I live on the side of a mountain, with 65 goats and 4 dogs. I make 100% of my living from my homestead
and I do it 100% by myself without employees or other help (by
choice). My purpose is to "Inspire, Encourage & Empower".
Once upon a time (ha, yeah, I'm going to start my story like that), I worked for corporate America, making really decent money as a programmer. The last 5 years of my career was spent working from home, so people thought I was extra crazy for giving up such a good paying job where I could work from home. Programming is very sedentary work though, and I felt like it was slowly killing me. I actually didn't mind the programming itself. I enjoyed the mental challenge of it but I didn't enjoy sitting in front of a computer all day, inside. On my breaks, I would always go outside and it was always so hard to make myself go back in. It was when I started gardening, I think, that I really started having a harder and harder time forcing myself to come back in. When I was in the garden, any bit of stress I had just melted away. There, I was in my zen zone. I felt connected to nature, growing my own food. I yearned to live a more natural, more connected life and it was around this time I started dreaming about making a living from my homestead. It was just a dream at that point though.
It was when my kids grew up and left the nest (I had been a young mom), that I finally felt free to really live how I want. I minimized and simplified and soon started realizing hey, I really don't need to make all this money anymore! I started wondering, what is the minimum amount of money that I could live on. I started thinking about every possible way I could think of to reduce my cost of living. I knew that the smaller the amount I needed to live on, the more freedom I would have to do what I wanted to do with my life. I made it a self-challenge to see how much I could reduce my cost of living. I kept a spreadsheet, for a year, recording every penny I spent. Every. Single. Penny. Sure, there was money spent on things that weren't absolute necessities, but those things went into a separate column so I could easily keep track of what was bare essentials and what wasn't.
After a year, I had my answer. I had the figure I knew I had to make per year to pay my bills and live. During that year I had been expanding my gardening and dreaming of being a market gardener, but quickly realized that would be impossible to do on a large enough scale to make a living without employees which I definitely did not want. It was also that year that I bought three adorable baby goats, just to have. I thought maybe they'd help keep the grass mowed (they didn't, ha). Throughout that year I fell absolutely in love with the goats and had added a few more, including a pregnant momma goat. At that time I was getting raw cow's milk through a herd share from a local farmer. Their prices kept going up and up. Every several months, they'd announce a price increase and after the pregnant momma goat I bought had her babies, they raised the price of my milk again, so I became determined to learn how to milk my goat. It wasn't easy at first! ha. I was pretty bad at it! But I persevered and made myself learn. Once I was finally getting a good supply of milk for myself, it kind of clicked... hey, I could do herd shares to sell milk... I'd just need MORE GOATS!!! Which put a huge smile on my face! It was definitely an "ah, ha" moment. I started doing the math and it started really looking like a life with goats, which I loved doing more than anything, was feasible.
During that year, I lived minimally and put my salary away in savings which actually ended up giving me a couple of year's worth of my minimum amount I needed to live. So I had some capital to invest in required infrastructure and in getting good quality stock. And if I was very careful about how I spent that money, by doing all the work myself and not hiring contractors, I'd still have about a year's worth of cushion to fall back on. This was it. I figured I'm going to make it work. I really thought I could and worst case scenerio I would just have to get another "real" job. God forbid. ha. I never did have to thank goodness!!! To save money by being my own contractor, I had to learn to do many things... which I did! I have learned to do it all! I can do all types of carpentry from framing to finish work, I can do all basic plumbing and electrical... and I do good work! Look folks, here is what I always say... (showing my phone sitting in my spread out hand), we literally have the knowledge of the world, in the palm of our hands!! The knowledge of the WORLD, in the palm of our HANDS!!! There are no excuses!!! There is a you tube video for like everything!!! And articles galore. There is no reason you can't do it! You just have to believe in yourself, and not be afraid to try! Its ok to make mistakes! Its how you learn!
Gosh, that all seems so long ago... That was 2011 I started with goats, so I guess it is kind of long ago. My business has blossomed more than I had ever dreamed. I love what I do. I have zero regrets. One of the things I have enjoyed immensely about my new life is sharing it with others and igniting that little flame in their brain that gets them thinking, hey, maybe I could find a way to live a more natural life too! To inspire and encourage others that they too can escape a life trapped in a job that doesn't bring them immense amounts of joy and satisfaction. That they too could live a more natural, more connected life and to see me, how happy I am, living minimally, they realize, maybe they really don't need all the things that we are brainwashed into believing we need to be happy and "successful".
So my mission is to "Inspire. Encourage. Empower". Inspire by example. Encourage because if I can, so can you! And finally Empower. Knowledge is power. Believing in yourself is power. Its so empowering learning skills that enable you to be more self reliant. I'm here to share what I've learned and to encourage everyone to follow their dreams and passions!!! YES YOU CAN!!!! Whether its swinging a hammer for the first time, or discovering your passions and pursuing a life more connected to them, YES YOU CAN!!!
Kathy, owner/sole operator of A Better Way Farm & Goat Dairy.
Would you like to read more about Goats and Goat Care? Check out the
|I live on the side of a mountain with 65
goats and 4 dogs. I make 100% of my living from my homestead. My
purpose is to "Inspire,
Encourage & Empower".
Read more about my story here....