Monday, March 9, 2015

Lost the Thought

Well...... I started a post last week.  Had all kinds of thoughts and such in it.  Had to head out to the off farm job so I hit the save button, thinking it was all good and I'd just come back to it.  Yah right.  Gone.  Poof.  Nothing.  That figures "sigh", it's always how it goes.  So, now what?  All those thought are gone, that's why I write them down!

Eh, oh well, start over with new thoughts I guess.

So, we had the big snowpocalypse episode.  Yup, it was pretty interesting.  Started out with 12 hours of rain, then, in the middle of morning chores, it turned into tiny little ice balls and by the time I had to head out for the off farm job, it was big, fat snow flakes.  It snowed all darn day while I was at work and quit about an hour before closing time.  A cute 8" of snow.  Yep, had to drive the 2WD, bald tires 5 speed home in snow covered roads.  Other than me having to go 25mph to keep from slipping and having to make 2 runs at the train bridge to get over it, all was good and I made it home.

The critters didn't much like it.  Everybody lived thru it tho, mad or not.  I sold 2 of the cows to pay some of the larger overdue bills around here.  The one remaining cow has filled a bag and a new calf should be gracing the farm within a month.  One goat is still making me wait for a new kid and the 2 sets of twins are bouncing around like they're on springs. 

2 more blankets have been added to the farm store.

40x60s, the top one is called "blacklight" and the bottom is "Monet".

I'll be seed starting this weekend.  It's long past overdue but it being so cold in here, there was no sense in wasting seed that will mold instead of germinate.  The 10 day forecast looks promising so as I have time, seed will get started.

So, until the next thought comes along........

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rough Days

This is Lil Sister.  I brought her into this world myself via c-section, back in 2011.  I raised her and I loved her.  Sis got sick this winter.  Bad sick.  I thought she was getting better but the weather changed, she picked up a respiratory infection and she didn't make it through.  

Lucky goat, another I raised in the house, is now sick.  He never left Sis' side, comforted her, kept her warm like the true companion he is.  Lucky took a trip to the vet yesterday, got several shots, some IV fluids, got mad, bit the vet and held a grudge for the rest of the day.  Today, he's slightly better and wearing one of my ex-husbands sweatshirts.  I figured what the heck, the ex left it behind so I might as well get some good use out of it!  Of course, Lucky is not pleased and I'm sure he will chew it off before tonight.  But, for now, he's wearing it, LOL

 Here's the latest addition to the soap inventory.  Coffee soap. This recipe is touted as the perfect smell remover, taking care of everything from garlic and onion to gasoline smell.  It's got another week of cure then I'm going to give it a try!
 These 2 goofballs are the chickens I hatched out in November.  They got turned out during the warmer weather last week and were too stubborn to stay in the barn.  They insisted on being close to me and took up residence next to the front porch.  Of course, being the good "Mom" I am, I could not allow them to stay out there during the hard freeze and snow storm so here they are, back in the house, complaining and cackling with the first light.
 The fat little Lionhead bunnies are weaned and ready to go to new homes.  

Other than the bitter cold and losing one of my all time favorite milking goats/pets, it's life as usual around the farm for the middle of February.  Still no seed started, glad I didn't start any for this nasty freeze and lousy weather!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Homesteading and Self Reliance

There's at least a thousand reasons why people think about and take the leap toward self reliance and or homesteading.  Some do it for enjoyment, others do it out of necessity.  For me, it is a little of both.

This small farm is rough.  It's been that way for a long time.  Plenty of reasons I won't go into right now but the result is the same.  No budget here.  There's not enough income for that.  Hand to mouth, survival mode.  The gardens don't get planted because it's fun (well it IS fun anyway, LOL) and the critters aren't here as pets.  Without either, there would be no food.  Every dime from the off farm paycheck goes to keeping the taxes and utilities paid.  Food is up to me to create out of nothing or we don't eat.

Every aspect of daily life around here is just about what it was like 150 years ago, just add electric and running water.  It has been this way since 2008 and I'm still alive.  Of course, it didn't get to where it is now overnight and it's been lots and lots of work!

Huge gardens big enough to feed 4 people plus more produce than I could ever can up or sell in a season.  The livestock eat the left overs from both the table and the market.  As I prosper, they do too!

Chickens are a nice addition to any homestead.  Fresh eggs and fresh meat.  During the summer months, free ranging chickens fend for themselves and their upkeep is minimal.  Fresh water every day and little to no additional feed beyond what they forage for themselves and garden leftovers.  In the winter months, those chickens can eat a ration easily grown and then stored.

Rabbits are another good addition.  It's harder to feed them without having to buy commercial feeds.  With a limited growing area, it's almost impossible to feed them.  Alfalfa is the best feed (IMO) with the best feed to meat ratio but alfalfa needs to be planted and tended like any hay field and acreage is required for that.  Just clipping yard grasses for feed isn't enough (not to mention it being ridiculously time consuming) and it won't be long before Thumper dies of starvation.  So, here, I try to breed for the table and for sale so I can cover the expense of the commercial feed without getting into my pocket.  Since funds are non existent here, without sales, there can't be any rabbits.

Alas, with keeping chickens and rabbits as a source of food, the dirty side effect of that is learning to butcher for yourself.  It is hardly feasible to pay someone to butcher for you.  So, you suck it up and learn how,  Now you have a new skill.  Learning to butcher opens up a whole new world for you and better educates you concerning cuts of meat, where those particular cuts come from, the real, actual quality of any given cut of meat.  It's a real eye opener when you go into a grocery to buy beef or pork and realize the cost of meat compared to the real quality of the cut.

Next on the homestead list for feeding yourself would be larger livestock.  While goats are easy to tend (relatively speaking), there are some needs you can't take care of without acreage and larger farm equipment.  During the summer months, goats forage for themselves and are most certainly self sufficient.  Winter, on the other hand, is a whole new ball game.  While a goat requires much less feed than a milk cow would, they still need to be fed.  Growing a grain crop and producing hay for their forage is easily done if you have the land for those crops.  Otherwise, you'll need to buy feed and hay from somewhere or someone, defeating the whole self reliance thing in one swat.  But then, with goats, you have a day like I had today. Even tho my 2 favorite goats are a little under the weather, a yearling nanny I was kind of worried about had her kids today and after a bit of freak out, she's nursing her twin kids and all is well.  Now, I've got 2 new additions to the herd and a nice supply of goats milk for drinking, cheese and soap.

Now to the next set of skills.  Old fashioned type stuff, all self reliance.  Cheese making and soap making!  An effort of love, no doubt, and the reward is highly satisfying!  There is no comparison when it comes to home made cheese and soap.  Both are time consuming but relatively simple with a little practice.  While you can make soap without fresh goats milk, cheese is a whole new world when you get a gallon or 2 of some fresh goat or cow milk.  The mozzarella is to die for!

So, as you can tell by now, my idea of homesteading and self reliance revolves around feeding myself.  Life is pretty darn tough when you don't make enough money to buy food.  I am living proof that it can be done and with roughly 5 acres give or take along with dedication and hard work, a single person can feed themselves and eat well.

Next chapters will be more in depth and all the subjects listed above, one at a time..........

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Our First Soap Giveaway

Looks like I'll just be sending one package of soap out this coming week, thank you Rosetta for your support!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Macaw Raffle Winner

Congrats to Pam M, she won the raffle of the Macaw couch throw over at Self Sustained Living yesterday!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Farm Update-1-12-15

Brrr, it's cold!  Hard to imagine a farm full of garden or animal babies bouncing around when it's just this miserable outside.  It's coming tho!  Just a few weeks and the seed starting will commence.  Babies are coming with lionhead bunnies being first.  I always wait to announce bunny kits since it's so easy to have them and then they just die and you have none.  So far, so good tho with bunny kits being born on the 8th and they're still alive!  I won't take any pictures until they start crawling around at about 2 weeks old.

So, as promised via facebook, I will give away soap this week.  You may comment here to be entered or comment on facebook and at the end of the week, I will draw 3 names and those winners will get soap Earth Soap made here on the farm!

Also, the odds are still good for the crochet couch throw raffle with just 3 people entered.  Don't miss out on a nice, warm crochet throw for the couch!

Good luck and see you again next week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January Blanket Raffle

This Macaw couch throw (3'x5') still has 7 days left on the raffle and only 2 people in on the raffle.  The odds are still good!  $10 an entry or 3 entries for $20, enter via the paypal button over at Self Sustained Living   Good luck!