2011 changes

This past year I have gone from eating some chicken, turkey and fish to eating chicken, turkey, fish and pork. If I know where it comes from and how it was raised then I can eat it and enjoy it. If it’s from the grocery store and it’s not free range and organic and free from cruelty I have a hard time eating it. This has left me with two solutions either I raise my own or I buy the meat from someone who raises it locally in a humane way.

I read the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and watched the movie “Food Inc.” this year. After this sunk in my way of eating has changed after I realize where my food has come from and more importantly how it was handled and treated. Some people think that eating any meat is wrong and cruel but eating meat from an animal that was treated well and allowed to roam and be itself is ok with me. It is giving the animal it’s life to serve it’s purpose until it gives it’s life to us.

Growing fruits, vegetables and herbs is still important to me. I also want to add eggs in a larger scale, goat’s milk, cheese and some poultry and pork. There isn’t anyone in the area that raises pheasants and sells them for meat so I am thinking that might be a good niche for me along with my chickens, rare turkeys and the eggs and veggies. I don’t want to limit myself but I don’t want to start off to big either and get overwhelmed.

So speaking of starting off that’s what is going to happen in the Spring here. I will at the least have more chickens for eggs, vegetables, fruit, herbs, starter plants and then chicken meat. I will not have it in a larger scale and won’t have the other animals of course until I move to the property. The property is between 2-10 acres in my mind and affordability. In order to start a small farm with any animals I have to be able to be there on the property. I would need a mobile home to do that. There are a couple of options with property that have a mobile home on them. If that doesn’t work then I can buy land which may be even cheaper anyways and then not do animals till later on. I wouldn’t have to sleep over with my vegetables!

From 2001 when I went to a farmer’s market to do a story in Dundee, OR, I have seen the absolute amazing impact small farmers can have. A man who had a box of peaches was beaming with joy offering them to an older woman who was delighted to pick the ones she wanted and pay him for them. One peach or pumpkin at a time bringing food to people in the community is something that I have always wanted to do.

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My plans

I am still planning my small farm and have a calendar, rough business plan, inspiration, determination, but no land or money. I went out to another piece of land with a small trailer on it and if it includes a lot of the flat property leading up to it then it is almost perfect. The price is not perfect yet and also I have to figure out how to talk my husband into it when I have no income upfront. I actually did a sample budget and figured out that I can make enough with a small CSA, plants and chicken and eggs the first year to cover the mortgage every month but beyond that not too much.

I have applied for 30 part-time jobs and so far got one call on my cell phone. I need something very part-time because I can’t do this and be putting tons of hours into another job year-round. There is one job that is going to be “mine” this year but I am not sure how long I have to wait. The real estate market is still pretty bad so a lot of property is staying on the market for months or years anyway. The idea of Spring and getting the catalogs in the mail is making me anxious. This year I will still be able to do vegetables at the grower’s market with other small growers, sell eggs, sell chicken from my garage and plants. I can’t do everything here but I can still do quite a bit even though I really want my room to roam. 🙂