Sunday, January 10, 2010

How much is too much?....

With my Christmas booty that I got this year, I did what I do every year and spoil myself with new reading material. As you can see, most are on the subject of being self sustainable, but, some are just for fun to help with the cold, dark evenings of winter.

The hubsters and I are once again talking about possibly taking that next step and raising our own meat. The more we read and see reported about the conditions in which our food is raised and brought to the table, the deeper our discussions become.

We've already started the process when it comes to the vegetable garden. We are adding an additional garden area with a greenhouse so we can extend our season further into the cold weather. The new garden will be completed and ready for planting this upcoming season. Doing this basically doubles our garden space. We are very excited about the expansion and all the new varieties of edibles we can grow and to start dabbling into heirlooms.

Although the gardens are a commitment, they are not near the commitment of livestock. Yes, we do have laying hens now and they too are a commitment, but, the size of backyard critters is small enough the we can get a "chicken sitter" and still go on vacation and travel for work if necessary. Bringing in livestock is whole 'nother ballgame. I think it would be quite difficult to get a "farmstead sitter" to come and give the daily care and attention that all the animals would need. Quite frankly, we don't need to raise our own meat. We are blessed with an ever growing amount of small farms around our area who are raising grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free meat, including beef, pork, lamb, goat, emu, and of course, chicken. It's how we've been getting our meat for the last several years. So, my husband and I weigh the pros and cons if we did this ourselves. First off, we have to think about the workload taking care of all the animals and with both of us still working full time. Most days we are based working out of our home, which is why we would even consider it in the first place. I do commute two days a week into metro DC area, but, hubsters is typically around here on the days I have to commute. If we both had to work outside of our home and commute everyday we would not even entertain this idea.

We also have to consider that though we're far from old, we're not spring chickens either! How would we handle this if something should happen to either one of us? I'm not just speaking of kicking the bucket here, but, more if one of us had an injury that kept us from helping out and doing our fair share. Would just one of us be able to handle the load, so to speak.

Okay, so even if we agree and do want to take this next step, we have no fencing. We have ordinances and restrictions on what we can do, how many animals we can raise, not to mention the people who live around us and the grief they will cause. Do we really want the expense and hassle to do all of this when we are just a short drive to what we want? So, the debate continues. I really don't know what direction we will take with all of this.

So, I guess for the meantime, we'll sit here on the back porch and think. Think, how much is too much? Can there be too much?

And while we're sitting here thinking, Jack of the Wood will still be on sentry watching over the back "forty".

Now, for something entirely different - my indoor lettuce growing experiment. This is the counter I am going to de-clutter and try my experiment. It is approximately 4' long and 2' wide. I'll hang a fluorescent shop light from above on chains so I can raise and lower it to satisfy my lighting needs.

I just wanted to give you a peek on how it will all start. I plan on making a lettuce box to sow and grow (hey, I see an infomercial here) the seed. More to come.

I think I'll go dive into a little light reading today. It's a sunny day, but, cold again. I think I'd rather stay inside today with the hounds at my side and be lazy.

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