Want to be featured as a Homestead Highlight? I would love to hear about your experience. For more information follow the link to the information page and share your own homestead here at the Backyard Farming Connection!
Today I welcome Tammy and Stacy to this space.
Howdy, I'm Tammy Taylor of Taylor-Made Ranch. Our ranch is located in Wolfe City, a small rural area in Northeast Texas. My husband Stacy & I wanted out of the corporate world so we pulled the plug a few years ago and now live and work here full time raising a small herd of registered Hereford cattle. I absolutely love it here and I feel I've finally come to the place I was meant to be all along.
Our property contains my pride and joy - an 1880's barn that we still use in our ranching operations today. We have a website to both introduce ourselves as well as market our animals - Taylor Make Ranch and we also have a blog to share our life here on the ranch at Taylor Made Ranch Blog. Check it out, we love to have company!
I think our biggest success is taking things slow to get where we are now. It was hard for us to be patient and go slow, but we kept our jobs (and salaries) in the city as we purchased our land and acquired the buildings and equipment, repaired and replaced the fences, improved the pastures and dug the ponds. There was a stiff learning curve and we were lucky to have steady paychecks and trusted mentors as we found our way through. I wrote a blog about our experience called "Chasing the Dream", you can read it here.
Our biggest mistake has been trying to save money on our first tractor purchase and WAY under buying - the stripped-down model could not meet our needs. Although we make sure we're being wise with our monetary resources, we now make sure we're obtaining the equipment that will do the job we need it to do.
Our future plans are materializing and changing. We decided we wanted to try to improve our herd by utilizing artificial insemination so we sold our registered Angus bull and Stacy became a certified A.I. technician. We've already had several A.I. calves that have been born and they're impressive. We've also had to remain flexible due to weather conditions. Texas experienced a record-breaking drought in 2011 and we had to reduce our herd significantly that year to assure there was sufficient feed and water for our remaining girls. We were hit with another consecutive year of drought in 2012, although thankfully with a smaller permanent herd we were able to squeak by. But because of those lessons we have begun using stocker animals to utilize the flush grass of the seasons, pulling them and selling them as the grass wanes. It's been a very good move for us.
We've also expanded with a 60-acre offsite pasture. We're fortunate that it has yet another 1880's barn on it, those old barns really speak to my heart! We're in the process of improving the pastures and having another pond dug as well as building corrals and pens for working the cattle. The future looks bright!
This life works so well for us since we were aware of our footprint years before it was the common thing to do. I raise a large amount of our food through the use of raised beds for our veggies and harvesting God's bounty of wild plums, blackberries and pecans in addition. Our veggie garden is irrigated 100% from an underground cistern that collects rainwater that falls on our home, and we rely heavily on passive solar energy to supply much of our energy need (zero cost - SCORE!) I've learned to slow down and enjoy the beauty around me and it's AMAZING. If I could encourage someone I'd like to remind them that a dream not acted upon is simply a dream. Take baby steps and go slow, but take that first step NOW!