Monday, January 3, 2011

Homesteading with a crystal ball.......

Planning for our little homestead for the forth coming year is akin to trying to predict the future by looking into a crystal ball....

So, with that being said, I thought I would share some goals for the 2011 season here at the ol' homestead.

Laying chickens

Expand the current run of confined, safe outside space to double its current size.  Right now the run is 8' x 20'.   Until we can get proper fencing on the property lines, the girls are confined to the run or the free range time I give them in the area we've fenced in for the dogs.  They were good about staying in the back yard except for one girl who just had a mind of her own and wanted to see the rest of the "world".

Get new chicks in early Spring.  Our little flock is down to three and they will be two years old at the time we pick up the new chicks.  This should work timing wise as for the new chicks should start laying in the fall just as the older hens pass their peak laying production.  I know this may sound a little calloused, but, they are not pets.  I'm not saying I'm not fond of my girls, but, I'm striving for self sustainability. Anyway, I know this great guy over in Wales who has a kind heart and will take aged chickens.  I'll fly them first class :-)

Meat birds

We've decided that we will try to raise some of our own meat birds in 2011. 
We're still researching which breed to raise, but, will have this figured out hopefully by early Spring. 

Since we will keep the meat birds separated from the layers we will be building a chicken tractor the appropriate size for the number of birds we settle on.   Again, we haven't settled on the specifics, but, we'll keep you posted as we start this new adventure here at the homestead.   I'm sure the hubsters will come up with something absolutely splendid!

the back forty....

Go to the county's licensing and permit department to find out exactly what we can raise on our little plot of land. 

We are zoned R40 which in a nutshell is residential zoning.  We can have animals, but, there are limitations to what and how many.  We also need to find out about setbacks for housing for animals, etc.

Get a property line survey.
Start fencing the back property.  We'll start this at the property lines and then work on dividing the area into grazing areas for rotation.  But, and this is a big but, it depends on the outcome of the conversation with the county if this project goes forward.  You see, after almost 5 years of debate, the hubsters and I have finally decided to raise lamb. 

If we can only have three ewes for our acreage that's fine as long as we can keep the lambs until slaughter age.  It's not un-typical for twins or even triplets to be born.  So, we could be housing anywhere from three to twelve hooves here at lambing time. 
If we find out it's a go, it will still take time to fence and shelter the sheep.  The final goal on raising lamb may not come to full fruition until sometime in 2012 because we pay as we go to build.  Another words, the amount of progress we make depends on the cash in hand. 

Personal yard space

Make a small fire pit.  Right now we have fire "bowl" which is fine and dandy, but, a nice stone pit around it would just make it a tad safer and less fear of melting shoes.


Since we added the new raised beds last year, we're pretty happy with the garden sizes we have now.  The goal for 2011 is healthier soil and stay practical with what we plant.  Like not planting cantaloupe,watermelon, honeydew, etc.  For two people it's just impractical.  Use the space for things that can be frozen, canned, or dehydrated.

Utilize the greenhouse!!!

So, this is a brief outline of some of the goals here at the homestead.  Just some small steps to be more self sustainable.   What we can't or don't want to do here, we are very fortunate to have a host of small, local farms where we can get the rest.  I can't stress enough how wonderful it is to be surrounded by such wonderful small farms with the same growing/raising ethics as the hubsters and I both have.

So, what do you see in your crystal ball for 2011?
Do tell...........


  1. Lambs - how exciting! Please keep us posted!

    My goals for 2011 are about looking for ways to make the work manageable. In other words, making my garden smarter instead of just bigger. Especially with all our perennial beds which are beautiful but which seem to take an awful lot of my time.

  2. Your plans sound ambitious but if anyone can achieve them, you can!! Just the process of writing down a wish list can galvanise one into action. I look forward to seeing how things progress around the homestead.

    My goal is to further develop the little potager/veg garden that I started last spring. I would like to grow varieties of veg that are a little different and not that easy to buy at the farmer's market. I want lots of colour and fresh fragrant herbs. I want a lovely warm summer so I can sit and enjoy my garden as well. Oops don't have control over that one, but its on my wish list anyway!


  3. Right now all I see are 3 trips to the farm to work on the retirement property.
    Unless I win the lottery. ;-)
    Then we'll be retiring to work on the homestead in earnest.

    Good luck. Hope you all have a successful year! :-)

  4. I have a huge list posted, but I will say congrats on sheep, if you can pull it off. I think they are a very sensible animal to raise, since they provide meat, wool, and milk. Great idea!!

  5. Looks like a good plan. I am wanting to add on to my hen house and have a few more hens. I have one rooster and sixteen hens now plus four biddies. Jusst to manage better and keep up with what I have going now will work for me.

  6. Hi Toni. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. New year's is a great time for goal setting, isn't it? Love your goals; very similar to ours. We made fencing a priority and are glad we did. I'll be interested in what meat breed you decide on as this is one of our goals too.

  7. It is a great and interesting list of goals you have :) I'd love to hear about the meat birds you decide. And lambs, how wonderful!

    Good luck, Toni!

    My goals for this year is to raise a new greenhouse in my garden. Try growing more (and some new) varieties of vegetables in my kitchen garden. Further develope my herb garden and learn more about herbs. And expand my skills in food processing and canning.

  8. Wow big plans and I suspect a lot of work but big gains if you pull it all off. Good on you. You make be feel guilty with my wimy plans!

  9. No one but no one knows how to fill up a year like the female homesteader does. Don't forget to plan down time, very important. Love your blog