Saturday, April 19, 2008

The beginning

This inaugural blog is my first attempt to put to words the adventure Jeremy and I have started. We have always talked about having a small farm. Little did I know that at ages 30 and 32, we would begin.

After much discussion, we purchased our first alpacas in October 2007. We have five total and have been learning a great deal about caring for and maintaining these really beautiful animals. They are much different than the sheep my family raised during my childhood and certainly different than the market pigs that were my 4-H project and the cattle my dad now owns.

People question why very busy 30-ish professionals are launching a farming adventure. We have several inquiries about our sanity. In the early months of our alpaca purchase, people would drive by slowly on the county road that runs adjacent to our house - sometimes even stopping to stare. My favorite was our neighbor who call and just flat out asked, "What are those animals in your yard!?" While we could name the animal, I am not sure we can put a label on our motivation for this lifestyle choice. It's complex.

Maybe this blog will help us label it. My husband said it best when he said, "You got to have the 4-H experience growing up and I have to have that - 4-H at 30." We laugh when we tell our friends that is "the reason." I think there is something to that, but maybe that is putting it a little simply.

We do want to have a connection to the earth. We want a joint project that brings us together. We want to have animals in our care that are useful (fiber production) and entertaining. We want to join a community that could not be more welcoming to two very green alpaca farmers. We want to have farm fresh eggs gathered in our own backyard. And, we like that we will know (when our chicks reach laying age) what the chickens have been eating before they offer up their eggs for our consumption.

Looking back, some of these motivations were some of the outcomes of my 4-H experience. Granted, at 7 years old, I couldn't tell you these were the best things about 4-H membership. I would account the fun times with my family, learning new things, and making great friends. Alpacas have been an avenue to all of these things.

So far, our farming adventure has delivered on most of our desires. I look forward to seeing what else we learn about the process of farming, together as a young couple, and what we learn about ourselves in the process.

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