We are already well into February so I thought it is about time we started to get more serious about our plans for the next year (s?).
Here are our big plans for 2015:
1. Finish fixing up barn. This includes building a small milking parlor, insulating the barn, building a nice chicken coop, building a goat playground, and birthing stalls.
2. Getting more chickens. We won’t be raising a ton for meat since we recently signed up for a food delivery system that include pastured, organic meats. (It fits our budget a lot better at this point than raising ALL our own animals for meat, mainly due to hay costs in our area) I am thinking that we may add a decent amount of heritage Wyandotte chickens to our flock, and cull most of the roosters for our food, and keep the hens for the next couple years’ egg production. They are supposed to be great dual purpose birds, and will be free range.
3. Get a really good composting system going. We are actually going to try to essentially cut any supplemental feed costs for the chickens by using the compost as a source of feed that the chickens turn, fertilize and aerate. We got this idea from a video that Geoff Lawton posted, and it seems like a VERY self sufficient way to go, without having to GROW additional feed.
4. Improve our 16 acre pasture. We want to improve the quality of the pasture (hopefully) by frost seeding it in late spring before the ground thaws. This is something we saw on the The Prairie Homestead blog here, so the quality of the pasture should be improved, and we also hope to see an increase in the amount of grasses for grazing. We are still trying to decide if we are going to section off the pasture or leave it as a big, open pasture.
5. We are going to attempt to build an underground greenhouse, constructing the roof of a heavy plastic or material such as plexi-glass, and an inner layer of heavy duty plastic sheeting. The instructions we have found say to use the plastic sheeting on the inside and outside of the roof, but due to our high winds and heavy snow loads in the winter, that just wouldn’t stand up to the elements. So, the greenhouse is dug into the ground, below the frost/freeze line, and the roof is set at an angle on the ground. It’s supposed to allow you to grow year round, even in freezing climates. We will let you know how that goes. At least I know the goats won’t be able to get into it!
6. I REALLY want to get a piglet to raise for meat.
7. Plant some fruit trees on the property. Keep goats from demolishing them.
8. I don’t know why I put this as number 8. It’s right up there with fixing the barn, improving the pasture and building the greenhouse. I REALLY want to get a dairy cow. I’m not sure I want to get a calf again, after the heartbreak with Chestnut, and something miniature would probably suit our family best both for the amount of milk and the feed consumption.
9. Clean up the “trash” piles around the place.
10. Reduce our amount of household waste.
11. Keep up with this blog more. Share more things, and trust me, a LOT of “things” go on around here on a daily basis. Predator prevention, injuries, births, breeding, growing, construction, cooking etc.