Dreams and Aspirations
My first exposure to real farming was acquired with the purchase of several acres in a semi-country setting. I had one horse at the time and the savings of owning my own pasture made the mobile home purchase (with the land,
of course) a very good idea.
I really wanted to raise sheep and other livestock, but had much to learn, plenty to read, and many farming magazines to review.
The Early Years
The pastures, fences, and pole barn all had to be restored before I could get livestock and begin a real farm.
I soon discovered rare breeds and heritage livestock, which made all the work of restoring my little farm a worth while effort.
In 1993, I purchased my first sheep. Some did very well while others did not do as well as I would have liked. Neighbor's dogs, new housing developments and natural disasters such as hurricane Fran all took their toll.
By 1995 I had a well-running farm, a small herd of sheep, a few Pilgrim geese, another horse, and a good collection of barn cats. At this time I wanted to add Dexter cattle to my farm, but there simply was not enough pasture to support them.
I was given the chance I was looking for in a larger farm not far from where I currently lived. The work I had done on the first farm paid well, and in 1998 I moved to a much larger farm.
After putting up plenty of fence line, I got my first few Dexter cattle. With some good experience behind me I knew who to ask, and more importantly, what to ask. The result was a big success in just the first year! I really enjoyed them, but had to give them up after five droughty years.
My next adventure was to raise Americauna chickens. With an incredible success in the first year, I was selling eggs and chickens right along with beef, lamb, and livestock. However, after having to coop them up to protect them from my livestock guardian dog, I decided to sell them. I now get homegrown eggs from my next door neighbor.
Soon I added Angora rabbits to the farm. They produced plenty of angora wool and tasted great! I decided that they were too demanding of my time and disbursed my flock.
I then happily raises Border Leicester sheep for show, sale, and wool. I have discovered the delights of sheep milk yogurt!
I also raise Nubian dairy goats. Love the ears, the wild colors possible and their quirky personalities. The mild and rich milk is wonderful to drink. It also makes great cheese and goat milk soap.
When I sold my farm in Holly Springs, NC to get a bigger farm, that turned into quite and adventure. I was between farms for two months. I lived in a hotel (!) and had animals scattered in boarding situations in five different cities. This was very hard for me to handle and when the former owners of the new farm put the land under crop contract with a local farmer, I was left with ONE area that could be fenced for a small pasture and a fenced yard.
As a result, I decided to sell the sheep as they would have more difficulties dealing with the heat (no shelters yet). I kept the goats and the horses and the livestock guardian dogs. Once I moved in, I realized it really was the best idea.
I am currently fencing in more land and plan to get more wool sheep in the future.