Jun 8, 2015

Moving to Acreage and the Great Pet Challenge

In two months time, our family will be moving to 5 acres.  We have never lived on acreage before and quite frankly, I’m a little nervous.  The maintenance.  The wildlife. The snakes!!! 

My husband and I are not DIY handy (do we own a hammer?) and both have brown thumbs, but this is our last ditch attempt to get the kids outside before we lose them to adult life (and the constant battle against the allure of computers and the cyber world). Basically, I plan to throw them outside, lock the door and ensure they enjoy the outdoors until tea-time (well maybe not exactly like that).

I’m determined to have a veggie garden but am already being mocked by my extended family who don’t think I will be able to produce one living thing.  My ten-year-old is very keen to make a productive veggie plot, so I will persevere until we produce something edible.
Toffee the Cavoodle

The kids also want to extend our pet collection.  Our current pet, Toffee the Cavoodle, lives a highly
pampered life on a big deck by the sea so I don’t know how she will cope with the great outdoors.  We are going to have to be vigilant against ticks.

With so much space on offer, the children believe we should add a few more creatures to the family.  I like the idea of ducks. Apparently they waddle around your veggies giving productive manure without scratching up all the plants.  The kids have dreams of alpacas, llamas, donkeys, goats, sheep and guinea pigs. My husband has plans for no such thing.

I told the kids they would have to put forward a compelling case to their father if they wanted any new family additions. 

So, do you have any ideas for appropriate pets and what might convince a pet-reluctant man to capitulate?

23 comments:

  1. Oh Jen

    This sounds like a lot of fun I wished I could have done this when our kids were young I spent a lot of time on my grandparents hobby farm of 10 acres when I was growing up and we had a couple of cows (the milk was great) they had calves a few times and we had a pig that had 9 piglets and nana and I would grow flowers and Poppy had a vegie plot and he would sell the excess vegies to the local fruit market but as for suggestions not sure myself but I am sure it is going to be a blast with lots of learning :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. Your grandparents hobby farm sounds so lovely, Helen. I'd love to be able to grow some flowers. Must give it a go.

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  2. Is this the place you showed me when I was up there a little while back, Jen? Good for you cos that place was gorgeous!

    But now I'm less concerned about your pet dilemma and more worried about how your hubby is going to cope so far away from the nearest wave!

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  3. Hmmm, can't remember which place I showed you, Amy. Was it in town or did we drive around a bit. Our new place is a little way out of town south and up on a ridge.

    Actually, hubby favourite wave is now closer so he'd a happy man.

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    1. It was a picture, in the hills, surrounded by manicured land?

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  4. Jen, congratulations on your big move!

    Mmmm, about additions to the acreage - what about chooks? The manure is FABULOUS for the garden and there are all those fresh eggs. Surely hubby would see the benefits?? I used to love it when we had hens - it was fun going out to collect the eggs. And they're quite sociable in their own feather brained way. Whenever we were in the garden they'd be scratching about on the other side of the fence.

    Do you watch River Cottage? It's a British garden/cooking show - anyway, he put his ducks in the garden with the thought they'd do a no-chem sweep for bugs and slugs without touching the vegetable seedlings. Great theory but someone forgot to tell the duckies about the plan! They made quick work of all his baby lettuces!

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    1. Chooks would be good, but I don't think hubby will go for them. Love River Cottage but didn't see that episode about the duck - will have to have a rethink. Thanks for the heads up, Sharon.

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    2. I gotta ask, Sharon...did you have any close encounters with snakes in your hen house. I have a friend who lives in Hunter Valley wine country. She keeps hens, but her snake stories in the hen house make my hair stand on end!

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    3. We had two huge carpet snakes in our chook house over the couple of years we kept chooks, Michelle. It was our daughters job to feed the chooks and collect the eggs and she'd always keep an eye on the rafter when she went in - she was so brave for such a little thing!

      But they weren't after her or the eggs or even the chooks. They were after the rats. And man, does grain attract the rats..... big, ugly, bush rats!

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    4. Oh, your daughter is real trooper, Amy! Go her. :-)

      That said, it's the brown snake stories that curl my hair -- carpet snakes I could deal with...at a distance. Rats? Big ugly bush rats? Yeah, nah. Can't imagine I'll be doing the chook thing anytime soon. ;-)

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  5. Hi Jen- wow, it sounds lovely. But I won't be showing your post to my Dh because he wants to do the exact same thing and I much prefer living within walking distance of a flat white! You will give your kids an amazing upbringing.

    Chooks definitely sound like a good idea! Free eggs, manure and little maintenance. Good luck with the veggie garden- sounds idyllic (if only there was a flat white nearby).

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    1. I'm like you Louisa and like a skim late within walking distance but will just have to learn how to make my own. Although there is a wonderful cafe about 3kms away so not too far to go.

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  6. How exciting, Jen! Congratulations on the big move to your rural-retreat. I bet you'll all have an absolutely wonderful time!

    I bet Toffee will love it too. My sister's dog -- Maxi the Cavoodle -- went from being an inner-city pooch to a Jindabyne-acreage crusader. He loves his new lifestyle with all of his madly beating heart (despite the sinister menace of grass seeds -- yikes!).

    You know, I think goats can be very handy in helping to keep the grass down. Just saying. ;-)

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    1. A couple of people have mentioned goats are good, Michelle. I think we will investigate those little guys.

      I think Toffee is going to think she is in heaven.

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  7. Jen, I saw a video just this week -- linked from Facebook, I'll see if I can find it! -- of the most adorable baby goats. I thought the same as Michelle about their usefulness in eating excess verbage. Goats are my spirit animal -- they eat anything!!! On an acreage you need to keep the green stuff down. Helps with seeing the snakes. You should definitely consider goats.

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  8. Thanks Bron. Will really think about goats. I think I saw the video you mentioned. All those little baby goats going for a run and having a lovely time??

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  9. That's the one. Baby goats made of cuteness and light!

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  10. Go, Jennifer. You'll have a blast and surprise everyone, including yourself. When we first bought our property in the Sounds there was a vegetable plot - with nothing growing in it - and I got stuck in, much to my husband's disbelief. He didn't think I'd be able to grow a thing but he was also the one to proudly display the photo he took of wheelbarrow-loads of fresh vegetables from my garden next summer. All the best with your new venture.

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  11. Wow Sue, that sounds very impressive. You have inspired me. I'll be posting any photos of success.

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  12. We had guinea pigs growing up - they were the cutest little things! It sounds like you have a great adventure planned!! I'm so jealous of the veggie patch, it wil be so rewarding to eat something you;ve grown yourself. You can do it!

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  13. What a move; it sounds delightful. I agree with your children that more pets if you have the space is a great idea. Then with regards to the vegetables, listen to nobody. I started growing my own vegetables last year, and although mocked, I enjoyed tasty tomatoes, carrots and leek. Good luck to you all!

    Keneth Parish @ LionLand Marketing

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