Adjusting to Mountain Life
Adjusting to Mountain Life by Mountain Momma
We had plans to move to the mountains one day in the distant future, it was more of a dream. Just under a year ago something inside me snapped. It was time to go. There were a lot of things pushing to make this decision. The community we lived in was growing faster than the schools and roads could handle. My father is aging, lived over an hour from us, and I am the only family to care for him if he needs it. We wanted a homestead where we could have animals and gardens in a less populated area. I spoke with my father and almost simultaneously we decided to combine households and look for a mountain home that had a cabin or an apartment. He had the same sense, it was time to go.
I am lucky my employer allows a degree of flexibility, my husband stays at home with the kids, and my father is retired. There was nothing stopping us. We didn’t look long before we found almost exactly what we were looking for in Western NC. My father and my family moved to a home on a mountain in a rural town about 6 months ago. We have no regrets and are doing well. All the animals and my children are now free range. We have all slowed down a bit. I even drive slower. Life is just a lot less stressful, which is exactly what I needed. We are learning a lot and are expanding our prepping and homesteading/self sufficiency skills. Welcome to Mountain Life.
We moved from suburbia just outside of Raleigh, NC. We were lucky enough to live in a neighborhood without restrictions. We were able to raise chickens and plant a garden. This allowed us to learn some homesteading skills. We learned how to grow our own food, how to harvest it, dispatch, and preserve it. That gave us a little bit of a leg up before moving to the mountains and expanding our homesteading.
Since moving here, we picked up 2 goats from the local “tell it and sell it” radio program. Yep, it’s that rural. It turned out one of the goats was pregnant. The local Veterinarian thought she would have her babies in 6 weeks. A week later they showed up in the barn like the stork brought them. Momma had already cleaned them up and they were perfect by the time we found them one evening. Luckily she knew what to do and had her kids without any issues, we weren’t ready for birthing a baby goat.
We also bought a guard dog to protect the goats and chickens. She is a Great Pyrenees. We now have 3 dogs, 1 cat, 8 chickens, and 4 goats. Perfect. We have a partial lawn maintenance service along with backup meat supply. We are just getting started. I think a few cows are next to help with the pasture and provide an additional food supply.
We also raise meat chickens as needed. We haven’t bought chicken from the grocery store in years. You can pick you up a few at tractor supply or order them on line. We buy Cornish Cross or Cornish Rocks. You can ask for “meat chickens” at your local feed store and they will point you to the right breed. It takes 6-8 weeks to grow this breed for food. They taste the best. They don’t require anything fancy, just a basic shelter to put them in at night to keep them from being eaten (everyone loves chicken!!). We used a chicken tractor we built from pallets and chicken wire. Our next step to being self sufficient Is to hatch our own chickens.
We are blessed beyond our wildest dreams with a great garden and orchard that was already established when we purchased the home. There are apple, pear, cherry, and peach trees. They were neglected and haven’t been pruned in a long time. We have had to learn how and when to them. We applied the three d’s..and removed anything that was dead, diseased or dying and did not remove more than 25% of the healthy tree. These trees are going to take a few years to shape up. Now I need to learn when and what to spray on them to protect from pest and disease. We are hoping they will be productive this year. Our fingers are crossed. If the world tanks, we are going to need it. I am already dreaming of ways to preserve them. I hope to sound like Forrest Gump by the end of the summer....apple pie, apple turnover, apple jelly, apple sauce, dehydrated apples, apple...
We were also blessed with a wonderful garden with established perennials. There are asparagus beds, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. These will complement the annual garden we plant. Our seeds for our annual garden are sprouting now. We will be growing canning tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, okra, cucumber, squash, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, carrots, beans, watermelon, herbs, onions, radishes...that’s all I can remember right now. I am in a new zone with fresh ground. I can’t wait to see what this harvest brings!
Thanks for reading...Mountain Momma
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