my farm: pets or producers?

I have had quite a few visitors out to the farm lately because of the vintage clothes I am selling. Most are totally intrigued by the farm, many are curious about getting into a little farming themselves. Most cannot believe that I don't ride my horses, and that my goats are seniors... and that I have geriatric chickens that I am just patiently awaiting them to naturally croak so I can have a young new laying flock...
Ya know what? I don't actually have a farm at all - well, not in the sense that most people think of a farm. Was it my intent? YES. Can I cull animals when they are no longer profitable for me to keep? NO. I wanted a farm. I love animals.  I purposely took in neglected dairy goats to be able to have milk and cheese all at my fingertips while giving the goats a respectful life. Same with the chickens. I wanted fresh eggs, while allowing them to free range and live out their lives pecking and living carefree.... not to mention, I LOVE my chickens. They are so sweet and full of personality...

What happened? Well, about a month after Eli & Ellie were at the farm, Ellen was born. She was a total surprise. I did milk Ellie, and I also let Ellen nurse until she was waaaaay too big, and knew I couldn't give away or sell baby goats, unless of course they were going somewhere I highly approved, where they would live more like pets, than producers.... and then a few months later, Eli was fixed. That was 8 years ago.

I do still try really hard to source most of the animal products we use from well intended local farmers when I can. I buy my goat milk locally, as I know I will never be able to produce my own unless I have goats with precocious udder (which has happened several years in the past !!). My farm is more of a sanctuary. My chickens no longer lay, and they are all in the double digits - well, the three I have left anyway... The plan is to keep them happy, let them live out their lives, and when the last one crosses over the rainbow bridge from old age & natural causes, I will start over and get a new flock. So long story short, I have pets....and these pets produce eggs when they are young, and they are delicious!

There really is nothing like going out every evening and collecting eggs, and when you know they are coming from your happy chickens, they taste even better. Last year was the first year we actually ate pretty much daily from things that had been grown in the garden, and I am hoping this year I will have more tales of growing my own veggies....

...and I leave this post with a picture of Eli when he was less than a year old.... He is now 9 and I love this old senior butthead.

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