I’m Colleen – thanks so much for stopping by the Frenchie Farm! My husband, Ben, and I live on his family’s farm in a Chicago suburb with our toddler, newborn, 2 frenchies, 2 goats, and 10 chickens.
Photo credit: Lindsey Kay Photography
Ben works for the family business, BGH Construction, as a Project Manager/Sales Manager and completely remodeled our current farm house. His background will allow him to transform our overgrown backyard into a small homestead while sharing tips/tricks along the way!
I manage the office at BGH Construction while also working 1 day/week as a child and adolescent therapist. Although I work part-time, the best job is being a mama to my sassy toddler and baby boy.
MOVING TO THE FARM
When Ben asked me to move to his family’s farm, I thought he was crazy. I lived in Chicago for 5+ years, and I still wasn’t totally on board with suburban living, let alone living on a farm. Somehow my persuasive hubby convinced me that it was a good idea, and I’m so glad that he did. We remodeled his grandparents’ old house into the farmhouse of our dreams.
FARMHOUSE & DIY
Our little farmhouse is a work in progress. We’re constantly planning for the next step! We will be sharing various DIY projects along with some larger scale projects as well.
WHY THE FRENCHIE FARM?
We have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with our two french bulldogs, Henry and Marvin. Frenchies are a pretty tricky breed – they have terrible seasonal and food allergies, which has led to health problems and thousands of dollars in veterinary bills. After Henry was diagnosed with a Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius (MRSP) skin infection that covered most of his body, we decided that we needed to completely overhaul both of their diets. We started visiting a holistic vet, focused on gut healing, and began making our own raw food. We’re on a mission to heal our pups from allergies, and one way of achieving this goal is through knowing where our food comes from, which leads us to the Frenchie Farm….
Photo credit: Lindsey Kay Photography
Since moving to the farm, Ben and I have been joking that we’re slowly becoming that “weird” family – you know, those weird crunchy granola hippies who talk about gut healing and insist on knowing where their food comes from. Well, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve dove head first into the “really weird” category once we decided to get goats and chickens. Who needs to buy highly processed food from questionable sources when you can grow your own veggies/fruit, collect your own eggs from happy, free range chickens, and milk your own goats?
Our initial plan was to start slow by getting a few chickens. Ben wanted to start with a conservative six chickens, but I pushed for fifteen chickens (why fifteen? I’m not really sure, it sounded like a good number at the time.) We met in the middle and decided to start our little backyard farm with 10 baby chicks. We immediately placed the order for 10 baby chicks that night.
Let’s be honest, baby chicks are probably the cutest thing ever…
A few minutes after we placed the order for our baby chicks, I started dreaming of adding goats to our backyard farm. I figured that if we’re going to start a backyard farm, we might as well “go big or go home”, right? Ben immediately shot that idea down, but I somehow persuaded him that we needed goats ASAP. We started visiting local farms and put down on a deposit with a local breeder for Penny and Lucy.
It was love at first sight.
Goats are seriously the coolest animals ever (aside from our frenchies, of course.)
HOMESTEADING IS NEW TO US…
This whole “backyard farm/homestead” thing is completely new to us. Our family and friends think we’re crazy, we have no idea what we’re doing, and we’re expecting a baby this summer. What could go wrong, right?
AT LEAST BEN CAN BUILD THINGS
We (and by we, I mean Ben) converted an old, falling apart shed into a goat house and chicken coop.He also fenced the yard within just a few short weeks.
Ben is the brains behind this whole operation. His attention to detail and ability to transform old structures into something new and beautiful is amazing.
In an effort to know exactly where our food comes from, we will be planting a 600 square foot garden this spring. We started our garden from seeds in the basement and recently transplanted our little plants into the garden. Our garden lineup this year includes sweet corn, summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, poblano peppers, sweet peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelon, canteloupe, broccoli, carrots, kale, lettuce, arugula, onions, and radishes. Our mint, asparagus, and rhubarb are also coming in. EEEEEEK I’m so excited!
Frenchie Farm is also filled with an apple orchard and newly planted blueberry bushes and fig trees.
Our goal is to grow enough produce to feed our family with enough vegetables leftover to freeze and/or can for the fall and winter months. If we have a super successful year, we will likely sell the leftovers. Stay tuned!
FOOD ALLERGIES & FRENCHIE FARM
Our frenchies aren’t the only ones with food allergies. I’m unable to tolerate cow’s milk, and Finley has a suspected allergy to cow’s milk and soy. I also have a long family history of autoimmune diseases, so what better way to improve our overall health than by raising goats, chickens, and bees while also growing our own fruits/veggies?