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Issue 14 – Christmas 2022


Mama Shot the Deer!

On farming and children.


When my wife and I were completing marriage prep, there was only one area in which we had a major disagreement: she loved animals and I did not. My reasons were rooted in my childhood, when a neighbor’s dog in Baltimore bit me and I never got over it. So were hers, since she grew up on a farm in Illinois. The brilliant and blunt (and holy) priest preparing us for marriage asked how we would reconcile our difference in opinion. Six years later, we’re raising our own children with a dog, two cats, four pigs, five ducks, six goats, two dozen sheep, and a couple dozen rabbits. Oh, and my wife just got me a cow for my birthday.

Our homesteading experience began when we had two hours to kill between the nuptial Mass of two friends and their wedding reception. We headed to Home Depot, and loaded the car up with four hundred feet of fencing and T-posts. The next day this became our first one hundred foot by one hundred foot goat pen, and a few weeks later we brought home several goats inside my Honda Element. About a month after that, my father-in-law transformed an old firewood shed into a chicken coop. Meanwhile, I lay in bed recovering from an infection that didn’t respond to normal antibiotics. It was my first lesson in my own inadequacies as a homesteader. When I recovered, we moved the chicks from our basement to what is more rightly called a chicken mansion. (This was pre-plague, when lumber was cheap. Now we mill our own wood.)

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About the author

Ryan T. Anderson