Sam and I have officially stepped off the ‘path of least resistance’ and have jumped on the lunatic-mobile. We’re now farmers. It’s official. It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s completely and utterly nuts is what it is! And yet we can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives. We secured a land lease on five acres near our house (this in itself is a gift from God and completely confirms our vision for the future), and have begun assembling our menagerie, which is coming together much quicker than we’d originally anticipated.
So far we have five bunnies, with two more arriving on Saturday. We’re starting out with New Zealand Whites – not our first choice, but the most readily available and the most popular meat variety. Yum!
We ordered our chickens on Tuesday night – Buff Orpington’s to be exact. We made a slight ordering mistake (actually it was the website’s ordering system, but who’s pointing fingers?!) and instead of ordering 2 straight runs (that’s 50 chicks) we ended up ordering 4 straight runs (that’s 100 chicks!). They will arrive Wednesday, May 12th. Our plan is to split the order with another farming couple we know, but they’d only planned for 25 birds. This means I’ll have 75 little poopers running around my sunroom until they’re big enough to go out on the farm in their coop. Thank goodness for access to air conditioner boxes and wood chips!
We already have a lead on a milk cow as well. We were initially hoping for a Jersey as they’re great milkers and have some of the richest milk for cheesemaking, but it seems that these girls are in high demand and short supply as of late. There is a dairy farmer near us who has a variety of mixed breed dairy cows that he’s willing to sell us, including a lovely little Brown Swiss. She’s just thrown her first calf and is only making enough milk for her calf, but by next year she’ll be in full production, which gives us time to get to know each other before I start fumbling around with her………..well, you know whats. We’re gonna drive up and meet her soon. It’s likely she’ll be coming home with me! What would be a good name for a milk cow?
And the most amazing addition to our little gaggle of animals is going to be sheep – both dairy and hair varieties (hair sheep don’t have to be sheared each year – they ‘shed’ their coat much like a dog would. Hair sheep are used for meat and have a much sweeter and milder tasting meat than traditional wooled lambs do.). To be honest with ya, sheep weren’t even on our radar until just recently. Most people automatically think of goats as companion animals to cows and chickens, but I don’t like their escape tactics – especially since our property borders a very busy main road and a large subdivision. Plus I’ve never been a big fan of goat’s milk or their stubborn attitudes. And they have horns too – even some of the girls. My butt presents much too large a target and I just prefer to not tempt them in that way! However, sheep are content to just stay put and munch on the grasses and weeds that the cows won’t. They are gentle (and mostly horn free), and provide some additional sources of income that goats don’t – wool, milk, and meat. We’re going to be traveling down to a farm near Savannah the second week of May to pick up a couple of lambs from a dairy herd. They won’t be ready to milk until next summer, but I’m really excited to give sheep’s milk cheesemaking and lamb meat a try (I’ve never liked lamb meat before – always tasted to ‘muttony’ for me, but fresh is always best so perhaps I’ll like it better this way).
So yes, friends, we’ve officially become weird, and I’m okay with that…………..I think.