Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thinking of season 2012

We are about to enter the growing season of 2012. We have not gotten to where I wanted to be at this time....but you can only do so much. We had Smith kid #5 about 3 weeks ago and he is fitting right in. :) I am about to plant the onion seeds we got from our onions the past season in 2011. Love saving the seeds from last season to use this season, makes my job easier because I already have the seeds and I don't have to order them and they are FREE!! LOL So I am hoping to this weekend start my first wave of the onion seeds. We are doing succession planting again this year and we have a schedule I would really like to stick to....but as we get deeper and deeper into this homesteading lifestyle I am realizing that even the best laid out plans don't go as well as you planned....or don't go according to plan at all! Another thing I have realized is that there is something to do everyday other then the normal chores here on our small farm. There is always something that needs to be fixed or modified or adjusted or needs to be larger or smaller or anything. We have been thrown through a HUGE learning curve. I still love it....but I am coming to realize just how hard farmers work and we are itty bitty compared to large scale farms. It has created a new appreciation for the farmers of America.

The pigs are getting huge and boy they are so smart! We separated the male from the females, but 2 months ago they figured out how to escape and did so like 7 or 8 times. The male figured out how to ground out the electrical wire. We fixed his and then he busted through the wall and got into the females pen and then knocked over their water barrel onto the electrical wire. We moved the barrel...he moved it back over and did it again. So we then fixed the wall and bolted the barrel and moved the wire just to make sure and got a higher voltage charge flowing to make sure they just don't want to touch it. So far so good. It was definitely interesting trying to get 3 pigs back into the pen....we had to bait them with people food. Had no idea that pigs were so picky. We also knew they would eat A LOT, but boy I definitely underestimated how much they actually eat. So I contacted a local grocery store and they give us the expired bread and produce they cannot sell to humans but is still edible and not moldy and a few bakery items to feed these pigs and then we give them some grain to make sure they are getting all their vitamins and minerals. We have chosen to not let the pigs till the garden just because we do not have the money for a temporary fence right now and I am not sure I want to chase the pigs again if by chance they do get out. We are about 8 months away from breeding time with the pigs and around Christmas we should have our first piglets. That will be interesting as well! LOL We are also about 6-7 months away from butchering our first pig. We need to get the smoke house up and running for that as well, I definitely want bacon :)

We have saved our money and are about to get our cows. We still need to get a fence up and get their house ready....but one thing at a time and I REALLY do not want to chase cows so we are going a little overboard and using electrical wire and barbed in case the electrical fence does happen to short out, we still have a back up and hopefully not have to chase any cows....especially since we are getting a bull as well. I would like my cows to be more pasture fed them hay fed, so I am going to buy seed and let the timothy and orchard grass grow and maybe get some clover seed mixed in there. It will help offset some costs and its better for the cows.

Our chickens are laying a storm of eggs and are wonderful. They also are getting some produce from the grocery store and are pretty happy chickens! :) We are looking for a full grown male to start mating with 2-3 of them so we can get meat chickens that way. I refuse to do the Cornish X chickens again. It was a horrible experience and I want a slower growing meat chicken and our New Hampshire are awesome dual purpose we are trying to find a rooster of the same breed and let them have at it. We already have the chicken coop separated because of the meat birds, so I plan to take the 2-3 hens and the rooster and put them all on the meat bird side and let the moms do all the incubating and brooding....New Hampshire are pretty good mommies too! Easier for us!

We planted 4 more trees this Autumn, another 2 apple, a peach and a pear. We also got raspberry bushes and a grape vine!

My husband also got to practice more of his butchering skills this winter he and my soon to be step dad got 2 deer and skinned and butchered them. I got to be the processing house and grind up the other parts and make sausage and so on. It let us know what we need to do to the slaughter/summer house to get it ready for a 1,200lb cow we will be butchering in the next year or 2. We still have a while to go to finish fixing up our little homestead and get it to where its all usable and efficient and our to do list is ever growing along with our family! HA HA HA :) It has been a bumpy year so far, but it has been worth it to see my kids start to learn a good work ethic and learn where food comes from and what it takes to get it and when you grow it yourselves how much better it tastes. So excited to see how things go this next season....we are going to be expanding more and trying more new things and try to master some of the other things we have experimented with last year and saw was successful!

Well hope you are all having a great winter and hope to be posting more as well go through our trials this coming up season!