How did it all begin? Was this always the plan? Hardly! But sometimes what you expect and plan for isn’t what will make you feel fulfilled and deeply happy! Sometimes life will throw you curveballs, and you get to choose whether to dodge, or run with it!
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! We were living in a very nice neighborhood in town, with our new baby, and I was pretty content. I was actually a little bit excited to “keep up with the Joneses”. And believe me, the Joneses lived on our cul de sac!
My husband, Tanner, had been an integral part of an Earthship build on his days off, and had purchased 11 acres(in the middle of nowhere), a few years before we met! Lo and behold, he wanted to move out there, have a big garden, and live off-grid! Hmmm… As a new wife, I very much wanted to be supportive of his dreams, but I also wanted to be able to use my hairdryer!
Then I started watching YouTube videos(specifically Weed ’em and Reap and The Elliot Homestead), and realized that “homesteaders” get to have farm animals! Ding, ding, ding!!! We moved out to a property, adjacent to ours, with our tiny baby and a dog, so Tanner could build us a house!
We moved in October and, as the smart people that we are, decided to wait until spring to get any animals! By December, we had a flock of chickens, goats, rabbits and and 2 dogs! We actually had a baby goat named Flower living in our(very tiny) house, wearing a diaper. Her mom had rejected her, and the family that we purchased our first chickens from, called me
Our first spring, we planted a garden in large pots along the front of our house. I also found out that I was pregnant! That summer was a bit rough. Tanner was trying to build a house, I was sick on the living room floor with a crawling baby, and we ended up rehoming half our chicken flock, our rabbits, and
our herd of goats. It was a little discouraging. But, by then we had a vision, and a few bumps in the road weren’t going to hold us back!
In the spring, with one baby walking, and the other one in a carrier, we replanted our garden of pots, and got a dairy cow! Tanner condensed his work week into three days, and spent that summer and fall making our house livable!
In February of our third year, we moved into our new house, just in time for a crazy snowfall and temperatures in the deep negatives! Our pipes froze. Our solar panels were covered in snow. But we had SO MUCH MORE SPACE!!! Stuck inside with two toddlers, having more space was a life changer!
The animals didn’t move with us right away! In fact, I snowshoed down the hill to take care of them, for about a week, while we were fully snowed in! As soon as it was warm enough to do some fencing, we walked everyone down the road and up the hill to our new home! We currently have a dairy cow, three dairy goats, a small flock of chickens, and quite a few dogs!
Our fencing has come a long way in the last year! There is a two acre cow pasture waiting for spring rain! The smaller pasture, now has a cow shed and a goat house! We built two dog rooms onto our house, both with dog doors leading out into separate fences! We have a beautiful, fenced, front yard for the kids! Chicken coop number one has been converted into a deluxe dog house, and chicken coop number two is much smaller and cozier! Better for our cold, Montana winters!
We have learned so much since those first inspiring videos that helped nudge us out of town! We have helped with the birth of baby goats, raised and processed meat chickens, milked goats and a cow, trimmed hooves, drawn blood for health testing, and hatched chicks in our living room! We LOVE it! Even the poop! Well…the garden loves the poop!