Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Get to know a farmer, or two, or three


The one thing homesteaders have in common, no matter how much land you live on, is that we are all trying to do more for ourselves. Our family for instance gardens, taps maple trees, cures meat, bakes and so on. But, because of where we live we can't raise large livestock. And for now, that's okay because we know people who can. We don't have an orchard in our yard, but we know where to go to get apples. You see, we have gotten to know farmers, lots of them! What we can't do here, we can partner with others to get done. If you have never been to a "FARM" you really should look for one, or two, or three to go visit. Visits to farms can be entertaining, educational, and think of the things you can eat!


Farms are entertaining? Above and beyond the antics of the animals? Yes! Farm tourism is growing. Yes, tourism on farms! Not only does opening up their farm to visits educate the public as to what really goes on on their farm, it adds extra income to their farm. Want a few examples? The oldest country kid loves to visit Gull Meadow Farms. Why? Because they have the best "playground" you have ever seen. He could spend hours doing duck pump races, sliding down pipes, jumping hay bales, etc. Oh sure, we visit the farm store too, but how does that compete with a zip line!?!? We also love to visit MOO-ville where not only do they have a killer ice cream parlor with dairy products for sale, but certain times of the year you can go on wagon rides and see the cows and how this family does what they do.

One of our favorite farms to visit is Tirrell Farmstead. We have had the chance to help bottle feed lambs on their farm. Let me tell you, that was an amazing experience. And every year they host a FREE cookout for the public to come out for a day of fun. One year they held a cheese toss. Have you ever flung a wheel of cheese? It's fun! And they have livestock available for the public to meet. Since I don't own a horse (because I can't) it was the perfect opportunity for the littlest country kid to meet his first one. The Farm Bureau comes out for the cookout and sets up activities for kids, like how to grow seeds, protecting the water supply and so one. Tirrell Farmstead also has a farm store where they sell their cheese they make from the milk of their sheep among other items.

Farms are educational as well. Remember how we got to help bottle feed lambs? We have also had the chance to see how sheep are milked and how they make cheese from that milk. We have learned how sheep are sheared and the things that you can make with the wool. We have had the opportunity to visit an apiary and lean all about bee keeping. There is nothing like standing in the middle of a group of hives and watching the coming and goings of these interesting and vital insects. At the dairy, the family really enjoyed showing folks what they do. These are family farms and not only are they proud of what they do for a living, they want people to understand and are more then willing to show you around. Visiting farms also gives you the opportunity to ask questions..... lots of them. Don't be afraid to ask either. Farmers lover to share their knowledge with those that want to learn!

Farms provide things to eat..... things you can't or maybe don't want to raise yourself. We love our fresh eggs from our hens, but we can't have a pig. I love bacon, a lot, so we found someone who could raise a pig for us and bought half. We then made bacon, hams, and lots of other yummies from it. We don't have strawberry patches, so we found a farm and went picking. The same went for apples. While I would love to have a small orchard in my yard, it will take time before those trees could produce what we need. Till then we visit an orchard and pick our own for apple butter, apple sauce and yummy pies. We visit farmer's markets for produce we don't grow in our own garden. It is always fun to meet the farmers their. We love the folks over at Bear Foot Farms! They not only have great food, but are just all around awesome folks.

So while we are all working towards doing more ourselves, keep in mind, you can't or maybe don't want to do it all yourself. Get out of the grocery stores folks..... get to know a farmer, or two, or three.... not only will they be able to provide things you can't, you can learn from their years of experience. Not to mention, farmers know how to have fun! *wink*

**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**

30 comments:

  1. Thanks for a great agritourism boost Mindie!! It takes a lot of work to open your farmstead up to the public and a lot of insurance!! Those that can do it are the educators and ambassadors for those of us who are unable to open our doors to the public. If you want to know where your food comes from and how it is raised, do all you can to get to know your local farmers. Stop at roadstands and farmer's markets and ASK QUESTIONS! Most of us are more than happy to answer anything we can or direct you to those that can. There are no dumb questions.

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    1. Thanks Paula! Your right, there are no dumb questions.... just missed opportunities if you keep your mouth closed! Get to those farms people!!!!

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  2. I think so many of us go to the grocery store because its just ingrained in our culture. You make some great points, and I know there is more that I can do than just participate in my CSA! Great post. Thanks!

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    1. You know the sad part is grocery store really haven't been a part of our culture THAT long and yet we are so removed from our food. And it tastes so much better the closer you get to it *wink*

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  3. I love that you take your family to local farms :) Not only is it a great way of educating your children about how food is made/where it comes from, but it's an incredible way for them to appreciate the processes involved (and the importance of eating locally sustainable foods). Also, YOU BOTTLE FED LAMBS?! SOOOO cute!!!

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  4. You know, my husband really wanted a lot of acreage for a ranch, but it just wasn't in the budget for us. But now reading this post, I'm wishing we could have. Our girls love to be outdoors and run and play, and I can just see all the adventures they could have in wide open spaces!

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    1. Melissa, we live on 1/4 of an acre!!! But we manage to still get out in the wide open. We visit farms, we go to state parks. You're only as hemmed in as you think you are *wink* Now saying that, I of course would LOVE to have more land because of all the things I could do if I had more space and less restrictions!

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  5. I love that... it is like going back to how communities used to be. You didn't go to Wal-Mart to buy everything under the son. You bought stuff from your neighbors and you all helped each other out. Not that I was alive in those days, But I wish I was!

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    1. I had to laugh because last night out neighbor sent her son over to borrow some eggs because her hens are still on strike. Well I only had duck eggs because my hens are hit or miss right now.... the little boy was like ummmmm my mom wanted chicken eggs. LOL Well that's all I got kid, take it or leave it. He took it and his mom's soufflé turned out awesome. She didn't even realize they were duck till I told her. She was just impressed my girls laid such big eggs!

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  6. This post was amazing, I grew up on a dairy farm and we grew and raised all of our own food also. I really miss living out in the country and being able to have all the animals and gardens. It is definitely our life goal to end up back out in the country and farming again some day!

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    1. Thanks :) I think Farmers are amazing *wink*

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  7. We love visiting farms, especially during the summer and fall, for all the reasons you've mentioned above. Farms and farmers are amazing! We have so much fun playing in the huge play areas, going pumpkin or strawberry picking, having lunch in the amazing diners, eating homemade ice cream, and learning everything about the day-to-day life of the farmer. It's amazing how much there is to do at a farm. My son, who is only 2, has already started asking me when we are going back to our local farms. Guess I need to start planning some trips!

    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! We love having you! :)

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    1. Natasha I am so glad to hear you have already found the joy of the farm!

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  8. We love having our own garden . I think my hubby would love to have a big farm. We do shop at the farmers market for things we do not grow. Love this post! Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop ♥

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    1. My city boy hubby has over the last 10 years with me turned into a guy who would love to have a big farm too! LOL Maybe someday....

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  9. I've nominated your blog for a Liebster Award! Follow this link to learn more. http://itsthelittlethings4.blogspot.com/2014/04/ive-been-nominated-for-liebster-award.html

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  10. Living in the city, we love to go to all of the Farmer's markets in our community. It keeps us connected with the ones who are really providing the food...we love it. Thanks for sharing with the Thursday blog hop!

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  11. We really want a small farm someday. But it is not in God's plan at the moment for our lives. We firmly believe you can farm where you are. No matter how small your land is you can produce food from it. We are not able to keep any animals of any kind here. Including bees! So we have befriended many to provide. We know chicken keepers, bee keepers and beef keepers. I enjoy gardening and making jams and jellies so we contribute those to our farmers. Also, those who do keep these things are a wealth of information. We are learning the ins and outs of keeping these animals so in the future we have a little knowledge of how to do it.

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    1. It's all about learning :) I hope you get your dream one day.

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  12. Super post! We are fortunate enough to have 2 1/2 beautiful acres with alpacas and chickens. My little patch of paradise :)

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  13. VERY COOL! I love meeting the farmer and getting to know what's going on. Thanks for sharing at Back to the Basics for Tuesdays with a Twist!

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  14. Hi Mindie - This is a great post. What a wonderful activity to do with children. Thanks so much for sharing with the Let's Get Real party.

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  15. What a great activity. Thanks for sharing with us at The HomeAcre Hop!

    Please join us again Thursday at:
    http://summers-acres.com

    ~Ann

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