Eighteen years ago we bought our current home which we slowly, over the years, turned into a homestead. We started by turning our lawn into garden beds in order to learn to become proficient at growing our own food. Next, came the chickens, to allow us to have our own eggs and some meat. Those steps sound easy but they took quite a bit of work and over the years we took you with us through much of it. Through the good times, babies and bumper crops, and bad times, losses and failures....We shared it all.
Our final step at the current homestead was to purchase some Nigerian Dwarf goats. We started with two does. The first two years we used to become accustomed to caring for goats and learning all we could about them. On the second year we rented a little buck for breeding so we could use the does for dairy. Oh what an experience that was. Between having a buck for 30 days when we were used to our sweet little does....well mostly sweet little does. He basically took the backyard and everythig in it hostage and declared it all his own. We shared all those memories with you in past articles. In fact, many of the things I will talk about, as I go down memory lane, are covered in full detail in previous articles. But I will never forget that month with Freddy the buck! Freddy may have been a furry little monster on four legs but the kids he threw were absolutely adorable. They were strong and healthy and all sorts of adorable. The addition of new kids to our little homestead was a learning experience for sure but one that was so well worth it. The main thing I learned is it is better to have your own buck, even if it means some rearranging of your homestead to accomodate him. To have a buck that you know his temperment is priceless in the world of homesteading. And so it was the following year we traveled to Bastrop Texas to get Conrad, the buck. Conrad had been raised like a pet and bottle fed so he has a much more gentle temperment than Freddy the goat. Don't get me wrong, Conrad is not without his moments. He demands to be the only male in the backyard, two-legged or four-legged.
We have lived on our little homestead while we learned, laughed and loved. As we did all these things our family came back together - Grown kids moved back in state, grand kids came along and the homesteading fever caught all of them also. What else was there to do? We had to move to a bigger place and make a bigger homestead that everyone could participate in.
So the search began.....What did we look for? We looked for places between 5 and 20 acres, access to water and electric (in case we wanted to go on grid. It's all about options). We also wanted to be far enough from a town that we wouldn't be looked at or even considered for annexation but within 20 miles or so of a place that has decent stores to get the things you need. We wanted raw property. If it had fencing that was a plus but no houses because we didn't want to be limited by an existing house. We wanted land with some trees but not a forest. We wanted real trees; not just what we call cedar here in Texas but are actually a varity of Juniper. We wanted a place that had year round access with a driveable main road allowing access in all weather. We also had a limited price range of preferably 40,000 or less. This really narrowed the search for us. We figured if we saw a property that met all our criteria but cost more then we could always weigh our options.
As we searched for property we saw some that were shaped like bow ties and even neck ties. Those were out of the question. We saw some that had no road frontage and only deeded access to the property. Those also were out of the question. Then there were those that had access through just a narrow passage less than 20 feet wide ( this was not allowed by Texas Veterans) so that was also out of the question. We saw some that were right on a busy highway or too close to a town. After looking for what seemed like forever we finally came across and internet ad for a piece of property that had trees, was fenced on 3 sides was more or less the shape of a rectangle and had road frontage on two sides (one paved and one caliche). It was 8 acres of different terrain. There were rocky parts, slopey parts, parts that looked good for a pond and flat parts. It has access to water and electric at the front of the property so no engineering studies would be required to determine what a meter might cost us or infastructure to allow us to be added to a water system. We simply needed to purchase a meter and either pay someone to run or run them ourseleves, water lines. It was a very interesting piece of property. It was 4.5 miles from a very small town with a population of only 250 and 16 miles to a town with a population just at 1,000. It was 30 miles to a town with a population over 5,000 or 24 miles the other way to a town with about 6,000. This was the place we had been looking for.
The minute Ronnie stepped foot on the property I could tell he liked it. He walked it front to back and end to end and then did it again. He just kept saying the words "interesting and possibilities". I knew he liked it and the wheels in his mind were spinning.
We texted and FaceTimed with the kids so they could see the property and decide if it looked like a place they would want to live. They liked the idea of the tiny one building school house which housed pre-k through high school. The small community was what they were looking for. After much discussion we all decided this is where we wanted to start our new, expanded homestead.
We have much work, learning and excitement ahead of us and we will take you with us every step of the way as we...Live, Love, Laugh and Learn!