There was a time when I used to burn rice. Boxed meals were my specialty, and I could eat garlic bread for lunch. Thanks to a good friend, 6 years ago, I learned about whole foods. I tasted home grown eggs from free-range chickens and it changed everything for me. They were so delicious! We started buying grass fed meat, and raw milk and our bodies started to crave the dense nutrition. We wanted our own chickens, but after getting busted twice by our HOA we realized that it wasn’t going to work where we were at. When we started seeing all the restriction and confinement of living in the suburbs we soon realized what we needed to do. The introduction to real food left us wanting to be more self sufficient.

About a year later, soon after our first baby was born, we started looking for a little land. It took a while, and in the mean time I learned how to cook and bake (my husband is forever thankful!). I found a love for changing recipes, and actually looked forward to creating my own dinner recipes every night. It still brings me so much happiness to nourish my family.  Raising our family closer to nature was becoming a priority for me, and homesteading started to be a regular word used in our house.

Dreams Come True

Our dream came true 2 years ago when we found our 3.5 acre property. It was covered in tumbleweeds, and trashed chain-link fencing, isn’t that what everyone dreams of? It was desolate, it was deserted, it was going to be so much work, but it was OURS, and we could have as many chickens as we wanted!

We now have more chickens than we can count (with poop all over the porch to prove it), and we will start to breed heritage chickens this Spring. Our flock of katahdin sheep, and our nubian dairy goat all just had their lambs/kids which more than doubled our sheep and goat count in under 2 weeks. Being in Arizona, our climate is one of our biggest enemies.  We do have irrigation rights, which helps immensely, and we are also working to implement pasture rotation to reclaim our soil. Our grass and soil has already changed dramatically over the last year of working on it.

Our next big focus is setting up our garden area and food forest. Our homegrown eggs, lamb, chickens, and goat milk have been wonderful, and soon we will have fresh fruits and vegetables too. We homestead to raise our own food. To raise our children to believe in something bigger than themselves. I have never worked so hard, and I have never felt so fulfilled as I do where we are now.

Planting a new tree is a family event, and it brings us all so much joy. We go on a family walk around the perimeter of our property every night, and we all stand around our ewes as they give birth guessing how many more she might have. We love this farm life!

Dani and her husband, Curtis, live in San Tan Valley, Arizona with their 3 kids. Dani writes about life on the farm, and shares her favorite farm to table recipes on her blog Desolate Homestead, and you can follow her on Facebook.

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