We have for many years raised as much of our own food as we could. I don’t know why, or where this desire has come from. I’ve always been one who wanted to raise a garden, even though my grandparents had abandoned the raising of their own garden due to their age.
Grandma Magill had, as most farm women, raised chickens for eggs to sell at the local creamery, and her cream from the milk cows and this was her money for certain household and personal expenses. When I was quite young I remember them taking cream and eggs into town once a week. Of course, eventually, the government regulations put a chokehold on that source of income for the farm wife.
But we still kept the chickens, only they became ‘free-range’ chickens to provide eggs for us. We also kept the cows, but as the chickens, there weren’t as many cows. So, mostly for us and our use and our neighbors, an older grandparently, couple, which we took two quarts of milk to twice a week we milked cows.
Fast forward to a few years after Old Fuzzy and I were married. With four children soon to be five then six and we were trying to make ends meet on one paycheck. It wasn’t working well. Every dollar we made ended up going into taxes, basically, the government was getting most of what we made. Since we were still ‘farmers at heart’, we were renting an old farmstead, a house with a few outbuildings.
Well, I thought, if making more money didn’t help, how could we live cheaper? First, we bought laying hens, but I wanted a milk cow. We ended up with some cats. I aimed a bit higher, and we got a dog. Still, not there, I ended up with a pony. The kids were happy but… well, next I ended up with a little horse-colt. He was a keeper, but not a cow. Finally, we ended up with an Ayrshire cow.
And that was our beginning journey. We had always kept a garden from the beginning, but the rest didn’t come so easily. And it wasn’t ‘free’ either. To buy the chickens cost money, the cats and dogs were free, but the pony, horse-colt, and cow all cost money, each one a bit more than the one before. Then there was upkeep and the learning curve as to what each one needed for sustenance.
“This is the day the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24