Starting a Farm is like Having a New Baby

Starting a Farm is Like Having a New Baby

Starting a farm is like having a new baby.

It was exciting and new and such a blessing to realize God had provided this land, this home, this adventure, but it has also been overwhelming and exhausting and even sleep-depriving.

Making over this antique claw foot tub has definitely been overwhelming an adventure…

Claw Foot Tub | Yankee Homestead
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As a young mom I wondered if my babies would EVER sleep through the night, and sometimes I was convinced I’d be changing diapers for the rest of my life.  Those parts of motherhood often felt hard and discouraging, and they seemed to stretch ahead like an endless eternity.

Can you relate?

Fast forward to today, with my sons now 12, 8, and 4: everyone sleeps through the night and nobody requires a diaper change although one person still needs help wiping his bottom, but oh well.

We made it!

Starting a Farm is Like Having a New Baby | Yankee Homestead
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And you know what?  While I’m so thankful to have left those sleep deprived, diaper bag toting days behind, I sure do miss sweet baby snuggles and the excitement of each child’s “firsts”–first smiles, first steps, first words.

Basically, our new farm feels like a new baby.  It’s really really hard and really really awesome all at the same time.

We’ve had moments of wondering what in the world we’ve gotten ourselves into.  Yikes!  But we press on, leaning into this crazy ride and trying to celebrate the “firsts” and focus on progress.

Let’s focus on the progress in our laundry/mud room, which is almost finished…

Laundry Mud Room Renovation | Yankee Homestead
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Here’s the thing, whether in marriage or parenting or homesteading or just LIFE: it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by our inadequacies, by challenging circumstances, by a long and unfinished project list.

But when we focus on the frustrations, we can miss the joys and triumphs along the way.

Therefore, partly to keep myself focused on our progress and partly to share an update with you, here are some of the projects and tasks we’ve completed (or almost completed) on our new farm over the past four months.

Just in case you’ve recently joined the Yankee Homestead community…our homesteading journey began with a garden and then chickens on three acres for about nine years until we upgraded to a 20 acre farm at the end of May 2018, just four months ago.  It’s been a whirlwind of a summer and we’re finally starting to resurface from all the madness!

Starting a Farm is Like Having a New Baby | Yankee Homestead
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House Projects

Projects with an * indicate outside help from our contractor, painter, plumbers, and electricians.

  • Guest bathroom: 95% finished | complete gut & renovation*
  • Laundry/mud room: 90% finished | complete gut & renovation*
  • Master bathroom & closet: 50% finished | complete gut & renovation*
  • Entry way tile: finished | replaced original tile*
  • Dining table: finished | complete chalk paint makeover
  • Claw foot tub: 90% finished | complete makeover: sand, scrub, paint
  • Antique twin beds: finished | complete chalk paint makeover; new frame construction
  • New twin closets: finished | added to younger boys’ shared room*
  • Office floor: finished | removed carpet and refinished existing hardwood floor*
  • Water softener & filtration system: finished | new installation*
  • Sump pump: finished | new installation*
  • Interior painting: finished | all ceilings painted white*
  • Exterior painting: 75% finished | all blue wood painted to match existing logs & trim painted white*
  • Outdoor furniture: 95% finished | the boys assembled 5 Adirondack chairs, 4 rocking chairs, 2 deck boxes, and 1 porch swing. We still need to add a protective coating.
  • Lifetime swing set: finished | assembled by Mr. Native Texan & the boys
  • Free craigslist trampoline: finished | assembled by Mr. Native Texan & the boys

Starting a Farm is Like Having a New Baby | Yankee Homestead
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Farm Projects

  • Electricity in the big barn: 80% finished | new installation*
  • Pigs: 90% finished | We raised 2 pigs, sent them to be processed, and should pick up the meat in the next two weeks.
  • Eggmobile: finished | Mr. NT did an awesome job building a mobile laying coop from a used utility trailer!
  • Pastured Poultry: 70% finished | 2 rounds down, 1 more to go in early November
  • Laying hen expansion: ongoing | We added more hens this year and hope to add even more.
  • Duck house: finished | Mr. NT & Older Bro built it from scratch
  • Guineas: 80% finished | They are full grown and laying adorable little eggs but the transition to free ranging has been problematic.
  • Dog pen: technically finished, but Mudge can still break out, so not actually finished.  Watch our video about Mudge the escape artist.

Starting a Farm is Like Having a New Baby | Yankee Homestead
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Garden Projects

  • 9 raised garden boxes: boxes finished; soil ongoing; | Since we chose the Hugelkultur method, our raised bed soil could take 3-5 years to hit peak performance.  We had mixed results with our summer plants and our small fall garden of mostly greens is doing well.
  • 3 raised herb boxes: finished, same story as above
  • Tree & shrub removal: finished | A small tree and two large shrubs made way for more in-ground garden space
  • Sweet potato & tomato patch: tomatoes finished, sweet potatoes approaching harvest date
  • Blueberries: finished | We got four plants in the ground.
  • Raspberries: finished | We planted five.
  • Blackberries: finished | We transplanted two and they miraculously survived!
  • Apple harvest: finished | We harvested tons of apples from five existing trees, which the previous owners cautioned us against eating.  Turns out the apples are just fine to eat despite their homely appearance, so we canned a bunch of applesauce and dried apple chips.
  • Peach harvest: finished | One existing peach tree produced a delicious harvest which we happily canned and dried.
  • Canning: finished, except for tomatoes | Green beans, blackberry jam, peach butter, peaches, applesauce, tomato jam, hot pepper jam, salsa, tomato sauce.

Starting a Farm is Like Having a New Baby | Yankee Homestead
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Pending Projects

  • Fireplaces: Our awesome double fireplace with a massive stone chimney in the main living area needs to be serviced and we need to track down firewood.  It’s mid-October and already getting cold!
  • Wood stove: There is also a wood burning stove in the basement, which needs to be serviced, which means we need to continue sorting through boxes of STUFF that are currently obstructing access.
  • Loft schoolroom /playroom: This should be a fairly quick process since the cabinetry for our new built-in bookcases is currently sitting in the garage. It’s the last renovation project on the list for this fall.
  • Kitchen renovation: We are definitely taking a break after our current home makeover projects are finished, so who knows when we’ll get to the kitchen.
  • Basement makeover: We plan to turn the basement into a cozy family room + additional guest quarters by removing a wall, finishing the ceiling, and adding a bathroom.
  • His office: Mr. Native Texan loves his new office inside one of the barns, but it definitely needs some sprucing up.
  • Her office: My office is currently a jumble of random furniture and lots of boxes.  {Sigh.}
  • Pasture fence: We are determined to raise beef next year, but it’s been so rainy and wet all summer that the fencing guy can’t get his equipment out to our fields.  Praying this can happen in time to start a few steers in the spring!
  • Beef: hoping to raise our own next year!
  • Chicken tractor #2: We plan to continue expanding our pastured poultry production.
  • Garden fence: This feels like a big commitment and I haven’t quite decided where it should go.
  • Fire pit: We’ve identified the location, so that’s a start!
  • Food forest: More fruit trees and berry plants are on the way!  We’ll plant the first round later this month and the next round in November.  We ordered pear, apple, peach, plum, cherry, paw paw, and almond trees, plus elderberries, honeyberries, and kiwi vines.
  • Ponds? Swales? Fish?  The biggest challenge on the new farm is our perpetually soggy ground.  Since we seem to be sitting on top of so much water, we’re considering permaculture solutions such as digging a pond or swales or both, and are trying not to feel intimidated by these possibilities. Who knows, maybe we’ll start raising fish, too!

Hopefully my next update will include many more projects crossed off the list!  (But I’m sure we’ll think up plenty of new projects to take their place….)

 

 

 

Starting a Farm is Like Having a New Baby
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Kathleen Henderson

Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>

4 Comments

  1. Avatar Sonia King on 10/25/2018 at 1:07 am

    Wow! Looks like your are having a blast! Blessings to you and your beautiful family!

    • Kathleen Kathleen on 10/29/2018 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks, Sonia! 🙂

  2. Avatar Margaret Hinnegan on 10/25/2018 at 2:57 am

    Love your dedication to going back to Natural. A lot of hard work….from a former farmgirl who ended up msrrying a city slicker. I hated working so hard on our 150 acre farm..We had every animal, large garden, cash crops (tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn & tobacco) we grew for Heinz and Libbys in Canada. Wish I had appreciated it more back then, but it did make me the strong person I am today. Your progress is remarkable in 5 months… Keep up the hard work…so rewarding!!
    How do you find time to doTERRA?

    • Kathleen Kathleen on 10/29/2018 at 7:59 pm

      150 acres is a lot, wow! 20 acres feels perfect for us. 🙂

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