Yesterday, the 29th, was our third month of living here at the homestead.
It’s been seven months since we saw the place first and knew it was to be our home. I can’t hardly believe it.
It feels like we have been here forever, and in a good good way. Everything seems settled, and of course, there are a zillion things still that we want to do, but we can sit back and relax and breath that little sigh of contentment… we are home.
I can’t hardly believe it at times… that we own our own home free and clear. That are living on this little slice of paradise… everything we ever wanted. Nice comfortable home, great big size, the three acres, the trees, the animals, the community. Everything is perfect. Fantastic neighbors, and I thank God for them and their friendship. Who else understands you want to raise feeder pigs and make cheap laundry detergent than another pair of homesteading folks that understand how it feels to watch chicks hatch in your office or to have your livestock give birth in your own barn. No offense to some of my city folks, but hey, when I get all excited about finishing poultry, I know that they sigh and haven’t the faintest idea of WHY on earth a person would be excited about such a thing! Haha… Having folks less than a mile away that “get it” is just the icing on our cake, the blessing in our lives.
And having a wonderful group of readers who like following our daily adventures and misadventures… that is just so cool too! My facebook peeps really seem to like the frequent photo essays and it’s always fun to share with those who would like to do the same as we have done… ditch it all and live wild in the country!
I’m sitting here in the quiet morning, looking out my office window at the hazy golden sunlight peeking through the willows and dancing across a dew kissed wire fence in the side yard. There are birds all over the feeders and in the trees, there are my beautiful ewes drifting across the green, walking and cropping my grass so I don’t have to mow so much anymore! I just heard Bucka Roo crow and see him on a field trip with his inner core of ladies and I just can’t help but smile like some fool that just won the lottery… I can’t beleive it’s true, this life longing is here, and I get to wake up every morning and live this dream.
My daughters have blossomed here. I can not believe the change mostly in Maggie. She smiles. Nearly every day. Big smiles, look you in the eye smiles. And she laughs. At the silly little chickens as she lovingly calls them… I can’t tell you how much it means for me to hear her say “silly little chickens” in this warm and friendly voice, her tone one of endearment and love. She has been transformed. She gets up and has her breakfast and then she’s out the door with a list of things she wants to do. She has purpose and a focus. It’s a beautiful glow on her happy face.
Jessy has really come into her own as well. She has stepped up to take the reins of her own company so nicely now. With her big office and space to work comfortably, she’s taking care of all aspects of her own side of the business. I rarely have to even be involved. She’s making her own decisions and keeping up with the work without hardly a single nod or suggestion from me. I love it. And she’s working so hard to overcome her fear of birds with our chicks and even the hens outside. Three months ago, she would be horrified to think that we would have 52 birds on our farm. She was worried over just five! Now, she is handling our baby birds and can even walk past a grazing group of hens without hardly flinching. She’s not thrilled when they look up and start to follow her, but she’s even learned to calmly send them packing by trying to catch a lady by the tail… haha… a little trick I taught her and she has finally gotten the courage to try. (Hens HATE to be picked up by being chased… just pretend to start and grab at their tail feathers and they will scatter immediately!) I’m so proud at her for learning these coping tools… she’s such a bright and loving young lady, I know that she will excel in anything she wants to do!
Wow… three months. If you’ve been reading the blog, then you know all we’ve done so far. Painting, mowing, fixing, building, finding our livestock and so much more. I can’t believe we have so many of our dreams in place already. Oh sure, the old house needs some fixing still, and there are more livestock and garden plans… but over all, it’s come a long way!
Some of the things we hope to accomplish in the next quarter….
• Finish up our rabbitry and get our herd stable. We would like to add two more bunnies to the flock… a French buck and an English doe, hopefully pedigreed. And of course, have our condo finished and our whole setup nice and stable. Jessy has been reading and learning about the whole process of running a successful small rabbitry and she is eager to see it work as a complete system… wool harvesting, babies for keeping and selling, and creating products from their wool.
• Get our chicken breeding and laying program stable… we want to raise both Maran hens and Americaunas. Ultimately purebreed lines of fine Marans and lovely halfbreed mixes. I just adore the Maran hens and cocks, and it’s the line of chickens we really want to raise and specialize in. Right now we have our beautiful Blue Copper Maran rooster, Bucka Roo. I never thought I would love a roo so much, he’s just everything wonderful that a rooster could be. Friendly, protective, beautiful. I would have 3 more if I could! I am hoping that one of his babies we hatched is a rooster and can grow up strong to work with his father over the free range flock. Maran roosters are known for their calm and friendly nature.
We have two funny little blue Maran hens, and 5 cookoo Maran hens. I have FINALLY found a gentleman in lower Michigan that raises the Black copper Marans and hopefully next week I will be able to go and get 5 or 6 young pullets from him. Can’t wait! Would love to get a splash or white Maran hen or three, but can’t seem to find anyone local with them.
And we plan to do more incubating and raising of our Maran hens eggs. And the Americunas too. We plan to develop a line of crossbreeds that we are going to call Windhaven Maranacunas. Haha… and hopefully by crossing the dark brown eggs of the Maran with the blue and green of the Americunas, we will have super dark blue and green egg layers! We’ll see! Since we are only going to keep Maran roosters in our flocks, all babies will at least be half breed fancy Blue Copper Maran blood!
• We will continue to work on improving the little coop, making it safer and more reliable for our younger fowl. I’m sorry to say, but Einstein and little Brent, the bantam roo have gone on a walkabout and have not returned. Josh, the white banty roo, played it safe and has integrated himself into the main flock. He LOVES the ladies and they actually tolerate him and his silly ways. Even Bucka treats him with a polite regard. Being that he is about 4 times the size of Josh, he leaves him alone and Josh is very very careful not to get in Bucka’s way. I was really sad that Einstein left. He was my last turkey. Turkeys have been the biggest heartache here at the farm during this first quarter. I had high hopes for those five little poults and now, I have none. I don’t think we’ll be trying turkeys for a while. They are very very hard to raise. I might go and try a more mature bird or two later, but right now, turkey is off the Windhaven menu!
But, yes, I’d like to see the little secure coop finished and ready to receive our young poultry and our homegrown birds. And we will be building a chicken tractor for our meat birds soon, probably this coming week. Just trying to finalize the plans for it. The meat chicks have easily doubled in size in just two short weeks. They are huge! Growing like weeds!
• Our yard beautification program starts in August…
Yes, it’s time to start trimming back the weeds and making the front of the house just beutiful… we’ve let it get a little weedy as we work on other more important things, but it’s getting a little out of hand! I’m sure my few neighbors would agree. It’s not bad, but it’s not what we want. With the weather being so hot and humid, it’s been a little hard to labor outside too much, however, I think we’re going to take it an hour at a time. We’ll get it beat back in no time!
I wanted to give it all a chance to grow and bloom so that in case there were any nice desirable plants in the mix, I could find and mark them. And yes, there are… but mostly it’s a mix of wild grape vine and bull thistles and a few other less desirable plants! I really want to do some of our own plantings and all and I just saw that Lowes had all their perennials marked down to $1.33!!! Yahoo! Don’t be surprised if I scrap up a hundred dollars for those straggly looking babies to get our place looking gorgeous next spring!
• My Garden. It’s pretty much a disaster at this point. I have peas and beans and pumpkins that are still doing it, but really, the garden has been the worse part of the first quarter. It was just a case of too much rain, too much hard labor and too many other exciting things going on. It’s a wash. However, I plan to work hard this fall to prep it for the coming spring. Now that I’ve seen how it works over there, I will be ready. I’m going to be making mounded rows this fall, full of good barn compost materials from our hens as well as horse compost from the neighbors and any other materials I can get my hands on. Since the area floods, I want to raise up mounded rows so that I can get in there and plant early… and get things going strong. That’s the plan.
• Fencing. We have about half of our fencing plans done and in place. I want to fence in the back pasture. It’s much more of a horse and pony pasture and that is the plan for later on. It’s easily another massive 330 foot roll of field fence and about 25 or more t-posts and a set of at least 4 major corner posts. It’s about a $300 job and a lot of help required, I’m sure. I plan to get started this August, setting the corner posts at least. And getting a few t-posts everytime I go to TSC. The post of the week club! I really want to be able to act on some of these wonderful offers I see on Craig’s list for ponies!!!
My dream is to have two ponies. One small child’s pony, like a Shetland or a nice little Amish pony, for Jessy’s photography studio. Something cute and photogenic, like maybe a little dapply grey or a paint. She can be an old pony that needs a wonderful forever home for retirement. She will be spoiled rotten! Something that our little visiting friends can pet and treat and get a little easy ride on. I see so many that are $100 or less, even free because families outgrow them so quickly. I would love to make a home for one that will never go away. We will never grow out of our little pony friend’s usefulness. I’d even like to be able to bring the pony to friends’s parties and such. How much fun would that be! Dress them up in little pony costumes and just enjoy the heck outta that little pampered pony!
And I want a nice little Haflinger mare. Something around 13 or 14 hands that we can ride a bit, and mostly, train for a cart pony. I’ve always wanted to learn to drive a little draft pony cart. Just one of those bucket list things. I love horses and have worked with them in the past, but right now, I’m not really into a big full horse and all. They are so big and flighty and just eat so much and need so much care. I would rather have a nice sturdy little Haflinger, just one. A mare, preferably, but I’d love on a nice little gelding as well. I would love to have a neat little pony cart to drive up to Fayette or to the post office, or the neighbors. And hey, if the cost of gas keeps going up, that little mare and cart might be my main mode of transportation! Why not! I’ve always had a bit of a Amish-wannabe in my heart… just couldn’t get past the computer tech part of it all. Why not have both worlds?
But I don’t think the whole pony show will be taking place for a few more months, if that. Because we really need to get that back pasture secure and some stalls in our barn. I know the chickens will share, they have the WHOLE barn to themselves at the moment. The sheep have their own shack which they adore, so the hens will just have to share with a pair of ponies!
• Our lavender garden… I love lavender and have always wanted to grow a ton of it. I’ve never been very good at it, so it’s one of those goals that I know will be tough, because I will need to learn learn learn. But I just love the dang plant and all it’s decorative uses. So I want to convert my corn field to a huge lavender patch and also grow many lovely specimens all over the place. I’ve been reading and hope to acquire a few plants at the local shops as the season winds down. I also hope to add some other herbs to the farm in quantities, but mostly, it’s lavender. I want to be able to dry it and use it in soaps and hangings, and for flower displays and such. I’m giving up on grown corn… it’s just one of those things that doesn’t make sense for us. We have a neighbor with over 300 acres growing corn and he has a stand with fresh picked corn for like a buck a bag… I think that one of the things that you learn quickly is what works for your homestead and what doesn’t. I’d rather use the space for something else, like, oh lavender! And know that for $20 in the late summer I can have enough fresh picked corn to fill my freezer and many BBQs and fresh eating.
• Financially…. I want to see us build up a more comfortable nest egg. Right now, I’ll admit, we don’t have much in the way of savings. Now one could say, well, we do have a free and clear property that is easily worth about twenty grand. That’s something. But we tried a month ago to apply for a line of credit and they said no. Just not enough time and such. I understand, so that is why I think just having the property is not enough. It would be difficult in an emergency to access any of that equity. I’d like to try and save a thousand dollars. Just sitting, ready if we needed it. That would be enough to cover most things of an emergency nature. It would be a good dent for certain and would put a mom’s heart at ease. I know that we have friends and family that would certainly come to our aid for anything really bad, but still, it would be a blessing to know that we can handle most things that might come down the pike. That’s a goal. We had that, first of the year, but all of our funds went to buying this place and I think that was a good reason to use that up. Now, with projects and fixes, we’re not doing a lot of saving, and I would like to change that for this next quarter.
• A little more time for work… yeah… we’ve been spending a lot of fun time working on the farm. I have to say, it’s been a HUGE blessing that we were able to pretty much put our business on cruise and spend 4 months just working on projects and our little homestead! Not many people can do that. But it’s time to get focused on building our businesses and getting back into a nice little work routine of a few hours working and then the rest of the day with farm fun. I think that is a good thing. We need to boost up the rock and mineral business, share that with more people and I’d really like to get back into creating some new homeschool products and music related things. Just a nice little creative flush before the holiday sales start with the rocks! Fun stuff…
Well, that’s about it, most of our plans and ideas that we’re working towards. There are more things, surely, like helping Jessy to expand her photography business and some freelance writing projects I’d like to tackle and of course Maggie’s egg business and her wooden crafts she’s planning… but that’s all in the works and you’ll hear more about it for sure. I don’t want to rest on our laurels from this successful first quarter, as I know that winter is just around the corner and surely will be a different thing for us then we’ve ever encountered, but we’re ready for the challenge. I want to get more into some crafting and home baking and such, and of course, keep working on the house and the upgrades it needs. But overall, this has been some of the most fondest days of my whole life… these last 120 days… I just can not explain it, no matter how many posts I make. We are happy, content and just plain delighted to have found our beautiful little homestead!Pin It