Archive for livestock

Even The Smallest Yard A Homestead Garden

Most people probably think that you need acres to homestead–space for cattle or goats, chickens, pigs, large garden, etc. Not so! You can start to homestead in surprisingly small spaces!

This video by John at Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens showcases a suburban homestead garden on only 1/10th of an acre! You can do this! Careful planning and starting as soon as possible (trees take a while to get going) are key. Enjoy! This is inspiring!

P.S. The Self-Improvement Giveaway 11 is still going on. You can get hundreds of free self-help resources all in one place. Don’t miss it!

Today’s post is for Day 10 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. #blogboost

Getting Ready For Winter And Catching Up

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here because we’ve been busy offline. Raise your hands if you spent days around Thanksgiving traveling! We traveled Wednesday through Sunday, north of us, south of us, and then north of us again. By the way, NEVER, if you can possibly help it, NEVER travel on a highway on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. What normally takes us about 4 hours to drive took 7!!! I now officially think that colleges should stagger their return dates after major holidays.

What else were we doing? Getting the animals set up better for winter! I started with the run-in. I admit I had put off mucking out the run-in for a while (don’t ask), but it’s not as obvious that it’s building up when it’s goat pellets and hay versus when it’s horse or cow droppings. I was picking out the run-in all the time when we had large animals out there! I did not have to clean up after the pigs, because pigs make a different toilet area away from where they eat and sleep.

I needed to clear out the side I use to access the back so that I could more easily get a larger order of hay brought in. It was deep when I started.

 

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It started looking better as soon as I got the hay all off of it, but I still needed to take out the composting stuff.

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I had the brilliant idea of using my little electric tiller to break it up, making it easier for me to shovel out (we don’t have a tractor). That only worked on part of it; part of it was too hard for the tines to get into. I had to use a metal hay fork to break up the layers to shovel them off. Yes, it’s embarrassing to own up to this, but such is life sometimes!

I finally got it dug out to where I could open the gate all the way. I then proceeded to move all of the project wood that I had in the back, rearranged the feed bins, and moved the milking stand. You can see part of the back of the run-in in this picture showing my progress on the floor.

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I called in the hay delivery–40 bales. That’s the largest I’ve ever taken at one time, because I used to have firewood stored in the back of the run-in as well (still working on storing the new firewood). There’s a certain feeling of security that comes from looking at a wall of hay put up for the next 2 months! The empty feed bin in the photo is sitting on top of the milking stand. The next step for this area is filling up all available feed bins!

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Next I moved on to making a shelter for Bubba and Marshmallow since they’re still in the inside yard until they get castrated, hopefully just before Christmas. I was originally planning to build an entirely new shelter in the back behind the inside yard and against the outside wall of the coop extension. That would get them out of the inside yard, but would’ve also put them where they couldn’t easily see the other goats. I started to move plywood and 2x4s out to the area and then decided that I would rather use what I already have instead of building something from scratch and having to worry about whether I had enough plywood, could roof it well enough but simply enough to take apart after a month.

I decided to use the chicken coop. I have posted pictures of the extension before; it’s still the same size. I was on medication over the summer that made me just sweat rivers and could not stand to be outside doing anything. I even gave up the garden. I just felt too bad when I was outside.

I closed off the side that’s open to the extension to help it stay a little warmer inside. I then moved the plywood around on the front so that the door actually is on the same side as the door in the framing (I had not worked out how it would fit together before and did not have the time while I was doing all this to make a door). I added shelves for the goats to get up on and hung two hay racks.

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I have since realized that (1) Bubba and Marshmallow don’t like to go in there and (2) the chickens like to sit on top of the boys’ hay. So I need to figure out how to keep the chickens off the hay in an easily removable way. For Bubba and Marshmallow, I think they need a nightlight. I just purchased this light on Amazon. It’s an outdoor, solar-powered string of lights that costs less than $9 per strand. I bought two; I’m planning on putting one in the coop for Bubba and Marshmallow and one in the run-in for the main herd (does and whethers). The big bucks are in front of the house and get light as long as we leave the porch light on.

outdoorsolarlightsI’m thinking I’ll also block off one side under the front porch for Bubba and Marshmallow to get out of the wind during the day since they like to be on the front and west sides of the house where they can talk to other goats. They can get out of the wind now, but they can’t see anybody else when they go there so they don’t.

What have you been doing to get ready for winter?

Snow Storm Emergency Preparedness Tips

 

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If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow during the winter months, you know how important it is to prepare for big snow storms ahead of time. You may find yourself stuck at home, or worse in your car for long periods of time during a snow storm. The heavy snow can cause trees or large branches to fall and cut power lines. Here’s what you should do to make sure you’re not caught unaware by a blizzard.

Winterize Your Home And Car

At the beginning of the cold season make sure both your home and your car are ready for winter. Put on winter tires, fill up the antifreeze, and stock your car with a shovel, sand, snow chains, a warm blanket, and a bit of water and food. If you’d just like to buy a kit instead of making your own, this kit by GetReadyNow is pretty good. It does need a shovel and a blanket.

Make sure your home is well-insulated, your heating is in good working order, and you have an ample supply of heating fuel or firewood. Keeping some emergency water and food rations along with a battery operated weather radio and plenty of ways to stay warm is also a good idea (but you already knew that).

Pay Attention To Weather Forecasts

The good thing about winter storms these days is that meteorologists have gotten pretty good at predicting them well in advance. This gives you plenty of time to stock up on some supplies, get home safely, and hunker down to wait out the storm. Watch weather forecasts regularly throughout the colder months and set up storm alerts on your phone to give you plenty of time to prepare. You can download the ping4alerts! app to make this easier, but it does require location services to be enabled. I have an email in to them about just adding an address and running the app without location services turned on; I’ll update here when I hear back from them.

Minimize Travel

If you know a storm is coming, avoid traveling, particularly on the road. Waiting out a blizzard in your car is not a lotsnowstormdriving of fun and you may be stuck and trapped for hours if not days. Cancel travel plans and do what you can to get home before conditions get too bad.

If you do have to travel during a storm, make sure you gas tank is full and your car is well stocked with winter emergency supplies. Check on road conditions before you head out and pull over if things get too bad. You should also have a charged phone with you to call for help if you get stuck in a storm drift.

Stock Up On Food, Water, Heating Fuel, and Firewood

When there’s a lot of snow or an ice storm in the forecast, stock up on food, drinking water, and heating fuel and/or firewood. Have a plan for heating and preparing food if the power goes out. Having plenty of flashlights and candles is also a good idea. You may also want to make sure you have something non-tech for the kids to play with in case their (or your) phone/tablet/computer runs out of battery.

Wait out the storm and don’t be tempted to head out to clear off the roof. Should you fall and get hurt, emergency services may have no way of reaching you.

Take Care Of Your Animals

Remember to provide for the animals in your care as well. Dogs, cats, goats, poultry, cattle, horses – doesn’t matter; they all need a solid shelter to block the wind and keep at least some of the snow off of them during the storm. Remember to stock the shelter with hay (if appropriate) and some warm water. I use 5-gallon buckets with omega lids (love these lids!) to carry warm water from the house to the outside animals.

Two Big Summits You Don’t Want To Miss!

Holy mother of pearl! There are two back-to-back summits that you do NOT want to miss–the Prepper World Summit 3 and the Mother Earth News Summit.

I don’t how I’m arriving late to the party for this first, but the Prepper World Summit 3 is currently ongoing. It’s run dates are October 22-October 31, 2016. They will have encore days on November 2 and 3, thankfully!

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The Prepper World Summit 3 has a “hand-picked team of 20 world-class prepping & survival experts will reveal how you can avoid common prepping mistakes, take your preparedness to the next level and create a survival plan that WORKS for you and your family.”

Topics include:

  • Bug-out bags. I need this reminder…Don’t ask.
  • Surviving in an urban environment.
  • Growing a stealth food forest. I wonder what kinds of foods will be included?
  • Building community.
  • Prepping with chronic health conditions. I hope they cover more than medication. I’ll pay attention to this one during the encore listening.
  • Permaculture basics. I’m going to be taking as many notes as I can!
  • Building a secret greenhouse on your house disguised as a porch. I’m definitely going to watch this one!
  • And so much more!

Squee! I can’t wait for encore day to listen to everything I’ve missed! Sign up here to be able to listen free!

The second summit that’s coming up is the Mother Earth News Summit online. Yes, they do in-person fairs in several places around the country every year. This one is online and is free! This one runs October 31-November 6 with encore days on November 7 and 8. It includes 35 speakers over 7 days.

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Topics include:

  • How organic gardeners produce 2X to 10X greater yields.
  • Build your next garden beds for $0 (yes, nothing)!
  • Grow 75% of your food in less than 10 hours per week!
  • 5 ways to achieve FOOD ABUNDANCE in small urban spaces.
  • Lazy backyard chicken farming secrets.
  • Rainwater Harvesting: turn water scarcity into water abundance!
  • How to get FREE ACCESS to local seed varieties.
  • Make clothes that last 10X longer, using the “old ways.”
  • Whip up delicious, slow-cooked meals using the sun!
  • Transform your property into an edible landscape.
  • And so so much more!

The Mother Earth News Summit is more geared toward homesteading and gardening type of discussions. Even if you just have a little garden patch or grow tomatoes in pots, sign up! You may learn some easy tricks to be able to expand what you grow.

These are going to be so much fun, I’m giddy just thinking about them! Ok, maybe not giddy, but really excited! What’s your favorite topic that’s being covered? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Don’t forget the Thyroid Connection Summit going on October 24-31, 2016.