My greatest inspiration in my own backyard farming adventure has been to hear the experiences of others. I invite you to read along here as Homesteaders share their adventures and experiences from their own farms, backyards, and homes.
Want to be featured as a Homestead Highlight? I would love to hear about your experience. For more information follow the link to the information page and share your own homestead here at the Backyard Farming Connection!
Today I welcome Angela to this space.
Angela England – Mother of five living in rural Oklahoma with her husband and five children, Angela is the Founder of Untrained Housewife
. She is the author of Backyard Farming on an Acre
(More or Less) (Alpha Books, 2013) and when she gets away from home, it’s usually to speak at a blog conference. She loves empowering others with whatever is the next step on their self-sufficiency journey but calls herself a get-it-done’ist, not a purist.
How long have you been backyard farming? What got you started?
I learned more about the concept of backyard farming and that homesteading mindset when I got married. Having grown up in the big city of Anaheim in Southern California, farms were something you visited once a year as a field trip with school. After moving to Oklahoma as a teenager, I met my husband Sidney who had grown up on an 80 acre ranch raising cattle and growing much of their own food as a matter of daily routine. Our upbringings were vastly different and together since our marriage, we’ve embraced a lifestyle more similar to his upbringing than to mine.
What does your backyard farm look like? Where is it?
We live in a rural town in Oklahoma and are just within the city limits. Thankfully our house is on a relatively large corner lot and our city’s restrictions are minimal. We have housed on this 1/4 acre space a productive garden, a good size chicken flock, and two milk goat nannies as well.
What has been your biggest success and biggest mistake?
Some of our biggest mistakes have involved our animals. When a crop fails I don’t feel as bad, but when raccoons break through your fencing and nearly wipe out your entire flock in an single evening you feel devastated. The idea is to provide a healthy and happy environment for your chickens – not serve them up as free pickings! I think that underestimating how a group of raccoons will work together to undo simple latches, flush out the chickens to get them where others in the group can reach them, etc was a huge mistake. I’ve learned that if it has a digestive system it will eat a chicken!
Our biggest success was surviving the recent drought with not only a decent, but abundantly productive garden. It was a big test of our organic growing methods – especially once our city implemented a watering ban – but our garden survived and produced well with grey water, mulch, and careful heirloom variety selections. It was eye-opening to see our small backyard garden out-produce the several-acre garden at my in-laws ranch.
What plans do you have for the future?
Now that Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) has officially launched I see myself speaking and teaching workshops a lot more. I already have gigs scheduled in Tulsa, Dallas, LA, Orlando, and elsewhere in the coming year. For our personal Backyard Farming my goal is to get out of this house we are in now and move to a 25 acre place outside city limits where we will be able to expand the number of animals we are keeping, and the types of plants we are growing. I want a huge asparagus patch for starters!