I have always wanted to farm. We lived on about 30 acres, and I knew we needed to “do” something with it. At one point, my dad suggested planting pine trees, but I have seen too many nice fields and pastures get turned into pine plantations and I didn’t want that. I decided to get some cows. I grew up with cows all around the house, and many neighbors have cows. So starting in late 2007 I began designing, in my head, where I would put fences. The wonderful world of Google maps allowed me to print an aerial view of the property, and so I started drawing where I would put these fences. Finally, in February 2011, I bought the first 25 metal fence posts and two rolls of barbed wire and got started in the southeast corner of the property. I decided I had thought about this long enough (4 years) and it was time to start.
I finished the “first phase” of my fence work by the end of March. I was never more thankful for the three-point hitch auger I had purchased several years back! If not for that, I would still be building fences today. So in April, I purchased my first four cows from a neighbor and moved them onto the place. We purchased the first bull in July of that year. This past December, we added two new heifers.
In the spring of 2012, we decided to add laying chickens to the farm. I had a good spot picked out between the shed and barn that I thought would make a great chicken yard. This time, I bought the animals first, then built the fence. One of the farm rules I learned early is don’t throw anything away that you could possibly use to make something else. I had never built a chicken coop, so I googled a few coop images to get design ideas. I found enough material around the farm to build one from scratch. I did not purchase one thing to build it – that’s my kind of project.
We built several other things out of repurposed material. I built a feed trough for the cows out of 55-gallon poly drums I had laying around. I made a chicken feeder out of 5-gallon bucket. I used another 5-gallon to make a self-waterer for the chickens.
That is a very short history of how we got here, but there is so much more.