Today's Featured Farmer is Daisy of Adventure Acres.
Welcome, Daisy, and thanks for joining us!
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
My husband and I moved to his family's Iowa acreage the spring of 2014 and are working to restore it to a functional homestead and raise a seventh generation of Adventurers here. We have three children - two daughters, 11 and 8, and a Little Farmer Boy who just turned 3.
We have a laying flock of Rhode Island Reds, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Easter Eggers and a Welsh Harlequin duck. We have some champion Broken Satin rabbits, three cats and a farm dog named Rufus. (And plans to establish a waterfowl flock this spring because duck eggs are AWESOME in homemade bread!)
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There is a small orchard of five apple trees and a grove of mulberry trees. We have been learning abut foraging and made our first loaf of dandelion bread last year. Establishing a garden plot has been a challenge, but our container garden has done well.
We have flower gardens to help support our local honeybee operations, and they attract a variety of pollinators for us to watch.
2. How did you get started in agriculture?
When I was growing up, my grandparents had a family farming operation. There was a big pasture, a herd of cattle, with sheep and pigs and horses and chickens and barn kitties and tons of opportunities to see that sort of lifestyle as an adventure.
We canned cherry jelly, looked forward to hunting for morel mushrooms, went bean-walking and I even helped bale hay a few times. So, I suppose I could say that they influenced me to be interested in pursuing such a life.
Well . . . them, and Laura Ingalls. She's my pioneering hero.
(Want some "Little House" recipes? Check out this book--> The Little House Cookbook)
3. What is your favorite part of your farming lifestyle?
I have loved to see how moving here has turned my husband into MacGyver! I have always known that he is a very clever fellow, but this sort of lifestyle really highlights his crazy awesome trouble-shooting abilities.
And, actually, this follows for all of us. I have seen my kids blossom in their responsibilities and knowledge, and I have learned that I was a lot stronger than I realized. It has brought out a lot of our inner strengths.
We really enjoy teaching our kids where their food comes from, and they have a whole new respect for what it takes to grow food when they share the responsibility.
4. What have you struggled with?
I would say that it's been a struggle to stop and appreciate our progress. Understand, before we moved here, I had mapped out the grounds, detailing how we would utilize the space, and did a couple of years of research about every aspect of the animals and food crops I planned to grow. When I dream, I dream big. When I work for something, I work hard.
On Dec. 24th, 2014, I experienced sudden numbness and weakness on my right side, I lost my sense of taste and smell. I went to the emergency room because they were concerned I was having a stroke. I spent much of last year going to doctor appointments at Mayo, until they diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis.
Honestly, I felt a little defeated. I found myself thinking of all the things that I had wanted to get done, and how I felt like I fell short.
But then, one day I was looking back at pictures from before we moved here, and thought of all the work we have done-- moving into a new household, working on training the apple trees, establishing a laying flock and setting up their Little Blue Barn, training a farm dog, harvesting and processing fruit from the trees that had normally fallen, unused. We have beaten back nature to retake a lot of the grounds.
And we had done all this while I was unknowingly struggling with multiple sclerosis and taking care of a toddler! I realized that I really had done a lot!
5. What has been the most surprising thing about incorporating this into your life?
I’ve been surprised by the vast amount of humor to be found in the process. Accidentally breaking an egg in your pocket. Watching a silly chicken try to turn directions in flight and run into another chicken mid-air. Opening your front door to see a surprised, enormous buck eating your harvest display pumpkins. Accidentally almost setting your overalls ablaze while learning how to make fire.
I have laughed . . . Every. Single. Day. It's terrific.
My toddler son loves dinosaurs, and is encouraging one of his dinosaurs to go broody and hatch some more!
6. How has being involved in agriculture affected your faith?
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. - Proverbs 16:9
If there is one great, sweeping lesson to be learned from a homesteading life, it is that things do not always go as planned, and you must expect change. Circumstances change. Seasons change. Expectations change. Resources change. Abilities change. But the Lord is a constant in this ever-changing world, so following His example and His Word will help us get where we need to be.
7. What advice would you give a complete newbie (you know, like me)?
Start where you are, and learn what you can.
A lot of people dream of moving to the country to start a homestead. But they can begin right where they are. Start with the little things. Grow an herb garden in your windowsill, or start up some tomatoes in a container on your front stoop. Visit a local dairy or chat up some growers at a local farmers' market.
One of my favorite homesteading pages is 7 Heavenly Hens Garden. Sam has a home in downtown Albuquerque and produces more in his backyard than we do on our seven acres! :) It's amazing. He wanted to grow healthy food for himself and his family, so he designed his backyard into an urban homestead with honeybees and chickens and an awesome garden.
After seeing his page, I was curious about whether or not our previous town would allow chickens and was surprised to learn that they did. I could have been practicing my chicken skills for years before I got here! Learn what you can about starting where you are!
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Daisy is a 36-year-old farm-at-home mom. She’s been a newspaper reporter, Navy wife, English as a Second Language Teacher in Japan, and most of all . . . an adventurer. She enjoys painting, photography, and is working on writing a book of poetry and a collection of children's stories.
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