“So I guess my questions are, did this start out as a hobby farm or did you marry a farmer? Does your husband have another job outside of the farm? How much do your girls help? Is it something they are expected to do like common chores around the house? How much of farm life gets pulled into your schooling?”
“I would like to know something. My dh and I are desperatly trying to get out of the city, onto a farm. We honestly feel that driving need (read: inspiration) to get out and get a sheep farm. How did you do it? How did you aquire your farm? (and it is large by many’s standards) I know that farming programs are different there in the states (we are in canada) but a starting point would be great!”
I grew up a city gal, mostly. I lived in Salt Lake City, UT and Miami, FL as a child then moved to a small town in Georgia at the age of 11. Byron, GA was only about 15 minutes away from big cities so we still did lots of shopping, extra curricular activities and the like. I never thought I would marry a farmer! I even wrote a story in first grade about “Princess Montse” who grew up to marry a prince, not a farmer, or a doctor, etc. I listed several different occupations but listed farmer at least three times. LOL.
But marry one I did.
I’ll be forever grateful.
Mr. Ferrero Rocher grew up on a farm. In fact, it was the same farm his grandfather owned. Mr. FR’s mother lives in the same house she grew up in, with major remodeling of course. ☺ We like to tease his parents that they must have done something wrong. Most farm children can’t wait to grow up and leave the farm. None of theirs wanted to leave!
That did present a problem after several years. The family farm (about 200 acres) wasn’t big enough to sustain everyone. So they did what most businesses do – they expanded. About 5 years ago the family partnership acquired the farm we are currently on (about 2,500 acres then and another 2,000 late last year) and half the families moved up here. The two farms are about 2 1/2 hours away from each other.
We farm alfalfa hay, most of which is trucked to California dairies. We rotate old alfalfa stands (over 5 years old) with wheat, oats, or triticale and also do some fields in field corn. We have been VERY lucky that Mr. FR does not have to work other jobs and I get to be a stay at home mom. Most farmers/ranchers are not so lucky, usually having to take “winter jobs” to support their families.
Most of the older kids (my nieces and nephews included) help out on the farm in some way. There is so much acreage to cover that we could hire help but prefer not to. Working together as a family, including extended family, has been one of the wonderful benefits of living on the farm. My children are able to spend more time with Mr. FR in one year than most children do with their fathers in three or four years. They like to ride in tractors with him, haul hay, and work in the shop servicing equipment.
Bon Bon (14) has been raking hay for 3 years. Last year she also learned to swath (mow) hay. Semisweet (13) has been raking for about 2 years and will learn to swath this year. Brownie (11) learned to rake this past summer and will probably help rake a little bit this year. Raking is the easiest thing to do so that’s where the kids start. In the summer they typically work an average of four to five hours a day, though some days can be longer. There’s nothing for them to do in the winter, except school. ☺The kids also trap gophers. Those little menaces make a mess of the fields!
You can read more about our farming process in these posts from two years ago. There are even some videos!
We (meaning the farm partnership) also have around a couple hundred head of cattle. That number fluctuates throughout the year. For some reason looking back in my archives I haven’t done a post about all the cattle work that goes on. Hmmm… something to keep in mind for this year. I did find this post Cows and Women.
One perk to homeschooling is the ability to be flexible. We do homeschool in the summertime but it is a lighter load for the older girls. Because of this I do more intense school with the younger children during the summer. It’s nice to play outside while it is cool then come in during the heat of the day to do school work.
I’m sorry this post didn’t help you much, Jaime, about how to acquire a farm. I guess the old saying is true, “To get a farm you either have to inherit it or marry it.”