I apologize for the time since my last blog… We have been trying to unpack and get settled here on the new homestead. While walking the property, talking about what to do to turn this little hobby farm into a working homestead, I had the idea to invite all of you to share the journey with us. So, with that thought in mind, here is our first installment of “Turning your new home into a working homestead”.
Moving from Arizona to Wisconsin was quite an adventure. I am happy to share that we are all finally on one parcel of land. Cookie and Do were delivered last Sunday from the boarding facility and the big rig truck has been completely unloaded. While we moved from Arizona to Wisconsin with the desire of getting back to the moisture and green of the Midwest, we were quite surprised with the subtle differences between the two states…
Climate aside, there are a few differences that take a bit of getting used to. Now, I’m sure that had we arrived in any other year I wouldn’t have noticed quite so many differences so soon, but being as the “worse drought since the 50’s” was in full swing when we arrived, the difference jumped out right off the bat.
In Arizona, we shopped at one of two local feed stores for hay, C.O.B. (Corn, Oats and Barley with Molasses) and these nifty alfalfa pellets called Estralla. Cookie and Do survived the desert living off this diet for their entire life! Arriving in Wisconsin with brown pastures and no rain in sight, I set out to find a feed store… and was shocked when I couldn’t really find one! No one sold hay! Farm and Fleet sold a sweet feed but it was pelleted – not whole grains and NO ONE carries Estralla pellets out here. They were designed for the southwest apparently! Who knew???!!! We ended up buying the sweet feed in pelleted form and found alfalfa hay cubes that were shipped in from Canada. The horse lost some weight, but we kept them going until the rains came back and the pastures greened up. I’m sure that when I am able to experience a normal Wisconsin summer, I too will scoff at the notion of a feed store in the Midwest, but right now… I’m longing for my Olsen’s Grain in Chino Valley, AZ!!!
Other differences… the grocery stores are so incredibly different. We had to dry up Cookie cow for the trip and left much of the condiments in AZ with friends. The grocery stores out here are TINY and a bit specialized. While this is fun and an adventure each time we go shopping, it’s also difficult because several stores become involved to accomplish an entire grocery list. We did find a large Safeway type grocery store in Middleton and will likely do most of our shopping there for the non-homestead created essentials.
Complete side note….. While I am all about the homestead and growing / raising our own food… I have to confess that there is this cheese spread called Owl’s Nest Port Wine Cheese that has me completely addicted!!!! It’s now my favorite after work snack with some salty butter pretzels!!!
Another very fun difference… you can buy fishing worms… live bait… booze and sub sandwiches from the same store!!!! The one closest to us claims “LIVE BAIT AND LIQUOR!!!” ahead one mile on a sign!!! I went into the store just to check it out… and found it to be quite a neat little country store!
Though, despite the differences, I wouldn’t change a thing! I am LOVING the Midwest and now that we are starting to find sources for a winter stock pile of hay… I am feeling secure for Cookie and Do too!
Hope you enjoy the new homestead adventure journey with us and wish you all the best!!!
Nance – with Homesteader’s Supply!