When you think of your kids and what you would like to leave behind for them, what comes to mind? For my husband and myself, we want to leave behind our homestead for them to continue, if they want it, and the skill sets needed to keep it running. We currently live on a little over 33 acres along with my in-laws, and we all work the homestead together.

My husband likes to tell our kids, “Us Portas are hard workers”. We try to lead by example and include them in the day-to-day activities on the homestead. At only four years old, two years old, and six months old, they are out on the farm every day helping take care of the animals and plants. This is only our fourth year on the farm, but we try to add to it and grow a little each year. My husband works full time outside of our home, and I stay home with the three kids, so we are trying not to let things get too big, too fast.

The previous owner still boards his two horses on the property, but we love them too. They are as sweet as can be, and the kids love taking them treats of apples and carrots when we are out doing chores.

Like most people who start a homestead, we started out with a few laying hens. We love our ladies, and they are extremely docile and loving with us. The flock has grown each year to help provide not only food for us, but also a little extra income. While we have built them several different structures over the last couple of years, we recently built them a chickshaw and bought electrified poultry netting to be able to add them to our rotational grazing. While it is the adults responsibility to deal with the netting and carry the waterer, the two oldest kids can pretty much take care of the chickens by themselves. They have their own little routine to feed them, collect eggs, and move the chickshaw with each other. They are always so proud of themselves when they count how many eggs they collected for the day.

Along with the hens, we started a garden the first year. We kept it small, with a 20’ x 4’ raised bed that we built. Each year we have expanded it, so that it now has the not only the raised bed, but also a 64’ x 32’ in-ground area for our plants. We also have apple trees, wild raspberry and wineberry bushes, and several different types of nut trees.


We are trying to start growing and preserving more of our food, and cut out the grocery store as much as possible. The kids have helped with every step of the garden. They have dug in the dirt, held the measuring tape for the fencing, planted the seeds and starts, watered, weeded, and harvested. They even have their own little set of gardening tools and gloves. They have also helped in the kitchen with some of the preservation. They don’t even see it as work; to them it is all just fun!



We are on our third year of having meat chickens and cattle. While the kids help feed, water, and move these animals, we have not included them in the slaughtering process just yet. We are letting them keep a little bit of that innocence for a little longer. We hope to add sheep/lamb, pigs, and goats to the farm in the next few years.

The kids go with us all over the farm, albeit in a carrier/stroller, on foot, on the four-wheeler, the tractor, the lawn mower, or in the farm truck. They are learning about sweat equity, and what it takes to truly keep the homestead going. We just hope that one day they will grow up and continue to love it as much as they do now. We are trying to teach them many life skills along with the farm skills. We hope they will continue on the Porta Ranch traditions, and some day pass all of these things onto their own children.

Written by Gena Porta, 2nd year Grow Your Own, 2024