It is a bit silly but I am excited to be buying straw bales. Only a few for some insulation for my chickens. Their coop sits high enough off the ground that when we get our wind I’m sure it gets cold in there. Also, we are starting to freeze almost every night. The girls need to stay warm.
Anyway, I’m excited to be buying straw. As strange as that may sound to some it makes me happy to be going back to doing that sort of thing. I’ve been loving Facebook of all places for this kind of stuff. I just post in a group about what I’m looking for and someone replies that they have it. It is awesome. Talk about cutting down on the search time. For around here it works even better than Craigslist.
I was thinking about how things have changed over the last year or two. I am so happy to be back in farm country. I love watching the landscape change from the black dirt in the spring to the green fields of summer to the golden rustle of the fall just before harvest. Then it turns to a light brown/gold of winter that will be plowed up and turned black again in the spring. The cycle is wonderful. There is a community that seems to exist like none-other in farm country too. Sure, other communities are there and can be wonderful but it isn’t the same as one in farm country. Maybe I’m just biased since I was raised in a farm community. This all feels like coming home. Finally. Funny it feels that way since we aren’t near any family but that is how it feels to me. It helps we have been welcomed with open arms here.
Looking at my title it makes me smile. I don’t know that most folks would title picking up a little straw, “excitement.” Each little step is one step closer to our/my dream though. My husband likes living here and loves our place but isn’t as excited about a “farm” as I am. To be honest he’d be fine living in town. Our compromise is that we live out here and I get to do bits of my pseudo-farming and he gets to do things like build a home-theater in the basement. Basically so long as we don’t have to deal with child-care outside the home we are good. I suppose I shouldn’t make us go completely broke by adopting every critter around too.
Although the animals are wonderful they do take a large chunk of money to support. Especially if you don’t have the facilities already in place. Just the chickens are a good example. We had to build the coop, buy the feeders, waterers, feed, grit, oyster shell (extra calcium), move fence, put in a gate, buy straw, buy wood shavings, and get gate latches and wire. That is just for 3 hens. Not to mention the initial purchase of the chicks. So the initial $12-$15 spent on the chicks quickly turned to hundreds of dollars spent in order to support them. And they haven’t laid a single egg yet. Actually I don’t expect them to until about November if they even do then what with the short daylight hours.
People ask me about getting horses or goats or sheep. I would love to get any one or all of them. I can’t afford to at this point. All of them are expensive to purchase and then hay has been through the roof because of the drought last year. It did come down this year but is still high. I still can’t afford $200/ton when a horse can easily go through a ton or two in a winter. If we get sheep or goats or pigs our fencing will need to be modified. That gets super expensive very quickly. They all eat less than a horse though. I’m leaning toward an alpaca or two but again the purchase price can quickly run to the thousands of dollars. Eek.
It boils down to the fact that I’ll be working on things a little at a time. Right now my focus is the garden and the chickens. I may lease our pasture next year to get a little income. That may be able to get enough income to purchase a gate or two and better facilities for the chickens. I’d like to expand the garden enough to add some vegetables/herbs to my farmer’s market stall. Of course that means I need to replace my tiller that died this spring. See? It all boils down to money. Life always does I suppose. You really only need enough to get what you need though. And now that I think about it, I might be able to barter with a friend or two for the use of a tiller. Maybe in exchange for that pasture?