living after the death of a baby, living with Autism, living as a family of six, living on our organic homestead, living miserably, hopefully, and with joy, and somedays just living

Archive for May, 2010

It’s Chicken Day!

So Jenn arrived with 12 layers for us today, it’s rainy and windy, but I’m so excited! So far we’ve collected eight eggs today and only one was dropped by a five year old girl.  

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The Beginnings of Self-sufficiency

DSC_0018 When we moved here there was the acreage dream.  Out in the rural, living on our land our way, the freedom of space to do the things we want.  This spring it’s starting to come together,  I hope it’s just the start.  The start of what? Of organic home grown produce, fall canning, chickens in the yard, fresh eggs for breakfast, animals in the barn, hand knead bread, homemade sweaters knit by mom (dare I dream with wool from our own sheep/goats someday?), a place for our kids to grow up and grow as people, to find out where food comes from, to live off our land.  I think  a cow and a pig could be in our near future, thankfully all we would need to do is raise it and someone else can do the killing and butchering.  I like the thought of a dairy cow, but the milking seems daunting and wouldn’t be something you could skip, as a milk producing momma I know how it feels to be storing more than is comfortable. It’s  May 16th today, and here is how things are shaping up.  More posts showing the progress to come,  I hope.

DSC_0006 So far we’ve started to grow plants from seeds, we tDSC_0002illed up 1200sq feet for a vegetable garden and Kyle is installing the drip irrigation system as I type. I can’t wait to dig out fresh produce, can and freeze for the winter, and store root veggies in the cold room.  I have part of an edible garden planted with strawberries, rhubarb, currents,basil, jalapenos, and chives with more to come.  We bought two apple trees and two plum trees and have broken ground for them.

DSC_0015 We patched the chicken  coop, installed a fence, cleaned it, hung nesting boxes, and spread hay.  In my effort to be come self sufficient I have also been thinking about materials, instead of getting everything shiny and new I’ve been amazed at how much is already here and how much we can repair  and re-purpose.  DSC_0008 I pressure washed some ancient chicken feeders and by looking around in all the buildings we where able to find two heat lamp brooders, a chick ring and a nifty watering pail you fill and set on its side for the chickens to drink from.  There is tons of hay in the barn just waiting to be used up as chicken litter.   Not to mention all the horse manure that has been sitting for years that we added to the garden.  Kyle had several pieces needed for the irrigation hanging about. We repaired the two very wobbly picnic DSC_0009tables, and guess what? They’re still good! Just in need of a fresh coat of paint now.    We found the fencing for the chicken coop behind the coops and the ice fishing shack, I think it used to be a dog run.  DSC_0007Scraps of wood from the garage repaired the chicken house.  Old boards make some great benches for the fire pit replacing the logs that used to be there.  There is a brand new plastic (200 gallon?)  cistern for collecting rain water behind the garage with all the hook ups attached.

The barn needs a new roof, or a very good patch job, and some new doors, but inside iBuff Orpington Cockerel and Henst is sound and has new stalls built from the owners before last.  I can see a cow, a pig, a few goats and sheep, a llama, and maybe a horse in there one day, some of them sooner than others.  Right now I’m thrilled that chickens are only days away, Jenn is bringing standard barnyard laying hens with her next week, and we’ve ordered 16 Buff Orpington heritage chicks due to arrive in the mail(!) July 1st.   The laying hens should lay eggs a day or two after settling in to their new homes and the Orpingtons are dual purpose birds meaning they are fair layers and fair meat birds, and happen to be very winter hearty.  I think they are super nice looking and they are coming as chicks how great is that going to be for the kids??

DSC_0023 DSC_0003DSC_0021 Besides it’s really just lovely here, the crabapple tree is in bloom, and signs of  childhood and discovery are everywhere!! Can’t wait for your visit!

Ps pictures are clickable to check out larger versions.