Thursday, July 19, 2012

If You Build it, Sheep Will Come...

  Or, excuse me while I go Google electric fencing, and pasture raising!

First off,  how is everyone's homesteading situation going? Is everyone else getting annihilated by this horrific heat dyrness brutality?  I'm hearing so many unfortunate stories of farmers already being advised, and having to, plow under their crops. So, so sad.  I'm disappointed when a cucumber plant that I planted from seed dies, I can't imagine investing all of that time, manual labour, and obviously financial input, into financing a crop, planting it, beam as the rich brown starts to fade to a brilliant green, and then watching as the plow churns that same lush green, and all the time/effort/money in represents, back  into the warm soil once again. Farming is not for the faint of heart.  But then you already knew that. 
I definitely think we (I) had our expectations set far too high for our first year on the farmette, and it was making it unenjoyable for everyone (Farmer Dave aka Mr Pretties). So I picked myself up, gave myself a  slap in the face and decided to do what I can do this year, and provided the Mayan's are incorrect, God willing I'll have next year to do more!

So in that line of thought, we really haven't done much at all this year. It kind of makes me feel like a huge slack ass when I'm sitting outside nursing the baby with my glass of iced tea and the neighbours are out there plowing row after row of corn infront of our house. They probably think we're slack asses too. My main objective this year was to get our own vegetable garden planted, and for it to be heirloom and organic.  In my head I also had envisioned delivering wicker baskets to everyone we know brimming with vegetable goodness week after week.  The reality? Hopefully we'll get a few salads out of it LoL  Probably not quite that bad, but we kept it pretty basic (tomatos, cukes, potatoes, peppers, lettuce, carrots, pumpkins, watermelons, honeydew melons, onions) and our flemish giant rabbit kept it even more basic.  It's a little of a kick in the ass when you spend the weekend putting your teeny tiny heirloom lettuce seeds (all 800 of them) in the ground, water the crap out of them, watch them sprout, then get a bit bigger, then have them almost disappear because the rabbit jumped the fence.  Curse words were exchanged with the rabbit.  He was told in no uncertain terms how fortunate he was not to be going into the crockpot with a bottle red, and only because his 20lb carcus wouldn't fit into my crock pot! Butt head. 

One of the more exciting (to me) things we accomplished so far, is talking the landowners into allowing us to bring in sheep next spring.  I'm not positive we will, I'm still doing the farm math on how long they can eat on pasture, how much it would cost to hay them for the winter, feed, etc... too see if it's financially feasible for us (as we don't plan to use them for meat).  I'm also researching a breed that will be cold hardy, but also produce a warm, soft, strong fleece.  If at all possible, we'd also like it to be a heritage breed.  Because you don't ask to much, kwim?

We also discovered a huge patch of black cap berries, and raspberries.  So fun! The girls and Ethan have been our there each morning with their enamel pots collecting all the newly blackened berries. They are delish, we've been eating them in smoothies for breakfast. I'd love to be all romantic and wax some lyrical magic about the sun warmed berries being such a delight, but truthfully, it kind of grosses me out that they're warm LoL It just seems wrong. I really kind of prefer the cooler ones that were all tucked up in the shade under the leaves, you know, the sun conscious ones ;) We also went from 11 hens and 2 roosters to 2 roosters and 20 hens (and two clutches of eggs under the hens due today and tomorrow), and three goslings.  Goslings make fabulous pets.  They also make a lot of shit on my walkway.  Why did I not expect that?! How many times have I gone to the beach and seen the mass quanitites of Canadian Goose debris?! So something needs to be done about that situation.  I can only tell Farmer Dave that it's 'goose manure tea' for the lawn so often before the fact that it's on everyone's shoes outweight that little anecdote.  I'm thinking they're going to be needing a pen in the big barn with a pool.

So more or less, I guess that's where we're at right now.  The garden is growing, the hens are laying (and hatching) eggs, and I'm hoping to see some white fluffy fleeces out my kitchen window next spring!  We did end up getting and LGD.  But I think he's broken.  We are the only people on this planet who could ruin a perfectly good LGD.  We got Max, a Great Pyrenees, in April.  He was 14 weeks old, so I don't know if he was too old, or if that matters.  He was quiet lovely, quiet, obedient.  He is now six months old and he is attacking our dachshund (who is attacking out chickens), biting the kids, taking food out of our fridge, and all manner of other things he isn't supposed to do.  It isn't his fault, obviously we're just dog training handicapped.  I tell him no, and he gives me the paw completely with his canine version of the finger.  I see how it is.  I spray him with the hose because he looks hot, he goes in the house and rolls in my clean sheets on my bed and takes an afternoon nap.  I'm not thrilled with this game of canine chess we're playing here, I'm hearing a lot of 'check mate' going on. Something needs to be done about this. Maybe a dog whisperer?

So there we are.  Next up, we're looking into bringing in a Tamworth pig, or two, for our freezer, and some family.  Getting the wet dog out of my GD bed, having Mr Owen who is already four months old, stop nursing every 30 seconds of the day, and cross our fingers for some farm fresh salad.  Because that's everyone's goal, right? Salad?

Hope everyone got a touch of this cool weather and rain that we're looking at today, we all deserve it!