Country Living 101

If You Give a Family a Farm

I was chatting with my good buddy, Kristi, the other day and she commented about how they would like to have a farm someday.  So I started in with, “But if you get a farm, then you are going to want animals for it, and then you’ll need a trailer, and then you’ll need a tractor…”  And that was how the idea for today’s blog was started.  So my apologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff, author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but I couldn’t resist.

Our House, November 2003

Carter Family Farm Established November 2003

If You Give a Family a Farm by Nancy Carter
Originally published September 16, 2005.

If you give a family a farm, they’ll want some animals for it.

So you’ll go help them pick out some chickens so that they’ll have fresh eggs.

Then they will want some goats because goat milk is better than dairy, and sheep so they can spin their own wool.

Once they get those, they’ll want a guardian dog to protect them.

And when they find just the right dog, then they might as well get some cows so they can sell grass-fed beef.

But they’ll need to fix up the barn so it will be nice for the animals, and they’ll need to repair some fences.

Once all of that is done, they’ll be ready to go buy the cows so you’ll take them to a farm auction.

While they are there, they’ll not only buy cows, but a few horses, and a trailer to bring them all home.

Once they get them home, they’ll realize that they need a tractor to bush hog their pastures and to move big bales of hay.

They’ll decide that they want to grow their own organic wheat, grass and hay to feed their animals so they’ll need to buy lots of bags of seed.

Since they’re going to buy all those bags of seed, they’ll want a nice full size pick up truck.

Now that they’ve got that nice pick up truck, they’ll decide that it would be just perfect to sell produce from the back at a roadside stand.

So they’ll decide to plant an organic garden. They’ll read lots of books, build compost bins, and bring beneficial insects and earthworms into the soil.

They’ll get hoes and rakes and a tiller and an irrigation system, but the deer and rabbits will start eating their plants. So then they’ll ask you to help them surround their garden with fencing, human hair and ummm other things to keep the wildlife away.

Once they get all of that done, they won’t have any produce to sell this year, so they’ll want to go to the farmer’s market.

And once they’re at the farmer’s market, they’ll see how expensive the organics are, but how beautiful and rewarding it looks to grow their own produce and they’ll want to get back to their farm.


An Old Farmer’s Advice

Here’s another post that I found in my archives that I thought was worth repeating! It was something a friend forwarded to me via email.

Fall beauty at Christian Way Farm
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don’t take a very big person  to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few  puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best  sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

* Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable  life. Then when you get older and think back,  you’ll enjoy it a second  time.

* Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin’ you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad  judgment.

* Lettin’  the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back  in.

* If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.

* Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Dreaming of your own homestead?

An old horse stable barn in Kentucky

I was just reading over at my friend, Jenn’s blog about her dream life.  It reminded me of me of how our dream came true when we found this farm.  It’s been over 4 years since I first posted Our Homestead Story, so you can click through that link to read if you’d like.

As I was hunting for that link, I found some others you all might enjoy too.

Here’s one where I answer the question, “What should we consider before moving out to the country?”

And then this blog entry is about a wonderful book called Our Homestead Story: The First Years by Mr. & Mrs. Stephen B. Castleberry.  My family really enjoyed it.  In fact I was thinking about it the other day and couldn’t find it on our shelves so I’ve been thinking of buying another copy. Ha!

In fact, I checked the Castberry Farms Press site and they have a second book about their homestead story now called Through the Years Together: Homestead Part II. It’s not on Amazon, but I noticed that if you order through their website, you can get both books in the Homestead Series for only $7.50 each. Sounds like a winner to me!

Anyway, even though our dream might be changing a bit now, I still love sharing with others about what we’ve learned along the way.

Do you have any homestead questions or things you’d like to share about what you’ve learned on your own homestead? Or maybe you’re actually in town, but you’ve been able to create your own homestead right there. I’d love to hear what you’re doing at your house. Just leave a note in my comment box or email me.

Have a dreamy week!



I ALMOST got an alpaca once

As I was catching up on some bloggy reading the other day, I was absolutely touched and amazed by this entry on Smockity Frocks: And Then There Was the Time We Surprised Our Neighbor With an Alpaca for Her 80th Birthday.

I just love how her daughter knew exactly what her neighbor would want, and was persistent about finding not just one, but TWO alpacas, with the money she had been saving. Alpacas can cost many thousands of dollars, but God provided and a very generous and caring alpaca breeder, sold her the alpacas for only $150 and threw in some hay and food to get them off to a good start.

I love the pictures of the alpacas riding in the van and then the big smile on her neighbor’s face when she saw her birthday surprise. Such bliss!

Suri AlpacaIt all reminded me of the time 5 years ago, when I went to a Rare Breed Expo and ALMOST came home with a bargain-basement priced alpaca named Juan.

He kind of looked like this one. It was love at first sight. I was just sure he loved me too.  Suri alpacas look like they’ve got dreadlocks or something! I knew they were offering me a very special opportunity, but the practicalities of getting that thing home and making sure he’d stay in our fence gave me cause for pause.

The owners told me that he could ride home with me in the minivan. They were going to hook him up with a halter and everything for me. (Can you imagine that? A 30-something year old woman driving an hour and a half home with an alpaca she’s just met in the back of the minivan?!) And they never mentioned how lonely that a single alpaca would be. Smockity’s 16 year old daughter knew more than I did. Ha!

I called Tony and he couldn’t believe that I was actually considering bringing an alpaca home in the minivan all by myself. He kept reminding me of that scene in Tommy Boy where they’ve run over a deer, thinking that they killed it, only to have it “wake up” and begin demolishing their car as it tries to escape.

Needless to say, we knew that we didn’t need to make a snap decision like that. Even if it was a great deal. You just never know . . . , but I sure am glad that things worked out for Smockity Frock’s daughter and her neighbor!

And don’t miss this funny about “ahem” foundation garments while you’re over at Smockity Frocks blog. Oh, how we can be so tempted by those items which promise to smooth and slenderize, while forgetting that we somehow need to breathe, stand, use the bathroom, etc… Be sure to read the funny stories in the comments. I was laughing so hard, I had tears in my eyes.

Hope you’re all having a great week. I’m investigating a new route tomorrow afternoon healthwise. I’m going to the Vanderbilt Allergy, Sinus, & Asthma Program in hopes of discovering some environmental or food allergies that might be playing a role in my pain, fatigue, digestive issues, & depression. I really hope that the tests will reveal anything which might be contributing to my health issues.

How about you all? Are any of you trying new things this week? Or have you ever considered getting a new animal, car, etc . . . only to later think, “What was I thinking?”


For My Friends New to the Area

Earlier this month, our homeschool group had our first official meeting of the year. The room was absolutely packed with smiling new faces. I had a lot of fun meeting them and even discovered that a few of them are bloggers!

Jenn’s blog –

Lora’s blog –

Ragsdale Family’s blog –

Now, I have to laugh a bit, especially about Jenn’s Life in Kentucky entry. Like many of the new families to our area, Jenn is a bit freaked out by how many ticks there are here.

I can understand her concern. They certainly are nasty little critters, but I was eager to tell them all about my new favorite product that just happens to keep ticks, mosquitoes, and the such away. It’s Healing Tree’s All Natural Go ‘Way Spray!

Nature's Way Go 'Way Spray

photo by Julie

See, back at the first of the year, my friend Julie posted about how much she loved the products she ordered from Healing Tree Naturals and had a contest to give away a bottle of the Go ‘Way all natural insect repellent.

Since we do live out in the woods, I was thrilled when she let me know that I won.(Yipee!) I grew up just a few hours from here so I thought I knew all about ticks, but I was wrong. I learned a WHOLE lot more about ticks the hard way when I accidentally got into a nest of seed ticks (or some people call them turkey mites). Those things are tiny, like the tip of a pencil, and they can get in the worst spots on your body, and their bites itch, itch, itch.

Yep, they are THAT bad. And they’ll just cover you without you even realizing it. I stopped counting at 50 as I was picking them off one day after we came out of the woods. I’m sorry if that’s too much information, but I just think people should know!

I tend to try and stay away from using many chemicals on my body, and a friend and I had even tried making our own insect repellent just to try and keep the mosquitoes away.

I’m not sure if that’s the exact recipe, but it seems similar at least. And it did really cut down on bug bites. But the problem was that I didn’t have any on-hand the day we went out in the woods. I had tried buying some citronella-based *natural* insect repellent at Wal-Mart, but it was sticky and didn’t seem to help much anyway.

So after my horrific experience with the seed ticks, I was willing to put on some toxic DEET spray if needed to keep that from EVER happening again.

But, after winning the Go ‘Way spray from Healing Tree Naturals, I decided to give it a try this summer. I began spraying it on when I’d go out in the yard and was very pleasantly surprised when I would come back in without ANY bites. The mosquitoes who usually love me and leave huge welps on my skin stayed away, and even though we had a flea problem going on with the cats and dogs, the Go ‘Way spray kept the fleas away from me too. It was a day of celebration!

Plus, it wasn’t stinky or sticky. I was truly surprised by how good it felt on my skin.

So the Go ‘Way Spray is my recommendation for new friends moving to the area. Nobody wants to get eaten up by the bugs, but this is really nice because you don’t have to worry about the harsh chemicals either!

At only $7.95 a bottle, I say buy a few so that you can keep them handy wherever you need them.

Jenn, I’m talking to you. :)