Well... I really don't know who reads this, so this may or may not come as a surprise to you... BUT ...I have been converted into a country girl. I grew up in Memphis and when I married Keith I thought he was taking me out into the sticks! My niece even says (after she gets to my house) that she passed civilization twenty minutes ago. HA! I am okay with that. To tell you the truth, it doesn't feel much like the country anymore. Our road is always busy with people flying by. Our neighbors across the street love to play their music loud and party until three in the morning. I could be wrong, but I *think* I heard a gunshot one of the nights/mornings they were still out partying.
For anybody who's been around me over the last few years, it is a well-known fact that we are planning to move to our property that we purchased near Henderson, TN four years ago. I am really itching to get up there and if I could figure out a way to keep my job and work from home I'd do it in a heartbeat. BUT - moving would mean that Keith would have to commute to Millington for four more years. It would be an incredible hardship for him to do that for that length of time...so for now, we wait. I cannot say that I am patiently waiting, though.
It is our dream to be self sufficient. What that means to us is growing our own food on our own land. We have seventy acres to work with and a lot of big plans. All we need now is time to accomplish them. We currently have two fields fenced off. Both of them have access to water (we are bordered on two sides by creeks and there is another small creek that runs across the East side of our place). We plan to grow our own fruits and vegetables in order to feed our family year round. We plan to sell the extra at the farmer's market and can whatever is left.
Keith's nephew also raises pigs. Currently, there is a conspiracy between my husband and his nephew to build a finishing facility up there. This is where the piglets will go after they are weaned from their mothers. This conspiracy of theirs must come to fruition soon as Timmy has seven sows that will be having piglets in about four to six weeks. Since pigs usually give birth to between eight and ten piglets, that means he will soon have between 55 and 70 little pigs running around. (Man, that is a lot of pigs!)
Keith is also building a barn. (The barn project is currently on hold until the maison de pig is built.) The barn is going to be 25' x 60' in the main section and two side sections measuring 16' x 60'. In the center part, Keith will have his shop area that can be closed off as well as driven through if he needs to work on the tractor or drop off other implements or equipment. The right side will house three or four stalls for the cows to have their calves. (We (Timmy) already have cows there, but we will be adding more of our own including a dairy cow. More about that later.)
The left side will have two or three sections. In the back, there will be a milking stall for the jersey cow that I'm dreaming about buying. I had planned on having a milk room between that stall and the front part of the barn, but that is still up for debate. ;) The front part of the left section will be a little store front type area that will be all mine. There will be a kitchen area in part of it that I will use for canning and making homemade dairy products (cheese, butter, ice cream, etc.) We plan to have commercial freezer and refrigerator space to sell our meats as well. I am here to tell you, once you start eating farm raised beef and pork, you don't want to eat what they sell at the grocery store. It is a world of difference. I want to have shelving around one side for canned jellies, jams and other foods. I'm hoping to be able to sell homemade items like my jewelry or quilted placemats.
But, snapping myself back into reality - I know that this is all long term stuff, but because I just can't stop thinking about all of the things that I want to do out there - I have talked my husband into letting me have some chickens here at our house. We are planning to get six from Tractor Supply tomorrow or Tuesday (whenever their new shipment comes in). I have been totally fantasizing over these things for the last few weeks. I can't believe Keith finally gave in! (If I could figure out a way to get a jersey heifer on our 2 acres that are not currently fenced in, I'd do it in a heartbeat!) For now, I will start with the chickens. I have several breeds that I would really like to get, but I am at the mercy of Tractor Supply and the pullets they have available. I would like to have the following: Speckled Sussex, Buff Orpington, New Hampshire Reds, Single Comb Brown Leghorns, Black Star and Araucanas / Americanas. http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/standard_breed_chicks.html?cl=crumbtrail
I will take pictures whenever we get them. Allison has already gotten their box ready. It is really a dog kennel. She went out this afternoon and put pine shavings in the bottom and got the feeder and waterer put in there. She is SUPER-excited. To tell you the truth, I am too. I have chicken fever!!! I can't wait.