Who Are We?
Our First Winter:
I was in LOVE! The snow, the cozy fires, and warm blankets made every day so romantic. Well at least that’s how I felt. Zach would be happy to remind me that New Hampshire had a record snowfall, and he did most of the snow removal. As I was warm inside, Isabella and I cheered on Daddy as he shoveled through 3 FEET of snow. We spent $5,000 heating our home that 1st winter. Praise God Zach was able to bag his 1st deer right in our backyard! A Coworker asked, “Why do you need to hunt? Just go buy meat at the store.” I looked right into his eyes and replied, “Sure! We won’t hunt this year, if you give me $300.” Looking at his very puzzled reaction I added, “Becase’s how much meat Zach will provide for this family.” stuned and now speechless, he never brought it up again.
Learning to Eat Clean:
The following year we got to enjoy walking down the rows of beautifully grown Apple Trees. It’s Isabella’s 1st Birthday, and we take visiting family to a local Orchard. I felt like I had just fallen into a beautiful story book. The trees, the pumpkins, the perfectly placed fall flowers. Your eyes were getting tired from looking at all the beautiful colors. And the Apples! I dont think I ate real apples growing up after eating a fresh apple carefully picked from a tree. From that day on Apple picking on Isabella’s birthday has been a family tradition.
But eating such amazing food made me think “What am I acutely eating?”. After a few years Zach and I both found ourselves, for health reasons, needing to eat clean, clean, clean food. Zach and I started down the very dark rabbit whole of what is exactly in our food. From produce, dairy, drinks, processed foods, and MEAT! Zach was learning nutrition in college, and I had been dealing with crippling physical pain, it was a no brainer why nationwide, our health has been declining. Moving to NH I learned what Blueberry’s really taste like! I grew up eating a tasteless ugly fruit, when in reality it is an amazingly tasty fruit that can change your health!! In our home, Blueberries are eaten year round and have to be hidden to make sure it survives till next July.
While still in the Coast Guard, Zach and I know God has called us to grow some roots here in beautiful NH. By the 3 spring we had planted our 1st orchard! We enjoyed watching these 2yr fruit trees grow and blossom for the 1st time. Unfortunately it was short lived. Deer came by and ate them down to the ground! (Round 2) Ok! I am learning the fangs of growing things. We replanted 9 more trees, 5 yrs old, but this time We deer proofed each tree by making a 6’ high fence 4’ around each tree! Yeah we Got this!! NOT!!! We had left a foot gap thinking there would be no way deer couldn’t get underneath. Perfect size for a Porcupine! Losing 2 more trees.
The 1st year we planted a garden it took off and everything got huge! The kids learned how it all grows and what everything needs to grow. That fall we learned how to make everything Zucchini. Bread, cookies, and pancakes were all amazing. I can not begin to tell you, learning all these new tastes and how it is all acutely good for you, even healing for you, how good it makes me feel to share and provide for my family and friends.
“Homestead isn’t the New Redneck!”
As our careers in the Coast Guard was coming to an end, our Homestead started ramping up. Now convincing my husband that Horses in your backyard, and hay being stored under the deck with walls of tarps and clear plastic was the hardest thing to do. Solution: Dont Tell Him! Not only was my husband sad to see the beautiful grass being eaten, but there was one extra horse… Lets just say he was more upset over the extra horse then the backyard being totally taken over. It didn’t take long for my husband began to love walking out onto his back deck saying good morning to our little herd.
I quickly learned and began to love the frase “Homesteader” Something kinda exciting and romantic. I took it as “Making things work with what you had.” and “Proving what you need to sustain your own family. The 1st fall my prized Shire Horse, Brave, got sick from a tick bite. This got me thinking, “What is any easy way to keep ticks down, but are mostly self-sufficient?” DUCKS! Ducks are used all over the world too keep the bugs down, while leaving the plants allow. From Aisa’s rice fields, to wine vineyards in France. 5 ducks is much cheeper to keep around the shelling out $2,500 each time a horse gets sick. Plus they lay eggs! Eggs that are rich in Vitamin-B and Omaga-3’s. On the day of my Birthday, one of our ducks layed its 1st egg. What a blessing.
Homesteaders Quarantine = 2 new Sheds
The fall of 2020 my husband had gotten bit by a bug. No not the grose one outside, or the one that can lay eggs in your ear. But after someone was done admiring our handy work in building the “Tur-Duck-En Palace” they said, “You know what you need, PIGS!” He went on telling us how easy they would be to grow, and they would taste amazing! LET BE CLEAR: There is nothing EASY when it comes to growing anything on the Homestead. He began to research the health benefits to growing your own pork. My quick response. HECK NO! I wanted nothing to do with ugly, smelly, dirty animals that their only job was to grow while your job was to make sure they are well fed, watered, had clean living conditions, and shelter. Soon Zach starts showing me the difference in the quality of meat. Not going to lie, I could not believe the difference in color and size between homegrown-and-store bought. Fine… And he was off! He did all the research, and gathered all the material needed to make a Pig Safe pen. Soon the kids and I were out there helping him assemble the fence and putting up the shelter. Finally the arrival of baby pigs came. And the shelter was made just in time. The next night we got 3 inches of snow. We picked a breed of pig that was hardy in the winter snow, so they did just fine.
That fallowing spring we brought our 1st pigs to the butcher. Everyone couldn’t stop smiling. All the hard work we have done as a family is about to pay off. 2 weeks later we picked up a truck load of boxes! Frozen, Homegrown, fresh pork. The difference in quality is not even comparable. I will never eat grocery store pork ever again.
After our 1st year of real homesteading we grew 60 cornish cross chickens,3 heritage pigs, 12 ducks, and 40 Heritage Turkeys. The quality of food we had been able to provide for ourselves made us feel so proud. We were proud of all our hard work. And it all paid for itself in the end! That’s right! The 3 pigs we raised were not just for our family but 3 other families that paid in on their pigs. The ducks laid so many eggs we were able to sell a few, but mostly substituted some chicken eggs, even giving free protein to the pigs. 19 Turkey made it to market, they brought in enough income to cover hay for horses and next year’s batch of turkeys. True Homesteading! If you can bring in enough income from your harvest to cover your family uses, you win!
There are countless more stories of good times and really hard times that I could share. Our hope is that you could be inspired in some way to make your own homestead! Whether it’s buying local meat and eating fruits and veggies from your local farm stand, scratching out your little place of heaven here on earth. Either way, We pray that each person is blessed for reading this, and know that none of this would have been possible, without our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Life on the farm
Taking Care Of Ducks
Pig Title Here
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Our Perfect Team
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