I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, “Why do you do it?” and frankly there is no simple way to explain why we do it. There are so many reasons for doing everything we do, from the animals to the garden to transforming our entire front yard into growing space. So lets start at the very beginning, I’ve always been into gardening flowers as well as growing food. When I was a little girl my grandma came to my house every spring with planters and flowers, she showed me how to transplant flowers and take care of them. When we purchased our house I had every intention of putting a vegetable garden in at some point, I just didn’t know when I would do it or in what part of our yard. We started with a small flower bed under our front window that we could enjoy from inside as well as outside. Chloe was 5 at the time and watching her help plant and nurture our bulbs and pretty flowers felt so good. She was growing and caring for something like she never had before. I thought to myself, “Wow, a 5 year old gets that it takes work to get to the end result.” She was amazing. But then Kindergarten came that September and I watched my beautiful, intelligent, sweet, loving, kind, responsible, respectful 5 year old daughter begin to change. She began to fight with us about everything, she didn’t think she should have to clean up her own toys, she didn’t think she should have to eat the meal prepared for her, and the list grew every day. Chloe was exhibiting all the behaviors of a child believing she was entitled to everything she wanted and there would be no consequences for her actions. She was throwing the lunch I so carefully packed for her in the garbage every day and had no problem lying to my face about it. She was totally unphased by all her consequences and I was at a total loss. After that first 5 months in school and having those be the worst months my family had ever experienced, we began discussing our options. Do we pull her out of public school and homeschool her? We certainly couldn’t reward her behavior by signing her up for activities she wanted to do, we couldn’t give in and let her do what she wanted. Micah and I spent weeks talking every night about our daughter and the fact that she was being influenced at school so much that we didn’t even recognize her. It was then that my friend got his first baby chicks and a light bulb went off for me. What if we showed her all the work it took to feed the family? What if we made her help us with growing our food? What if we guided her back to her old self with the thing she loves the most in this world, animals? It was a risky move but we were willing to do anything to get our daughter back. She may hate reading this when she is older and may even be embarrassed to learn that this all started because of her, but I don’t really care. We saved our sanity and our daughter in one move.
People always ask if we are doomsday prepping, I would never classify what we do as preparing for the zombie apocalypse, but I can say there is some security in knowing I could care for my family at least for a few months should something major happen in our corner of the world. Not only am I growing foods for our family 12 months a year but I’m also teaching very valuable life experiences to both my children that can be helpful for them should we find ourselves in a wartime situation or worse a zombie domination. Just saying.
I was in no way raised on a farm or with a lot of animals. My parents (forgive me for saying this) were very anti animal with the exception of cats. They discouraged all my attempts at saving animals, loving all animals even my pet worms I had as a young girl. So farming itself is way out of the norm for how I was raised. There is nothing wrong with being raised the way I was, I grew up in a perfect huge house with a perfectly landscaped minimal maintenance yard, but that just wasn’t enough for how I wanted to raise my children. Farmer Davis however was influenced by a family who grew crops and raised animals. Frequently he told me of his mother, aunts and grandmother spending days in the kitchen preserving and preparing many months of food that they had grown and picked. To me, that sounded like a lot of work but with a huge benefit. Our first summer I only had a few containers of veggies I grew, but I found that both my children would basically eat anything I grew for them instead of getting the automatic response of yuk when I tried feeding them veggies. I also learned after we got our chicks that I could grow a lot of food for next to no cost that would also feed my chickens. So why not feed the whole lot of us with things i had proudly grown. So once I figured out that Chickens and gardening go hand in hand I was all about getting some raised beds in place as soon as possible. The spring of 2014 was our first attempt at gardening, it was a pretty pathetic attempt if I do say so myself. We only had 6 inch tall beds and I knew nothing of square foot gardening, but we learned a lot. My kids still helped me in the garden everyday, pulling weeds, poop scooping the chicken coops to add to the compost for the next year, finding foods that had grown and eating said veggies and fruits before they made it inside.
Finally, and heres my soap box piece of the pie, the more I have learned about our farming industry and the lack of humane treatment of animals the more I can’t stand to purchase animal products from stores. I love animals so much and they can all be given a good life and then serve a purpose. However humane treatment of animals is not cheap and its not cost effective. Its disgusting to me to have pigs that live in a huge barn with no room for them to move around let alone get out and enjoy some sun and then be hauled off to be butchered. I can’t say we are at a place of being totally self sufficient yet, but every year we are getting one step closer and as long as I can say that I’m doing my part then I can sleep at night. I’ve already cut way back on the meats we buy at the store, the majority of chicken is from chickens we have grown ourselves. We now have goats so we will soon be able to have our own milk and we have plans to raise 2 pigs a year so we will have 1 for us and 1 to trade for a humanely raised half cow. We are taking steps and we are making changes. We can’t do it overnight but we have plans and we are putting them to action. Getting off my soapbox now, don’t hate me!
The biggest thing I can say about why we do what we do is, Why not? We have the means, its fun, educational, it all tastes amazing and the best part is we are all happy doing it.
Thanks for reading todays thoughts!