The happenings of last Saturday are the reason we left the big city and decided to move to the country.

In 1992, Aaron and I moved, with our kids, out of crowded and smoggy southern California and into northwestern Pennsylvania; to a town with a population of barely 700 people.  Our home address was “the brick house next to Sophie’s”. Sophie, in her 80’s, and her husband (who had passed away before we moved in) ran a small grocery/gasoline store in the center of our tiny village. Our rather large, century old house, with 5 bedrooms and over 3,160 sqft., was still, technically, in a town, but the view out the back was 62 acres of grazing heifers.

(This picture was taken several years after we had already moved from it, the people that bought it from us let it go back to the bank, it is now in disrepair, and it hurts to see it in that shape!)

When our youngest daughter turned 13 years old, she got a horse for her birthday.  For a while she kept her horse at a local stable.  In order for her to keep a horse at home we had to find a place with some land.  Within a year we moved to a house down the road that had a little over 4 acres and a small barn; a perfect set-up for a horse. 

(The girls taught the cows, Spencer and T-Bone, to walk up the stairs to the front porch, made clothes for them and clipper cut the steer's initials on their rumps.) 

Now when you move to the country there are a few things you need, like a tractor and riding lawn mower, a four wheeler, and a garden area, and some pigs and a couple steers and don’t forget the barn cats, security dogs, and chickens and some ducks, and another horse or two.  Now that you have the horses you need the trailer to haul the horses to the shows on the weekends and the steers/pigs to the butcher.  The pigs and steers we raised for food, the chickens for eggs and the ducks were to keep the snails and snakes at bay.  The garden utilizes all the animal’s waste.  We tried goats, they lasted only for a week before we gave them away, they smell awful, and chew up whatever they can; they had to go.

 It’s good to know where our food comes from and what kind of feed they ate.  As we age, it is important to limit the amount of toxins in our food and in our body’s. Now that all of our kids have flown our nest and are raising their own children, we know we have instilled in them the value of chemical-free food.  When any of our grandkids come over for a visit (we have 9 now), we take the opportunity to teach them a little about homesteading.

Our 3-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, loves to come over and stay for the weekend.  This last weekend we brought home a few baby chicks and ducks, so we needed to make room for them.  Aaron decided to extend the outside chicken coop and make it more critter proof.  (It seems we have a critter that likes chicken, possibly a racoon and/or a weasel/fisher; it wiped out our last “herd”).  Ellie has already picked out her chick, a Blue-Red Wyandotte, and named it Cutie, because she is so cute ya know, she loves holding that chick and talking to it. 

A local farmer grows the best tasting sweet corn ever so when his stand opens up we always try to get there before they run out.  Aaron went over to his stand early in the morning and bought a bushel for me to can; it still had the morning dew on the cobs!  I cut the corn off the cob, bag it up and seal it with my FoodSaver then throw it in the freezer.  I also pressure can some just in case the freezer goes out or if the freezer door gets left open, which has happened a couple of times.

Not to waste any food scraps, Ellie and I went out to the chicken enclosure Aaron was building.  Ellie started to throw the corn cobs to the older chickens so they can eat anything left on the cob.  As she was throwing the cobs she broke out in song “Old McDonald had a farm eieio, and on his farm he had some chicks eieio, with a chick, chick here and a chick, chick there…..”  It melted our hearts; we knew it was the right thing to move to our little homestead and to keep it even after our kids moved away!

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