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