We woke this morning to the sounds of a cow mooing and a rooster crowing. For the first time, our farm sounded like a farm. Rob and I laughed several times this morning about how far we'd come in just six months, in so many ways. Everyone in the family would say that the move has been a good choice. We are happy with the property, house and people. The scarcity of friends for the children and me is something we are all positive we will overcome. We believe that the difficulties of keeping animals alive was our preparation for harvesting animals later. All of us have learned that becoming attached is not a great idea. We are ready for the next challenge.
And as so often happens, when you're ready the challenge comes. For us it came in the form of five chickens, a rooster and a steer. If you've been following our plan you know that we decided to shoot for self-sufficiency first. For us that means making as much of our own food and food for our animals as possible. The garden is producing, the bees are buzzing, the chickens are growing. Our four remaining layers are about 13 weeks old. The 100 chicks are a week old. I wrote a few days ago that our plan was to prepare for two horses and a cow/calf pair.
After further discussion and the purchase of a 1964 GTO, clearly not a farm vehicle, we thought it best to put all further animals and fencing on temporary hold. Horses would not have brought us closer to being self-sufficient. Their dietary needs would take us in the opposite direction from self-sufficiency. The cow/calf idea, while I am sure it's in our future, is a commitment that I'm not ready to make. Twice a day milking seems daunting, especially when I've never really milked a cow. As we were making these decisions, another opportunity fell in our lap.
A friend of a neighbor lost his job and must move. He was looking to sell two dog runs, five chickens, a rooster and a 8 month old steer. If we were interested in taking them all, he'd be happy to cut us a deal. We purchased the lot for considerably less than we'd have spent on the dog runs if we'd bought them new. We were trying to decided how to provide fencing for our puppies as they grow older. The dog runs can be assembled as one large pen so that problem is solved. Since the chicken massacre, we've been talking about increasing our laying flock and how to best go about it. We now have a flock of 9 chickens, five that are already laying, and one rooster. The cow solution was so elegant that I never would have thought of it. One steer to raise for six more months or so and then meat in the freezer. We are moving closer to self-sufficiency every day.
And so, with our new additions, the sounds on the farm were different this morning. The birds are still singing, the bees are still buzzing but the sound track is definitely more farmish.