More than eight years ago, when we purchased our brick ranch on a third of an acre in Indianapolis, I was itching to get my garden in and the fencing up for our dogs. I never imagined we'd be operating as a real homestead, growing a third of our food, raising chickens for eggs and meat, and raising Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats for milk, yogurt and cheese. It all started with a simple question, just how much can we provide for our family in this space?
You can read more about the driving forces behind our continuous efforts to expand our sustainable living on our suburban lot on our news page and Blog Entries, but let's just say that our opinion of the quality of american food is declining. Recent economic woes raise concerns about whether our country's farmland, in its current state, could produce anough food for our nation. Additionally, supporting local businesses, including local sustainable food producers is key to revitalizing our nations economy, once locality at a time.
All that aside, we have ALWAYS loved to grow food, raise animals and prepare food, so doing so makes a lot of sense for us. I look forward to sharing our journey with you and perhaps inspiring your family to ask, what can you do for family with the land you own?
My husband Corey and I met in 2000 while working at a local Hotel during undergraduate studies. We hit it off immediately. While I attended law school, we got married (in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day), and settled into our house Each year since then we have doubled our gardening space to well over three thousand square feet and have acquired seven goats, 12 chickens, 2 dogs and a cat.
It all started when we rescued a chicken from a bank-owned farm property. Henny Penny, a barred rock hen, laid our first homestead eggs that spring and we raised three more chicks, taking it slow. However, accidents happen with chickens, and one year we found ourselves down to one hen and purchased a dozen straight run chicks to raise for eggs and meat. Now there are a dozen happy hens laying an egg a day for us and a few stewing roosters in the freezer.
In February 2010, our first two grade nigerian dwarf dairy does were born. We brought Ruth and Naomi home in March and were QUICKLY hooked. Goats make wonderfull pets that actually like to stay outside and not destroy the house. In the late fall, we bred our does to a registered buck and our first three kids (all boys) were born April 4, 2011. I began milking our does, putting the kids up at night and milking by hand in the morning, getting a quart or more per day of the best milk ever while the kids nursed their nannys all day.
Now we have seven goats and show then in ADGA and NDGA, but we still breed and sell quality homestead goats as well as show goats to supply everyone in our community with the goat that is right for them. We have also been successful in our goat's milk soap business and have developed a reputation as THE Indianapolis area goat people. We have done many independent consultations on urban homesteading as well as goat and chicken care which start at only $50!
It is hard to believe sometimes the quality (and quantity) of food we prepare that travels no further than across our yard. Moreover, waking to the smell of fresh straw and the task of milking is gratifying...so much moreso than a dose of the morning news and a rush off to the office. Our lives are being transformed as our land is transformed, and we are richer for it. We look forward to sharing our journey with you along the way. Welcome to our little Urban Indy Homestead.
Visit us here for general homestead news, at www.indygoats.webs.com for more about our goats and at www.saturatedmarket.webs.com for more about Goat's milk soap. We are also on facebook as Naptown Nigerians.