I am a lazy farmer. There. I said it.
I am also a mom, a homeschool teacher, an education specialist, a graphic designer, and a farm manager. While it may sound like I am exceedingly busy, I have plenty of time for all of these things as well as the ability to drop everything if needed to handle emergencies. Frankly, my success overall depends on developing systems that allow for as little intrusion from me as possible—on all fronts. The end result is less care, better health and independence on all sides of this fence.
Of course, none of this came about overnight. For instance, my children and I struggled with homeschooling. That is, until we did an accidental experiment with unschooling that proved so surprisingly successful, that we never looked back to the forced curriculums, worksheets and other contrivances of modern education. You can read more about our unschooling endeavors at our Learning Beyond the Desk website.
Similarly, our experiences with hands-off farming grew, slowly, over time, relating mostly to the trials and tribulations that come from our modern animal keeping operations. We have horses, but you won’t hear me talking about spending hours at the barn, mucking stalls. We have goats and while I do milk one or two (with a milking machine), they are usually out in the pasture and require minimal care. There are some pigs and cows too. We raise for milk and meat and joy. That pleasure has much to do with the way the animals are kept.
There wouldn’t be nearly as much of the joy part, on either side of those fences, if we kept the animals in a way that was not as close to natural for them as possible within the contrived environment of a farm. If we kept the horses in stalls and paddocks, the pigs in a small, muddy enclosures, and the goats in a smaller area our workload would increase dramatically and their health and happiness would head downhill.
We are still learning and experimenting with practices and strategies that help all this work and allow me to have a fuller life. We have much to learn. However, we have hit on some successful methods that may also work for you and will begin sharing them here. Stay tuned for articles with some in-depth, practical information for lazy farming.