Welcome to Chicken Scratch Acres! We are located in Ulster County in New York. We live on 4 fairly wooded acres, ribboned with three streams. Finding arable land on this plot can be tricky--most of it is wooded or wet. But slowly we are carving out a nice piece for ourselves, where we can use the land to provide food for us and others.
We moved in in July of 2010. We waited for our home for a long time. I always knew I wanted to farm, and my husband wanted peace and quiet. Home after home just didn't feel right. Either there wasn't enough land, the house was falling down, or there were too many neighbors. This place was different from the get-go. When we first saw it, we fell in love right away. However, we could not afford it. We went away hoping to find something we'd like as much. It never happened. After many months, we had more money coming in and the price of the house had dropped. We could finally afford it! We made a return visit, and were still in love. It was meant to be.
So we're here! Since then, we've been working to establish this as a homestead farm on a very limited budget. There were no buildings in place other than the house when we got here. Now there are 8-some built from new lumber, most built from reused wood. There were no gardens or fruit trees--but there are now. Year by year we work to establish this place, trying to make ourselves a little more self-reliant in this crazy world.
Who are we? Well, I'm Jocelyn, and I'm the one who does most of the work (and all of the talking on this blog). This was always my dream--though I grew up a suburbanite, I always wanted a little piece of farmy heaven, and so I'm the one who works to make it so. Whenever possible, I am outside working on the land, planting, tending to the animals, cultivating the gardens, or begrudgingly building. However, I am also a mom, a wife, and a substitute teacher. I am busy!
My support? My husband, undoubtedly. He's a computer guy who works in NYC. Farming is out of his comfort zone, but he will always try to lend a hand. Without him behind me, I could not go forward.
And? My kids, a girl and boy, who are the lights of my life. They are learning how to live this life, just like we are, and they are turning out to be amazing at it. I am always very proud.
Can that be all? Nope, definitely not. My parents live a few miles down the road and are a huge help to us. My brother and his fiancé live up in Albany and do the same. My other brother is currently out of the country, teaching in Asia. Though my father insists I'm crazy, they all support us in this new life that we're trying to live.
And that's all. This blog is a record of what happens here, for better or worse, and we've already had quite a bit of each. Join us as we try to find a little sanity for ourselves and try to live a more agrarian lifestyle in harmony with the earth we live on.