  ( about Working, Land and School ) and Part 2 here ( about Food)
This post will focus on animals, and I'll have to have a Part 4 about Frugality.

I want a huge farm. I really do. I have always loved animals, and even as a child dreamed of marryinga  rancher and moving to a secluded farm in Montana and my job would be to feed the animals and keep lambs have babies.... Of course I didn't realize what hard work that actually was, but hey I was like 8.
I think that as a homesteader wannabe, I envision rolling meadows with frolicking goats, and a beautiful barn with an old milk cow named Bessie, a flock of chickens that stay at my feet when I'm hanging out the laundry, a couple of sheep I can shear and make my own yarn, maybe some turkeys gobbling in the distance. Ah yes..... that is what I want.

REALISTICALLY though we don't have the time or space to deal with that many animals. We have a flock of 18 chickens which give us plenty of eggs for our family , plus enough to share and even sell a few dozen every now and then. We've had guineas and a peacock or two through the years, and have tried our hand at ducks, but for now we are happy with the chickens.

I honestly don't even like goat's milk or goat's cheese. I do like the goat's milk soap though, so I might could justify having that I could make some lavish soap with goats but honestly I don't know if that is justfication enough. We do have a goat. His name is Clifford and he is a Nigerian Dwarf. He's a fun pet, but that's about the extent of his contribution to the homestead.

Here is a picture of him out in the snow this past winter.

We have 2 rabbits, but again they are pets. They are fat and lazy and won't hop away even if they have a chance. We have guinea pigs too. And a dog... and a cat.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is OKAY! Not every little slice of homestead heaven has to have a milk cow, you don't have to produce all of your wool, you don't have to raise pigs ( which is fine with me by the way). It's important to realize your limitations and just start small.

I think chickens are a great place to start when looking to be more self sufficient. They really do make nice pets, and the eggs from free range chickens are amazing. Plus I probably have one of the only 6 year olds on a planet that begs me for boiled eggs and takes one to lunch everyday despite the other kids at school telling her it smells funny...

So what have your experiences with animals been? Are you to your "threshold" yet of animals on your place? What are you looking to get in the future?

Happy Homesteading.....

This post is linked up to the Monday Barn Hop and the Morris Tribe's Blog Carnival.


  1. Hello! I'm loving this series on "Keeping it Real!" It's easy to let one's expectations bring her down when things don't happen as quickly as she thinks they should! I was so discouraged awhile back because I want to be on a "farm" and be debt-free! That's not a bad thing, it's just not happening for us at this time! I'm not sure that it ever will, so I've decided to stop obsessing over it and I feel so much better! Sure, I want to be debt free and I still would like that farm, but I love where I live and am going to enjoy it! Thanks for helping us to see the reality of things! Blessings from Bama!

    1. " But I love where I live and am going to enjoy it" Boy that is right on!!! Thanks for following my posts, I have at least 2 others planned for this series. It is heard to really not be obsessed with your ideal homestead somedays. I do find it much more engergizing though to embrace what we do have and make it work!

  2. we just started homesteading in our small backyard and I find your posts very encouraging! :) thanks for sharing it all , good and bad..

  3. I would love to have chickens, but we live in a city where it is not exactly accepted. I am looking into raising quail as an alternative. That will have to get me through for now. That and the veggies ;)

    1. @ Natalie, is it that is isn't "accepted" or is there actually an ordinace against it? Many have ways around it if you don't have a rooster ( no crowing for your neighbors) and if you have a privacy fence. Best of luck with the quail and the veggies though. Thanks for stopping by!