Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Homestead Update

There was a lot that happened on our little 'homestead' the past months! Some of which was . . .

The winter squash and pumpkins were all harvested . . .

Some of them

The strawberries were mulched over with straw . . .


The garden was put to bed after a total of 216 jars of produce were canned (salsa, ketchup, tomato sauce, jellies, carrots, beets, pickles, and more), 232 + lbs. of potatoes were dug and stored, and many, many bags of beans, corn, etc. were put up in the freezer.

The remaining celery plants that were in the garden were covered with a makeshift cold frame . . .


They got hit a bit on some of the really cold days, but overall are doing well!

The beehives were all prepped for winter . . .


Five of the eight hives

. . . and much more.


A peach tree


Dad in the process of hauling woodchips (that we get for free!) to the goat pens

Some changes have taken place as well. For awhile, it had felt like we needed to cut something out of our lives as things were just so busy! When we began evaluating everything, the dairy goats were one of the top things we were considering. Not only was the time investment with them a factor, but when we considered how they tied us to home with needing to milk twice a day and how we were needing and/or wanting to travel more to visit family and friends, go to conferences, etc., we made the big decision to sell our dairy goat herd.

Leah's last doeling that we sold

My last doeling that we sold

The selling process started in August, and in November, the last goat went to its new home. It was bittersweet! While Leah and I miss our Alpines (they had such fun personalities!), we are enjoying having less on our plates and the new, less busy routine we have been able to settle into. As a family, we have also been enjoying being able to travel more when opportunity arises. Like when we went up to Nebraska for Thanksgiving as that wouldn't have been possible if we still had the dairy goats!  

(And in case anyone was wondering, as far as milk for my soaps, I froze enough to last me awhile, and then will be purchasing it locally. :)

One thing we really wanted to do, though, if we didn't have our own milk, was to find a source for raw milk. And . . . we did! Once a week we have fresh, raw Jersey milk delivered to our door from a family farm.



 There are many things we really like about it including that the milk is SO delicious (we like it better than the goat milk!), there are nearly 2 cups of cream per half gallon which means real ice cream :), and we are able to support a small family farm.

So the animals we currently have now on our little homestead are the Boer goats and here are some of them . . . .

Aurora

One of our bucks, Rimrock, 'asking' me somewhat politely for some attention

Sienna munching on fallen leaves

We also have our meat rabbits . . . 

Some of the rabbits

And Leah's two dogs . . .

Mandy and Kymber . . . Kymber stays outside during most of the day and then comes inside during the evening and night.

And a small flock of twelve laying hens . . .



Earlier this year when we reduced the number of hens we had, we moved the ones we kept to a smaller place, and Dad built nestboxes to go on the outside . . .


One of the hens in the nestbox . . . this fall, the egg laying had gone down to only one or two a day (and sometimes none!), but thankfully, it has picked back up again.

This new setup has been really nice! Their previous, big coop is now used for storage of feed, the beekeeping equipment, etc. 

Whenever I go over by the chickens to take care of them, Kymber always wants to play! 

 And of course, we still have tens of thousands of honeybees, too. :)

Speaking of honeybees . . . on the warmer days that we had this month, they were busy out and about bringing in water and cleaning out their hives . . .


Last week, I took the last feeder off of one of the hives, put dry sugar on the inner cover, checked a few of the other hives, and now we just wait until spring! (Though on the warm days, I'll check periodically to see if they need any more dry sugar.) So far, all eight hives are looking great!

This time of year, not nearly as much is happening here homestead related, other than routine chores . . . but before long, garden planning will begin, it will be time to start seeds, in the spring it will be kidding season, and more. In the meantime, we are working on many different indoor projects and some outdoor ones, too, and are enjoying this somewhat more 'restful' season!

8 comments:

  1. What a busy year you have had, and a productive one too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It must feel good to have your own food stored for use through the winter. It would have been difficult saying goodbye to your goats. They become part of the family.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Sarah! The pictures of the goats are awesome! Their very pretty!! Im sorry to hear yall have to sell them.
    Sayre

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good job on everything! Is it too much to ask what you pay for milk? I haven't heard of anyone having the raw milk delivered. That must be wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It was certainly that, Elizabeth. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. It does indeed, Suze! And especially so knowing how it was grown and processed.

    It was difficult saying goodbye to the goats, but at least all of them went to good homes!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey back, Sayre! :) I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering what you are up to now. :) It was really good to hear from you! Thank you for leaving a comment!

    It was sad getting rid of our milk goats, but at least we are keeping the Boers. They don’t quite have the personalities that the Alpines had, but they’re still fun!

    Hope all is well with you and all your animals!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, Esther! And welcome to my blog. :)

    As the dairy we get our milk from doesn’t publicly post their prices online, I would like to refrain from sharing the price here. I hope you understand!

    And yes, it is wonderful!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)