It is January 1st. today! Can you believe we have entered 2014?! I mean, we made it through 2012, which was pretty amazing since the world was supposed to end, but then some thought it was just on a delayed schedule, but here we are! Okay, I know, I’m not really that funny, but I do try 🙂 Anyway, thank you for joining me again! It is pretty late as I type this blog, 9:45pm, way past bed-time on a farm of any kind, but my mind is so busy with lists and projects and budgets! It seems that life in general, and especially so on a farm, tends to be short on time, short on money, but with a project list so long with so many top-priorities that it can make one a little….well, cuckoo. Since I am finding it all a bit overwhelming I thought I would chat with you all about it and work out some short term lists. Besides, some of you have told me it helps to see what others are doing to help guide beginners, and seeing as this is only year two on our new land we are still sort of like newbies with all the set-up and sorting out.
The other day I posted about my New Year Resolutions. This blog is basically running with those to start making them happen. I am going to break them down by goal and expand on them.
- Create a garden that produces enough food to supply our families canned/frozen food needs for the entire summer and winter. A sub-goal to this is to only buy beans and rice and seasonings from the grocery store after June of this year.
~ My friend brought me a tiller to use to get the garden space ready. Today we cleared all the branches and debris from trimmings we fed to the goats and stuff we had put in for the pigs. The tiller broke right off the bat, so I need to research its repair tomorrow and get it up and running. It is a good job for a rainy day, which is what the forecast is calling for. I already have a garden plan of sorts here if you would like to see it. We need to work the ground, rake out as much crabgrass as possible, till again, rake, and till at least once more, adding amendments and such to build up the soil. That will require a few trips to the landfill for mulch, but if I get it early it should be breaking down pretty good by the time we plant, and in the meantime the chickens can go through it and pick out bugs that might have been brought in with it. All this needs to be done by the end of January.
~ In addition to the above, now is the time to get your greenhouse set up and ready for baby plants! At least it is here in the south. It is time to get your planters ready, starting soil prepared, and seeds ordered if you haven’t already. First ground plantings start in February and so do greenhouse starts, and I haven’t ordered seed yet! *gulp!*
- Create a sustainable source of meat on our own farm without relying on deer hunters for all our meat. A sub-goal here is to actually kill and process our first pig (THAT is a daunting task that I really don’t want to do but need to!)
~ I have eggs coming in from the Ameraucana hens, but they are not good setters and I can’t get a good meat source from them. I refuse to run heat lamps and incubators every time I need a new hatch. So, next on the agenda is to get a good setting breed that will forage for most of its food and produce a reliable batch of roosters to kill every week. The plan is to kill two chickens a week for our meat needs. If we have excess of that then they will be dog food. Extra eggs not set on will feed the pigs and dogs. Because we live on a swamp edge I also need to get the ducks and geese and turkeys ordered. Ducks are for meat and eggs and slug patrol, turkey for meat and a warning system, and geese for meat and protection from hawk and owl for the other fowl. All said, the variety in fowl should both keep control of the ticks, slugs, snails and any other flying or crawling tiny creatures while providing a pretty self sufficient source of food for us as they will have plenty of excellent land to obtain food on. If I order everything I can now they will be strong and working for us by summer. The plan is one last year of heat lamps and store-bought feed, and after that they will mostly live off the land that is otherwise unsuitable for anything.
- Install a working well pump with plumbing for the garden and install rain-barrels for garden watering and livestock needs.
Okay, this one may take a while. We are going to be totally out of money thanks to the ACA for projects, and buying seed and poultry is not going to be cheap, so the well will have to wait. In the meantime, our barns get a ton of run-off, and I can easily build some rain-catchers that will then run water to the garden and livestock buckets. The ones for the garden could include some fish and I would have natural fertilizer 🙂 I will probably be doing well if I get the catchers set up this year, though! Fish will come next year.
Okay, this was really helpful! Thank you for sticking with me and my thinking. That was a lot of typing! It looks like tomorrow will be spent ordering seed and birds, making lists of rain catching container supplies, and learning what parts are needed to repair the tiller. See how easy that was? *I am being facetious here* I am off to get some sleep now; it looks like tomorrow is going to be busy! G’night friends!