July 29, 2010

Winds of Change...


Right now, we are in the beginning stages of harvesting from our garden, and already I am thinking about all of the things that I am going to change for the next year! Improvements and such...

And I am not just having those thoughts about the garden. I am having those thoughts about goats, chickens, sheep- OH! The many possibilities!

First of all, I am a stay-at-home wife and mother. I LOVE it. Though I don't get to sit in front of the television all day (no channels!) and eat bon-bons (can't afford it!), I do keep busy and I love everything that I do. Seriously. (Summer break IS a test for me, BUT most days are just peachy)

Second, being a stay-at-home, I have given myself the responsibility to help save more of my hubby's hard earned paycheck. Being a one income family isn't easy, and it CERTAINLY isn't the norm. But we manage, heck, we do pretty good. My grocery bills stay below $70 each week (this week it was below $50!), for a family of 6. I do a lot to make sure we eat healthy, AND that it doesn't break the bank. BUT we also have a farm, and our animals cost about the same as WE do each week.

So, in staying home, I have been trying to figure out how I can help by using my "skills" as a farmer...

After reading the book "You Can Farm" by Joel Salatin, I am pumped up... :) It is putting wings to the ideas that float around in my brain. And with many discussions between the hubby and I, we think the way for me to be able to help...

So here are the changes I am making next year!
  • Bigger Garden- This year our rows are all crowded together and hard to get down with everything being all big and green. I am going to AT LEAST double my garden size, so I can have wider rows, AND plant more produce.
  • BIGGER Garden- (did I already say that?) Besides wanting to plant more for ourselves, part of making a LITTLE more money is to sell our organic and heirloom produce. This isn't going to be a HUGE income, but it will still help!
  • More Layer Chickens- Another way to make income is to sell natural, free-ranged eggs. We are able to sell them to people we know, and can't keep them around for long at all, so now we need more chickens! The plan is to keep at least 40 layers going all the time...
  • Raise Meat Chickens- We just started to do this, this year, and the meat is wonderful. These are also natural, free-range chickens. Right now, our chickens are going on 2 weeks PAST their "Expiration date" and they are walking around with no problems at all. PLUS, I had never read the these meat chickens would like to scratch around, and pick at bugs, but ours are! It's amazing how when given what nature calls for, these animals have instincts we never thought they would have! These meat chicken, down the road, may also be something that we offer along with eggs and produce.
  • Dairy Goats- GET MORE GOATS! Right now, I am addicted. I am addicted to the fact the I can go to the barn and get milk! FRESH, SUPER HEALTHY milk!!! Our plan is probably get at least 2 more goats for next year. I don't want to buy milk from the store. I want to make soap (which COULD be another income). I want to make cheese. And ice cream. And all of it could come from our pasture raised goats. LOVE. IT.
  • Turkeys- This is one thing I have wanted to raise for the past 2 years. This year, I do have ONE turkey, but I would LOVE to raise some heritage breeds that can reproduce so I can have a bunch of them! I love turkeys!
  • Cattle- We have 2 right now, one for us and one for our sis-in-law and her family. This was a "test year" to see if we would kill them or if they would actually grow and thrive. So far, so good! We've learned lots, and will be butchering either this Fall or next, but that means next year we will be getting MORE! We are grass-feeding them, and they have been so awesome to have around. I really am going to enjoy not having to buy the crappy meat at the grocery store! This could also be somewhat of an income for us also, MAYBE, eventually...
  • Jacob Sheep- We hope to continue to build our flock of heritage breed sheep. Next year, maybe I will take the wool in to have yarn made! It is so beautiful! I can't wait! This will hopefully be another income for us, selling sheep and MAYBE the wool...
  • Bees- Geez... At least help them to live so I can get some honey! Maybe one day sell it. AFTER I get MY share! :)
Oh gosh... that probably isn't it. In fact, I'm sure that isn't it. I have WAY more ideas than that! But for now, that is our thoughts for our farm! I think I am going to become a "full-time farmer"! :) That makes me laugh. NEVER would I have saw myself doing the thing I am doing today....

But I LOVE it...

How about you? What changes are YOU looking to make for next year??? I want to hear!

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

That sounds awesome, I would love to do all of that, but don't have the space. Trying to convince the hubs to build me a chicken coop.

andrewodom said...

@Jennifer - If you can have chickens wear you live consider some alternatives to a coop. Look into a chicken tractor or how about an old dog house with a bit of a run? Surprisingly chickens don't need much space and as you raise them you will discover new ways to provide a home for them.

As for the post.....

Your excitement is contagious Sarah. I LOVE it. We have already decided to move into a more raised bed style of gardening to control irrigation and companion planting. We are also going to add a third layer to our chickens (right now we have extreme layers and broilers). We are also thinking of starting with one dairy goat. That is still very much up for discussion though. Having said that though, we have found a farmer locally that sells milk (for animal consumption, of course) and can provide us with some healthy alternative for a less than 5 mile drive.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Here I thought I was the only one already brainstorming next years ideas! We just got bee's this year so next up is chickens! Layers and meat. It should be fun learning new things, right! And every year I say I need a bigger garden :) It's already huge!! Good luck with all your new ideas!

Megan said...

Yep the ideas are buzzing our heads too!

We just got the book "Backyard Homestead" (Thanks Jess- Shawn's Cousin suggested it) We love it and have sooooo many plans!!!

Great post and ideas!