Today my boys and I set out to help my mom clean out her old chicken house. It has been years since she raised meat birds but we have been discussing it for awhile now. She has some eggs in a homemade incubator but we aren't entirely sure how that will work out, so she also ordered some pullets the other day. My boys are excited because they love all things fuzzy and cute, and I am excited because I want to relearn how to care for chickens and take part in the processing (something I was only barely a part of as a kid on the farm).
Besides getting ready for the baby chicks that are coming, my mom also tracked down two lambs and we patched some fence and had lunch before setting out to get them. As a special bonus, we were given two bantam hens and a rooster when we picked up the lambs.
We aren't yet ready for the lambs to live in our yard...I'd like a rustic-looking rail fence and a small barnyard area with a chicken house/sheep shelter and greenhouse someday. For the summer I think we will work on some portable panels and a small shelter while we get ready for a more permanent (winter) structure.
Having some animals to care for has been on my bucket list since I had my first child. It is very important to me that my sons learn how to grow their own food and have the knowledge and skills to provide for their future families no matter what the world becomes. I worry about what life will be like for their children: will mainstream society have lost the skills needed to be self-sufficient? I want my sons to know how to compost, garden, hunt, forage, weld, repair an engine and a pump, sew, cook and butcher an animal. These might not just be hobbies but life-saving skills for my kids to pass on to their offspring. My parents and grandparents used to do all of these things but somehow in the last 20 years farming got more cattle-intensive and we moved away from the traditional small farm ideal. I am excited to return to the lifestyle we had when I was a child, and I am especially touched that my parents want to help and be a part of it. These are special days for us all, and I am ready to get started.