How Our Homestead Journey Began

Three years ago we moved into this house intending to raise our kids, homeschool them, and growing a small garden. That next spring we started rototilling for the garden and it quickly grew bigger than expected. We both enjoy great food and trying new things, so seed catalogs opened up a whole new world to us. Haha, that is quite the marketing scheme and we soaked it up like water. After years of growing gardens in tiny, bad spaces in rental houses, this was a dream come true. In our last rental I had finally figured out how to do an auto watering system and I had finally grown my best garden yet in our last season there. It was never supposed to be a homestead, it was just a hobby. Our ideas started evolving though and soon we wanted to start providing our own meat and eggs, so we began researching.

It all started with tiny little quail.

One day in the spring I found a Facebook post about Coturnix quail. As a child, I had raised tropical birds like cockatiels, parakeets, conures, etc., and even had an outdoor aviary set up for them. These tiny little birds intrigued me. As I dove into researching them I discovered we could eat their eggs, and even use them for meat. I was quickly hooked and we were looking for our first quail chicks. We brought home 12 of them and had built a cute little moveable tractor. That tractor was one of our first real projects together. It’s when we realized we really enjoyed doing these things as a couple and working together.

Japanese Quail in small tractor

By July the garden was flourishing and we were so happy and proud. Then one day my Dad says “you should put cows in that pasture over there.” Within two weeks we were building a pigpen, moving a very very old pig house, and driving four hours to pick up six pigs! Pigs! How did we go from cows to pigs? Well, cows are the ultimate goal here, but pigs are much cheaper to purchase, feed, and easier to sell. Also, my husband raised Durocs as a kid in 4-H and he loved them. Durocs were without question always the goal. Who can’t fall in love with those sweet floppy-eared red pigs?

Homestead Garden
Our First “Real” Garden 2018

Then there were pigs…

So we drove home with 6 little tiny red pigs in a horse trailer because we didn’t know any better and thought they’d be much larger. When we got them all home we realized they could fit through the hog panel fencing we had put up so they spent the night in a horse round pen down at my parents’ house. Now if you know what a round pen is, you know that it’s round! Very very round! Trying to catch tiny little pigs in something round is not easy! So our first adventure was diving in pig poop to catch these little boogers. These pigs were raised in a pen for six months, it was later that we chose to pasture our pigs.

Homestead Pigs

The pigs taught us a lot of lessons about feed, water, mud, managing our time, building fences, more mud, and how much benefit an animal can bring to our family. What I love the best about our journey is it has never had to be forced. From the very beginning, we took things slow and every decision was made very deliberately. A homestead journey should feel natural and just flow with the seasons. Don’t get me wrong there are times when we feel completely overwhelmed. That is when we take a step back together and figure out our priorities. Many times projects have been dropped or pushed to another year because we just don’t have the energy or time. Comment below with your homestead journey, was it deliberate? Or did it just happen naturally?



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