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Posts Tagged ‘Homestead’

As a family we have made huge steps in the past 3 years.

We have a large vegetable garden where we get the majority of our veggies. I have planted several fruit trees, so in a few years our fruit situation will be much better. This spring all of the compost for my beds came from my own pile, this is the first season I’ve had enough.

We raise chicken, turkey, quail, rabbit, lamb and pig for meat, along with venison from hunting.

We have rain water collection, however, I need more barrels.

We are working hard to become debt free. We were doing much better until that new car — oh well a work in progress.

We have improved in the amount of things we buy, but still have a long way to go.

I’ve been adding more blogs to my list that are dealing with being more self sustainable. One blog I recently found practicingresurrection had some words from Granny Miller, another big self-sustainable blogger. There is a list of things you need to do, the most important being giving up your television. Wow! I am really not ready to do this, but I can see why it is true.

There are so many things I’d like to do, but I don’t have enough time. My house is too messy, but I just don’t have time on the weekend. I just didn’t make it to the gym, or I really should get those seedlings started. I should go to the grocery store, make homemade bread … the list goes on.

I’m thinking if I just cut back on my TV til after 9pm, I could get a lot of things done. I am thinking of putting a list together of things I’d like to try.

Make venison jerky (The seasoning just arrived from amazon)
Learn to Knit (not counting the unfinished scarf in the tv room with a giant hole in it)
Try making cleaning supplies
Make candle melts, lip balm (once bees/beehive arrive in May)
Grow more flowers from seedling (so far I’ve only done veggies)
Fruit canning (aside from preserves)
Start making my own granola (this looks so easy and way better than store bought)
Start growing fodder for poultry/lambs
Make my own tea (really need to start using that dehydrator)

I hope to check things off the list and add more.

My husband suggested we do a project a week. First I’m thinking granola.
Here’s the one I’m thinking (minus the candied ginger)
From onehundreddollarsamonth

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Just a Normal Thursday

Not that I’m complaining, but my normal everyday after-work routine can be a little hectic.

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On my way home from work I stopped real quick at The Natural Gardener (luckily on my way home) and grabbed some Juliet’s, since I didn’t grow these from seed, some basil and a few silver pony foot. By stopping today I don’t have to fight the weekend crowds.

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After arriving home, I filled up the feed buckets and fed Marshal and the Lambs (still no names). I threw the ball around with Marshal for about 10 minutes as well.

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While out there, I filled up my bowl with greens, radishes, and carrots for tonight’s salad.

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I reset the traps with peanut butter and dog food.

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I then migrated to the chicken area to spray some antibiotic on our chicken with an eye infection. I set a few traps in the chicken area as well.

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And gathered eggs

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I then pulled out a lamb roast for dinner.

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All the while, pet Frankie and say hello to Rose and Carl. Carl makes it easy since he follows me around everywhere.

Now off to cook dinner.

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Chicken Hazard — Rats

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One thing we learned, that when you have chickens (or other poultry) you have extra food around. As efficient as they are, they don’t always clean up after themselves.

We have been battling rats for the past year. If they were only in the chicken yard, I would be upset, but the fact that they are getting in my vegetable garden, I am livid. We built a giant cage a few years ago that is deer, rabbit and bird proof. It turns out, that it is not rat proof.

A full size rat can squeeze down to 1/2″. That is not a very big opening, and pretty hard to prevent them from getting everywhere.

It turns out that the rat problem in the Austin area has been worse due to the drought. The drought kills animals, both rats and their predators. Rats, however, recover much faster. The speed in which they reproduce can quickly cause an infestation, with no natural predators around.

A few months ago we rescued 2 cats. One is a great ratter, and one not so much. Carl (above) is quite a hunter. His only flaw is that he has a tendency to bring live rats in the house. The first few times I jumped up on a chair, but it’s amazing what you can get used to given enough exposure.

Carl has been helping, but it’s way too big a task for him singlehandedly.

We have been setting traps nightly. We go through phases where we catch a bunch and then things will be quiet for a while. The trick is to find out the rats natural path and set the traps.

We have found these traps to be the most effective.

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I set traps in the vegetable garden as well as in the chicken yard. Since we don’t want to accidentally catch a chicken, we have used one of our extra coops (the mom and baby coop which is currently empty). Each night I sprinkle a little food in there and set a few traps. If you care to look closely you can see where we caught 2 rats last night.

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It’s a slow process, I’ve heard it can take years, but we just have to keep at it.

The one thing you don’t want to do is poison the rats. When the predator eats the poisoned rat, there is often enough poison to kill the natural predator as well.

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