Moving a homestead

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How do you move a homestead? I can’t say I’m sure, but I’ll hazard a few guesses: One animal at a time? One shovel-full at a time? Or one fruit tree at a time? It’s a question that’s been on my mind endlessly for the past month.

If urban homesteaders — with milking goats, egg-laying chickens, meat rabbits, a greenhouse (still) full of tomato plants bearing fruit, a garden row full of not-yet-canned beets, a newly planted orchard, one Saint Bernard-Anatolian Shepard dog the size of a small horse, one hyperactive Australian Shepard puppy and two children — decide to become rural homesteaders, how exactly do they make that happen?

It’s not quite as simple as saying “Honey, I think we should move. Let’s start looking for a house in a nice neighborhood with a good school district,” then setting up the movers to carry out the process on moving day. It’s actually more like, “Honey, let’s get a small house and build a cheese creamery on enough land with enough water to raise and grow food for at least 20 goats that is within an hour of Colorado Springs because that’s where we want to sell our cheese.” Then looking for miles around, expanding out of the previously established maximum-distance-from-town criteria, learning about household, domestic and agricultural wells and water rights, calling country friends and talking to local food growers for advice, and finding a place to board the animals in case the new property hasn’t been purchased upon sale of the old.

Oh, and there’s more: Should the twenty-five new fruit trees be moved out of their current location to a new orchard on the new land? How much of a homestead’s might-come-in-handy-at-some-point-to-fix-something collection of paraphernalia should be moved? Can any of the incredible garden soil amended yearly with copious amounts of barn bedding and compost be transported to the new plot?

Oh, my. It’s a much more serious endeavor to move a homestead than to move a home.

And where, within about an hour’s drive of Colorado Springs might a homesteader move to have plenty of well water or water rights, with enough land for alfalfa, goats, chickens, rabbits, horses, a small house, a barn and a creamery? Avondale? Pueblo? Calhan? Larkspur? Lake George?

This has been on my mind, and on my husband’s mind, every waking hour for the past 30 days; ever since we decided that we wanted what’s listed above and that we should move our homestead, our family, and our animals.
We love our urban homestead, its proximity to the city, its immediate access to the Garden of the Gods and its spectacular view of Pikes Peak. But it does not give us the space to meet our dreams, and for that reason, it’s for sale.

Yep, for sale: The house, the barn, the greenhouse, the orchard, the soil… all of it. We love it, but we want more land where we can raise more goats and open a creamery to be able to make and sell locally made artisanal cheese.

We are hoping to know, and soon, the answers to all our how-to-move-a-homestead questions because once we know the answers, it will mean our move is over. We’ll be living on our new land, in our small house (less to clean!), with our barn, our creamery, our animals, our pasture and our treasured source of water.

Lindsey is a city girl turned urban farm girl. She and her family are the proud stewards of a few milking goats, a lot of working chickens, an organic garden and a budding orchard. Just around the corner is the city. But she, and her farm, are hidden by the rocks. Follow her on Twitter (@goatcheeselady) and FaceBook (The Goat Cheese Lady) or visit her website (thegoatcheeselady.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Lindsey at: thegoatcheeselady@gmail.com.

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