Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Homesteading Changes and Challenges

Here are our house bunnies.  We traded in our sheep and chickens for house bunnies.  The main thing that made our decision was that when we were really sick in November it was just so hard to take care of the outside animals when everyone feels so bad.  Plus, the fact that we can't grow grass in the yards for them for 7 months of the year.  So, for now we have house bunnies and they make quite a bit of compost so that is a major plus.  We are thinking about making a more permanent structure in the garage and getting a pair of ducks and rabbits (silver fox breed for meat bunnies), plus two hens (most likely buff orpington's).  Then during the growing season we can put them all in tractors and move them around the yard.  We're also thinking about just getting a couple of wethered sheep to harvest at the end of the season.  We are really enjoying the lamb and mutton from last year.  So good.  Then possibly the following year trying a couple feeder pigs.  So that is our plan for now.  So far so good.  And when the kids are bigger we can do more, but right now, just what Dave and I can do reasonably.  :)
We are still growing fodder.  This is for the rabbits and they love it, just smaller scale than the sheep.  We will make it a little bigger when we have ducks, rabbits and chickens in the winter.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Barley Fodder. The New Hay Substitute

So, hay wasn't so good this year, we have not a hay barn AND this is so much cheaper.  Well, so much cheaper if you don't buy into the fodder systems you can buy now, with financing no less.  I spent $33 for 20 seed starting trays (in case they wear out, you only need 8 to start) at Home Depot (they had to order them for me by the way since they don't have them in stock in the store at this time, since its not Spring).  $1.50 each for 4 gallon buckets with lids at $3 and $22.50 for a bag of barley.  That is all (well, ok, I might have to buy another bag or two of barley since our winter and non-growing time can last up to 8 months of the year).  Oh, and shelves to put them on, I just stole some of hubby's, I might replace them eventually, but for now, were on the cheap.  Now you can go to one of these websites or companies and get something fancy smancy for a few hundred or thousand, depending on how many animals you have.  I have two sheep and 16 chickens.  One tray with 1lb of barley + an ounce of BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) = 8lbs of barley fodder!!!!  They say to feed sheep 2-3% of their body weight.  About 1lb/day.  Sheesh!  If I go to a smaller size receptacle, I think I will nail it, but I will be ok with making a little more than I need.  Just feed the rest to the compost.  No biggie.  This site tells you how to feed rabbits on barley fodder with a little hay to replace pellets.  Pretty cool.  Now, I'm not going to go step by step here.  There are a couple websites that have done that for you already, in the links above for 8lbs of barley and under 2-3% of a sheep's body weight.  I do the lazy soaking method though.  I just soak for 24 hours instead of 8-12, but do it either way, its just easier for ME.   

 9 thru 7 days, one more day to go, I did start feeding it though and so far they like it.  : )  I gave them half and then another half at next feeding since we feed twice a day.  Chickens devoured it too.
 Day 2 thru 6.  Bag of barley to the right.
 Soaking grains.  Most of the sunflower floats while most of the barley sinks.  I put a lid on this so kids don't fall in it and dogs don't drink out of it.

Snow. That is all.

This is so I can remember that it snowed on October 4th this year.  We are so not ready for winter.  It is bitter cold here already.  Brrrrrr......

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Has Arrived In Our Yard!!

I love living up North. I hope this winter won't be as bad as last year, but they are calling for it to be.  Oh well, may climate change be gentle to us this year.  Please...... 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Beets and Inside the Chicken Tractor

 Beautiful beets from my garden.
 Inside the chicken tractor.
Lots of eggs.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


 This is what the chicken tractor leaves when moved.  We now move every 12 hours instead of 24 since our grass is kinda sparse in places. It should look better next year.  It even looks better this year already.

 These are pictures of our yard, which in the Northwoods of WI, we are surrounded by lakes and where it precipitates every week and we are finding this in OUR yard.  It's what chemical fertilizers do to your lawn and field.  This needs to change.  Here is a TED talk from Allan Savory to reverse climate change.  Yes, I said to reverse.

 Sparse and mossy.
 Bare patches from abuse.
 Our front yard.  May it be filled in next year when the snow melts.  We'll see.
More desertification in the back yard.  The chickens are currently depositing their fecal matter on this area at the moment.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chicken tractor and Sheep

 Putting up the fence in the front yard.
 Wala, chicken tractor.  And chickens wanting some treats now that they see us.
 Maggie and her sidekick Daphne.
 Another view of chicken tractor.
 Mama (Abbey) sheep with her two boys and Damsel in the back.
 Eggs.  Pretty.
 Chicken tractor with Maggie and Daphne.
Sleeping sheep are so cute.  :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Big Blue, Pup and Chickens

 Daddy got a big blue truck.  Going to take two sheep to get them harvested this Thursday with it.  Don't let us down blue. 
 Guarding our Miss Maggie Mae here. 
 The chickens loved following Maggie in the yard while they ran around. 

 Going to go look for worms in the dirt. 
Sir Edmund.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tree is out of the garden area

 They cleared a path to the tree and their extra trucks parked on the highway.
 Also getting a couple bushes next to the house that might be part of the cause of the garage wall being pushed inwards.
 Clearing the path.
 Ready to push the tree over when cutting is done.
 Maggie and our tree stump in our garden area.
An hour and a half later and this is how much its been snowing.  :P   Our tree and bushes in chips.

A New Pup and Seeds - The Homestead is Starting To Take Shape!!

 Woohoo!  Seeds for the garden and we have a supply of milk jugs for winter sowing!!  Yes!!
Our new pup.  A nice mix of Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd.  I don't know if I'll get any other breed again after meeting her.  So great with the other animals and so patient with the kids!