Friday, January 13, 2012

January 2012...Plans for the year.

The Year Past...
The Year to come...

Hey Everybody!
Sorry It has been so long since I posted..winding up the year was a LOT of work..and I am now just beginning to think about spring.
I deemed last year a success because I managed to fill my pantry..However I did make some mistakes and will learn by them for this year.  Planting tomatoes in hanging planters requires more than just good soil and determinate tomato plants!! A lot of mine got blossom end rot..this was due to a lack of minerals in the soil..SO..THIS year I have been collecting my egg shells and will crush up a good 1/4 Cup to add to the soil in the planters and give them another shot!
The year before..I planted a three sisters garden..and I planted to many squash..they over ran the beans and the corn..
so I didn't attempt it this past year..I planted my Squash in containers.
They did really well..but all of the of the plants 
I started from seed ended up being pumpkin..
which goes to can't just harvest seed from ANY has to be an heirloom plant.
Our Rabbits finally bred in the fall...AFTER I learned how to sex rabbits and found out my original 5 were ALL female..Once we added a male we were off and running!! We Ended up with 19 kittens from 3 does!!!
The original breeding stalk I had were not fussy on any food other than the pellets unless I gave them and apple.
The Offspring However..once they started eating pellets..I would add a slice of cleaned pumpkin or a half of a sweet potato or a sliced apple.
It got so they really looked forward to the fresh veggies and fruit ever day!
When it Came time to harvest them..We made the decision to harvest the adults and leave 4 of the female does for breeding..for two reasons..One..they were used to eating raw veggies and fruit WITH their pellets..and this allows me to save money on feed and to feed them a more balanced diet.
And two..I was not sure how old the original mums were.  We also kept 3 smaller males for fattening up.
If you are breeding rabbits for meat...I recommend that you do NOT breed them past August 20th because near the end of their growth the weather is cold and they expend much of the feed consumption on keeping warm rather than bulking up meat.

We harvested 15 of them and I learned how to de-bone rabbit and we made some of the most DELICIOUS sausage!!!
We also harvested our Meat Chickens and put 40 or so in our freezer..
And they are DELICIOUS ( the links I add are from my youtube and usually are films of us doing, or how to process)
And I did a LOT of Canning!!

One of the two Bee Hives we put up did not make it..but the other exceeded our expectations!! 

And we ended up with enough honey for the year if we are careful in it's use!

Our Goat Bizzy gave us two beautiful female kids!!

She Continues to give us almost a litre of milk a day..and we are planning on breeding her daughters Clover and Blossom this year!
I Made my own soap this year..some from drippings  and some from lard..but all turned out really well!
I made Butter from the separated goats cream...
And Cheese as well..although I have some work to do before I get that just right!
We Made our own Bacon without nitrates...

It Turned out so well that we are SERIOUSLY considering raising a pig or two this year!

All in All it was a successful Year!  
I learned a lot! So This year I hope we will be better organized..and will go from the learning stage to the "putting our lessons to use" stage!
I have already ordered some of my garden seeds from an AWESOME place called "Baker Creek Seeds"
They have all non GMO heirloom seeds...and as I am going to attempt ( again) to save my seeds this year..I learned my lesson and will go organic heirloom all the way!
I AM going to attempt a 3 sisters plot (again..)
And I am moving my squash and pumpkin from containers to a hill we will build up between to road and the Goat paddock. 
Instead of sweet corn I am going to grow pop corn ( cuz I eat it almost everyday) and feed/flour corn for the stock  and for grinding into corn meal.
Along with the regular snap beans..I am going to grow some beans for drying..that way I will have my own beans for baking and chili.
It is going to be another busy year for sure! However a better organized one!
It   takes a couple of years when you first start learn what works and what doesn't..what to plant for a more balanced pantry..and what to plant to subsidize you animal feed with fresh organic. So I have a lot of hope for this coming year!! I invite you to come along as the journey continues! And I WILL be a much more faithful blogger this year!
This is Bev From My Half Acre Homestead saying...
Life is what you make enjoy the journey!


Renee said...

That's so exciting. I am starting a garden on our new 10 acre property and it will be my biggest garden yet. We also have rabbits and dairy goats and chickens. I enjoy reading your blog and watching your videos and I think you look great bald!

Half Acre Homestead said...

@Renee Thank you Very much!

Pamela Daw said...

I have enjoyed following you this year love. Living vicariously through you and Howie. I do hope to make it out to your little homestead once the snow clears out. I plan on planting some raised beds this year and doing what I can in our urban home. All the best to you and your family for the New Year. Enjoy the winter respite before the busyness of Spring begins.

Half Acre Homestead said...

Thanks Pam..I never realised how TIRED I was until after New Years..I am just now starting to perk up again as the days lengthen!
Can't wait for your visit!