Annemaria Duran is a former mortgage rep and stockbroker. She now helps people learn how to garden at PreparedGarden.com and ward off country critters at CountryPests.com. She raises all sorts of farm animals and answers hard questions at BestFarmAnimals.com.
I grew up in a rural community. Although my family moved a few times, I landed in Idaho and planted roots. I informed my husband when we were dating that someday I was moving back to Idaho! It was exciting and intimidating when my husband and I bought several acres. I had no idea how much work and time it would take to maintain it by hand (most of my neighbors are large-scale farmers who tend hundreds or thousands of acres with awesome big equipment). Even so, my husband and I love the projects, work, and all the time we get to spend outside!
Since starting our homestead, we’ve taken on chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, turkeys, and rabbits. I’ve learned how to keep my chickens laying in the cold -15 F. degrees winter days. I’ve wrestled bucks trying to escape fences during rut season and broken ice in a heated bucket that couldn’t keep up with the extreme cold.
My kids have turned from city kids (they were young when we moved back to Idaho) to country kids. Now my daughters adore animals, one buying her own milking goats at the age of 13 with babysitting money and the other buying her own flock of chickens. I’ve loved watching my kids grow and mature by learning how to care for their own animals. The local 4H program has even taught my eldest how to AI a cow, dissect a sheep’s stomach, and other educational opportunities that aren’t easily available anymore.
A few summers ago, we built a geothermal greenhouse next to our already extensive garden. I’m writing about my gardening experiments using various gardening methods on the preparedgarden.com. This winter, I used my hoop greenhouse to house our pregnant dairy goats incase they kidded at night. Saanans don’t usually kid at night, but of course, one of them, named Blessing, kidded in the middle of the night when it was a low of -10 F. Both mama and kids are great! I also used one of my geothermal greenhouses to house our boar mamma and kids during one of the coldest winters in 50 years!
I’m not sure what’s more fun; learning, enjoying and living the farm life or watching my kids learn and grow from it!
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