Stop by & offer a few pointers, or point & laugh, as a few old farts figure out the fine art of living... Life on a Few Acres

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Where we're headed


One problem I've had with setting up our new(ish) homestead is that it took awhile to get a handle on what layouts & functions made the most sense. On one hand I sometimes feel frustrated that we don't have more done.  Overall though, spending our time and energy dismantling and disposing of what we didn't want instead of forging ahead with the new seems to have worked out.  One of the benefits is that over time, the form and function of the house and six acres began to take shape.

The lines above represent fences of one kind or another, and their color represents whether they are built yet,  slated for far into the future, or somewhere in between. Black lines show completed fencing.  Those lines in purple are in progress, i.e. have some of the fencing installed, and/or some of the posts.  The light blue and light pink lines are browsing areas for the guys and gal goats respectively.  Not sure at this point what combination of panels, woven and electric will be used for those rotational grazing areas.  This project is slated to begin when the barnyards are finished.  The thicker, royal blue lines are the furthest out on the time line, and will be perimeter fencing, and fencing for the one area that may have limited public access. 
When the plan took shape some of us were dismayed to see how much fencing was involved.  It hurts, both the back and pocket book, and even my pride.  I've caught myself wincing at the thought that all these fences to no where leaves me looking like that crazy city gal who doesn't know a tree stump from a water pump!.  All I can say in my defense is expert after expert stresses rotational grazing is best by far for animal health, and even pasture management.  Not to mention we are on a highway, are far too lazy old to chase animals, and past experience has left me with (literal) scars.  I barely clear the five foot mark, and trying to separate two large fighting chows in an open space impressed upon me the importance of being able to corral and control animals.

Right now we only have a few of the zones up and running.  The dog zone in the front and side of the house, the chicken and goat zones to the east of the house, in front of the temporary goat barn.  I had wanted the chickens down in the garden, so they could help with weeding and bugs, but I was over ruled.  Their chicken tractor is a wee bit NE of the house, and there's been no problem at all with smell or insects.  The current focus is on the fencing projects, and in keeping those 2 lanes that run east to west between and behind the barns cleared out enough to work on the out buildings there.

One project that didn't make the master picture is the greenhouse, which is planned to sit on the south west side of the guys goat barn.    Since I made this diagram back in March/April, we've finished half of the garden -orchard- animal food block fencing, and have planted the green square behind the machine shed with apple, apricot, and fig trees, rhubarb, horse radish, and black berry bushes.  So many teeny tiny steps, but at the end of the day, we made movement towards the goals.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hot chick time!

Glad to share that the laundry- cheese making- seed starting- chick brooding room has officially moved into the hot chicks phase.  Once again I wanted a few Orpington to take over the work of raising the littles, and once again it looks like I waited too late.  Or not.  Think I may try hatching my own Orps if I can't find any at the local stores.  For some reason, I don't like the idea of having chicks mailed to me.  Irrational, I know.    

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 1st brings our year to a close

So, I guess I can't put off a review of our first year much longer.  First, I should mention that blogging out the goals and directions we wished to take paid off.  Unlike plans scribbled on the back of envelopes, of which I have many, lol... the one I posted to the inter webs is just where I left it!  That in itself is progress : ).

Some of our plans worked out well.  Our planting goals were limited to getting in a chunk of our perennials.  Of the 14 trees, 13 are surviving.  The fig tree will be replaced down the road, in a better protected spot, tended by better educated people.
The asparagus and berries also made it through the year.
Overall evaluation is that our planting goals were reasonable for our situation, and were reasonably successful. 

Our animal plans  also seemed to go well, overall.  The goal was 8 layers & a rooster, and we've 7 gals and guy with us today.  The one death occurred early on, and was most likely a human caused accident.  Otherwise, the birds have appeared to thrive.  I think the temperature was too high at times, and I never added any medicine or prophylactics to their water.  There was no noticeable slowdowns in their laying during the winter, either.  Ultimately, the only problem with the chickens is:  we want more! and already have more eggs than we need!  Obviously there are many solutions to the situation and we will figure out which one(s) we wish to take soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pretty Girl Leonard Laid an EGG!

I know- "skin color" doesn't matter- they're all the same on the inside. Still, there's something about the colored eggs that tickles the fancy of children of all ages, eh? ;)

We here are no exception.  Our singular Easter egger was Queen of the day when, at 9 months, she shared this beauty.  As far as I know, it was this size right out of the gate- if there were smaller egg farts-practice eggs, we never saw them.

I feel like an old hand at this chicken wrangling stuff, as a few days prior, I'd noted that she was probably ready to lay.  I'd pulled this opinion out of my thin air, and offered it to another of the ole farts who wondered whether ms. Leonard was
a gal who only *dated* her own kind.  In retrospect, I think I'd unconsciously noted that she had stood still and let me pet her, which I had forgotten I had read is one sign of sexual maturation.  Something to do with standing still and lowering to the ground to accept the rooster.  So now the ? isn't when will she lay, but, What color is the durn thing.  I see blue, others green.  My other ?, for bonus points, is what are those nested irish pottery dishes for??  If you know, don't bother raisin' your hand- Just shout it out ;)