Moving & Growing
I made the first move toward having my own farm that has felt very tangible: I’ve moved out of the suburbs! I am reminded of Seneca’s old saying “luck is when opportunity meets preparation,” because this situation has seemed to just “work out,” but is actually a fortuitous turn of events that came on the heels of lots of effort and planning.
A friend of mine is getting up there in years and could use a hand on her 5-acre property. She has a loft that she no longer uses and is happy to have me rent it. In the meantime, I am using my condo as a mid-term rental through Airbnb and Furnished Finder, which helps me save for my farm property as well as gives me experience with hosting guests (practice for when I have farm stays!).
My favorite new chore is taking care of my friend’s six chickens. Morning and evening chores have begun, and it brings me joy to go out in the crisp fall air early in the morning and again as the sun sets to look after the flock. Taking care of outside animals immediately puts one more in touch with nature: the weather, what time the sun is rising and setting, the moods, appetites, and habits of the animals.
Luck is when opportunity meets preparation – Seneca
This feels great to me.
Sasha the cat on moving day 😆
My friend is eager for me to have whatever animals and plants I would like, which is both gratifying and overwhelming. There is so much to do!
Firstly, research and reading. I can never do enough of that – there is so much to learn. I recently finished a couple of fantastic books: Joel Salatin’s “The Sheer Ecstasy of being a Lunatic Farmer” and Gabe Brown’s “Dirt to Soil.” Both give an intimate glimpse into the minds and farms of some truly innovative and very successful regenerative farmers, which has been both inspiring and helpful on a practical level.
Secondly, actual work. Getting here in the fall means that it is raining or icy cold 90% of the time, but there is a lot of outdoor work to do. I am interested in getting goats, and one of the main tasks is fixing their pen. This involves clearing the blackberry bushes away from the fence, buying and installing electric fencing, fixing the shed, getting a gate, building a milking stanchion, clearing space in the barn for hay … I am sure there are a host of other things I haven’t thought of yet.
Thirdly, networking. I want to get out to local farms, visit goat farms to learn more about breeds and see their setups so that I can decide who I want to buy from, learn about the local market for goat milk and meat, make friends with local farmers and help them on their farms for some hands-on learning.
Future goat pen! Blackberries grow well in Washington…..
Taking it step by step is key and I am starting to understand what farmers in my interviews have been saying about how the work is never done! I look forward to leaning into the advice I have been gathering from these successful farmers as I move slowly toward my dreams.
Dad came to visit – fortunately he loves a good project (or two)!