Friday, August 7, 2009

Life on the Tiny Farm

Back in my younger days, we bought a house that sat on an acre and a half and suddenly we felt like we were countryfolk. Behind the house sat a small red barn and behind the barn was first, a barnyard, then some lovely land for gardening. Obviously, it was time for us to buy some books and expand our relationship with nature, the land, and the animal kingdom.

Real farmers don't learn how to farm out of books. I'm a librarian and I was raised in San Francisco, so I did the best I could with what knowledge I had. Here are some of the things that happened at the Tiny Farm, taken from my list of When You Give a Sheep a Shot; 55 Things You'll Never Know About Me.

Yes, I've started quoting myself now. There must be something very wrong about that. If you need to know about the rest of the 55 things, you'll have to click on that link above.

6. I learned many of the skills I needed from books.

7. I can make a blanket from the sheep onwards.

8. I used to have milk goats and that one goat, Lily, and I have been known to make a big ruckus out in the barn. She always waited until the pail was full before delicately placing her hoof right into it.

9. I believed that book about raising backyard goats and really thought they would weed
around the fruit trees for me.

10. During the same period of my life, I once turned the geese into the strawberry patch because another homesteading book said they would clean the weeds between the rows.

11. I know to never turn your back on a gander and I didn’t have to learn that out of a book.

12. I once sheared a sheep by hand with manual clippers, but only the back half. My hand got tired. She looked like a lion.

13. I can give a sheep a shot, but it makes me nervous. It makes the sheep nervous, too.

14. I once owned a weaving store and taught spinning and weaving.

15. I think chickens are fascinating and I can sit and watch them for hours. Their behavior is a metaphor for something that I am still trying to figure out.

16. I once startled a skunk when reaching into a nest to get the eggs out.

17. I helped deliver a lamb in a dark barn while reading the directions, with a flashlight, from yet another homesteading book.

18. In my first garden I planted several rows of corn (reading the directions as I went along) with my little bantam chickens for company. While I was busy looking at the book, the banties were scratching up and eating the corn--another lesson learned about companion animals.


Rain said...

I believe you can learn a lot about farming from books. We had many when we bought our farm and got some more to get more specific about a certain type of animal. Sometimes the books were wrong and gave us too many things to do that weren't needed, but more often they were right and gave the instructions that got us and our animals through the start up.

the7msn said...

Number 17 is my favorite. I can just picture you out there.

Nan said...

I loved #15. I truly believe there is something miraculous about chickens. Part of it of course is that we can get food from them without them giving up their lives. Even milk cows get culled. Chickens don't have to, and our farm is living proof. We've never killed one, we buy new chicks every few years, and they die off in the normal course of things, and we almost never buy an egg. Well, that's just a part of the miracle to me. Their 'talking' and the way they almost sing with delight while pecking around. They are efficient which of course is a minor miracle in itself. I don't have it figured out either but I know you are right.

Beth said...

Ha, ha...I love #18. I remember that original list, Clair, and how it made me laugh. I enjoyed visiting it again.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like you've learned worls more knowledge from your first hand experience.

Maybe you should write a book?