What is Make-It-Do Farm?
Make-It-Do Farm should maybe be called a homestead, not a farm. Words and meanings are so subjective these days. Anyway, it's five acres of mostly hardwood forest with roughly two acres clear upon which sits our concrete block/stick frame house that the realtor called a "chateau style." Bother... here's a photo:
I'll have you know that I took that photo just now, just for you. Mess and all. (It can be rather picturesque when we clean up and sort of, um, don't live here.) So, that's our 1400 square foot, 3 bedroom home. Built in 1966 by some St. Louis folks as a summer home. When you see what is in the backyard, you'll understand why. Along one side of the property runs a creek. If it were just an average creek, it would still be beautiful, but there's this:
That gorgeous rock and water combo is known as "shut-ins." After a rain, we can hear the falls rushing and roaring from the house.
South of the house is our 50'x60' vegetable garden, fenced tightly to keep the critters out. Not a lot growing in it in this picture, but what's growing is growing well, and that's what's important.
All of the garden fencing, gates and most of the posts are recycled. There's some welded wire fencing from a friend, some chain link from another friend.
To the east of the garden there's the goat barn/chicken coop:
The only out-building on the property when we moved in almost eight years ago was a little concrete block well-pump house. We added on an 8'x8' chicken coop the first spring, fencing in a small yard for them, though we usually let them free range now. The coop and fencing were made with 95% free materials. The second spring we put some tax refund money toward new materials to build a 20'x24' pole barn. We built stalls out of cedar slab wood we got free, cedar posts from a tree on our property, and second-hand hardware. Same story with the sad looking siding that I've always meant to paint... =) A few years ago we bought a cow, added an 8'x20' section for her out of all free materials, but sold her after a few months. (That's another story.)
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. See? With Denny here we are working on being both practical and aesthetically pleasing. We cleared out some cedars last year and repurposed the branches into arbors like this one:
We try to use natural materials first; rocks, branches, logs, plants. It's looking mighty fine around here these days. It's a wonderful piece of land and we are committed to working with its natural beauty.
Where is Make-It-Do Farm?
We are located 10 minutes east of Fredericktown, Missouri, on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest, in Madison County. We're two miles from Amidon Conservation Area, and the Castor River Shut-ins. In fact, there are several fantastic natural attractions within an hour's drive of us; Millstream Gardens, Elephant Rocks State Park, and Pickle Springs are some of our favorites.
If you want culture and city lights, go to St. Louis. If you want dark skies and clear running water, ancient rock outcroppings and hardwood forests teeming with wildlife, come see us. If you're lucky, we'll throw in some homemade yogurt--now that's culture.
Why Make-It-Do Farm?
We moved here because I love rural living. I was raised in the country, but spent my first few married years in town. I wanted nothing more than to raise my children in the country. I fell in love with the slow, quiet pace of Fredericktown. I fell in love with this property. The first time I heard the spring peepers calling from their home in the creek, I cried. When our first rooster crowed, I cried. When my children brought in the first egg, their eyes wide with excitement, and when our first baby goats were born, I cried. I'm either a sentimentalist or a freakin' cry-baby. Whatever I am, I love being in the country.
There is nothing like watching a flock of mixed breed chickens cluck and peck around the yard, and collecting eggs from nest boxes never, ever gets old. Goats, now; taking care of goats gets old. Not a summer passes that I don't get frustrated and think about throwing in the towel. If there is a fence, they will get through it, if there is something you don't want them to eat, they will eat it. In spite of my best efforts they end up in the garden at least twice a summer--and you thought Japanese beetles were hard on your crops. They can be affectionate and also completely stubborn and independent (like cats). But the patience and responsibility it has taught my children (and myself) is invaluable. The joy of watching baby goats come into the world and toddle around is incomparable. The milk is delicious, and not having to run into town three times a week to keep milk in my fridge is very convenient. And when I think about parting with them, I think, "What would a crazy goat lady be without goats?"
We currently have about two dozen hens, producing several dozen eggs a week, most of which we eat and some of which we sell. We keep our goat herd small and manageable, as difficult as it is to part with the kids each year. We bring in just over a gallon of milk a day; we sell a couple gallons a week and make cheese, yogurt and soap with the extra.
Yeah, barely enough going on to call it a farm. But it counts. And it's more than a hobby farm. Hobby farms eat money. Every animal on our farm earns its keep. Selling goats, milk, soap, eggs, and guinea keets pays for the animals' feed year 'round. The guinea fowl keep the ticks to a minimum. The two barn cats keep the mice down and the two Great Pyrenees dogs (one elderly, one in training) keep coons, minks, possums, armadillos, stray dogs and sometimes salesmen away.
Wait, wait... we have three relatively worthless ducks. Um... Entertainment? We bought them to keep a stray Canada goose company, and I think she appreciated it for the summer, but she flew away in the fall and left us with these ducks who refuse to use the small duck pond we built.
You've already formed an idea of the make-it-do part of our farm. We choose to live a economically conservative lifestyle for many reasons. Less impact on environment, higher quality of life for us; more time together, more opportunities for creativity. We are teaching our children to produce, reduce, reuse, recycle, and relax. There's more to life than chasing the ol' greenback.
Who is Make-It-Do Farm?
Me, Kaleesha. Hi. =) My darling Denny, who joined our family in the summer of 2013. The children: Farra, 14; Atira, 12; Seth, 11 next month; Blue, 9; Royal, 7; Little, 5; and Justin, 3.
Dogs: Murphy & Feynman, and Talula, Denny's elderly house dog
Cats: Whitefoot & Arwen, and Rosie, Denny's house cat
Goats: Daisy & Rochel
Chickens: very funny. Actually, I think three of them do have names; Specky, Tripsatinka, Midnight
Ducks: Huey, Dewey, Louie (of course)
Guineas: only ever named one of them; Vincetta.
When is Make-It-Do Farm?
Now it's just getting ridiculous. Thanks for stopping by!