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We have about 6 acres and we are slowly (sometimes it feels quickly) building a little farm. We all love it and it’s so good for us to work together. Right now we have about 30 chickens (1 is a rooster), 2 goats, 2 cows, 2 cats, and 1 dog. We are trying to get our heifer pregnant so we all just learned about artificial insemination. Assuming all goes well, she’ll be our family milk cow. Things can certainly be busy here with all the animals, land, gardens, and 5 kids. Sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever sit down and plan our schooling. We seem to be a “move on to the next lesson” versus a “plan-it-all-out” thing. How do you juggle it all? What do your days look like? My kids are still working towards independence so it’s still a lot of mom time.
Nature study is bountiful! We had a pretty cool toad habitat we built and observed for a few days. The wildflowers, birds, and butterflies that visit our creek are pretty amazing too. So much is happening right in front of us that it can take over our formal lessons. I’m trying to get the formal lessons done first and then move into family lessons. I’d love to hear from anyone with some sort of homestead/farm thing going on.totheskydearParticipant
No advice but I’m jealous of all the land you have! 🙂
No, just add me to the jealous group. You’re living my dream. We have our eye on a piece of property – 100 acres, but, right now, it’s well out of our financial ability. My husband grew up on a farm – 200 acres, they raised cattle, sheep, chickens, pigs etc… then of course had the family garden, an apple orchard, and some pear and cherry trees, their own woodlot for cord wood, and of course the quintessential cow pond for skating on in the winter. The stories he tells of his boyhood, of he and his three brothers growing up on the farm, it was definitely idyllic (granted a lot of work), and is what we want for our children.
His father still lives on the homestead (30 minutes away), so we go down and pick apples and cherries and pears etc… and technically, we stand to inherit a portion of the farm, and have been offered one of the 3 homes on the property, but sadly another family member has already staked his claim for the “farming rights”, so it doesn’t look like that will work out.
So in the meantime, we live on not even an acre and are “mini homesteading” with a 40×15 garden plot, a strawberry patch, some wild blackberries nearby and the blueberry bushes we planted. We’re also going to add apple and pear trees and an herb garden next year. No animals, but we’re trying to produce all the fresh veggies and fruits that we can at least.
Wow, 100 acres! That would be incredible and it sounds completely overwhelming at the same time. Thankfully your husband has experience, whereas we are learning as we go. Ha, sometimes it feels like 100!
I would love to see your garden plot. This is the largest we’ve done and the first using manure compost….the soil is amazing. We have winter squash growing everywhere! It must have seeded itself in the compost pile, flower bed, front garden, and veggie garden. I need to learn how to set up the veggie bed to be a little more organized and user-friendly. My husband can’t mow too close, we can’t walk around w/o stepping over things…it’s not pretty but it’s abundant. I’m open to any tips or reading material.
I’m in PA…AmandaParticipant
We kind of do! We only own 2 acres, but there are 3+ vacant acres adjoining us that we use & mow. We have forest on 2 sides, & the 4th side is our driveway/the road…all of which to say- we have no close neighbors, & empty land all around. We have 14 free-range hens & a rooster. We don’t have other animals, because we value our time away & the flexibility of schedule more, I guess! We have a HUGE garden though, and plant almost every vegetable there is to plant. We try to grow enough of most things to last a year….this year we planted 76 tomato plants! I do other things too, like grinding my own flours, cooking from scratch, etc.
It’s not easy! Our kids are pretty “free-range” on our property, so they are often happy to just go outside & play. At first I thought we would keep schooling through summer. Then I thought we would AT LEAST keep doing math. Then I thought, if I can just keep up with the canning & freezing, with these we shall be content. 🙂 The summer is certainly the busiest!
The only way I get school planned is to order everything in May & plan as soon as it gets here. I need to have it done before the garden really kicks in, or it won’t happen!
I HAVE learned not to let it stress me though! We are very much “schedule” people, but there isn’t really a set list of daily to-do’s for summer. I find that keeping the kids on a good schedule helps the most. We eat breakfast at the same time every day; then playing inside or outside; late-morning they have a little “alone” play-time. (I can usually get some things done during this time.) Then lunch. Then nap/rest/reading for 2 hours (I can get a lot done then, or rest myself.) Then in the afternoon, whatever needs doing. This is usually when I take us all outside & work in the garden. Sometimes they volunteer help, sometimes they’re required to help, sometimes they play. Meal-prep & dinner around 6/6:30; bed at 8. If we can stick to this, I at least know when I can fit in the freezing/canning/garden work/coop cleanings and plan my days accordingly.
During the school year, we try to get lessons done as early as possible and be done for the day.
Nice to “know” someone else in a similar lifestyle! 🙂
MrsCardell… what size is your garden plot? Tell me more about the manure! We added a bunch of bags to ours before we tilled it, but we are looking at turning our plot into more of a massive raised bed next year, and will need to bring in a load of soil of some sort. We were toying with a more manure based compost.
I’ll try to figure out how to add a photo and do that tonight or tomorrow (we’re 2 hours out from my son’s 10th birthday party, lol). But we try to utilize companion planting, square foot gardening and traditional rows all in one, lol.
We do rows of corn with squash mixed in to act as ground cover and raccoon deterrant, and then do rows of most everything else. We space our beans closer together to again, help keep the weeds down, so we’ll do two rows of beans really close together, and then leave a “row” of walking area, then another section with two rows of beans planted super close etc…
We do a trellis for the cucumber (south facing) and then plant our lettuce and spinach under that, to help keep it in the shade, as lettuce and spinach will bolt easily in the warm sun.
Just little things like that. Our garden is behind this year thanks to a) the groundhog who came and ate all my brocolli, peas, lettuce and spinach (so I had to replant) and b) the below-normal temperatures we’ve been having. 🙁SueParticipant
I, too, am a little jealous….especially of the gardens. Although, we have our hands full this summer because this past spring, I finally got the car keys away from my 90-year old dad who has Alzheimer’s and thinks he can still safely drive….so the day is largely spent watching out for him and taking him down the street to his favorite restaurant for breakfast and dinner. (Yes, he could eat at home, but he doesn’t want to after 20+ years of eating at the diner….and he’s extremely picky!)
So, our garden has been slightly neglected, the climbing rose badly needs pruning, the lemon balm has taken over that entire area (plus the cracks in the concrete area in front of it), and the lawn mower conked out last week, so the yard looks unkempt. All of this on a 40′ x 132′ city lot.
We have 3 raised garden beds; 2 are 3′ x 6′ and the other is 4′ x 4′ which are wood frames with chicken wire fencing around them to stave off the small animals that wander through. We have tomatoes, green beans, green/red/yellow bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, and a few herbs. We also have cucumbers in hanging baskets. The back half of the backyard grassy area contains our chicken run and coop for 6 laying hens.
We would love to have a little bit of land with a much bigger garden, more chickens, and maybe a couple of goats, but right now this is all we can handle as I am a single mom with a grown working daughter and one high school student at home for 2 more years. This is just a season, though. I’m not sure what will be next when the youngest graduates. She is planning to enter the army then college (agriculture) after that. She’ll be away from home for 8 years. If my dad is in assisted living at that point (a real possibility), I will probably end up in an apartment with my now 18-year old autistic son who is currently living with his dad.
Or maybe God will send me a godly gentleman farmer who is looking for a wife. <Grin>
Amanda, I laughed so hard at your summer “plans”… because they sound like mine! We were definitely going to school through the summer. Then it was knocked down to we are just going to do math and reading 3x a week. Now, if I can keep up with the weeding in the garden I’m calling it good, lol. It doesn’t help that DH is a teacher so is off all summer. So…. kinda hard to convince the children that even though Daddy and all the other children are on summer break, they still have to do school, lol. Our children too, are very free-range, especially in the summer. We don’t keep a schedule in the summer at all except for the meal and bed times. Other than that it’s come and go as they/we please. But during the school year, we are more structured, though still not a “schedule” per se (nothing down to the minute, lol), but more of a daily routine such as wake up, breakfast & Bible, chores etc…
I don’t even know the size of our garden but I’m determined to do it now! Did you ever see the documentary “Back to Eden”? It’s free on the website if you don’t have any other resource to watch it. We took some ideas from that and this is what we did for a brand new garden.
Lay down cardboard/brown paper. Lay down good garden dirt and then a good layer of compost (ours wasn’t officially ‘done’ yet). No tilling involved. We are expanding the garden and we took the bedding from the cows and laid it down on top of the cardboard to breakdown over the summer and winter. We’ll add dirt on top, add some chickens to mix it up, and we’ll be ready for the spring. The bedding from the cows is considered the deep litter method: keep adding straw to the existing straw. The chickens play in there too and it really gets mixed nicely.
Other than that, this is the first time we’re trying to do spring and fall planting. Learning as we go, of course!
Does that help answer your question about the manure? Oh, when we first dug into the garden to plant, we came across a humungous worm that was about 9in long and really fat…we thought it was a snake at first! There were worms everywhere.mommamarthaParticipant
Now this is the subject I love most. Animals and out of doors! I grew up on a small dairy farm(50 milk cows) in upstate NY. I now have 4 kiddos and DH live next to my parents currently our DS and my father share a 50 cow beef farm. The perks: my kiddos are always busy, putting in two gardens and helping either neighbor with their farms or me with canning garden goodies. We mow away hay, swim in G and G’s pool, and plan what produce will be bought off our land and canned/frozen. This year our garden is bountiful with swiss chard and brocolli rabe. I’ve been steaming both in garlic and onion and serving it as a side or tossing it in pasta and serve with parm. cheese!
I have an AAS in Vet Science and a BS in Animal Science. So I could help you with those kind of homesteading questions, if their are any?
Wish you wonderful ladies lived in my neighborhood as my husband planted over 100 cucumber seeds and most germinated ! How do you say sweet dill pickles. All you need are cucumbers, vinegar, canning salt, sugar and fresh dill.
Happy Summer! MarthaAmandaParticipant
2Corin57, We also do companion planting & square foot gardening! Our garden plot is 1/10th of an acre, but we cram SO MUCH into that space, it’s ridiculous. One of our favorites is the 3 sisters method. You make “hills” & plant corn in the center; then add winter squash around the edges; then when the corn is a certain height, right beside it plant pole beans. The winter squash acts as ground cover so you never have to hoe the corn and the corn stalk is the pole for the beans to grow up. Our corn didn’t germinate well this year, but last year the method worked very well!
I wish you were all in my area too! I’d love to have a pea-shelling party 🙂
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