The Farm

By God’s amazing grace and provision, we live in a fairly large house on about 17 acres (I will document this story one of these days). We have raised turkeys, guineas, chickens, eggs, geese, a (pet) duck, pigs and cattle, on a small scale. We live in a desert area, with lots of sunshine but necessary irrigation. Joel Salatin is my inspiration and instruction (most of the time), even before he had roles in every food/farming documentary. 🙂

Mae; Autumn 2011

2012 Intentions:

  • Our 3 Jersey steers continue to grow and live (!). We may have one processed this year, OR hold onto them for another year or more to put on weight (Jerseys are notoriously slow growers and light on the ‘beef’ side).
  • Our Scottish Highland cow, Mae, should calve in May. {Mae in fact produced a bull calf 5.11.12.}
  • We may try to add a larger-breed yearling or two to finish on grass and process in the fall. {Or not.}
  • Our egg-laying flock sits at about 50 hens and 5 roosters or so. Our oldest bird is over 5 years old. She and others of her age and stage should be processed this year as ‘stewing hens.’ I sell eggs on a limited basis to friends and family who are interested.
  • We will probably raise a half-dozen turkeys for our use.
  • We will raise about 70 ‘meat birds’ for our use, and to share.
  • We are starting a co-laboring effort to get affordable, healthy chicken into the freezers of those who want it. I will sell chicken for half the market rate (unless costs exceed that) in exchange for some ‘farm labor’ and help with processing. {See how this went here, here, and our costs.}
  • Fully set up (build) the irrigation stuff and rotational grazing paddocks. {This changed a bit. Information soon someday.}
  • Build a dual-purpose structure; a greenhouse/barn for storing feed, hay, starting seedlings and (maybe) wintering laying hens.
  • Streamline our chicken processing – upgrade the motor on the plucker and fashion some kill cones to make things go a bit faster. Buy a good knife. {Done!}
  • Raise beet mangels in the garden to supplement the hens’ winter feed.

I routinely toss around the idea of a milk cow, but so far we have not taken that step. I do buy healthy, nutritious raw milk on the black market from someone near my home. Hubby promises dire consequences if I bring any goats onto the property, so that is out (so far). We eat very little pork, and since ‘appetite’ is apparently my main motivation, pigs aren’t on our radar right now.

Plans change with life, but I hope that many of these goals are met this year!

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