A Time to Sow, A Time to Reap

I have been thinking for a few years that we should have farm animals out here on our little plot of windy prairie grass, but it was always, “Maybe it’s too windy. Maybe I am too weak/lazy/pregnant/insert excuse here. Maybe some day.”

I have recently been introduced to the idea that if I have usable land and I am not using it, perhaps I should not be occupying it. And the idea that physical work is good for us, especially if there is something good that comes from the work, like food!

We are also thinking that the price of food (dairy products, meat, and fresh produce especially) is not easily within the reach of larger families. So….

5.5 acres of prairie grass + 9 children + 2 adults = potential farm! Just add barn, chicken coop, cow, and chickens, and plow up part of the land for crops.

I know it will be hard work and that we will be “tied down” and won’t be able to go anywhere. But we don’t go anywhere anyway. We can still make it to Mass, which is the most important thing. And we will have meaningful work. It will, God willing, produce food for our family to eat and to share. It will provide something to do besides watch DVDs or play Farm Ville on Facebook. It will help our children grow, and challenge us all to make better use of our bodies, time and resources. It will give us more opportunities to reach out to those in need, especially if by God’s Providence we end up with more zucchini than we can use or freeze for later!

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4 thoughts on “A Time to Sow, A Time to Reap

  1. What a great idea – lots of work but so rewarding if you can make it happen.

    Just a thought – We called our favorite local charity and asked if their foodbank will accept fresh vegetables. We usually have a prolific garden and are not a big household. If you proceed with the farm and end up with more than you can eat or store, there might be a foodbank that could really use the quality fresh food.

  2. Well, I have found out a few things while doing research on farming in our county.

    1. About 30 years ago, this was all potato farm country out here. Nothing else will grow easily, except sparse prairie grasses and thistles. Maybe I can grow other root crops also, to feed the cow.

    2. Five-and-a-half acres in any part of our county is not enough to keep one dairy cow on pasture for more than about 2-3 months every summer. Our part is, surprisingly, better than most parts of the county, as far as soil goes. The rest of the year we’d have to feed her high-quality alfalfa hay and grain supplements. The Extension officer I contacted suggested not even letting her into the pasture, but keeping her in a fixed corral, and feeding her controlled portions of feed. He said we don’t need a big barn. Just an enclosed place for the cow to find shelter from bad weather and in which we can milk her.

    3. In order to grow vegetables enough to feed the family I would need a green house. My attempts at growing vegetables in the least-windy places are not going to cut it without significant wind-break building. I can’t really wait until the Ponderosa Pine seedlings we planted a few years ago grow up. They will only provide windbreak in the winter, anyway.

    So, now where do we start? According to other farming families in the general area, it does cost more, monetarily speaking, to keep cows and chickens for milk, eggs, & meat than to buy these things form the grocery store. I know that the work involved will be good for us, if we keep it in perspective. But how long can we keep it up without a larger income?

    Food for thought.

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