We're heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you're growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome to the Down Home Farm Tours series. To see all the farms and homesteads featured in this series, click here.
Welcome, Wild Oaks Poultry Farm!
Today, you get to meet Wild Oaks Poultry Farm in Central Minnesota. The family behind this farm gardens and raises poultry. Look at that cutie-pie chick!
What is the name of your farm/homestead?
Wild Oaks Poultry Farm
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
That's a complicated question… I grew up on a farm, and was pretty involved in as much as my age allowed. But by the time I graduated I swore I would NEVER live that life. Funny how things change! I've been working on our property for two years.
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
We live in a rural area, but it's still pretty populated. We have close neighbors on three sides and a busy highway on the forth. Our plot is just under three acres, with LOTS of trees- oaks, walnuts, and spruce mostly.
What are you raising, growing, and doing?
I raise chickens both for meat and eggs. We also have fruit trees and shrubs (apple, cherry, blackberry) and a large garden where I grow pretty much everything that's able to be grown in my zone.
How did you get into farming/homesteading?
It's a round about story, really. As I said, I was totally anti farming/rural living when I graduated high school. I loved college and living in cities and being busy. Then I had kids, and things started to change very slowly. When I had my second both kids were diagnosed with food allergies — nothing life threatening, but they had ear infections for 9 months before — after much prodding on my part — we figured out why.
I started researching food allergies. And I came upon Nourishing Traditions, which introduced me to the wonders of raw milk, pastured meat, eggs, and butter, and the REAL difference between organic and conventional food. But sourcing these foods was hard, and when I could find them they were prohibitively expensive.
In the meantime we took a trip to visit our parents; we were raised in the midwest, Nebraska and Kansas. I realized I actually missed home, and didn't want to leave. I re-read My Antonia by Willa Cather, a book written about my home town and the surrounding area. The book made me totally homesick. So when my husband's job transferred him to Minnesota we took the opportunity to find a place with enough property to raise a lot of our own food. We've been working on it ever since!
Any future plans?
I want to continue to slowly expand my flock of chickens (last year I had 22, right now I have 70) and sell eggs to neighbors. I would like to expand my garden enough to have a stand at the local farmer's market. I've also gone back and forth on adding a dairy animal or two, but I'm not convinced yet, and our township limits animal units based on property size…
Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you want to farm or homestead, be really particular about the land you choose. Then don't fight it, work with it. If you have a problem with no obvious or seemingly doable solution, unless someone/thing's life is dependent on it, wait. Work smarter, not harder! I know that's all kind of vague, but it's what I have learned in the past two years. 🙂
Let's Tour Wild Oaks Poultry Farm!
(Wardee: In the captions below, you're hearing from Wild Oaks Poultry Farm as they tell you what is in each picture.)
One of my Buckeye chicks.
And a few more Buckeyes.
Our crabapple tree in bloom, buzzing with pollinators.
My garden, taken in May. The fence is new this past spring (to keep free ranging chickens out). It looks pretty sparse, but there's a lot more growing than in most other gardens around here –I have onions, spinach, kale, broccoli, turnips, garlic, strawberries, cover crops, and just beyond the fence are my potatoes in a hugelkultur bed. [Wardee: Oh, we are dying to try hugelkultur!]
This is my garden in full swing summer of 2011: I know it's far off so you can't make anything out, but I LOVE this picture. [Wardee: Yes, it is a gorgeous setting!]
My herb spiral, right next to to the front porch — see my bucket fountain in the background? I'm pretty proud of it!
One of my big helpers. She's more cute than helpful. 🙂
My new garden coop. It's meant for summer use only, so it's a simple A-frame covered with a canvas tarp. I have a much sturdier coop near the house that's more suitable to the winters here.
And my other helper!
Our shed/barn/second garage… it is what we want it to be. On one side we store the mower and sweeper, firewood, and other stuff. The other side is where I store my feed and brood my chicks. The loft holds mostly junk right now, but I plan to clean it up soon as possible coop space. Currently, my chickens are confined almost exclusively to their coop when there is snow on the ground, and every inch of coop space is precious.
(Back to Wardee) Thank you for sharing with us!
Please give Wild Oaks Poultry Farm a warm welcome in the comments!
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