Chaos & quietude
Blending Serenity and Mayhem since 2019
It’s a predictable enough question and is frequently asked of us in polite conversation, usually when catching up with old friends or distant relatives. But giving an appropriate response is more difficult than you’d probably expect, even though we have quite a variety of potential flora and fauna to mention:
Our Jersey milk cow(s) probably takes the most amount of effort followed by the girls’ horse, which, eats as you can imagine, like a horse. Then, of course, we have a whole flock of assorted birds, chickens, ducks, and whatnot to look after. We’ve husbanded a number of feeder pigs to butcher weight each summer and are now trying our hands at a breeding pair. Then there’s the sheep. Though a small flock of just six or so, they still require the basics of food, water, shelter, fencing, and fresh bedding. In other words, daily work. Furthermore, I’ve tried and thus far utterly failed at raising both rabbits and honeybees. Beyond the animals, we grow a large vegetable garden each summer and tend to a two-acre orchard full of fruit trees, nut trees, and berries, which needs yearly pruning and care, and furthermore, enjoy cooking off gallons of maple syrup every spring. We’re also making strides towards producing our own hay. Beyond cutting, raking, baling, and storing, our fields merit regular fertilization by spreading all the manure of our stock. Finally, we try each year at planting patches of field corn, wheat, potatoes, turnips, ginseng, oats, rye, or assorted other crops with varied amounts of success.
So, there’s plenty going on around our modest farm to keep the wife, our three daughters, and myself busy and to provide ample topics to chat about. However, simply listing all these things misses the point entirely. Especially because many of our relatives are (or were) real Wisconsin dairy farmers and have risen hundred’s of cattle. By contrast it sometimes seems like we’re merely playacting at this whole farm thing. But, unlike most of our kin, we’re not growing crops to make a wage. Making a little money is certainly nice, but our purpose is more lifestyle oriented. We like living rurally and puttering around on our own land. We strive to be independent of feeble supply chains. We’re trying to cultivate a large chunk of our own food, bypassing much of the chemical-laden, nutritionally dispossessed over-processed foodstuffs on supermarket shelves. We get adequate exercise and enjoy raising some relatively spoiled animals, while hoping to convey life-lessons to the kids. In short, we’re striving to create a healthy wholesome environment for our family.
So what are we raising? I typically reply flatly: “Girls.”