Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Suburban Farming

Our little farm is really taking off. Our chickens are happy and healthy. They love running around the yard. We live on 1/3 acre so we have a good sized back yard. Now that the chickens have explored around they pretty much stay in the back half of the back yard. It took me about a week of chasing them off of my porch before they got the idea and now they rarely come up to the house. Unless the kids have some sort of treat and the chickens are looking for a hand out. We have really noticed that there are way fewer bugs this spring. We are pretty sure it is thanks to the chickens.

This last weekend we picked out a goat! Penelope (we will probably call her Penny) is a 2 year old Nigerian Dwarf doe. She is currently staying at the place that we bought her from to be bred. Hopefully she will go into heat soon and take on the first cycle and we can bring her home at the end of June. Otherwise they will keep her another month and try again. This will be her first time as a mama. If all works out as we are hoping that we will have kids around the first of November and we will be able to start milking her.

This last week I went by the natural foods store and picked up a small container of raw goats milk and did a blind taste test for my family. We couldn't tell the difference between our regular cows milk and the goat milk. That bodes well for getting my family to switch over to the goat milk. We are currently paying $9 (!) a gallon for local raw jersey cow milk. So, we should be able to break even with our goat. That's the hope anyway.

I've been told that we need to keep 2 goats for them to be happy. We are going to try the one and see how it goes. If she has a hard time adjusting then we will get her a friend sooner. Otherwise we will plan on keeping one of the kids next Fall.

I am finding that I am a farm girl at heart. I am loving the changes around the "homestead". I am also finding that while I am fairly natural with the animals and feel very confident with their care my thumb is not quite as green as I would like it to be. We are trying square foot gardening this year in our first raised bed. Our plan is to continue with the CSA through this summer and hope that next summer we can raise all our own veggies.

We are trying to stay with heirloom seeds that we can harvest the seeds and reuse them next year. Lofty ambitions! So in our backyard we have red and gold raspberries, potatoes (yukon gold, russet, red, and blue - planted in a round wire cylinder - see above photo), rainbow carrots, lettuce mix, herbs, cucumbers, and tomatoes (still inside until we get some more warmth). We may even get some grapes off our vines this year. We will see. My husband and my mom's husband (thanks Ray!) are in the process of building an arbor over our patio for the grapes. Our vines have taken a beating, so I'm not sure how well they will come back this year. But we do have a couple of buds, so we are hopeful.

Spring is here! And Summer is just around the corner. I am so excited about this season.

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