With Mixed Emotions…

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It seems odd… the idea of leaving our small farm!

Wasn’t it me who fought the idea of leaving the city and moving to the country?!?

And wasn’t it me who kept arguing with God, “This couldn’t be the life You had planned for me?”

Yet today, as I was sorting through our belongings, it hit me like a ton of bricks – we’re leaving our little homestead!

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As I was taking pictures of the flooding behind our barn, I was watching our chickens. I realized just how much I’m going to miss them…

I will miss the simple act of collecting their eggs each day… and the way they great me each morning, chirping happily as I feed them their grain…

This idea of leaving our homestead is much harder than I thought it would be!

After making the announcement that we’re selling our homestead and hitting the road, we’d received mixed responses…

Some were well wishers — congratulating us on our decision, knowing before hand that we were praying for wisdom as to whether we should or shouldn’t leave…

Some were shocked…

“What about your dream of homesteading? What about being self-sustaining? Are you giving up?

To that, the answer is a resounding ‘NO!’

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Our 5 bedroom farmhouse, which was built in 1890, has been our home for 4 years now…

Sitting on just under an acre of land, our brood of chickens frolic happily each day… having plenty of room for a nice sized veggie garden!

The previous owners had at least one cow and a couple of sheep they housed in our barn, and had turned the garage into an over-sized coop, where they had chickens, turkeys and pigeons…. just to name a few…

We kept the garage as a coop because it is virtually predator proof! Although, it wouldn’t take much to turn it back into a proper 2 car garage.

It’s true, our home does need some TLC, but overall, it has ‘good bones.’ It’s a nice little ‘fixer upper’ for the person who is interested in ‘dipping their toe’ into the homesteading life!

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For the person who enjoys the outdoors, the trail runs alongside the railroad tracks… perfect for walking, jogging, bike riding and horseback riding… however, a train enthusiast would be disappointed since they no longer use the tracks for trains… only a dozen or so handcart sized carts go past on holidays and weekends during the summer…

Yes, there is a lot to keep me from getting bored here… yet it’s still very peaceful and quiet… and I couldn’t have asked for nicer neighbors! Many times they have helped this ‘city chick’ learn new skills — including how to butcher a chicken!

So, why do we want to leave?

There were many factors that came into play for our decision… but the main reason is wanting to travel while mom still has her health.

There are places we would both like to visit… like Niagara Falls… the Grand Canyon… Mount Rushmore… and of course, there are family members we would like to visit…

Selling the farm and buying a camper seems like the least expensive way of doing this…

I haven’t always enjoyed my time here on our little homestead… but, I have come to love it here… and so, I will miss it…

With mixed emotions,

~ Sheri

Living in a Flood Zone

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As I went out to the barn to let our chickens out, I was surprised to find a river instead of the usual grassy field.

Heavy rains all week long, caused the small creek beyond the trees to overflow!

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After leaving our chickens out, I knew I would not be closing the barn door tonight… just in case the waters continued to rise…

If our gang chose to roost in the barn, instead of the coop, I wanted our feathered friends to be able to escape!

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We knew before we bought our farm that it was in a flood zone…

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We’d talked at length with our potential neighbors about living here…

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So, we knew what to expect…

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But usually, when there was flooding, it happened over the night hours. By morning, the waters had receded…

But, not this time!

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Steady rains for a week caused the small creek to turn into a raging river! With more rain expected over the next 10 days!

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With roads blocked and the flood gates closed, people had to find alternative routes to work!

For the first time, in the four years we’ve been here, I felt ‘stranded!’

We weren’t really stranded though…

There is one way in and out when the flood waters rise… we just have to deal with blockades and authorities, reminding them we live here!

One neighbor shared that he had no intentions of leaving. In the 30 years here, he only ever had water in his garage once!

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Of course, with the flood waters already lapping at the foundation of his garage, he took precautions and put his tools up out of harms way. Moving his truck to the front of his property.

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As I went to inspect our garden, I stopped to watch and listen to the rushing water…

I felt a strange sense of peace about the whole situation. I too, have no desire to leave. I’ll just wait it out.

Besides, I always did want to live by the waters edge… and now I do!

Till tomorrow,

~ Sheri

Hitting the Road…

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IS THIS THE END OF HOMESTEADING FOR US…?

Things have been decided…

It’s no longer an ‘if,’ but a ‘when.’

Mom and I are going to ‘hit the road.’

After talking with some friends, and spending time seeking Gods’ wisdom, we’ve decided to sell the farm, get a camper and do some traveling!

At first, we will do things ‘old school,’ — with a tent, and the basic essential camping gear.

Ultimately, our plans are to get a camper that we can drive – with a hitch to tow our truck, which we will use for sight-seeing, and souvenir shopping! This will allow us to have a place to eat, sleep, cook and bathe!

There is so much to do!

Today, we started to minimize our belongings! It’s amazing just how much STUFF two people can accumulate in 4 years time!

We’ll have a yard sale after we sort out everything and put the money we make towards the camper we’re looking at! Then we’ll sell our little backyard homestead as an ‘as is’ fixer upper!

Know anybody who wants a 6 bedroom farmhouse on just under an acre of land?

People have already been asking us, “Why do you want to give up the farm?’ Well, simply put, mom and I want to do some traveling while she still can! Plus, we have family all across these United States that we’d like to visit!

And before you ask, NO, we haven’t given up on the whole homesteading thing! Even though, quite frankly, this place has been a real challenge, it’s also been a huge learning experience!

We now know what we are truly looking for, and, we will use the time on the road to find our ‘forever farm!’ In fact, we plan on using as many of our homesteading skills as we can while on the road!

We covet your prayers as we start this new chapter in our lives!

My biggest concern, is my income. When we hit the road, my present income will stop!

So, how will I bring something to the table financially while camping full-time?!?

Here’s a few things you could pray for for us:

  • A way for me to earn a living
  • A camper that we can drive, cook, bathe, and sleep in
  • Continued good health
  • Wisdom
  • Safety in our travels
  • A quick sale of our house with enough to pay off the mortgage and a little extra for traveling expenses

Oh, and if you have read all this, and are praying for us, I thank you!

And, if you are a full-time camper/RV-er, then I welcome any helpful tips and/or places to visit!

Thanks, 
~ Sheri

How to Deal With a Mean Rooster

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If you’ve ever raised chickens, then you’ve come across at least one mean rooster in your life…

So, how do you handle a rooster that’s a bully?’ 

That’s a question that has been plaguing a number of my ‘newbie’ fellow homesteaders lately.

For those of us who choose to grow and raise our own food, we flock together to learn and grow in knowledge of the practices of homesteading.

And of course, this includes raising chickens.

 

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Since I belong to a number of homesteading groups, I’ve been able to learn, and share of my own experiences raising chickens.

One thing that amazes me, is just how many people in some of these groups advise hitting or kicking a mean rooster!

I can understand protecting oneself from injury, but in my experience in raising chickens ‘you get what you give!’

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Like people, chickens all have their own personalities. Some are very docile and laid back, while others can be very aggressive or down right mean!

So, how do you handle an aggressive or mean bully?

In Proverbs 12:10, it says we are to regard the life of our animals.

In other words, we are to care for and respect our livestock, not be mean or abusive.

If you’ve already got a mean rooster, kicking them or hitting them with a broom is only going to make matters worse! Especially if you are trying to raise a rooster that is caring and protective of his hens.

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This is what has worked for me…

First, when confronted with a mean rooster, stand your ground. In most cases, the rooster is just trying to establish pecking order.

If you show fear, you’ll never get the rooster to believe you’re the boss.

When a rooster shows aggression towards me, I pick him up by the tail feathers (and yes, they may lose a few tail feathers in the process). I then grab his feet and let him hang upside down till he calms down.

This should only take a few seconds…

While still holding his feet (because if you don’t, those spurs could do you some bodily injury), I upright him and hold him next to me for a few minutes while talking quietly to him, making sure I keep my face away from his beak.

Afterwards, I put the offending rooster down to see how he acts.

It should only take a few times of this happening before he gets the message that his aggressive behavior is not allowed.

In a worse case scenario, where his behavior does not improve, I invite him to dinner. 😉

Till next time,

~ Sheri

There’s Another Rooster in the Yard

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MORE THAN ONE ROOSTER IN THE FLOCK CAN BE CHALLENGING… 

Last spring, my boy Teriyaki (a.k.a. Terry) sired 10 chicks. Four of them were boys. And although they all grew up together, we wound up having to remove his boys from the flock.

Once they came of age, our hens had their hands full from all the attention they were getting. Having so many roosters stressed our hens!

The boys were allocated to the barn, and life for our hens returned to normal.

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Terrys’ youngins, however, were not keen on their new digs.

But move them we did…

We originally had plans to butcher the ‘extra’ roosters. But instead, I decided to split our brood into smaller flocks. This allowed each of our roosters a few hens of their own.

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SHARING THE YARD…

Since we sell our eggs as ‘pasture raised,’ we needed to be sure that our chickens each had their day in the sun.

At first, we kept our ‘mini’ flocks separate. Some in the coop. The rest, in the barn.

While this kept our roosters from fighting, it meant a good deal of their time was spent indoors.

Something had to change….

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With a gate over the coop opening, ‘Terry’ and his girls were able to see Mr. Wattles and his Rhode Island Reds. The ‘Reds’ were originally Terrys’ girls. He was not keen on seeing his ladies with his son, Mr. Wattles!

After a week, of taking turns outside, I decided to test the waters. Would Teriyaki and Mr. Wattles get along in the great outdoors?

I pretty much let ‘Terry’ have his way in the chicken world… however, he does know there are some things I just won’t allow… Like an aggressive rooster..

He may rule the roost, but I rule the rooster… mom and I kept an eye on things while working in the garden.

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At first there was a small skirmish as they sorted out the pecking order… but once they figured out who was boss, things settled down.

And so, once more, life has returned to normal on the homestead, even though there is another rooster in the yard.

Till next time,

~Sheri

10 Signs You Have a Homesteading Spirit

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WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THE TERM ‘HOMESTEADING?’

Does your mind conjure up images of the settlers of the old west? Or do you think you’d have to give up all your beloved modern conveniences – such as electricity and running water?

Or, perhaps you picture giving up your car to start riding in a horse and buggy…

DISPELLING THE MYTH

Homesteaders come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life!

We live in the city… in the suburbs… and, we live in the country on an acre of land… or on a hundred…

If that’s the case, then how can you tell if YOU have a homesteading spirit?

THE TOP 10 SIGNS OF THE HOMESTEADING SPIRIT:

Do you…

  1. grow tomatoes, lettuce, basil and your favorite herbs on your apartment balcony or by a sunny window
  2. find kneading bread dough relaxing
  3. drive 20+ miles out of your way to buy milk and eggs from a farm
  4. learn about home remedies for healing your family
  5. have your cupboards full of your homemade preserves and your favorite dehydrated foods
  6. know how to ‘cook from scratch’
  7. find it amazing that your chickens feed you breakfast every morning
  8. enjoy getting your hands dirty working in the garden
  9. enjoy breathing in the smell of your laundry after hanging it out on the line
  10. make your own soaps and salves

So you see, the Homesteading Spirit can be found in each and every person! Wherever the Homesteading Spirit can be found, you’ll find we all have one thing in common… we want to get back to the basics… we have a deep seeded desire to grow and raise our own food… to do things the way our ancestors did…

If this is how you feel, then you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to my homestead!

~ Sheri

A Game of ‘Chase the Chicken’

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My chickens are escape artists!

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Oh, they look innocent enough when you see them frolicking happily in the field… but don’t you dare turn your backs on them! My dastardly little dinos are quite mischievous!

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They are always looking for new things to get into or investigate. And, every chance they get, when they know we’re not looking, they find ways to escape our yard!

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On more than one occasion, I have found several of our more mischievous chickens frolicking in our neighbors garden! With my neighbor getting ready to plant seeds and starter plants, our chickens need to be confined to our yard! The question is how?!?

We’ve tried clipping their wings… Didn’t work!

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And, just when I think I have secured every possible escape route, they seem to find another! With spring here, they are becoming even more adventurous!

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Thankfully, my neighbors don’t seem to mind – too much.

After all, we did adopt the original flock from them!

I guess our brood assumes its okay to jump the fence and go visiting every once in a while… Or maybe it’s a way to beat barnyard boredom…

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Either way, Teriyaki (Terry), our head rooster (we’ve got 5), can’t protect them if they’re on the wrong side of the fence.

So, like any good informant, he lets us know when his hens escape.

I’m not sure if he’s giving his hens a good talking to or not… To be honest, when I’m out there chasing his hens back over the fence, I think it’s more like he’s laughing at me!

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Even those who use the trail next to our home find it quite amusing to watch us chasing our chickens! Especially since chickens can run faster than humans!

I’d love to replace our present fencing with taller fencing. but until we’re a little more flush financially, it’s a game of ‘Chase the Chicken!’

Until next time,

~ Sheri