Seven years ago we were living in the big city of Houston, TX when we realized that our goals were to move back to the Fort Smith Arkansas area (where we both grew up) and build a more self sustainable lifestyle.
One job transfer, three moves, four kids, and we're finally here. We started our farm life while we were still in the middle of Houston, with chickens and a ridiculous amount of plants. We moved an entire 26 ft truck full of plants when we left the city... and we were very relieved to buy our "forever home," and put all those plants in the ground a few years later!
After getting our humble 7 acres, we got Nigerian Dwarf goats and expanded our breeds of chickens. This breed of goat has some of the highest butterfat content (like cows milk) and if we were going to drink goats milk, we wanted it to taste like cows milk. Our chickens lay all colors of eggs and we plan to be always increasing our egg colors.
We hope to possibly add bees to our farm soon! We have 4 kids who homeschool, a more than full time job, and plenty of other things going on. So we understand that it may take longer than we hope, but we plan to have this farm to a point where it can actually start helping support our family.
We plan to increase our lavender plants in 2018 for use in our lavender soaps and if I'm being honest, just because we love it. We have a dream of someday making "lavender honey" by keeping bee hives in a meadow of lavender flowers.
As far as our long term goals go, Alysha would love to be able to bake for custom orders without having to leave our kids... I guess that means we will need a certified kitchen here at home... who knows, maybe a miracle will happen.
We hope to eventually have a fully functional, off-grid, solar & wind turbine system to power our entire property.
First of all, it's fun! Its really fulfilling making things for yourself, building things, and learning new skills. But it's not always easy.
Witnessing firsthand the cost, effort, and losses involved in running a small farm has brought us a new appreciation for small things. It's much harder to be cynical about other cultures who survive primarily growing and raising their own food. Having a close relationship with the things we consume brings a better understanding of their true value, more respect for the processes and energy it took to make them, and a better understanding of the importance of moderation.
An egg was so much more valuable once we realized it took an entire day to create it, and we'd cared for the hen that laid it and actively protected her so she could free range. When you've milked the cow (or goat) for the milk you’re using, you might just cry if it gets spilled! In today’s world who cries over spilled milk? Much of our food is mass produced by a few large companies, processed by machines, and shipped cross country to be sold cheaply at the grocery store.
Don't get me wrong, we are a single income family with a lot of bills so we definitely take advantage of the convenience of store-bought food just like everybody else. But it's clear to us that in general our culture is largely indifferent toward over consuming, under appreciating, mass wasting, and under paying for substandard products.
Over consuming inevitably hurts people, animals, and the land. It is our goal to, whenever possible, produce what we can ourselves, shop locally, and buy sustainable products which is to the benefit of... everyone. We believe God has put all of us here to be good stewards of the earth.