Sunday, May 4, 2014
Doing More (Self Sufficiency)
I have been reading all sorts of blog post on gardening, and raising your own food for motivation!
It is time to shake the winter dust off and get busy!
I have a confession, I do not love gardening. We grow a garden and have for many years, but I have always had a hard time of it out here, especially with weeds taking over my garden plot. I also do not appreciate Garter Snakes, bugs, and dirt under my fingernails. (I have tried wearing gloves, I would rather deal with dirt under my nails)
So why do I continue to plant one every year?
I love homegrown veggies
I love canning and dehydrating the harvest
I love saving money
So even though gardening is not one of my favorite homesteading activities, we are expanding the garden. I have a lot of experience in planting tomatoes, beans, peppers, and cucumbers but decided to try some new things this year. Potatoes, carrots, and some spring crops like snap peas and lettuce.
With food prices going up,up, up we have decided to put forth our best efforts to grow more veggies, and add some more fruit bushes and trees.
Mike did build a couple of raised beds last year and I will say that we had an easier time with the weeds. I think this year we will be adding a couple more. We also have a fenced in garden plot that we are going to use for the plants that take up more space.
Raising Meat for the freezer is another thing we are working on.
Our freezer was empty this past winter, except for some venison which I tolerate, but am not a big fan of.
We have raised steers for many years. Last year we decided to take the year off, I figured I would be able to find some local beef to buy for the freezer. That was not as easy as I thought. So last week , we picked up two feeder steers. We have always raised Belted Galloway, but this year we had a hard time finding feeders, and had to pick up two Jersey steers. I know that they are a Dairy Breed, but beggars can't be choosers. I have done some reading about raising Jersey Cows on grass and read some favorable comments, so we shall see.
Next week we are going back to the same farm we purchased the steers from, and are buying some feeder pigs.
That will be a new experience for us. We have purchased homegrown pork from a local farm, but he went out of business, so we figured we would try raising our own this year.
I have been reading all I can about raising pigs!
I am also contemplating meat chickens, jury is still out on that one. We have raised them before, so have some experience, we just need to look over housing issues.
One thing I need to remember- it always looks easier on paper.
My list is getting longer and longer!
I need to keep in mind, that we will have to maintain this garden, feed and house these animals, along with all of the other things that already keep us busy!
Raising a steer on grass-18 month commitment
Raising a Feeder Pig-3 month commitment
Raising Meat Chickens-6-12 week commitment
There are a lot of things to take in consideration before adding additional responsibilities to the farm.
We can't do it all. I have learned that the hard way, on more than one occasion.
But, we can do more.
Now to decide what that "more" is...
What "more" do you have planned for 2014