Two new milking goats joined the homestead last week and watching the children bustle about, getting them settled, has reminded me of how glad I am we've fallen into the backyard hobby farm lifestyle. And "fallen" it has been! Although I grew up without pets and my husband had just one dog, our yard now boasts a mouse-catching cat (Great entertainment!), a pig for just 6 months (not a Wilbur!), 6 chickens, 6 ducks, a guard-goose, 5 goats, and 2 rabbits. Since the goats and rabbits give us babies, their numbers fluctuate. It all began 5 years ago after spending the day with new friends and their multitude of backyard birds that inevitably led to "Can we get some chickens?". I immediately recognized the potential for not needing a science curriculum for years with a project of such proportions and required little convincing! So it began.
Our outbuildings have all been constructed with cast-off cages and doghouses and free pallets found behind home improvement stores, which means they're all cool, cadet blue-painted shacks! And it is so good for the big kids to problem solve and plan and observe and mend both the shelters and the animals. Good for the little ones to watch and "help", as well. My farmy kids may not ace the SATs but they've researched and repaired, planned and pet, built and butchered, milked and midwived. And it's difficult to find anything as darling as a 4 year old gathering eggs and chirping, "Fank you, chrickens!". Well, perhaps bottle feeding newborn goats. Or peeking at tiny rabbit heads.
We have fresh eggs, milk, and meat and we know from whence they came. We have constant entertainment right outside the windows. We have responsible kids (Usually. Ahem.). I highly recommend the backyard farm!