I remember when my husband and I were considering expanding our little family homestead to a larger
working farm which would include a flock of Romney sheep, we visited every sheep farm that would welcome us and our questions. Over about a 12 month period, we visited numerous farms and consulted with sheep experts. My mother-in-law went along on some of our farm tours. At one point, she pointed out to me that it seemed that most of the sheep farms we saw had money. The shepherds were doctors, surgeons, or lawyers who farmed on the side. Their farms did not provide for their day to day living expenses. I tried to deny this fact, yet there seemed to be a bit of truth to what she said. I began to wonder if we could swing a larger farm with only one income.
For all of this...I give thanks...
I had left the work force with the arrival of our oldest daughter years earlier. Committed to raising our children ourselves and homeschooling them, I became a "stay-at-home" mom. For the past 21 years, we have lived on one income. Through God's provision-we purchased Grand View Farm eight years ago and dove head first into sheep farming. Though our bank accounts are not overflowing with extra cash, we have lived a life of plenty and have learned how to farm on a shoe string.
Driving cars until they literally die on the side of the road.
Keeping the thermostat turned down low and wearing sweaters.
Heating with wood.
Raising our own meat.
Cultivating the wild apple trees along the edge of the fields.
Making our own maple syrup and then using it to barter with.
Learning how to grow our own vegetables with a book and a spade and then...
Having a huge garden and a huge freezer.
Filling our pantry with canned pickles, relish, jam, and sauce.
Shopping at used book stores and curriculum swaps.
Going camping instead of staying at extravagant resorts.
Shopping at consignment shops and being a year behind in fashion.
Selling at consignment shops and ski swaps.
Buying, selling, and trading on craigslist.
Bartering with neighbors for their goods:
And for their services:
Encouraging our children to start small businesses using the resources we have on the farm.
Knitting our own sweaters and saying "no thank you" to the department store sweaters.
Constructing outbuildings with reclaimed materials.
Inviting wwoofers to help when the farm gets too big to handle on our own.
Taking our own wool and turning it into wonderful products to sell to others.
Converting part of our farmhouse into a B&B.Opening our farm up to teach others about farming and fiber.