Sunday, November 17, 2013

Step 2:

My partner, Pete, and I have always dreamed of raising our children on a small, sustainable, family farm. It ties all of our passions, hobbies, and skills together.  Pete's an artist. Primarily a tattoo artist; but also a fix-it artist, a build-it artist, an-I-see-how-that-should-look artist. He worked many jobs as a young adult and the one that's remembered most fondly is the year he worked on a dairy farm. These days in addition to tattooing, he works with leather, he bakes and when something doesn't exist that needs to exist he refers to himself as Charles Ingalls & swings a hammer until the something comes to exist. My skill-set is a bit harder to outline. It is pretty eclectic. I am. I am a veteran home-schooling mom (15 years and counting). I respect & enjoy the company of animals; once upon a time I owned a pet store. I raised rabbits as a child and reptiles as an adult. I have a degree in alternative medicine. I am on the longest, winding-est path of midwifing you've ever seen. I am a clinical hypnotherapist and a former professional dominatrix. Oh wait, tmi, I wasn't going to get quite that exposed on my farm's blog. Oops. There is a theme here, though it may not be terribly apparent, but really at my core I'm a teacher. It's what I do. I want to know everything, and then what I really want to do is explain it all to someone else. I enjoy everything about managing our homestead; canning, baking, gardening, preserving in every sense of the word. Then I love to share it. I love when I have the opportunity to explain it to others, to share these skills I've learned. 

Having a farm has always been our dream, but it was on the mid-range goal list. If you had asked me a year ago when I thought we would get started with it I would have said, "Well 5 years, maybe 10, first we'll have to....". Then I may have cried thinking about all the imaginary things I thought we would have to do first. Turns out there wasn't much that had to be done first. The home we were renting had to again begin leaking 2 days after I gave birth. I had to panic for a few hours wondering where we would move & how we would afford it. Then I had to answer the phone when like magic a friend called to say that she knew someone renting a fixer-upper farm in our budget. You see now how the farm got it's name, right? 

There is a flip-side of having all of your goals suddenly manifest. Have you seen the Underpants Gnomes episode of South Park? K- well there's these gnomes that steal underpants. It's part of their plan for world domination. Step 1: steal underpants. Step 2: ???? Step 3: world domination. Ya that's how I approach most things. Step 1: Get Farm. Step 2:????. Step 3: live happily ever after. We have been knee-deep in step 1. The farm was very much a fixer-upper. We have been clearing away decades of debris, repairing outbuildings, and building new ones. We have been acquiring the things we need, and choosing the animals we wish to raise. Step 3 isn't a challenge either. We are enjoying all the steps in this journey. We were completely lacking a Step 2 though. How do these things fit together? I can create a sustainable system for keeping the chicken coop clean, but how to apply the lofty concepts of sustainability to the brass tacks of paying the bills was escaping us.  

Cue light bulbs. Thank you profusely for staying with me this long. I promise we are almost there. This spring Serendipity Farm & Forest will be offering our farm for birthday parties & events. See this with me. We are clearing an area in the back where we'll be building a small, cord-wood style building. We'll be creating a small petting zoo, specifically showcasing several heritage breeds listed as endangered by the Livestock Conservancy . I have a secret Pinterest board with ideas for an amazing children's garden. Think Jack & the Beanstalk, giant dragonflies, music walls & mud kitchens!  We will be adding several more greenhouses, and building a pole barn. Ariel will be available for pony rides, and we'll offer a seasonal, kid-friendly, ala cart catering menu for our guests.  During the week and off-season this building will also serve as a space for workshops & presentations. 

We have been able to begin this project with a shoestring budget by using re-claimed materials, bartering and a hefty investment of our blood, sweat & tears. (Many tears, Pete sold his Harley to kick this off the ground.) We will be able to bring this idea to life with more of the same, but we would also welcome the support & assistance of our friends and community. I will be launching an Indiegogo campaign to help purchase the materials, equipment and fund the advertising. We have chosen several great "perks" to offer through Indiegogo ,so please check it out when it's launched (hopefully) later today. (I'll come back with the link as soon as the final touches are completed.) There are several other ways that you can lend your support too. That tattoo you always wanted? Now would be a great time to get it done. Please continue to purchase farm fresh eggs, sourdough products, probiotic kombucha & kefir, and our bone-broth stocks from us.  I am looking for someone willing to barter web-building skills and someone to assist with the advertisement campaign. Following us here and on Facebook will keep you abreast of the project & of opportunities to learn techniques like cord-wood building. Most importantly, please help spread the word. 

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