In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine



Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I used to be extremely obessive about keeping my car clean.  Minus the head-on collision it had been in, it was practically brand new when I bought it a few years ago.  After a few months and about a thousand bucks in parts, my little red Scion XA was as good as new thanks to my husband and father-in-law.  It was the newest car I've ever owned (only a year old) and it wasn't teal green, unlike my previous two cars.  I had a 'no food or drink' rule for the longest time for fear of spoiling the spotless interior.  I even put down blankets when we would lay down the back seat for the dogs to ride in the back.  Those days are no more.  (Note: this image was snagged off Motor Trend as I don't have a photo of my car- it looks exactly like this minus the hubcaps which were lost during an unfortunate encounter with a Melissa-sized pothole.)

For about a month now I've had a tarp and a layer of gently-used straw in the back of my car.  We brought all 'the kids' up to my Mom's in Montgomery on January 1st for a late Christmas celebration and I never cleaned out the car after we returned home the next day.  At the time it was just from sheer laziness, then I reasoned that we'd have to bring May down to the breeder soon so we might as well leave it.  But now that she's been bred and I have no current plans to cart my girls around I have no excuse.

But I'm going to tell you a secret:
            I do have an excuse- I just like it there.

I got out of work Monday afternoon in a less than perfect mood.  It had been a long day and I was bummed about the rain which was spoiling my plans for the evening.  I trudged out to my car and as soon as I opened the door to escape the 'liquid sunshine' so intent on permeating my jacket, I was greeted by the smell wafting out of my car.  The hay and used straw had been steeping in the confined space of my small vehicle and the relative heat from the past few days had exponentially increased the aroma.  It's a sweet smell that strikes a chord in my heart.  That heavenly smell brings me back to childhood days in the horse barn with my Mom and reminds me of the beautiful things that I am a part of now.

It is so easy for me to get stressed and anxious (trust me, I do it all the time: I'm an expert) but when I think of the life we are bringing to our farm and the potential we are creating from our own hands, it brings me such peace and happiness.  Taking care of so many lives and running our home is no easy task.  We worry about sickness and disease.  Are our goats going to have healthy pregnancies and will their kidding be easy?  Will our garden be successful this year or will we continue to have to buy our produce?  We worry about things that would keep some people from venturing into a life like ours at all.

Things that used to seem so important are so trivial now; homesteading will do that to you.  It brings you back to earth and shows you in black and white what life is.  Its never easy and I can tell you for sure that we've still got a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I love it.  I love my life, and I love my dirty, straw-ridden car that smells like the barn.


  1. Baker Betty Says:
  2. It makes me smile to hear that you are so happy. You two are my heroes.

  3. EcoLife Says:
  4. I was SO like this with our Toyota Prius. The no food/drink rule, cleaning it all the time! Now I think it's funny we have straw, dirt, and leaves mixed with dog hair and chicken feed all mingling in the back of the car. We don't have goats.... YET!

  5. Rebecca Says:
  6. Melissa, I just discovered your blog today. You are a person after my own heart. I completely "get" why you love the smell of that hay in the back of the car. I'm anticipating carting around my own livestock in the back of my Scion starting this spring. :-)

  7. Melissa Says:
  8. Hi Rebecca
    Very nice to meet you! :) Always nice to come across another like-minded person. What kinds of livestock are you getting into? I definitely recommend Nigerian Dwarf Goats- good for dairy, and they fit remarkably well in the back of the Scion! ;)
    Thanks for stopping by- hope to see you again soon.