Lil taste of Spring

It has been awhile since my last post. Life definitely always throws you curveballs. Nevertheless, homesteading is still prominently in my life no matter what enters. Since the last thing I posted was my chickens, I’ll start with them.

My first batch of hatching did not work. I watched them grow in the egg until the end and NOTHING hatched. It was heartbreaking. I gave them an extra week and decided to crack some open. Sure enough I grew them. The only thing I can think of why they didn’t hatch was the humidity in the incubator. So, next batch is in and constantly monitoring. I’m four days in with the newbies.

Next, the big chickens have decided to stop producing eggs like they used too. Had several things that could have contributed to it so slowly eliminating the variables. I cleaned their coop out and nesting boxes. I have been giving them more food. They are starting to fly again so wings will need to be clipped. I know so much fun last time I did them. I added another water spot and feeding spot. If anything I would think with the improvements and sanitation of their things, they would be happy. I still have to fix their netting so hawks can’t get them as they fly over and a gutter is leaking so it gets wet on one side of the coop.

Besides the chickens, I’m starting to grow seeds and hopefully have a prosperous garden this year. With the garden, I’d like to start canning items. I’ve even researched obtaining a license to sell jams, jellies, and butter to businesses. More to come on the journey of selling to retail.

Next journey of homesteading is quails. I will construct pens to sit right along side the coop so gathering eggs isn’t a timely task. I would like to also can quail eggs to sell and take quails to the market to sell their meat. It seems I’m south enough there is quite a bit of a market for both.

The last thing that’s been happening is just spending time with my son and being a mom. I’m juggling swimming, soccer, house work both inside and out, homesteading, and my full time job. Some think I’m crazy and highly overloaded, but really this is what makes me, me. Time management and not really being able to sleep gives me the time I need to research and do business plans. Seems the more I put in my schedule the more productive I am.

So as spring has started and as it keeps getting warmer, I need to fix my electric fence for two cattle, get quails going, build my greenhouse hoops, start fodder system, start composting for garden, start a worm farm, and get bees for the garden. Lots and lots to do but loving the knowledge I’m gaining.

Lil greens and some canning

So while my chicks are growing, roughly six or seven just waiting to come into this world, I decided to start the next project: gardening. So this greenhouse sat sadly in the box since my last birthday. My birthday is in April 😦 I know that sounds terrible, but better now than ever.

So I sat, building this starter greenhouse, and developing a plan as to what fruit and vegetables I will want to grow. The ultimate plan is to grow and can. So my greenhouse will serve as the seed starter until I can transpose into the ground when it is warmer.

Planning a garden is as complex as anything else. Certain things need to grow next to each other because they grow better or taste better. Also, I have to decide what kind of greenhouse am I going to have outside. Do I do a couple hoop houses? Do I do organic and regular? How much land do I want to use? Do I go big and incorporate aquaphobics from the beginning? Do I obtain my license to sell my canned goods to cafes and restaurants or just stick to farmers markets? Do I use some of my chicken manure to make a mixture for fertilizer? So many decisions……

Who would ever thought all this hard work would actually be therapeutic? Gives me a sense of purpose, a mission to look forward too, and most importantly a sense of courage and inspiration. I can do this and can’t wait to see the greens start growing.

Oh lil chicks where are you?

As Spring is around the corner, all I keep thinking about are all the projects I want to start and see flourish. I see the vision of them as they start and the excitement deepens. My first project, on my life long journey of homesteading, was chickens. Their coop is almost complete with the exception of an easier way to clean the inside. They are laying a bunch of eggs to the point I can now sell and bring on the hatchingggggg.

I never got the chance to hatch in grade school. Super jealous of those that did and every time I see a classroom have them, it just warms my heart. So here I am couple months ago, getting presents for those that are near and dear to my heart, and next thing I know (BOOM) incubator in my Amazon cart. Hello Christmas present for myself, don’t mind if I do! Fast forward a couple days and that plastic pink cube never looked so cute.

There are so many variables to hatching eggs that I never thought or realized. Have to have right humidity, temperature, turning the egg, and 50/50 if it is a fertile egg. So I tested my incubator for a couple days. Holds the temperature like a champ! Humidity that is a different animal. It has been so tricky to hold the range of humidity in the incubator. So I loaded up my incubator with eggs I collected for two days. 12 beautiful eggs was all I could fit.

After the first day, I noticed I did not put the rod in correctly for my eggs to turn. Mistake number one already 😦 So I researched tons of articles on whether that hurt the development. I figured too soon to tell. I tried candling day 4 and couldn’t see anything. In my mind I thought, great I suck nothing grew or I already killed them. I kept the eggs in there as I kept watching YouTube and reading articles for knowledge. I am on day 8 now and through candling I had one chick growing. I saw the veins and embryo of this tiny chick creature and I am beyond excited. I took the other unfertile eggs out and replaced them with a new batch. Let’s hope that was not mistake number two.

Excuse the terrible photo but look at those babies.

Lil chicken run and some wings

Ever clip actual chicken wings before? Yeah me either. So I found myself in quite a predicament: keep losing chickens or putting my big girl pants on clipping some wings. I think you can guess what I chose….. correct keep losing chickens.

Clearly, I am joking. I read numerous articles and watched YouTube videos on how best to clip wings. Some people do it at night versus first thing in the morning. Some clip one wing while others clip both. Some have helpers and some do it on their own. So here I am trying to figure out the best thing for me and I can tell you this: there is no right or wrong way except just getting the dang task done.

I’ll paint an awesome picture of my first experience because well at the time it wasn’t funny, but now I can look back and laugh. I chose to clip my birds wings at night. As they are nicely roosting on their perch, I decide I will grab them one by one and start the clip-a-poolza. I grab the first one, hold her down between my legs, just enough to extend her wing out to clip. Yeahhhhhhh, she was strong and wiggly. I had to position her multiple times before I could actually get her wing, find the flight feathers (not warming feathers), and cut high enough but not reach the bloodline. So I take my scissors and cut her first wing with much success! Now, while I am so proud of myself on how easy it was, getting her positioned for the other wing was rather difficult. She now was really squirmy and was not about the life without flight feathers. Needless to say, I got her other wing and 10 more of her fellow hens. I could only get half my flock because after all the squawking and them doing everything to get away from me, I chose to stop for the night. This momma was exhausted.

So I still have birds to clip and more lessons to be learned on clipping those beautiful feathers. What I do know is you can do it alone as I have, but it would be easier with two and time would be cut easily in half. Shoutout to my Leghorns, Wyandotte, and Australop for actually being calm and not giving me fits, and my Rhode Island Reds for screaming bloody murder and being as dramatic as possible.

Below are some of my birds. First pic, calm and living life. Second pic, trying to pile on each other to get away from me 😦

Homesteading and More

As I start my journey down the homestead path, I first have to reminisce on how this eye-opening lifestyle came to be in my life. Who would have thought, a simple conversation and a slight making fun of preppers would lead me to where I am in life.

Some might be asking what is homesteading? Obviously a definition of it is out there, but really it’s what you make of it regardless of how much land you have. I believe it’s about making steps to reduce your footprint as much as you can. Developing and teaching skills that seems like are slowing down due to our new world of technology. Connecting with nature and enriching your life on a different level.

So why the interest in homesteading? There are several reasons. I love the concept of becoming sustainable. I want to know where my food is coming from, what I am eating, and what things are being applied. Second, a connection to my land and nature. What is more beautiful than being able to go outside, have peace and hopefully quiet, and truly enjoying and admiring your hard work and dedication. Sounds magically doesn’t it?!?!? Lastly, the future learnings for my child. The skills he will learn, the memories and experiences are and will be priceless.

What is the benefit of homesteading? It has been a welcoming distraction from a difficult time in my life. As that time has faded I’ve grown to love it. It meant something before I started, but now it further strengthened the desire. It has given me many lessons. Some that were needed and some I wish never would have happened. (As I write more blogs, you will start to see the mistrials and success stories.) It’s been a very rocky road getting started and will continue to be as I find my way on the things I want to put on my homestead. It defines a person. It takes a lot of patience, time, organization, networking, and most importantly commitment. Homesteading isn’t for everyone and I recommend reading anything and everything you can get your hands on. Talk to fellow homesteaders. There is a HUGE community that will give the best insights and support you can imagine.

So as you can see, I’m just starting on my homestead. I’m a rookie. I will be the first to admit I don’t know jack shit about living out in the country as I was a city girl, but I’ve learned to adapt. I have chickens and nicknamed myself Mother of Chickens. My flock once was 90+. I’m convinced poultry is my thing, but I won’t stop there. I have a plan in my head. I won’t call it a dream because some dreams don’t come true. I call it a vision and here’s why: I was once taught if you visualize yourself doing it, you will do it. So this is me doing what I love. This is me sharing my memories, my life, my passion. Life’s been complicated and beautiful. You never know where it leads you. So buckle up friends, family, and fellow homesteaders. We are about to go on a hell of a ride!