I never intended to be a farm girl. Cats were my thing and maybe a dog. But not big dogs. Big dogs scared me.
We lived in the suburbs of Greenville, South Carolina in a beautiful home with a big pool in the backyard and a whole lot of concrete. At one point I asked my husband if we could build some potagers for vegetable gardens. I believe Martha Stewart turned me on to those ( a potager is a fancy French kitchen garden). He said no. No potagers. Okay. I went about my suburban life and forgot about vegetable gardens.
Then my darling husband decided he wanted some land. We found a beautiful site for sale with 110 acres, three ponds and absolutely gorgeous views. No house, no barn, very few trees. But he seemed happy and I like to see him happy. So we put an offer on it. The land was 15-minutes away from our lake house which was in a town an hour south of where we currently lived. We decided to move into our lake house while we figured out what to do with the land. Our entire lives uprooted overnight. My 3rd-grade son kicked over the for sale sign in our yard. He wasn’t too happy about the move.
I quickly went from owning a beautiful bridal salon to owning an ornery mule, two donkeys and seven goats. We did not want a mule, two donkeys or seven goats, but they were in the pasture on our first day here so they became ours. It took me several weeks and a published letter to Hobby Farm magazine to figure out which goats were the boys and which were the girls. I laugh now, but at the time, everything “back there” looked the same. I have come a long way since then.
My five-year old daughter named the animals. We had seven goats so of course we named them after The Seven Dwarves. She named our donkeys Cookie and Brownie. The mule had a name but I can’t remember it.
The mule and the male donkey got in a fight a few weeks after we bought the farm. Apparently they both madly loved the female donkey and decided to have it out. In the process, her lip ripped halfway off. We came out to check on things and found her dazed and bleeding. I still hadn’t gotten up the courage to go into the pasture with the donkeys. I was convinced they would kick me in the head at the slightest provocation. And the mule was just big. Really big. Did I mention this happened in the middle of an ice storm? Yeah, it did.
We found a large animal vet to come out and take care of Brownie’s lip. We still have sweet Brownie. She looks like she is always scowling but she’s not! That’s just what donkeys look like when half of their lip is missing.
The vet told us to get rid of the mule. “He’s big, wild and hasn’t been properly handled. Sell him.” I think she knew we were in way over our heads.
I did what any newly-minted farm girl with no experience with animals would do. I listed him on Craigslist that night and gave him away. And I let my husband meet the new mule owners at the farm to figure out how to actually get him off the property.
I learned an important lesson. You can get rid of anything on Craigslist. Anything.
I embarked on an unexpected journey to being a Farm Girl and ended up falling in love with all of it. The baby chicks, the newborn goats, the wooly lambs, the poop (oh, the poop!), and even the ducks who steal my dogs’ meals every chance they get. I decided if I couldn’t sell wedding gowns, I could sell chickens. Before my husband knew what was happening, I had over 500 chickens and a new vocation as a breeder. Poor guy. He only wanted some land. He had no idea what 110 acres can lead to when you are married to a girl full of dreams. He does now.
My Chicken Addiction is mostly cured. Mostly. Instead of 500 chickens, now I just have four. I *might* have chicks arriving shortly but let’s not talk about that right now. The people who know about these things (chicken addicts) know that chickens are a gateway animal drug. You start with just a couple of chickens and before you even realize what is happening, you have hundreds plus sheep and donkeys and cows and goats and anything else you can find a little spot for on your farm. We call that Chicken Math. They honestly just seem to multiply magically.
I love my donkeys, but I’m scared of my cows. Cows are big and … well, they are really big. And after my initial experience with our cows, it’s taking me awhile to love them.
I have a pet goose named Walker who is convinced she is an actual person and spends much of her day following me around and knocking on the front door. Walker always wanted to live in the house but I could never convince my husband that it was a good idea. I have 21 guineas which is 21 too many if you ask my husband his thoughts on them. So don’t. Guineas are amazingly entertaining. And they eat ticks. End of discussion. (UPDATE: Walker left to nest in April and hasn’t yet returned. And I’m beyond sad. You can read her story here.)
I bought myself four Pygmy Goats last August while my husband was in Australia. Hey, it was my birthday! I talked the sellers into delivering them and then announced my new gift on Facebook. Without telling my husband. Bless him. He let me keep them.
We built our farmhouse and filled it with old wood floors, a huge kitchen and a big wrap-around porch. It’s perfect!
I absolutely love my farm. The entire place is beautiful and peaceful and calming. I’ve needed that a lot lately. I didn’t plan to become a farm girl. But God had different plans for me and I’m so glad He did! This is my happy place. He planted me right where I needed to be.