Monday, May 5, 2014

Long term homesteading goals

Homesteading, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, or just plain old money saving.  Whatever you call it, I feel like most people I know have some sort of goals for this topic.  I have a long list that covers many aspects.  Here it is, written out more for my benefit than yours.

  • Put in long-term field fencing.  Use the temporary fencing to section off the field into 8 paddocks.  Use permanent posts for a a dry lot, and training lot.  I'd like to put in 6 foot half rounds along the road and for the aforementioned lots.  I'd be happy to use metal t-posts for along the creek and river.  I'm not sure if I want to stick with electric fencing or use wooden rails with woven wire.  
  • Trench the field for optimal drainage, put a water tank below where the spring drains into the field to catch said water, and achieve maximum benefit.  
  •  Improve gardening skills to the point where everything I put in the ground has an edible product.  
  • Relocate ground hog or fence in all gardens so we benefit from them, and not the ground hog. 
  • Add pear and plum trees to the orchard. 
  • Add raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry plants to the hillside.  
  • Put away enough fruits and vegetables during the growing season to last through the winter and into the next growing season. 
  • Frame in a green house over the upper garden.  
  • Set up feed sprouting trays for livestock. 
  • Add an additional 24 laying hens to the chicken count. 
  • Raise enough meat chickens to feed the family for one year.  (100?)
  • Build chicken tractors to graze meat chickens in the field. 
  • Add turkeys, geese, and ducks to the farm.  One male and one female to potentially bring up new young.  The rest would be butchered each Fall.  
  • Raise 3 pigs yearly.  Two to feed the family, and one to sell to cover butcher costs.  
  • Sheep.  An heritage breed that we can use for milk, wool, and potentially meat.  If there is a breed I can find that isn't represented in our area perhaps a male as well so we can sell babies in the spring.  
  • Replace the old barn roof with metal. 
  • Get solar panels to go on the barn roof, sell extra to utility company. 
  • Sell extra eggs and any other extras.  
For now that is all I can think of.  What are your goals?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The year of the fence, part 2.

The field is now completely enclosed with temporary fencing.  Yay for free grazing.  I took a break from all the fencing projects to clear out the deep bedding in the stalls and chicken coop.  Last week I started on the new chicken fence.  I managed to get get 6 posts in the ground, along with turning and planting the 8x8 raised bed with root vegetables.  I still have about 25 posts to put in for the chicken run, and then get the new wire up.  Everything I've accomplished either has to be done with my two little helpers or during nap time.  It sure has revised my view of what a 'big accomplishment' is for one day.  
I was hoping to purchase a rototiller this year, but decided that our little expendable cash could be better budgeted to other expenses.  For now I'm turning everything by hand.  Between digging up the garden and digging fence posts my dislike for our rocky soil has grown immensely.  This happens every Spring, but luckily for me I have a little boy who loves the job of removing rocks from the garden.  In 5 years time I will have rock free garden spaces I'm sure!