Gardening

Pertaining to the Garden

Vegan Farmer?? Well Almost

Vegan and Farmer dont quite go hand in hand now do they? Nothing like telling someone, “Yah, I’m a farmer. I have sheep, chickens, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, and pigs that I raise for meat. Oh you want to go to lunch?? I need a place thats Vegan.”  They of course give you the weirdest look ever! So here is the deal. I’m NOT vegan, But I have to eat vegan..sort of.

About two years ago, almost three now, I started having issues. It was around the time I switched everything to organic around my homestead. It started off that I couldnt drink milk from the store. Well that’s ok because I wanted to go raw anyway and guess what? I could drink raw. Woohoo! Then I found out I had a gluten intolerance. Well that totally sucked butt and I did a post on that. I started freakin out because I love me my grain carbs and I was making everything from scratch!! Bread, pasta, cake, cookies…argh..I’m drooling! Then I found out I was intolerant to eggs. Soon it was peanuts… Yeah I was going nuts..not literally though!  What the heck was going on with me??!!  It’s come to the point now that I can not have any dairy at all..no cheese, no raw milk, no kefir, no yogurt… I feel nauseated when I eat peanuts, chicken, pork, eggs, gluten, dairy..turkey..am I missing anything;…Man I hope not because whats left?? Veggies and fruit!

How can I be a farmer raising meat for others and our family when I cant eat anything? About the only meat I can eat at the moment is grassfed animal meat. Rabbit because we feed no grain, grassfed beef, and our own grassfed lamb. Thats a short list..although two of those are extremely economical for us to raise here but still. Well on top of all this I am diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. So life so far as been a real bumpy, learning curve, trip right now. About 6-8 weeks ago I started doing Insanity…sorry I didnt finish posting on my days   :(..anywho I figured if I am going to hurt, I”ll give my body a reason! Well after a month into it I hurt my knees and they still hurt even after dumping that program. I have many other videos that I can use that are not so extreme but my weight is not coming off.  Researching the web brought about a lot of changes for me.

I came across someone saying I should watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. That is changed their life. So I did. Its on Netflix and Hulu, you guys should check it out because IT has changed my life!! Seriously.  This man Joe Cross is an inspiration. He was rich to begin with but now he’s even richer because he found a need in America and across the world and that is to eat healthier. He’s all about juicing to change your life. Now before I go any further, I’m going to tell you, its expensive. I totally get why poor people are unhealthy. We really cant afford for me to keep eating this way. Notice I said me..not my family. Here in good ol Indiana shopping at Aldi’s, its $100 a week just for meals for me. Then another $100 for the rest of the family.

It would be so easy to go on a $60 a month pill for my fibro versus $400 a month in actual food. I’m sure if you did the same juice multiple times a week it might be cheaper, but its about variety and color so I dont do that.  This is why healthcare is so easy to go to instead of using what God has given us here on Earth to use. A person making minimum wage with a house payment and a car payment cant afford to juice and smoothie, salad, and fruit their way to health. This is a sad world we live in, but its the truth!

Sorry I”m going off on a tangent. So I took the plunge one week when we had extra money. I juiced for breakfast and a snack after lunch. One juice split in half because it was about a quart. I still ate lots of processed stuff that I could handle because it was cheaper. I had no idea how to prepare meals that were real food that didnt have eggs, cheese, milk, flour, or meat in them! Those are staples for most Americans and the homesteader! Well I started noticing a difference in my body. I didnt hurt as much when I got up in the morning. That difference just in a week made me take the plunge to do Joe’s 10 Day plan.

In that 10 day plan you eat, juice, and make smoothies. He has a grocery list and recipes to follow, all Vegan by the way. Easy peasy!! So after the 10 days what have I noticed? Except for weather changes that affect millions of us, I no longer hurt when I wake up. I still have fatigue, but its so minimal I just schedule a small nap in my day, most days. Instead of being confined to the couch. I am able to work hard on my homestead and not have to take days laying on the couch for my body to recover like before. I can eat one of those “intolerance” foods again, but only one and only once a week. I havent noticed lbs dropping like flies like some other juicing people but fibromyalgia is an inflammatory disease. My body is working so hard to stay uninflamed that I am ok with taking forever to lose the weight…ok not really but I’m going with it   😉  I dont feel bloated, exhausted all day, FAT…my joints don’t ache, my stomach doesnt feel like I have heartburn, I can actually fall asleep at night. I feel awesome!

So for now I’m sticking with the whole Veganism because my body cant handle the things vegetarians and omnivores eat!  I listen to my body and if I want a small piece of lamb, a burger, or some rabbit soup made with gluten free pasta, then I abide. My body really doesnt crave it honestly. Yes I still raise animals and I”m not a Peta fan, but my body right now needs only fruits and veggies, minimal grains, and tons of water so I’m going to do it. I will find the money somehow to keep going as long as I can. I highly suggest if you are suffering from any sort of inflammatory disease that you give this a try. Be sure to add in cinnamon, tumeric, ginger, and garlic! Juice once a day if you have to, make a smoothie if you dont have a juicer, and get 90% of your nutrients from veggies and fruit if you can. It will change your life, I promise!  Even if you are dirt poor, watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It will inspire you to do whatever it takes to try it just for a week. Use his plans on his site, he has pdf’s for free. As spring approaches I’m looking forward to a huge drop in grocery bills for me because I can grow so much on my own 🙂 I encourage you to do the same!

 

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

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It’s not about EVERY weed

Lately as garden season has started underway in Indiana, I’ve been getting a lot of people who are very overwhelmed by gardening. The conversation usually goes like this:

Me– So did you plant a garden this year?

Them– No.

Me-Why? I plant one every year. I love it.

Them- Well its just so hard. I mean I till and plant and I try to weed, but I get busy and cant. Then a month goes by and my garden looks like a jungle. Then I dont even want to go out there because it will take forever to weed. If I do try I dont even make a dent in it! So I’m just not planting one this year.

WOW. Is this you?? I was talking with a lady just yesterday who said she doesn’t plant a garden because she was slave labor in her childhood and she hated it.  I’m pretty sure we all did as kids, but life taught me that just because you didn’t like something when you were young, doesn’t mean you wont like it now as an adult.

My love for gardening came from being forced to. I was a child slave in the garden. I snapped my fair share of beans instead of riding my bike. I weeded so slow I was out there all day, but when I decided to be a stay at home mom and finances didn’t include much food because of diapers, I had to do something. I had my mom help me grow my first garden. Then I tried my own with minimal help the second year. I had to learn to can. I bought a dehydrator as to not waste anything we could possibly eat. Yes I had kids and yes I still gardened. It’s amazing what you can do when you are hungry   😉

The main thing I learned in my years of gardening is you dont have to weed everything all the time. Last year I took on way too much in the way of gardening. It was my first CSA year and I was raising animals plus homeschooling in the summer because we didn’t get all the way done. I was working for Farmer Joe and by August my garden looked worse than a jungle. Weeds so thick you would would have thought no food what so ever was in there, yet each time I’d walk in with my milk crate, I’d come out with it full.

The trick is knowing when you have to weed and when you dont. The biggest best example I can give you is corn.  I weed my corn twice. Yup..thats right. I have a 35×50 foot plot of corn..about 400 plants and have weeded twice. You till, weed when the corn is about a couple inches high and you can make sure you dont pull any out, then when it looks really weedy do it again about 2-4 weeks later. That’s it. Just let those silly weeds grow. Your corn really wont care. If they get too tall take the weed-eater in there and go between your rows. If you have chickens you can do what I do. Fence in your area with temporary fencing when your corn is knee tall, then let them in for a few days.  My corn has never suffered.. How did I learn this? Failure lol.  I failed to weed because I just didn’t have time.

Many plants hate weeds but some dont really seem to care. Trial and error is the best method as I have yet to find a book that is called Garden Weeds- Let them Grow!   So here is what I try to keep weeded and what I dont.

Do Weed (pretty much as soon as you see weeds):

  • Lettuce and greens- spinach, romaine, iceburg, leaf lettuce, arugula etc. It sucks to pick grass out of a salad!
  • Green beans- too much green and its hard to find the beans!
  • Cabbage- they just dont like weeds

Weed if you can(every month):

  • Cucumbers- put these on a trellis to save space, makes weeding easy, they dont care about weeds
  • Green Peppers-place grass clippings around the base fairly thick but not too thick as to create a lot of “heat”
  • Tomatoes- place grass clippings around the base fairly thick but not too thick as to create a lot of “heat”
  • Peas- put these on a trellis to save space, makes weeding easy, they dont care about weeds

Don’t Weed much(1-2 times in a garden season):

  • Crops that Vine on the ground- watermelon, pumpkins, muskmelon-mulch heavy with straw instead
  • Corn-weed twice or so and use a weed-eater between rows
  • Bulb onions-weed enough that the roots get a good start
  • rhubarb-as you harvest take the leaves and lay them out flat around the area, it acts like a mulch
  • asparagus- I weed until the shoots start coming up and then I leave it and pick, when the season is done, I mulch heavily with grass clippings
  • Carrots- weed when they are 2-3 inches tall, again when they are about 6 inches tall. after that the tops will keep most out-plant them close! (my rows are about 6 inches apart)
  • potatoes- weed when they first come out of the ground, weed again when they are about 4 inches tall. shovel dirt around the leaves to increase potato yield, leave about 2 inches showing and this will automatically make it weed free. use straw to build up mounds too
  • radishes- twice is about all you would use anyway before they would be ready to eat!
  • turnips- weed when they are about 3-4 inches tall and again at 5-6. the leaves will keep out the rest

Some other garden tips would be:

  • plant your stuff in a 3 foot bed, pack it with as many rows as you can, and make a walkway on each side. It allows the soil to stay loose around the plants in the middle and you can weed-eat the walking rows.
  • Remember not to let your weeds go to seed!
  • When you get done at the end of the season and you’ve harvested, till and plant buckwheat. Just throw it on the top of the soil and rake it in. It grows in about a month, chokes out weeds, and is bee friendly! It dies with snow.
  • if you are waiting to plant a second crop in late summer also till and throw in buckwheat until then.
  • use grass clippings as much as you can because its a green manure and will break down over winter
  • use other forms of weed barriers you buy at the store but dont drain your pocket each year, your doing this to save money…
  • relax! weeds happen!!

Remember gardening isnt about having absolutely no weeds in your garden, it’s about growing your own food! Who cares if it doesnt look like the fields of corn and soybeans sprayed with roundup. It’s not suppose to. It’s suppose to be enjoyable and fun. The next time someone looks at your garden and says, “Man that is full of weeds!” Just say, “That’s ok, weeds happen, they will all be tilled under in the fall, break down during winter, and I will have even better soil next year!”

 

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

 

Categories: Gardening, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grow Food in 5 Minutes a Day

Today during homeschool there was a question posed to my kids. Should we grow less food using organic methods or produce more food with non organic methods? So I asked them. What do you think? My oldest answered I think we should grow more, but my youngest said I think we should grow less. Guess who is my organic garden helper?   😉  So then I said, “Do you know that most of the corn and soybeans in the U.S arent grown for us to eat?? They are grown for animals. So given that information what do you think we should do? Eat less meat and grow more vegetables on that grain land or leave it. Both said to grow more vegetables.

That stirred a spirit in me. My tomatoes are sitting there peeled and awaiting jars for canning and here I am writing a post.  The reason why I am writing is to say that I believe the reason why we dont use more organic methods is because we need to produce more..why? because people are either A.) Lazy and dont want to take the time to plant a garden  B.) Dont know how to plant a garden or where to start or C.) Dont have “time” to plant.

I have decided to eliminate B and C today in this post. If you are just lazy well then quit reading because you wont do what I propose anyway. Go ahead and buy your food at your grocery store, not knowing who grew it or what they put on it..see ya!!

For the rest of you here is how you can grow your own food in 5 minutes a day. Everyone has 5 minutes. Just set your alarm earlier and you’re golden.

5 Min: Grab a potato out of your pantry. Place it in a bag in the dark for about a month or find a potato that already is starting to get eyes on it.

5 Min: Check on the potato once a week to see if eyes have formed. Once they have…

5 Min: Watch this youtube video so you know what we will be doing : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2637Ga0YUgM

5 Min:  Buy a 5 gallon bucket when you’re in town or a big planter and a couple bags of potting soil.

5 Min: Put at least 6 inches of soil in the bottom of the bucket and put it in your home in front of a window-preferably one that gets sun.

Next Day: Put the potato in your bucket- eye side up and then cover the rest with soil.

5 Min: Water just enough to keep the soil semi moist.

5 Min each day: Keep checking your plant to make sure the soil is semi moist.

5 Min: When your plant stem and leaves are about 6 inches above the soil, place more potting mix in until only 2 inches of leaves are above the soil.

The continuing days: Each day check your plant for semi moist soil-water accordingly, each time your leaves and stems are 6 inches above the soil- add more soil until only 2 inches are left above the soil. Continue this until your bucket is full of soil. Once your bucket is full of soil you just check and water accordingly until your plant dies. It will bloom pretty white flowers and then eventually die.

If you continue to plant new potatoes in new buckets about a month after each other, you will have potatoes all year. Reuse the soil eventually to save money. You might need fertilizer eventually but farms have free manure all the time. rabbit manure can be placed on top without burning your plant. Just use it sparingly. NO it doesnt stink.

Once your plant dies- 5 Min: plan a time SOON to take 20 minutes to work on potatoes

20 Min: place something on the ground outside or in a garage to catch all the soil and potatoes in the bucket, dump out the bucket, gather potatoes and place them in a box..still dirty- just brush off most of the dirt. Place them in a cool spot.

5 Min: Wash up a few potatoes and enjoy them for dinner!

Do not wash the potatoes until you are going to use them. Make sure they are not wet. If you need to, lay them out on newspaper for a day or so till the dirt is dry then brush them off and place them in a box.  That’s it!

Plants can grow in any place- apartments in the city, in the suburbs, or on the farm. Dont let not knowing stop you. Search you tube and when you get adventurous try this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf2jW05TEwU . There is never an excuse why you cant grow your own food.

 

Happy Homesteading!!!   😀

 

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My Job with Farmer Joe

So Dollar general didnt let me quit. They wanted me to work 10 hours. Well I’ve officially put in my two week notice…Again. I have been working with a farmer for the past month or so. It has been very interesting. It has been a huge learning curve. My operation is all on one little acre. I have a CSA of 5 people and thats it. Farmer Joe is just a tad bigger.

Joe has probably 3 acres. 2 of which are totally full of vegetables.  He never sprays any pesticides or herbicides, yet he has hardly no bugs at all. His produce is like twice the size of mine. What is his secret??  Soil.  He told me everything that is wrong with your plants is soil based. Then he gave me a book to read, How to grow more Vegetables by John Jeavons.

I’ve learned so much that I am now going to incorporate into my garden. So let me tell you so that you can do it to yours as well. I guarantee it will help your garden grow. Now that your gardens are almost done, the best thing to do is find a good quality compost. Here close to my town, the recycle center makes compost. They charge $10 per yard. My garden with a heavy coating used about 1 yard. Once compost is spread on your soil, you want to add microbes. I havent looked into this yet and I’m not sure what he uses but you really dont have to if you dont want to. Just adding compost made a world of difference. I always put on my own stuff, but using another source proved to be extremely beneficial. The next thing to do is add some sea minerals. He buys Sea-90 Livestock trace minerals and puts on 6 lbs per 100 sq ft. He says this is essential for our soil because it is so depleted of trace minerals. After those three things have been applied he then tills the ground. After the ground is tilled, he plants a variety of cover crops.

Cover crops are important to every garden. Bare ground leaches away all the nutrients. The rain and snow keeps pushing it down into the soil. When you plant a cover crop the roots keep the nutrients up towards the surface and into the plant. Then over winter most of the plants die therefore releasing the nutrients onto the top of the soil. When you till in the spring you mix those nutrients back into the soil right at the top.

Farmer Joe recommends planting buckwheat for sure. I have and it is absolutely beautiful. It only takes a month to grow and flowers pretty white. Use it when you are waiting to plant new things or after crops are done for the year. It suppresses weeds really well because it grows so fast. A few others you can plant are oats. They are winter hardy as well as rye grass. He also plants Vetch and Daikon radishes. He said these are great for clay soils. As they grow they break up the ground allowing air and water into the soil. He recommends planting at least three mixed together because each has a different root depth and will pull up different minerals to the surface.

This guy knows what he is talking about. He sells at multiple markets and sells hundreds of dollars each week. He is big into fermenting and sells tons of it. He grows pretty much everything for his own ferments and grows year round in multiple hoop houses. Just looking at his garden is a wonder in itself. He is doing something right. As I learn more I will share what I learn. I just thought this would be helpful for all of you heading into fall.

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Gardening, Homesteading | 3 Comments

Tired

I’m Pooped! This summer is definitely not going the way I’ve wanted, but I’m just trying to go with the flow. My garden is at least half weeds. I have tomato blight, squash bugs, and my green beans suck.  On the bright side, my corn is turning out well and so did my carrots.  The garden share peeps seem happy with the turn out, but I know that it could be so much more than what it is.

The main problem is that I’ve been working. My husbands salary has me back earning money to keep things alive here. So this last month and a half I have been babysitting. Yes, I’m too old for this lol. I have been at her house 3 days a week for 10 hours each. So that filled my monday, tues, and thursday. Wed in the morning I’ve been helping clean a house then I am off to my garden I planted for a person who can no longer garden. She also has a share in my garden.  With those two things there goes my wed. Friday morning I help clean that house again and then go grocery shopping. After I am done there I try to catch 2 hours of swimming with the boys at a friends house. The only time left is the weekends and some nights if I’m not too tired. Not all my projects get done on a weekend. We have friends who want to come over, want us to come over, car problems, and some weeding.

I’m very surprised right now that my gardens are not worse then they are. I say gardens because as of right now I have my main garden share garden, a side garden that I had to make because I needed more room. It has two watermelon plants, 1 pumpkin plant, a row of radishes, two types of lettuce, rainbow chard, spinach, and mangel beets, along with 37 tomato plants. ( That is what I weeded tonight) Then I also have that garden in the other town. They are all at least 70% weed free 🙂  I’ve had to spend hours at night in there. I’m missing all my favorite shows and my family.

All my lambs are still doing ok. I have one (fat face) who now has a limp. We looked at his leg and the only thing we can come up with is that he might have gotten caught in the fence and sprained it. It definitely is hurting him and half the time he is on his knees eating. We are at this point just letting it go for a few days and see. I’m making sure the dog or nothing else make them all run. Hopefully it heals itself.  The only other thing I can think of is to ice pack it with some vet wrap. It looks to be the joint. We cant find any cuts or anything and it feels a bit hot and a tad swollen. I’m sure he will be fine.

I have been selling chickens and swapping them out for roosters people dont want. I’m almost down to just the three breeds I want. Wobbles the turkey is doing well also. He keeps following me around. He sleeps at night in the green house. My rabbit has been nothing but trouble lol. She was/is pregnant. She didnt really build a nest in the box and had 4 kits outside on the wire on day 26 from her first breeding. I thought that was it but then she built a mega next on day 28 and so I camped out all weekend with her. When she lays down you can see things moving in there. Each day they are getting higher and farther back. Today they were right up by the top of her hip. Tomorrow will be day 31 from her last breeding day. Here’s to hoping!! Even if its just one or two I’d be happy not to lose an entire litter.

Next week I start a new full time job. Then I will be balancing the remaining garden days, homeschool starting up again, housework, and a job. Sorry I havent blogged anything cool. I’m just too tired. In writing this it took me two hours because there are just things to do! Sometime tomorrow I have to butcher and can 4 roosters..hm.. just need a few weeks of 48 hour days!

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

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God’s Surprise

Each year in my garden I find a variety of plants growing that shouldn’t be.  Normally this happens when I plant something and the previous years stuff comes up in the middle of it.  Each year I find a tomato here, cabbage there, chard everywhere. This year was no different. I decided to leave most of it, just more to eat lol. However this year I found something I did not plant.

See that among my strawberries??

dill

That my friend is DILL!! WooHoo score! Just to let you know..um..I know NO ONE with dill planted around me. Surprise!! I’m excited. I’ve tried two years to plant this stuff and none of it ever grew. This year I bought seeds but never got around to planting. I didn’t even try to plant anywhere near this area the last two years.  I don’t know where it came from, but it can live among my strawberries all it wants! The weeds however will be leaving shortly lol.

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Gardening | 3 Comments

Another Farm update

Well as you can see I haven’t been on much. I just recently caught up with all the reading of friends blogs. I am never on facebook anymore it seems. I was off over the weekend and what happens?? My best friends brother had their baby…sigh..been waiting and missed it! Facebook is better than any ol newspaper!  Ok enough on facebook..so whats going on over there at the Simply Grown Farms??  Well nothing   😉

Ok not entirely true. My lambs were sick..did I tell you?  I dont even remember!  They were. Lambs are very fragile until about 4 months old. They get pneumonia if you look at them wrong!  With all this rain we’ve had and the cold blowing wind, it was hard to keep them healthy. I was giving them antibiotics and just plain got tired of it.  Who wants to go out there everyday and give 6 lambs shots?? Not me!  One day I had, had enough.  It seemed like they weren’t getting better. I said, “You stupid lambs can just die! I”m not giving you anymore meds.”  And they all survived and are doing fine.  We have names for them now..not fancy names cause most will die.  We’ve got Big Boss Man..he’s our male we are keeping to breed.  We have Cow, the spotted one, Fat Face..he’s all furry and fat in the face, Chubby who always looks bloated, then Orange and Green. The girls are still named by their ear tags which seem to fall off every year before we can butcher so I’d better come up with better names. My dad suggested Lamb Chop…hm..we really dont plan on killing the girls, but maybe if they dont fill out and get a tad taller!

IMG_0815

Back Left-Fat face, Back right- Big Boss Man, Middle back-Cow, front left-Orange, Front middle-Chubby, Front right-Green

My chicks are growing like little weeds. It is extremely cold out right now. It was almost 80 two days ago and tonight we have a frost advisory..go figure.  Here are the first set that were all pullets (girls). They are Buff orpingtons and Jersey Giants. The next picture are my younger straight runs. They were huddled in the coop cause I had the door open. They are Jersey Giants and Golden Laced Wyandottes.

IMG_0819 IMG_0816

You know its cold when the adults no longer feel the need to free range. They decided to all huddle up together right outside the coop.

IMG_0810 Yes people I have a lot of chickens.  I have 27 adults, 8 teens, and 10 preteens. Not all will make it to winter 😉

I still have no turkeys. I had originally wanted 5..he talked me into 8..I called and told his wife I would feel more comfortable with 2 and if they die I will get more lol.  I need to call him because they should be ready this week or next..a friendly reminder I’m still alive and want turkeys never hurt anyone right?

Remember our cute little puppy Diesel?? Well he is now almost 4 months old weights close to 40 lbs and is in his terrible two’s of puppyhood.  I snapped a picture. Sorry its dark, but if I hit the flash it made him look all light colored and he really is not. Look at those EARS!!

IMG_0823

 

My garden shares are coming along great and I already have many cool weather veggies coming up. I am almost ready to pick radishes. I am picking rhubarb tomorrow. I think so far this homestead thing is working great this year!

Hope all is well with your homesteads!

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Gardening, Homesteading, Livestock | 5 Comments

Making a Switch

Well I know it’s been a long time since I blogged. Don’t worry I didn’t forget about any of you   😉

Here is the lowdown on the homestead:

1. The chicks are getting big. The first batch of 8 are almost ready for the chick area in the coop. The second batch of 10 are waiting to move into the dog crate currently occupied by the first set.  The turkeys are going to arrive around May 1st. Phew cause I have no room right now!

2. Lambs are here and doing well. The white females are super friendly and I really think I will keep one or both for breeding. It really depends on how they fill out and if they have the traits I want. They certainly have the temperament.  We are still feeding on hay. I’m waiting for the first rain fall which was suppose to be tonight but I think wont be for a few more days. Then I can start my rotations around my yard. Well ok I need a solar fence charger first..but thats just a measly too hundred dollars   😯

3. Diesel is becoming a great farm dog. He likes the cats, is trying to herd sheep, and is eating poop. All the markings of a great farm dog lol. He is 9 weeks old today and one ear is trying to stand, the other flops over, so he looks all weird right now.

4. I have my garden marked out(almost) into the 4 plots I’ve sold. I have my regular peas planted.

So now the newest development.  I know I am probably jumping the gun on this but I am making a switch.  I have been unable to eat my own eggs for months. It is a little disappointing to know that others enjoy them, yet you cant even eat one or you are spending the day praying to the porcelain god. Since my god says, “no other gods before me” I have to make a switch to a chicken feed that will enable me to eat my eggs.  Here is the problem…at the moment I bring all my eggs to church.  I have a box that says chicken feed donations. I ask $1 at least although some pay me $2.50..some dont pay at all.  A lot are on a fixed income and love getting eggs from me. I love giving them eggs, but in order to eat eggs that means I have to go buy eggs at $5 a dozen.

If I were to charge what this feed I currently use costs me, I would have to charge $3.35 a dozen. That is run of the mill feed.  So the donations I have been getting is paying for about half my feed bill, if I am lucky.  The new feed is organic, non-soy and is more expensive so I would have to charge $4.75 a dozen just to make the cost.

It really is a dilemma because I love seeing the smiling old lady faces as I hand them eggs. Sometimes they forget their money and I just say dont worry about it.  I would love to continue this, but I want to eat my eggs!!  I love chickens and their personalities rock..but I cant split my flock and feed half this and half that just so I can continue to get half my feed paid for, for half my chickens.  I am switching all my girls to the new feed later this week. I will go tuesday and pick up enough for one month and mix it partially with what I have to wean them off of it and onto the new.  I will make an announcement at church that will break the hearts of all those little ol ladies, that I have to get $4.75 a dozen to pay for feed.

They honestly could care less if it were organic feed I’m sure. They just know they are better eggs than those at the store, but I have a soft heart.  I figure maybe if I can give away 6 dozen eggs away a month at church to those little ol ladies (which would cause me to eat $28 that week of my feed costs), if I use 3 dozen a month..then I only have to find some people to buy the remaining 15 dozen.   😦  I think it is going to be a hard sell in this area, but hopefully someone will see that pastured, organic, soy free eggs are worth the $4.75 a dozen.

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

 

Side Note:  Just went outside to feed the pup and noticed a chicken out..so walked around the house and ALL the chickens were out..they had eaten all my peas and messed up what I had done in my garden..grr..chickens.. Anyway..I’ve replanted the peas and all is well.

Categories: Chickens, Gardening, Homesteading | 3 Comments

Garden Shares

So I did it, I started my first CSA..kinda lol.  We are planning a move this summer. I did such a good job not eating on my stash of garden stuff two years ago that last years canning was more than enough for us this winter. I still have a lot left and it will be plenty for next winter.  I wasn’t sure what to do with my garden. I love to garden. I have to have one this year.

My brilliant plan came while looking on Local Harvest.  People were doing CSA’s which are Community Supported Agriculture or Community Shared Agriculture. It’s eating local.  Farms sell packages of produce..some sell other things like pork, beef and other things.  It is a great idea for a large farm. They do minimal work and then make a nice profit. Local Harvest is a great place to find farms in your surrounding area. Check them out here.

I only have an acre..but good thing for me, I have a nice size garden on that acre.  I need nothing but corn. So I decided to plant half my garden with corn.  The other half my garden I decided to sell garden shares.  I only have enough for 4 plots.  I am selling 8 x 25 plots for $100 each.  I also made an order form. I listed the veggies I would grow, the price per batch along with the approximate amount of that vegetable.  I also, on that order form, included at the bottom that we would have stewing hens, turkeys, roosters, and lamb for sale. This should get them thinking.

At first I thought no one would bite.  My mom and I sat down. I knew about what each plant produces and so we tried to price according to what they would buy at the store. I thought it was fair. Besides this was going to be grown organically and with love! By love I mean my sweat and tears in the hot hot sun.  Still, you have to remember I am in a very small town. They are mostly older folks who are on limited income.  I also offered free things and will give out more if my garden produces more.  I want those who buy from me this year to know that I appreciate their help with buying the house.

Well to my surprise, I got someone to buy a share the same day!  I let them know they could swap out some veggies for others not listed if they did not like certain ones or if they didn’t need need as much of certain ones.  It’s about being flexible.  I hope this brings more families who want to eat healthy and I hope it brings more sales through our other animals in the fall.  My hope this year is all the money I put into researching and trying rotational grazing with more animals will at least cause me to break even financially.  If I come out ahead that is an added bonus and I will consider it a blessing from the Lord.

 

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Gardening, Homesteading | 6 Comments

Garden Chart

Can you feel it???  The sounds of the birds chirping, the emerging of the robins back into society, the groundhogs prediction of early spring????   I can feel it all through my body..the urge to garden!  Last week I was completely bored with the lack of the To-Do list for outside so I re-potted my indoor plants.  I have a banana tree, a lemon tree, a pineapple plant, and aloe.  Yeah I know..aloe doesn’t fit in that tropical theme, but I wouldn’t be without my aloe!  I burn myself way too many times   😉

So why do I get this urge to plant so early you say?  Most gardens don’t go in until End of May.  Yeah well I”m not most gardeners. I live in Zone 5b. (So most charts say) If you live in this zone you can start your garden as early as St. Patricks day.  Why do I do this you ask? Well I’m a canner.  That’s how I roll.  I cannot have my garden all put in at the same time, because they would all get done the same time.  That my friends does not fit my schedule. How on earth am I going to can tomatoes, if I am snapping a 5 gallon bucket of green beans?  How am I going to make pickles, if I am shucking corn?

Some one asked me last year, what I planted and when.  So I sat down and kinda figured it out. It’s not set in stone or anything, but this is good chart and it’s a great reminder for me as I age and things seem to flee from my memory   😯   I have included harvesting too so that you know a round about time that things start getting done. Harvesting is very laxed because I don’t pay that much attention. I go from a weekly “watch my garden grow” to a “oh shoot this is done!”  So here is my chart. One small detail, on the planting for Sept it says broccoli. Well broccoli has had it in for me since the first year. I have not planted it at that time, but I don’t see why you couldn’t.  Maybe I will try again this year, talk sweetly to it, and show it some love.

garden plantingharvest guide

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Gardening, Homesteading | 2 Comments

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