Starting a Farm and Homestead (Pumpkin Hollow Farm adventures continue)

“And just like that, we are homesteading again!” Doug said as he walked into the house after work. Two pressure canners were sputtering on the stove, twelve quarts of homemade chicken broth within. The house smelled wonderful. I was in the process of making cheese. We ate tortellini en brodo alfresco while pointing out where we should put our Pumpkin Hollow Farm sign. Yes, just like that, we will be farming again too.

The first real homestead we had was gradual; first a garden, then chickens, then goats, we learned one thing at a time. The next thing we knew we were practically living off grid and cooking on a wood cook stove! We have learned a lot over the past decade. I waited to see if Doug wanted to homestead and farm. I didn’t want to just jump into it. After all, it is an expensive adventure to start and it is a lot of work. He keeps talking about breeds of goats, and wethered sheep, and plotting the grazing section and where to put our vineyard…we went and picked up fencing for goats and sheep. We’re in. Homesteading isn’t just a job or a lifestyle, it becomes a very part of you.

I couldn’t remember how much it cost to have farm animals (besides chickens), it has been four years since we have had goats and sheep (that is how long it has taken us to get back to the country). This blog holds, not only my memoir within it, but so much information that I constantly resort back to. I looked up “How Much Does it Cost to Have A Farm Animal” from the first year I started this blog. I was pleasantly surprised to see that prices have only increased about 20%. I did expect higher. We should still be well in our budget to feed some more furry kids that give milk and fiber.

I have been visiting local vineyards. Grapes grow very well here and I would love to start my own winery. Even if it is just for me and my friends to start. A lot of folks focus on one thing, maybe beef, or chickens, or vegetables. They aren’t all over the map like I am. I want to have a vineyard, use my own plants to dye my own fiber from my sheep, create beautiful crocheted and sewn pieces to sell, have a huge pumpkin patch, a large garden, have milking goats, and still leave land to be wild and a safe place for bunnies. (Gandalf loves bunnies. They are as delicious as the chickens, apparently.) I love to have variety. That way, I always have what we need and my creative expressions can change as well. I am not going to get burnt out having sheep if I only have two!

When plotting your homestead, first write out what you would like. Garden? Chickens? Ducks? Remember that poultry will consume everything in their path, so they have to be separate from the garden. Goats? They will eat trees down to nothing so the orchard (did you want an orchard?) has to be fenced away from the cute ruminants. Do you have a niche you want to focus on? Don’t think of money while you are writing down your list. What do you want to do? Then draw out your land (even if it is a quarter acre or in the city) and sketch in where you will put everything. Decide on priorities based on money and time to get things started.

Then note where you might make extra money from your homesteading adventures but always have a back up plan. That is the most valuable lesson we learned over the past ten years. Pumpkin Hollow Farm continues on! Our family is excited.

Where are you at in your homesteading adventures? My granddaughter, Maryjane, has loved our farms and has made so many memories. I want to have Grammie and Pa’s farm for her and her sister. So, it’s not all serious here. Homesteading and farming should be fun.

Field Trip to a Farm to Adopt Lambs (a tale of ridiculously cute animals)

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Guess who came to live at Pumpkin Hollow Farm?

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A funky sign met us first.  Blessed Bit of Earth Farm is owned by Kevin and Kim Babcock outside of Elizabeth, Colorado.  Incidentally three doors down farm-wise from Emily and Maryjane.  We picked up our grandbaby and headed over there for a farm tour.

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We first met Grandpa, oh goodness, I don’t remember his real name.  He is a Colorado Mountain Dog.  A breed developed specifically to combine the strong traits of an outdoor loving guard dog with the loyal and gentle traits of a family and child-friendly dog.  He was lovely.  A large dog that reminded me of a blend of Great Pyrenees and Yellow Lab.

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They breed these lovely dogs to share the unique aspects of this breed.  They just had puppies and we were thrilled to see them.

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If they weren’t $850 we may have ended up with a fuller car.

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The Churro and Finn sheep roamed the pastures with a menagerie of other animals.  At Blessed Bit of Earth Farm you will find chickens, ducks, I just noticed that horse in the background, and the sheep and goats they raise.

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I love this idea, a trampoline for shade (and perhaps a little fun when the folks aren’t looking)!

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Into the barn we crept. The sweet smell of clean hay and bedding, the warmth of the sheep and goats and the sweetness of newborn lambs met us in the filtered light.  Barn cats tried to steal our attention.

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Two of the mommies had broken out of their stalls and were running about attempting to keep their babies from us.

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But alas, we had ours picked out.  One from each mama.

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We said goodbye to the rest of the kids and headed down the dirt road with our new babies.

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We then went to visit our friend, Vickie, at her shop, The Smells Good Store, in Castle Rock.  Her large Great Dane didn’t know what to make of these little screaming creatures!

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Introducing Sven (doesn’t he look like a reindeer?)

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And Olaf… the snowman.  We already have Elsa, why not?

We then had a flat tire on the way home and had to stop at a Discount Tire.  With a cute two year old running around and two screaming lambs we will not soon be forgotten!  Timing, I tell you!

The babies have learned to use the baby bottles and are quite satisfied.  Sven is rather lovey, Olaf a bit more reserved.  Both adorable.  They have wonderful fiber for me to spin and lots of adorable antics to make my heart melt.

We have lambs.  They are in the house so they don’t freeze, get beat up by the goats, or eaten by coyotes.  They have wet on my slippers and on the couch.  Baby season is upon us!