low-input, sustainable — no, you don’t have to be loaded to farm

   Not to be too coy about what we are doing here, we want to state in so many words that this blog is being written, or published, or produced, or whatever it is one does to blogs, not because we want people to know about us and our family (we’re really trying to preserve some anonymity here), but to demonstrate for a public we believe is out there, that the small plot of ground with a cow, a couple of pigs, and flock of hens, that sustained the large majority of the western world for centuries, is still capable of doing so.

   A young friend told us that recently her husband was watching, with great interest, a video on “homesteading.”  “We could do this, honey,” he kept exclaiming.  His interest kept mounting, until the homesteaders pulled out their milking machine to milk Bossy.  “There,” he concluded in disgust.  “You have to have a bunch of money to live like that.”  Another friend has spent years looking for some acres in the country on which to raise his growing — and growing up — family.  Several months ago he posted on his facebook account –”  Let’s just face it, everybody.  You have to be rich to be a gentleman farmer.”

   This blog is to blow the cover off that conclusion.  You don’t have  to have a a bunch of money to live a rural lifestyle and raise most of what you eat; but you do have to work.  Of course, you can work hard at your paid avocation, and if you’re lucky, you’ll make enough to pay for your needs, or what you conceive to be your needs, with enough left over to have some fun to repay yourself for doing all day something you probably wouldn’t choose to do if you weren’t paid to do it.


   If you are one of those people, and maybe you don’t know if you are or not, who would like to dig in the dirt, and mess with animals, and shovel manure, and make a compost heap, and collect eggs, and live in rhythm with the cycles of nature; if you’re someone who thinks he would enjoy noticing that the bluebirds are back looking for nesting holes in the pasture fence posts, and turning over half-cooked compost and gloating over all the red, squirmy worms in it; if you feel as though you’d like your work to be more directly related to your needs and the needs of other people, and the shape of your life to arise from your loves, hates, tastes, preferences, inclinations, proclivities, talents, and passions — then maybe this blog has something to say to you.

   Because the reason for this blog is to say that Sun on Grass plus Milk Cow equals Food.  Lots of it.  Like, four steers in the freezer per year.  And a good share of three pigs, and a not inconsiderable proportion of two hundred dozen eggs and three dozen fat broilers.  Not to mention two or three gallons of drinking milk A DAY, and six pounds of butter and two gallons of yogurt a week, and a pint of sour cream, and about six pounds of cheese every week too.  And ice cream whenever we feel like making it, and cream cheese, and all the good hearty cream-of soups we can eat.  But to get all this, you have to want it badly enough to milk a cow, faithfully, at least once, and traditionally twice, a day.  No skipping.  No feeling tired, run down, sick, or just bored with it.  Faithfullness.  That’s what’s required.  Absolute faithfulness, and, hopefully, a liking for the work.

   A big price, but not in money.

   Think about it.  That’s all we’re here to say.  You can log off now.  Or you can come back periodically and we can tell you  how we do it.  Maybe you’ll end up inventing your own picture for how you can do it.  We wish you the best of luck.

3 thoughts on “low-input, sustainable — no, you don’t have to be loaded to farm

  1. Well said Beth, and yes, you do have to work, very hard and on time with no time for complaining! This post explains the lifestyle and what you folks are about very well. Faithfullness…….yes, that is key:) I think you need to do a post about all the fun that a family has while working:)

  2. I’m here to bare witness to the fact that a single milk cow can provide a lot of food for a family’s needs. Growing up we always had a milk cow. We had fresh cream butter. We sold milk to 2 other large families. Dad bought an extra calf and that 1 cow fed 2 calves and at least a dozen kids. Dad sold gallons of cream to a local creamery. We had beef and pork in the freezer and extra to sell. We ate fresh eggs and bacon for breakfast. Dad had a rheumatic heart and had a heart attack when I was 7. As he recovered our church family supported us bringing food daily for a good bit of time. If we didn’t have good, loving people in our lives to help us we still would have been OK because we had meat in the freezer, canned fruit and vegetables, root cellared spuds, fresh eggs and more milk than we could drink. That single cow did a lot for our well being.

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