I grew up on a cattle/hay/grain farm east of High Level, Alberta, and spent 9 years in cattle and horse 4H. At some point in my life I think I managed to bring most species of animal home and sneak them past my parents. Sometimes my parents found out about, some they did not… This included, chickens, dogs, cats, rabbits, geese, ducks, pigs and miniature horses. Some were easier to hide than others.
Knowing that High Level had pretty much zero to offer I moved to the other end of the province to pursue post-secondary education. As it turns out Medicine Hat was about as far as possible away from High Level… 1,264 Km to be exact. Which I felt was far enough. After schooling I was ready to explore the country, unfortunately I found work in Grimshaw. For those that don’t know where Grimshaw is, it isn’t all that far from High Level. So much for exploring the country! I lived in a trailer park with my soon-to-be husband, Stephen, before our time in Grimshaw came to a close.
Two more homes in suburbia made up my mind that having the neighbours dog barking at you non-stop every time you step into your back yard is not fun. At all. This launched our search for something a little more detached from urban life. From there Stephen and I settled on a property, we weren’t sure if we would be able to compete with interest of other prospective buyers, but as fate would have it the woman selling the house fell in love with our 6 month old baby and said “I want that family to live here” and refused to sell the house to anyone else.
During the search for a rural property we discovered that Hayes, our 1st son, had an intolerance to cow dairy. Before we knew it we had purchased 2 Nigerian Dwarf Goats and planned on using the milk for Hayes, and we weren’t even in possession of the acreage yet. Once settled in I went crazy and bought a lot more goats and a metric ton of chickens. They were so easy to take care of and weren’t a danger to children due to their size. Not like the dairy cow, that we owned also for making cheese. That didn’t last long, as it turns out big livestock are hard on fences and husbands.
As time went on and our responsibilities grew we discovered it isn’t all fun and games. Our water well gave up and our old farm house was showing its age and was full of asbestos. Renovating the house was pretty much out of the question so we made the massive decision to demolish and build a new house. Easy right? Well, baby 2 was on the way and with new mortgage rules its pretty hard to demolish the equity on a property and get a building loan. So we scrounged hard and managed to come up with enough money to build a house on our own.
We donated our house to the County Fire Department to use as live fire training. Consider the house demolished. After A LOT of sweat equity on Stephen’s part we discovered anybody can be an electrician, plumber, roofer, drywaller, carpenter and heavy equipment operator. Stephen will now die 2 years earlier than he should and we now have a healthy house equipped with solar panels, fire place and other energy efficient accoutrements.
As this is written Hayes is 7 and Kett is 3. We have a dozen Kune Kune Pigs and 40 or so Nigerian Dwarf Goats. We still ‘adult’ and work full time jobs but always manage to have time to be homesteaders. We also love to spend our days homeschooling and learning with our tiny humans.
I was born in Melville, Saskatchewan where the Melville Millionaires ruled the sports scene. My first real pet was a hamster, which is a far cry from what I do today. When I was at the age of 11 my sister, Madison, was born. At that time I began to realize the world did not revolve around me. Which at that age, it is hard to believe, especially making the transition between an only child to having a newborn in the room.
I took an interest in music and bought my 1st guitar around that age. I never took lessons and considered myself ‘self taught.’ Come to think of it if I put more effort and “real” lessons into that thing I would probably be a famous rock star by now. Anyway, I met Nicole in Medicine Hat, Alberta while going to school to get my degree. At the time I didn’t realize she was “the one” but time soon sorted that out.
Eventually we got engaged and moved up to Grimshaw, Alberta for work. I would have never guessed my life would have gone from video game playing, KD eating, ’double-income-no-kids’ into crazy quasi-hippies living in an energy efficient house that I built mostly on my own with a whole herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats and Kunekune Piggies. Which was mostly Nicole’s idea I might add. Except for the pigs, that was my idea. As it turns out its a fantastic way to raise my 2 boys and slowly succumb to male pattern baldness. I’ll let Nicole fill you in on some of the other details of us.