Last Tuesday I gave an update on the flora in my world and today I’m writing about the fauna! I think some of you know that I have a bit of a fantasy for the homesteading life despite the fact that I’m inherently lazy. We have a few outside animals that are low maintenance and fit well into our lives.
(I will say here that even though I chose a picture of a sheep for the header of this post, we do not have sheep. I love them, but shearing them seems like a lot of work. I think goats are a more realistic goal.)
We have a cat!
This is our cat, August Thimbles. He’s a Maine Coon cat and really mean. But he’s also beautiful, so that makes up for a lot of his awfulness. He will be 5 in October and has been great fun for the kids while being cooped up during our long winters. He keeps my feet warm at night, for which I’m eternally grateful!
We have two bunnies. Our first, Olga, is an angora bunny who was given to us by one of my husband’s coworkers. His wife adopted five Angora bunnies from someone who could no longer care for them and was quickly overwhelmed! We took two off her hands, but one (we named him Nikolai) died just a couple of months after we adopted him. Olga is an absolute trooper. We’ve had her for about three years and my care of her has been minimal. But now that the kids are fairly independent outside and I don’t have to constantly hold or carry a baby around, I’m able to spend a lot more time with Olga. I’ve been trimming her fur and cuddling with her – she’s so sweet! How are bunnies so sweet when they must be terrified of humans?
This is our newest bunny, John Harry Jack (named by my oldest). He just appeared in our backyard a few weeks ago. He’d come and go and the highlight of our day was when we’d spot him – usually in our shed with Olga, giving her sniffles and kisses. I checked in with a few of our neighbors, Hi, are you missing a bunny?, but no one has claimed him. On the days that he’d disappear, I was so worried about him. I thought he’d been caught by an owl or a fox, but then a couple of days later he’d reappear, hopping around on top of Olga’s cage. I debated whether I should try to catch him or let him go. If he were wild, it would be no question that he belongs free. But he’s clearly domesticated and I’m a selfish person. So I scooped him up and put him in Nikolai’s old cage. I feel guilty every day about taking away his freedom. But I also worry about his safety! I have no idea if I’ve made the right decision, but he’s still a sweet little bug and I love cuddling with him.
What would you do in my situation? Would you release him back into the wild with animals that will eat him or would you give him a warm home with fresh food and water and snacks of hay and salad? That’s not a leading question at all, by the way.
(PS – their poop is amazing in the garden. Just saying – in case you’ve been tempted to get a bunny and need another another tally for the pros side of your list.)
We’ve had chickens since our first spring in our house. We now have two coops with a total of about 23-25 chickens (I can’t remember and they’re difficult to count). We have all sorts of breeds, but my favorites are the Faverolles. It helps that they’re a french breed – I like all things french.
Chickens are lovely to have – the kids enjoy watching them and my oldest loves going into their runs and trying to pet them. Fresh eggs are a blessing and a curse – there are so many that we can’t keep up with the eggs in the spring and summer! But in the late fall and winter, the chickens take a break and lay hardly no eggs. It can be frustrating to go out twice a day in the ice and snow to refresh their water, check their food, and make sure they’re in their coops and protected from predators when there’s no hope for eggs, but there’s always the promise of spring and more eggs than we can manage.
I’m an INFP, so I always have a wishlist. Even though we only have 1.5 acres and probably shouldn’t have anything else on our property, I can’t help but dream. And if we were to somehow acquire a small fortune and could purchase more property, then I need to be prepared to make some decisions!
I’ve already mentioned that goats are on my wishlist. I had a goat when I was a teenager and I loved her. They are sweet and so much fun to play with. And they eat the grass, so there would be huge chunks of the yard that we wouldn’t need to mow!
Bees are another challenge I’d love to try. I’m fascinated with how they live and work. Plus, having them nearby with lots of flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables is a wise decision. The bees can keep them pollinated and growing better than any other creature in the garden!
And, of course, I’d love a corgi. They’re herding dogs and I could use a little help around here. Corgis have the sweetest personalities and love to play, but they’re also not averse to resting a bit! They seem like the perfect match for my personality.
My eternal struggle
Time and consistency
I struggle to find and keep a consistent care routine. I’ve spent the last few years carefully structuring my day to make things work. More animals would mean more finagling of our routines. And I always worry about committing to something – what happens if I can’t follow through? What happens if something changes in my life and my priorities have to shift?
Animals cost a lot of money, especially livestock. Not only do you have to buy food, but you have to build and maintain fences and outdoor structures to keep them safe and warm. It’s a lot. And we have practically no money! I’m always amazed by people who are able to live and work on their homesteads with very little money. I don’t understand how the math works!
Okay, this was a silly little post, but I’ve been dreaming about living on a farm and livestock lately, so it seemed like a fun topic to write about!