Buying the Farm

Five years ago, with no practical experience raising animals other than house cats, my husband and I bought a 4-acre farm. We had no idea what we were doing other than we were tired of seeing and hearing every last thing our neighbors were up to. And we both had a strong desire to raise our own food.

I come from a long line of gardeners. I remember walking amongst the vegetable plants at my grandparent's home, which was in suburban Seattle, and exploring his root cellar - this is probably where my fear of spiders comes from. My parents always had a big garden. My brother and I were given small plots to plant our own veggies. I remember the hedge of raspberries with love and loathing. If you lost a ball behind that thorny hedge, you decided it was time to buy a new ball. But the berries were worth the allowance spent on replacement softballs.

My husband's grandpa is a rancher. At 90 years old, he still runs roughly 30 head of cattle. He is one tough old man and is creditted with enstilling a considerable amount of work-ethic in Jeremy. Spending time on the ranch, bucking hay, taught Jeremy how to 'act' around farm animals - a skill I am still trying to acquire.

But neither of us had ever tried to actually raise a cow, sheep or chicken. No problem. The first spring at the farm we bought 2 sheep, a ewe and yearling, not knowing the ewe was pregnant and within just a couple of weeks of giving birth (to triplets no less, but that story can wait).

What is to follow are stories of the farm. Our first lambs, born in the driving rain. Trying to move a 180 lb ram from one pasture to another. The great escaping cow. The chicken coop that could double as a bomb shelter. And how we manage to balance this rural life with both of us working 25 miles away in Portland, OR at professional (desk) jobs while raising a daughter.