|Kelly with one of our pet mini goats.|
When my kids were younger we lived on a little pocket of "country" in the middle of the city. An oasis in the desert! Along with our home schooling I wanted to give my kids the farm life experience. It ended up more like a petting zoo that benefited a few church plays and harvest festivals. Only a small amount of our “farming” made it to the table. Once it was on the table it was even harder to get it off the plate and into their mouths.
|Tamara with one of our hens|
Chicken eggs were easy. Duck eggs, no way. Later somehow, we found a sheep ranch in Utah that gave away newborn lambs for free! This old farmer who was near 90 years old had taken over running the ranch as a young man after his father died. His daughter told us that he had never taken a vacation from the ranch! Every year at lambing time, some of the ewes would have triplets. This old farmer had a soft heart and desired that none should perish. He made sure all the newborn lambs had received some colostrum milk from their mothers for their immunities before he gave any away, usually the smallest of the trio. But, they were free. One trip we came back with 16 baby lambs! We had a lot of bottle feeding to do. We picked out the ones we wanted to keep, A couple didn’t make it, and we sold the rest. Selling some helped pay for the powered lambs milk. The bottle feeding was fun and the kids really liked this part. We didn't crop their tails and when you bottle fed them they would wag their tails the whole time. It was so cute!
|Daniel and Tamara|
Those little lambs would run and leap and follow my kids around. When they became sheep they became an even bigger part of the kids play time. Years later they confessed to giving their youngest sister, Kelly, rides on the back of the sheep.
|Christa and Tamara|
Later on we tried raising rabbits for meat. The raising part the kids enjoyed. Butchering, well, I could clean, but I could not kill anything. My best friend, Kate and her husband came over to help with the butchering process. Having the three of us there made the work fast. They went home with their payment share of rabbit meat and mine went into the frig or freezer. I will say this, that after a rabbit is skinned it looked just like the cat we had dissected in high school. Hmm…The eating part…..well? I used the meat just like I would use chicken, but the kids just couldn’t eat it. I think in the end I gave most of it away.