January 2018 Update

Wow! It’s been a long time since my last update, 6 months to be exact… Yikes! Sorry about that! Farmer Long and I have been a little preoccupied for the last 6 months, not with any crazy homesteading adventures, but… were expecting a new addition to our homestead… a sweet (human, lol) baby girl due around the beginning of April. Our own little spring chick per se 😉 We’ve had to scale back on some homesteading aspects because of this, I’ll discuss some of that in this post. But I am also working on a separate blog post all about how homesteading and keeping up with farm chores while pregnant has been for me, so keep an eye out for that future post as well. If you missed the last update in July, click here, otherwise let’s dive into our latest homestead happenings…

Garden: Ok so nothing has been done with our garden since the last update… I may have harvested a few random veggies leftover from summer, however the garden is a hot mess. We knew when I became pregnant that some parts of our homestead would have to be put on the back burner, and the garden was the one big thing that got the chopping block. It’s not for a lack of loving the garden, I love gardening, it’s one of my favorite things, however there were a few reasons that we choose to put it on hold. 1. We have living breathing animals that depend on us for their survival and well-being, and we care for them multiple times a day… ie: dogs, chickens, turkeys, goats and our one random sheep. We figured that putting them as a priority first before any other homesteading tasks was the most important thing we could do. 2. I usually don’t grow as much in the garden during the fall/winter. Ok yea I know we live in California so pretty much fall/winter is like a second spring, but historically speaking for me, I tend to focus more on spring and summer gardening, so I figured this made the choice a little easier. 3. Our garden is really far away from the house. I hate this about our garden, but it is what it is. I have to walk down and back up a steep hill to get to the garden and back to the house… doing this while pregnant seemed like a lot of extra work. So for now, garden is on hold, I will see how things go after the baby gets here and go from there, hopefully there will be more gardening updates in our near future!

Hot Mess Garden!

Chickens: On the last update I mentioned how we were downsizing some of our flock, the main reason for that was with planning to expand our family, we knew we weren’t going to have as much time or energy to take care of as many animals, but it was also just to keep numbers manageable, especially in regards to how many eggs we really need. We might actually sell or give away a few more of our hens to cut numbers down a bit more too. The chickens we gave to my grandparents are doing really well, we’ve visited them twice since then, and my grandparents are enjoying them and their eggs! Our spring chicks began laying eggs, which is always a really exciting milestone for a chicken raiser. We butchered a few of our roosters a few months ago, some of the roosters were chicks we hatched in spring. Unfortunately, you only need a few roosters, and too many can cause problems with the flock, so we picked the rooster that was the easiest/nicest on the hens, and butchered the other three we had in that flock. Two of the other roosters we butchered were really mean and aggressive and would constantly try to attack us, we tried to work with them, they never got better, only worse, and we don’t have much tolerance to that kind of behavior, especially when we have other very friendly roosters. We ate one of the roosters a few months ago and he was delicious, lots of really tasty dark meat which is our favorite. The meat was a little tough, so I might try slow cooking the next rooster.

Turkeys: All of our turkeys have been butchered. We butchered and sold five shortly after the last update. The remaining seven got butchered about two weeks before Thanksgiving. We sold five of those, and kept two for ourselves -1 big Tom turkey which was our Thanksgiving turkey, and a hen that’s in our freezer. We enjoyed raising the turkeys, and enjoyed eating them even more so. However, heritage breed turkeys are a slow growing breed, which is a great thing, but they just take so long to grow out and reach a decent weight, we definitely lost money raising them. I’m not sure if in the future we will raise them again, if we do, we just might raise a few for ourselves.

Goats/Sheep: In my last update, I mentioned that we had two of our Boer goats in with our buck to be bred, with babies due around the end of the year. Well they both had their babies… one had twins shortly before Christmas and the other had her babies a few days after Christmas. They were all born with no assistance from us, healthy, nursed well and bonded well with their moms, and are still doing great to this day. When they are around 8-9 weeks old we will look into selling them. On a sad note, a few months back we lost our Nubian goat Bindi. We’re not exactly sure what happened, but we think she ate some dog food and got a disease (basically poisoned her rumen) that caused her to have neurological problems. She started getting seizures/tremors, which got progressively worse in a short amount of time. We kept a close eye on her, but we started thinking that she was in pain so we decided to put her down. It was a hard decision and a sad evening for us, especially since she was one of our original two goats we got, but she will always be missed and remembered. Our other Boer goat and sheep were both destined for the freezer, but we were waiting on freezer space, however we still have a pretty full freezer, so they’ve been spared… However, we want to downsize the herd a little more before the baby comes to keep things easy to take care of. We will keep the sheep, but were thinking about selling the Boer goat that was supposed to be for the freezer. We might also sell another one of our goats as well. We will still have a decent sized herd and will continue to breed the goats we have, so we will have more baby goats, don’t worry!

Other Homesteading Related Updates: This last year I was focusing a lot more on the “home”, so areas of homesteading such as: simple living, frugal living, meal planning, cooking from scratch, and food preservation. This year I plan on continuing to focus on these areas of my life and homestead. They aren’t animal related, but they are definitely homesteading related. My goal is to share more of these topics on this blog, and going forward I will try to list them as sections on my homesteading updates just as I normally do with the animal sections above. I hope this will be of interest to some of you and that you enjoy reading about it as much as I love doing it. Let me know if there is any topic you would like me to write a blog post about, and I will try my best to provide it!

A lot of this update has to do with downsizing for our homestead, but we will still be homesteading, don’t worry! With the baby on the way, we just want to make sure everything is manageable for us, and we are being realistic with our expectations. Since it’s our first baby, it’s hard to know what to expect, especially with how homesteading fits in with having a newborn. However, we are looking forward to seeing what homesteading will look like with a little one to enjoy it with us. We know it will be different, but we also know that having her to care for, as well, will give us even more motivation to homestead, to do things for ourselves and to know where our food comes from. It will be a whole new adventure, a new perspective of homesteading, and were excited to share it with you all as we learn through it. We hope you keep following along with us on this journey!

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