DOUGLAS, Alaska — Among the expected appliances for sale, libidinous missives, and rants about bad drivers in Juneau, an unusual post showed up on Southeast Alaska's Craigslist earlier this month.

"FREE: Icelandic Sheep (Douglas)," it read. "Can arrange a ferry ride if out of town."

The capital city is not exactly known for being heavy on livestock, certainly not free ones, so this post lent itself to some immediate questions.

The sheep in question are part of an "experimental farm" on Douglas, created by Lisa Daugherty on a small plot of land where she lives with her husband and son. Up the short driveway, it's a bit different than the average Juneauite's backyard. Rabbits hop around enclosures, while chickens take dust baths nearby. Further up the hill, the sound of bleating sheep rings out. Behind them, raised beds covered in tarps or homemade greenhouses are filled with an array of healthy growths.

"Everything here is an experiment," Daugherty said.

Daugherty has been working on her farm for three years. Before that she lived on a float house, so she didn't have as much opportunity for growing or turning her dwelling into an ark.

The first year was a disaster. She ordered a load of topsoil, which just got dumped in the driveway, carried buckets of it up to her raised beds, planted seeds and waited. Nothing happened. A few shoots appeared and died.

"Weeds didn't even grow," she said.

This season is different, and several of her experiments, along with learning new techniques, have paid off. The lettuce is vibrant. The garlic next to the house is coming along nicely.

Southeast is a challenging place for conventional growing. Daugherty's land is rough and rooty, almost muskeg. Last year their dog died, and they had to chainsaw a hole in the ground to bury it.

For planting, soil mixtures including seaweed, leaves and sand with ground up seashells in it, along with compost and manure, are necessary to keep things growing. This year, Daugherty is working on creating a perennial environment of flowers to attract insects and bees to her garden.

The animals on the farm are integral to sustainable farming. Daugherty and her family also only eat hunted, fished or farmed meats.

The Icelandic sheep came to Juneau from Game Creek near Hoonah about a year ago. At first Daugherty liked the idea of having wool-producers, but keeping sheep in a place without much in the way of grazing doesn't work well. Daugherty has declared her sheep experiment to be a failure, realizing she would have to spend her time using a weed whacker to forage for food for them in the ditches around town, or her money, paying about a hundred bucks in hay hauled in from Washington state.

"That's not very sustainable," she said.

The sheep won't be leaving town, and are headed to wider pastures with someone living in Auke Bay.

Some of the other animals Daugherty tried worked out, but were eventually given up. She had goats for 8 months, which she milked every day at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m., hard work for a new mother with a job. They prohibited her from being away for any substantial period of time. The goats also didn't get along with the sheep.

But there were perks to the work. Speaking about the goats recently, Daugherty grew wistful.

"It was the best yogurt and milk in the world," she said. "I stopped drinking beer."

Then there were the geese, which Daugherty chalks up as being her biggest mistake so far.

"They were so mean my son wouldn't come outside anymore," she said. "They started using the driveway as a runway and try to fly, and they'd end up in the road. And they were so dirty."

The rabbits, on the other hand, have been a success. They provide not just meat, but also good manure, which can be used immediately, without first composting it in her "Fertility Facility." She cuts down on rabbit pellet feed by using things she and her son can collect growing right around them.

Daugherty kills the rabbits herself, describing the process in terms that might seem unpleasant, though humane, and certainly a direct connection to understanding where food comes from. Any carnivores who buy a ten pound bag of frozen "meat" from their local big box store aren't required to spend a second pondering how it got there.

The chickens on the farm have thrived as well. Daugherty "accidentally" has too many chickens, having had no losses - chicken deaths - in the last two years. Right now she has 17, enough to provide eggs for seven families.

"It's kind of cool if you think about it," she said. "All these eggs, coming up on the barge ... If every third house in Juneau had nine chickens, then no one would have to buy eggs."

For the future, Daugherty is thinking about trying out a pig. Not only could it help root out some of the untamed land, but it would also provide some fresh bacon when the time comes.

Along with an attempt at sustainability comes an inherent reduction in waste. They compost much of their garbage, recycle and reuse anything they can, and it takes the family of three almost two months to creating enough trash worth sending to the landfill.

Spending is also drastically reduced, saving them from hitting up the grocery stores for much of their dietary needs.

"If you try and buy fresh oregano at the store, it's five dollars for a little fistful," she said. "Or you can buy a two dollar packet of seeds and feed you and your neighbors ... several neighbors. And it's actually good."

Ultimately, Daugherty said all of her "experiments" boil down to making each day tangible for her family. When they see a tree growing out of the dirt in a parking lot, they dig it up and plant it so it's not hacked down as a weed. If they happen upon a roadkill porcupine, they gather quills to make jewelry. They go on skiff rides and make forts out of branches instead of watching "Dora the Explorer."

"Farming is just something real to do, and it is healthy for us and the earth," she said.