Working Toward A Future
Farm & Ranch Living|August/September 2017

This Hoosier State couple is building a farm and a family.

Erin Parsons Colfax, Indiana
Welcome to Parsons Farm, a first-generation farmstead that is owned by my husband, Michael, and me. A couple of years ago, we bought a few acres that included an early 1900s farmhouse that needed lots of love; an established apple, pear and walnut orchard; and plenty of space for growth. We bought several chicks to start our group of laying hens and built a coop. We have also tilled and planted a 1,000-squarefoot garden and have made our first big purchase for the farm—a John Deere tractor that has now become our little workhorse. We’ve been working hard to get everything as ready as we possibly can, and our goal is to bring heritage and rare livestock breeds to our farm soon.

Food Shopping and Wood Chopping

AUG. 1 Maybe it was the brand new sheets or the fact that it was Monday, but I didn’t want to get out of bed— especially at 5 a.m. But I did anyway, then packed food for Michael, who was facing another 24-hour shift as a firefighter. I waved as he drove off to the firehouse in West Lafayette, which is just about an hour from our farm. As for me, I grabbed another hour of fitful sleep before heading outside to tend to the animals.

How peaceful it was to see our pigs and chickens grazing on long blades of dew-covered grass. And to hear our three dogs crunching their breakfast kibble. And to feel our little barn cat, Mo, twisting around my boots as she meowed. This is my life, and what a dreamy life it is.

AUG. 2 Today is grocery day, so I trekked to the city—in the humid, stagnant summer air—to make sure we all had plenty of food for the month. Somehow the temperature climbed another 15 degrees during the time that it took me to shop for animal feed and groceries. I hurried home to unload everything before it thawed and to replenish the animals’ water supplies with cool, fresh water from the well. I also filled the large plastic kiddie pool that the pigs have turned into a muddy piggy pool. It keeps them from making mosquito infested hog wallers and that makes the pool worth every penny. It is hot days like today that make me yearn for the cool fall weather.

AUG. 3 Michael set out to cut and split the logs drying in front of the wood shed. They’re black locust, so it was a real test of wills between the logs and the chain saw. After Michael split the logs, I went out to help him stack. We added another 3½ rows of wood to our shed. Since our home’s primary source of heat is a sizable cast-iron wood stove, this wood is our lifeline. It keeps us toasty warm, keeps our pipes from freezing, and often cooks dinner.

AUG. 6 Today I’m celebrating my birthday! We enjoyed a small fire at our house while sitting on the hay wagon and eating dinner with my in-laws. Later, Michael took me for a long tractor ride on Daddy’s old Farmall Super M while we chatted about the future and all of our plans for the coming year. Chugging down our old country road while the sun set before us was the perfect ending to the day.

AUG. 7 We had to get going early today because it’s Steiner Reunion Day. The Steiners are on my mother in-law’s side of the family. Grandpa Steiner and his many siblings grew up farming. They are always sharing jaw-dropping tales of their past. These stories make my heart thankful for modern advancements. The reunion food is plentiful and beyond delicious as all the relatives bring their “famous” recipes to share. When it comes to food, I am open-minded and try it all.

Eye Surgery

AUG. 8 Michael was heading downstairs for breakfast when I heard him yell that the pigs were out. They had managed to thrust their rock-solid heads against the lower portions of the fence until it gave and folded up, allowing them to squeeze their plump little bodies through the opening. I may have seriously underestimated their persistence, because the fencing battle is never-ending and sometimes overwhelming. I’m just thankful our pigs are more than willing to follow anyone with food.

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