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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homestead Dreams

Spring is here and I am daydreaming.  To be perfectly honest, you could probably insert any season and follow it with "and I am daydreaming," and have it be accurate.  I do a lot of daydreaming.

Today, however, we are going call daydreaming "planning."

Our little slice of Virginia is not large, just over 3 acres, but I would like to see it used productively and sustainably.  We have an orchard that is already fruiting, a garden that is starting to flourish, and about 2 acres of partially cleared, unfenced, unused land.  This just cannot be! gasp

As you already know, dear reader, I would like to have some livestock.  A true homestead has the means to produce the vegetables and meat products the family needs for the entire year.  While I think that is very lofty for my family and my land, I would like to get as close as possible.

The homestead in my dreams has a family cow for milk.  Right now I am partial to either


Both are smaller, multi-purpose, heritage breeds that are known to do well on small homesteads.  There is a Dexter breeder in my town, not a mile from here, so that seems a wise choice.

But, since I don't want the cow to be lonely (hah, not really the reason), the dream homestead also has a few sheep.  I like either

Tunis Sheep

Hog Island Sheep
Again, both are heritage breed, multi-purpose sheep that can forage well on imperfect pasture.  Hog Island Sheep are native to Virginia, but the Tunis Sheep are soooo lovely, and give good wool.

An alternative to either the sheep or the cow, is to have goats.  Milk goats are really common in our area, but as we discussed last year, they can be high maintenance.  But if I had to choose a heritage breed of goat to have on our small holding, it would be the

San Clemente Goat
They are very, very rare, and conservation efforts are taking place nationwide to promote the breed.  I would love to be part of a recovery effort like that.  Plus, look at their beautiful faces!  Sheesh

That is it for our Dream Homestead of Tomorrow (do you all remember those old cartoons about the dream home of tomorrow  Or the hilarious Farm of Tomorrow?).

And we haven't even discussed the chickens, yet!

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