Upcoming Events

  • Maple Syruping for Beginners at K7 Farm

    January 27, 2pm

    **Due to high interest in this class, I will be scheduling at least one more before the season begins. check the event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/168429680420842/) and our Facebook page(https://www.facebook.com/K7farm/) for updates!

    Maple syrup season is a short but furious season here in Michigan. I will teach you how to get started with tapping […]

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  • Bread Baking Basics at K7 Farm

    Feb. 10, 10am

    Learn the basics of working with yeast so you can successfully bake bread and bread rolls, and other variations, from scratch.

    Be ready to get your hands dirty – you will be baking your very own bread to take home while you are here! We will cover the process from start to […]

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  • Soapmaking 101 at K7 Farm

    February 17, 10am

    Learn how to make real goats milk soap, gritty soap as well as other bar soap from scratch! I have been making soap for my family for over 10 years now and the soap we have given as gifts has always been a hit. I enjoy teaching this skill! I will teach […]

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  • Chicks 101 at K7 Farm

    It’s that time again! This class was very popular last year!

    Chicks 101 Everything you need to know to successfully raise chicks.

    Spring is on its way! This is the most popular time of year to begin raising chicks. If you are planning on raising chicks for the first time this year, this class is […]

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How it all began

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Back in 2004 I had my first child, and a deep passion for a different lifestyle erupted and took me by surprise. I remember it clearly – a night or two after coming home from the hospital with my daughter I was faced with the challenge of making dinner. I didn’t want our usual meal from a box or a can though. I opened up a cookbook given to me by my mother in law (for the first time) and picked out a simple recipe – chicken in orange sauce and honey glazed carrots. I had no fresh carrots so I had to use carrots from a can, and that was strangely very disappointing to me. I though I’d use fresh ingredients next time. This is when it all began. Using fresh ingredients with my next meal developed my passion for scratch cooking. Immediately I was hooked. Oh, I can bake my own bread? I can make my own spaghetti sauce? From here it led to gardening. Buying fresh ingredients for every meal was becoming expensive for our little struggling family – but if I grew my own it would help. I began a small garden in my apartment complex. Then I discovered the joy of canning when I realized a small family orchard down the road that had fresh apples at an incredible price. That first year I canned apple butter, and the following year I got a pressure canner for my birthday and learned how to can potatoes. From there a passion developed so strong that I desired to grow enough vegetables and fruits to be able to preserve to get us through the winter until next harvest. Of course, living in an apartment, and later renting a home, didn’t lend its self well to that kind of gardening, but I did the best I could. Where I lacked, a local farmers market filled the gap and I was able to can all of our vegetables to last almost a year (I always ended up a little short right before the next harvest). I learned to can soups, meats, convenience meals, even snacks (boiled peanuts, hehe). Somewhere in there I taught myself how to sew (my first projects were learning to sew cloth diapers because they were too expensive to buy, but keeping my kids in disposable diapers was too expensive as well. Sewing was a great option). A friend taught me to make soap. We began raising rabbits for meat and chickens for eggs in our city backyard. I grew as large of a garden as I could get away with. I love teaching others these skills too, and have met many new friends as a result.

Job loss and financial struggles along the way taught us the importance of thinking long-term. Instead of shopping every week, we began budgeting for and shopping once a month (with the exception of buying milk and some fresh veggies). We found that less trips into the store led to less spending on impulse buys. We also found that cooking in bulk and freezing the excess was a great way to prevent eating out and providing a home cooked meal even on the busiest of days. We tend to buy many of the same items month after month whether we need them or not (if we are able to) which leads to a small storage of food that has helped us weather job loss, cut hours, short paychecks from unexpected surgeries and time off, and has provided comfort during winter storms knowing that we don’t need to be a part of the mass running to the store to ‘stock up’ on food items. We don’t eat expensive or exotic foods and I try to create meals from basic ingredients. I make our seasonings, most of our non-basic ingredients (yogurt, cream-of soups, breadcrumbs, etc.). I absolutely love the idea of meals made from our very own garden, every ingredient having been grown from our own hands.

After a few years of gardening, with my garden growing each year, I discovered seed saving. This would allow me to save the seed from non-hybrid varieties and use that seed next year, cutting my cost in seeds. There is quite a bit to learn, and some varieties require more work than others to save their seed (including bagging the blossoms or hand pollinating to keep them pure) but this is an ongoing learning activity for me. I look forward to self sustaining gardening in the coming years, where hopefully everything I grow from year to year can come from saved seed and cut my costs dramatically. Gardening on a large scale, like I am getting ready to, will cost a considerable amount in seeds. Much less than buying all the produce of course, and I should be able to make that money back in sales, but it is still something that must be carefully budgeted and will take time to grow into.

Ever since leaving the country, shortly after my daughter was born, we had an end-goal of heading back that way – this time with a house of our own (instead of an apartment). We moved from the country to the city in an attempt to save money – but really it ended up costing us money. It took a while – about 8 years – but we finally did find our way back. About two years ago in 2012 my husband and I had this crazy idea of moving back to the country asap. We both felt it was ‘time’ considering the fact that we were outgrowing our home (family of 8 living in a 900 sq. ft. home), outgrowing my ability to grow enough food to feed us despite using space-saving gardening techniques (which really did cut the grocery bill), and really wanted to give our kids more freedom in their childhood with the ability to run and play in a safe environment. To give them space where they could be as loud as they wanted to be and be able to act on their crazy play ideas. To throw balls without worrying about breaking a neighbors windows, to teach my little ones to ride a bike without worrying about them crashing into a car parked on the curb (my dads truck once sported a decent sized dent from handlebars) and to be able to walk around without having to always be aware of traffic. I wanted to garden, raise livestock, let my chickens free range, let my dogs run. My husband wanted a place to hunt, a place where we could all shoot on a whim and where he could teach his shooting and concealed pistol classes. So we really buckled down to make our dream a reality. It required some tough choices, time, and decisions that embraced a whole new future. There were lots of ups and downs, lots of trials, temptations and anxiety through the whole process (well all the trials and downs really came during the loan approval process, LOL… What an experience that was!). But we did it. We now own 15 acres with a house double the size of the one we moved from (we wanted this to be our forever home – while we have a large family we didn’t want a huge house that would seem empty and too big once the kids married and moved out. This house is perfect). We are able to pursue our dreams of self sufficiency while raising our family in the country. My husband can hunt and shoot ’till his heart is content. We even have a 10 mile long paved path behind our property that goes through the country side. It’s just perfect for our walks and teaching my little ones how to ride a bike :)

We have a whole new set of goals to reach now to become more self sufficient and help others do the same. We hope to become a local source for a variety of fresh food and look forward to sharing our passion for scratch cooking, gardening, canning and farming.

 

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