The Beginning of the Niles Journey


A photo of MalisaWell, I did it. I milked a goat. I thought it would hard to do, but it was more of a mental block than it being a difficult chore. It wasn’t so bad, well until the goat stepped into the bucket.

In my family’s move to be more self-sufficient, there have been many such obstacles. The knowledge is there but there is sometimes the question of “can I really do this?” surfaces. My family started this move 1 ½ years ago. My husband, Rick and I had purchased an old (1890) huge rectory house that sat on 8 acres in July 2009, but due to the purchase agreement we waited until July 2011 to move in.

Malisa's house 

In the fall of 2010, I had been a high school agricultural teacher for 14 years and was suffering from major teacher burnout and our home life was suffering due to my long hours and high stress levels. Rick and I sat down talked and prayed about what we should do. We, along with divine guidance, decided I should resign the following year (May 2011) and become a stay at home mom for our 3 daughters; Banion (7 yrs), Bethany (4 yrs) and Emma (3yrs) and work on our new farm growing and producing food for our family. Rick works for an area wind farm. Our family goal is to have a family farm similar in the 1940s/1950s; self-sufficient, but possibly produce a bit extra to sell.

The family moved in August 2011 to the country. By fall, the family included 2 rabbits, 1 pig (butchered in November), 19 laying hens and 1 self-confident rooster. We have worked hard in and out of house. Rick and I ripped out carpet and refinished the wood floors, remodeled the office and laundry room, and are currently working on the main floor bath. Well, was working on, but spring hit and that project is on hold as we work on outside projects. In the last month, the family has expanded by 5 rabbits, 92 broiler chicks, 13 replacement layers, 2 milking goats, and 3 goat kids, so fencing, building chicken tractors, and holding pens have become the new priority.

The plan is to raise the rabbits for meat. We will keep 3 does and a buck through the winter, but butcher the rest for meat and fur. I am a little nervous about how the girls will take it, but we have been honest with them from the start of the rabbit venture. I plan on having them chose the rabbits we will keep, hopefully that will help.

Malisa Niles
5/23/2012 9:40:31 PM

Thank you for the warm welcome. I hope my postings will inform as well as amuse you:)

Malisa Niles
5/23/2012 9:39:43 PM

Her little sister is obsessed with collecting eggs. I think she would sit in front of the hen if I let her.

Malisa Niles
5/23/2012 9:38:48 PM

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I look forward to hearing from you.

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