homestead update

Homestead Update

Homestead life is fitting us beautifully. I can’t believe we didn’t do this sooner. People ask how things are going and I thought it seemed like a good time to share an update on our lives here in rural Tennessee. Last time we officially checked in, we’d just recently bought chickens and ducks. We were also eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Kunekune piglets. So let’s talk about where we are now…

Introducing Hakuna and Matata – Kunekune Pigs

With several visits to the Crossville Farmers Market, we became fast friends with DaBell Family Farms. We even had our Thanksgiving dinner with them. They have many Kunekune pigs and taught us all about them, we became smitten.

Kunekunes are grass-grazing pigs and they’re somewhat small, compared to how large many pigs get. Hakuna, a fixed male, is part Kunekune and part American Guinea Hog, so he will get to be around 150 pounds. Matata, a female, is a full-blooded Kunekune and she could get to be around 300 pounds! They’re both incredibly friendly and I love to snuggle them when I’m out in the yard. They’re hairier but in my opinion, way cuter than your average piggy! Kuna loves belly rubs and Tata makes a very loud ooga-booga sound to show you that she enjoys your scratches!

kunekune pigs homestead

Another thing I love about our pigs is that they can eat banana peels, leftover fruit, and those vegetables you intended to eat when you were on a health kick but never got around to it so now they’re a little too soft for you to eat. Ha! Unfortunately though, they are big on rooting so our yard is a little bit torn up right now. Still, no regrets! I love our big babies!


Speaking of DaBell Family Farms, they are taking wonderful care of our ducks. We knew going in that ducks were going to be a test trial run situation for us. Our chickens didn’t seem to like them and despite their love for the baby pool, the ducks kept dumping out the flock’s water. We decided that we would rather try ducks again when we have more land and can do them separately from the chickens. We check on them all the time and the female sometimes lays these big old eggs TWICE a day!


This endeavor has been incredible and dare I say, kind of easy? Our chickens are just laid back, roaming about the yard all day long. They don’t care about much but if they think you have treats, you will be adorably ambushed! We are down to six sweet hens: Muffins is an Asian Black who lays one medium-sized brown egg each day. Our Golden Comet, Potato, lays a jumbo brown egg every day. The Ameracauna gang: Megara, Merida, Flotsam, and Jetsam, lay pretty blue and green eggs every other day.

eggs homestead

With about 4-6 eggs a day, we’ve been able to eat plenty of delicious, rich, eggs with bold yellow yolks. What’s even more, we’ve been able to sell some eggs! We’ve got so many orders that I can’t even fill all of them! I was actually

The great thing about being short on eggs for orders is that we were able to justify getting more chickens! We were extremely excited to experience different breeds. Different breeds of chicken obviously look different but also, the eggs and frequency of laying vary.

Last year, we purchased our chicks from farm supply chains but we’ve since read a lot of mixed reviews about the quality of those chicks and we wanted a bigger variety. We decided to look into Valley Farms Hatchery because it seems to have gleaming ratings! Around the end of next month, we should be receiving 15 more chickens. I think I’m most excited about the Salmon Faverolles because they’re a GORGEOUS chicken and the Welsummers because they lay these pretty speckled eggs. We’ve also ordered some Easter eggers for their fun colored eggs, Cinnamon Queens because they are high egg producers, and then a grab bag of chicks just for fun!


Unfortunately, we’ve not had the best of luck with roosters. We had two bantam roosters and one of our Ameracaunas turned out to be a rooster. Despite holding our roosters often and trying to socialize them, they each attacked our family (and friends) on numerous occasions. I had no idea how terrifying it would actually be to walk through my own backyard, having to look over my shoulder. They prefer to attack when your back is turned!

My husband learned how to process chickens from the DaBells and thus the decision was made to turn our roosters into dinner. They each became the delectable dark meat in chicken soup, pot pie, and chicken cheesy rice respectively. Most of us enjoyed every bite, though I was quite partial to that chicken pot pie!

Introducing Widow – Livestock Guardian Dog

Given our bad luck with roosters, we started to discuss options for protecting the flock. A visit to my friend Sippie Mom‘s homestead came at quite a convenient time in this conversation. Her puppies, future livestock guardian dogs, played throughout the yard with seemingly the best and most cooperative puppy demeanor I think that I’ve ever seen. My husband was smitten. Then her mom announced, “You know, they have three other siblings still available and all of the puppies were just like these two.” These pups were already living as outside dogs with their mama, a German Shepherd. After a pros and cons discussion, it was settled. A dog whose job it is to hang out with the livestock and make sure nothing is amiss. She will sleep warm in the pig pen and be free to roam the yard as she pleases.


Widow is officially my husband’s pup and he named her after the Marvel character, of course. She’s been very snuggly and seems to be perfectly content with the pigs already, while mostly just ignoring the chickens. There will be a trial period for her training but we are already hard at work trying to make sure that she knows that she is one of the family and has an important job to do protect her fellow fuzzy and feathered family members! She loves snuggling with us and running the yard with all of the animals and kids.

The Garden

It’s funny to admit but I’ve always preferred caring for creatures that can tell me that they need something. Plants speak an entirely different language, one that I don’t understand at all. Texture, color, and shape are the ways that they communicate their needs and it’s just not something I’m familiar with. It’s because of this that I’ve always been hesitant to start my own garden. I would hate to put in so much work and one mistake could kill everything.

garden homestead

At the same time, the idea of growing my own food is incredibly exciting to me! When I roamed through the backyard picking apples to make an apple crisp last year, I just felt so happy. That apple crisp was quite tasty too! So I’ve decided to give it a try with some of the space we have outside of our backyard fence.

I’ve planted some seeds indoors and I think I’m finally ready to transplant them into my raised flower beds. The potential for snow last week terrified me so I’ve been dragging my feet. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but let’s just say: stay tuned to hear if that works out!

Repurposed Junk

The previous owners left a lot of things in the former “boat house”, which we refer to as “the barn”. We’ve decided to use a lot of that stuff to try to create the garden and a chicken run for the meat birds. There were chain link fence pieces, extra roofing, and oodles of wood and pallets. I adore repurposing old junk and it’s working well so far!

Meat birds

Now that my husband has handled harvesting chickens, he decided that he would like to take on meat birds. Cornish crossbreeds have only a short period of time to grow before you harvest them and they can be rather large so we should be able to sustain the family fairly well. He’s even considering branching out to sell a few at some point.

Since I prefer not to get to know animals that may make it to the table, my husband is building a chicken run within the barn and away from the other chickens. I’m looking forward to sharing the before and after pictures of that because it’s looking quite fantastic so far!

The Future

We feel that after we get the new chicks and the meat birds going, we’ll be about at the capacity of our tiny half acre property. We do hope that we will be able to make a small business out of egg, chicken, and maybe even baked good sales. We’ve even been talking about coming up with a logo for our homestead! We have all kinds of bigger dreams but those will definitely be for the next house. I am very, very happy with how things are going so far. There has been a lot of trial and error but I enjoy this blissful lifestyle so much. Who could have ever imagined?!

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