Sunday, November 28, 2010

Urban Farmstead

Munchie.  A two-week old Nigerian Dwarf goat and he's ours!

This has been the year of the FARM at our place.  We live on approximately 1/2 acre smack dab in the city, but not far from the local feed stores where I can stock up on chicken feed and other essentials that have become a part of our daily lives.  Something that has been cooking a long time in my brain is coming to fruition and I'm rather high on the experience!  In the spring we started a garden with three raised beds and a composter.  Check.  Lots of nummy food came out of those beds throughout the summer, food that forced me to expand my recipe repertoire and my cooking skills, which is a good thing.  We also signed up for the food boxes from an organic community garden here in town, so by all accounts, we were swimming in vegetables for many months. 

Next to follow were the chickens, which I've blogged about some.  It was an intense five week period of time while we finished the coop and fenced run and raised the little buggers into the five-month old sophisticated ladies they have become.  And yes, we have a resident rooster named Looster who so far has not annoyed our neighbors.  I keep checking with them to see if Looster is disturbing them and so far everyone has given me a good report.  I don't let the chickens out of their coop until 9 a.m. or so, and by then, everyone has toddled off to work.  Looster usually lets out three or four crows and is quiet through the rest of the day.  I sure hope that lasts.........good boy, Looster. 

Last week I came home after a visit to a farm where Max and I took a Barnyard Animals 101 class and announced to my husband that we are getting some goats.  As in I bought two baby goats!  After fifteen years being married to me, he didn't even bat an eye.  He even suggested we consider a milking doe so that we can make cheese and yogurts and enjoy what she has to offer.  Normally this would make me incredibly excited, but I need to understand all that is involved first.  A milking doe might be more than I can handle right now.

Max is over the moon about the two new babies.  We've been going to the farm to help bottle feed our two little guys and learn about their care before we bring them home.  We still need to build a pen in the barn and figure out a way to fence off the garden.  These guys will be neutered so they are called 'wethers' in the goat world.  Something we are learning along the way.

This is Chewie.  He's about a month old, so is slightly bigger than Munchie, but just as cute.  They are being well-socialized with lots of attention from all kinds of people during the day, which is great.  We also need to give some thought to how to keep them stimulated in our backyard by setting up some sort of obstacle course that they can climb all over on. 

I consider all of this farm stuff a part of homeschooling, because it's real and palpable, wonderful and practical.  The animals have served a very useful purpose for Max.  They are companions for him during the day and stress relievers when he needs a break from the math that is so heinous.  He takes regular breaks and heads out to the yard to commune with the critters and he comes back in refreshed and ready to tackle the next school thing.  We are both grateful for this urban farming experience.  Chores are fun!  Max's dad is getting a kick out of the antics of the animals, too. 

I hope to expand our compost pile next year and maybe plant some fruit trees, too.  Max's learning can't be tabulated in a grade book for this project; it goes deeper than that, I think.  His mom might be a little crazy, but she's crazy about the good stuff - baby goats!

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