What are some of the challenges you face on your current property?
“Our acreage is in a long narrow strip. The property had horse fencing and a horse barn when we bought it, and it’s just not ideal for livestock. It was a great starting point for us, but it has also presented many challenges. We have talked about if we woke up millionaires, what we would change on the property. Moving the barn would be at the top of the list! We are also right in the open, with no shelter from the wind. As I type this, I can hear the wind whipping around the house, rattling the window screens. We hope to plant some trees to help break the wind a little. One advantage to not having trees is that we are able to get solar panels, which we are doing this year!”
What initially drove you to homesteading and gardening?
“We love to tell people that we have a farm because Bob loves hot sauce. We started in five-gallon buckets on our porch, growing several types of very hot peppers. We also grew herbs, tomatoes, tomatillos, and hops for home brewing. That wasn’t enough space, so we bought a farm. I’ve always wanted to have chickens and goats, so things just sort of progressed. Scope creep is real on this farm!”
What do you enjoy doing during your free time?
“I [Nicole] am a knitter, and I run a huge Facebook group relating to knitting and fiber arts. Bob is fixing up a 1987 Mazda B2200 to get it in running condition, which takes up a lot of his time. Together, in non-Covid times we support a couple of awesome soccer teams called Detroit City Football Club. We also really enjoy watching PBS together!”
What are some long-term goals you have from your homestead and garden?
“We hope to eventually lease or purchase about 12 acres from our neighbor. It’s currently a hayfield, and we would love to add more space for rotational grazing! We would also like to open a store on our property, selling our meats, eggs, produce, homemade jams, and handmade items.”
What is your favorite thing to grow?
“We are not huge fans of the gardening side of things, but we have four raised beds planted entirely with garlic right now!! We are big garlic eaters, and it pairs really well with the meat we raise.”
Speaking of, what is your favorite animal to raise?
“That’s a tough one! All of our animals have their purpose on the farm. Laying hens were our gateway animal around two months after buying the house, and then we started raising meat chickens the following summer. We also love our muscovy ducks! They are the best moms, and come in so many beautiful colors. Our geese are part of our animal protection arsenal, and have so much character. Our goats are pets, and the unofficial mascots of the farm. They are loved by everyone, unless we are trying to bring their food, and they climb into the hay cart… Overall, the most beautiful animals we raise are our Jacob sheep. They have beautiful wool, taste delicious, and have really neat horns!”
Anything else to add?
“We are SO lucky to have as many amazing friends and mentors as we do.
Our friend Aimee has helped us with sheep so many times. We have one lamb from her already, and we are getting another one this year.
Trent from Green Gardens has been a huge supporter of ours, and has also been an awesome sometimes-boss, and always-friend. His farm grows some delicious produce.
Jason and Seraina from Willow Gardens have also been a huge help when we were growing produce. They grow certified organic produce and are vendors at the Marshall Farmers Market with us!
We have a small online shop selling stickers and pins and other fun stuff. Our newest item is an enamel pin that looks like our lead ram Limerick!”
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Nicole and Robert! We are forever grateful for your sponsorship of the photo challenge and support of our community. Please make sure to follow FrontiereFarmHouse on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube! Shop their website at http://frontierefarm.house.