Saturday, February 14, 2015

2015 -- GOALS FOR THE STEAD

Not that I don't love winter, it used to be one of my favorite seasons. But as of the last 5 years my little high desert haven has been a stranger to the real winter season to which myself and many others were used to as kids. No more white Christmas' for us Central Oregonians, unfortunate for a desert climate with such high fire risk.

This inefficient winter only feeds my anticipation and gives way to the all of my dreams of spring! So I have begun making the necessary preparations and lists for this years homestead projects--- granted I did start this list a couple weeks ago.... I kept adding more and finding new to dos so naturally I put off posting until now. I have listed future projects and to do's as well as addressed all of our current and already progressing responsibilities(**).

PIGS**-- If we decide to stay in Tumalo one more year, creating a more permanent hog enclosure is a must! Don't get me wrong my handsome other half is pretty crafty and fashioned an awesome and well thought out recycled pallet enclosure, but alas our last pig broke some panels and escaped numerous times... Not an issue since we're fenced all round our 5 acres with a great front gate, and we simply replace the boards or the whole pallet. But coming home and being bum rushed by a 200 lb hog last year scared the bejeezus right outta me! We will be slaughtering our two current hogs the first week of June to freeze, preserve, and accommodate our annual Sisters Rodeo Kick-off party. In our attempt to be self sufficient we would love to perform the whole process ourselves but as we have never done this before we have much to learn and many tools/supplies to gather to make this possible. In previous years we'd simply call our local mobile slaughter man and he comes to do the dirty work then takes the meat directly to our local Redmond Smokehouse for processing and smoking if wanted. We hope to avoid that wait and cost of that option. We need to acquire proper cutlery and a scraping bell of course then will come the issue of how we preserve it. Another task to get under my belt! Woo! A knowledgable coworker and friend of Spencer's has graciously offered his services in exchange for a a small portion of the meat and a few dozen of our free-range eggs. I don't know about y'all but mama loves to barter and exchange on this homestead, it's an old practice sadly forgotten by our culture. I seriously DIGRESS! More about our homestead hogs later.

RABBITS**-- slaughter first litter of kits(mid April), learn to treat hides for selling furs. Buy new rabbit cages and build new tables. Build more nesting boxes. Incorporate free range foods (build rabbit tractor) and homemade sourced feeds.

HORSES**--rotate pastures to the front of the property, transfer manure to garden, hang hay feeder, set up two more boarding pastures.

LAYERS**-- set up brooding room, buy a rooster in hopes of broody hens, buy 6 more laying hens, build sand bath

BROILERS-- set up brooder, build chicken tractors, order 60 broilers, buy chicken plucker, buy hanging waterers/feeders.

DUCKS**-- order 4 Cayuga ducks, create house near pond, buy egg incubator.

TURKEYS- buy 3 turkeys (one to eat, two to breed)

BEES- research bee growers, build hives, buy bee suit, miscellaneous supplies, bee keeping books

GARDEN**-- gather cardboard boxes, begin making mulch, rebuild garden fence, create bed along backside of garage and under kitchen window, transplant hops away from house/ secure ladder in ground for hops to climb,

PASTURE MANAGEMENT**-- see horses above, buy a harrow for field, clean/move horse manure

GENERAL FARM**-- get on a consistent hay purchase schedule (at least a ton/ month), buy more trash cans (feed storage), buy bulk feeds and bulk dry pantry goods(Azure Standard)

As you can see there are a great many tasks that need to be done. And so many more that we yearn to tackle in the coming year. As Ive said in this and earlier posts, we want to learn, and grow in 2015. I want to earn more notches on my homestead belt! There's so much we are capable of with the privelage of our property, and if we might be moving this fall we had better get the most of it. Come let's get started!

Headed out to the barn,
QB