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Gloria: our bottle pig

The main thing you need to know about raising piglets is that they are ROTTEN. They want what they want, when they want it, exactly how they say they want it. So don’t get any ideas that you are in charge, because your not. The pig called the shots in our home for nearly a month. This is our story.

Three months ago our sow had to be put down. She had birthed a single piglet. The next got stuck into her birth canal and she was unable to pass it. After many attempts of human intervention, a vet was called. He preformed a c section to try and save the piglets still in uterus, but they had already died. Momma pig had to be put down and we we left heartbroken, but with her tiny daughter. We named her Gloria. Gloria was tiny, as in Chihuahua sized. Its strange to think that one day she will be 500 pounds. So, we were stuck with the very daunting task of raising a baby that we didn’t know how to raise. I had never really thought about raising an orphaned pig. And although charlottes web was cute, it wasn’t ever an experience I wanted personally.  Luckily, we had a wonderful lady farmer from our 4h group that gave us solid advice for starting our journey. She recommended what nipple to use, how often to feed, and most of all encouragement that we COULD do this despite our huge loss of momma pig and the rest of the litter. This is a time lapse account of what happened:

Night 1, while we were battling to keep momma pig alive there was not much sleep. The kids took turns holding Gloria inside their coats, while us adults tended to momma. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning,when we decided to call it quits til daylight, I took Gloria with me and the two of us fell asleep together on the bathroom floor. (she was so tiny I was afraid she would fall out of the bed and break a leg, and she had to be kept warm, as in 100 degrees.. perfect for me to be her human heater. Apparently most orphaned piggie babies die from cold, rather than malnutrition. Because like most animal babies, they can’t regulate their own body heat.) Anyway we got a few hours sleep on the bathroom floor, then back out to the barn at first light. Gloria was fortunate in the fact that she got to nurse from momma, and so received precious colostrum. It was terribly heart wrenching in that momma pig was more concerned about nursing her baby, than in her own well being. She took care of her baby, until her death a few hours later. So now heartbroken and tired, the clock began ticking of when Gloria would need her next meal. Papa went off to get milk supplement and nipples, and our 4h neighbor and aide, who had also been in the barn with us all night had come back and was trying to now teach me the basics of bottle feeding. PATIENCE IS THE KEY. Gloria did not like the bottle. In fact she hated it. She wanted momma, and I knew exactly how she felt. I wanted momma pig back too. I had become quite fond of the big sow, she was quite charming with her snorts of approval whenever she saw someone she liked, and always appreciated a good scratch behind the ears. It was the one pig I had let myself grow attached to, knowing that she would be a breeder pig, one to be a part of the homestead family for years to come. But it was not to be, and now it was just baby Gloria. It took time to get the bottle in her mouth, as she kept fighting it, finally she would take a sip, then spit out the nipple and we would have to start over again.

My oldest daughter Ashley, bravely volunteered for night 2. I got some sleep, and Ashley took great care of Gloria. Something I forgot to mention, because I nearly forgot, is that Gloria along with hating bottles, hated to be picked up. She would squeal like her life depended on it. It the wild of course, her life would depend on it, but in the middle of the night, when it is potty time, the eardrum shattering squeals were not appreciated by the humans. So that is how life went on for the next few days. Me and the girls took turns on the night shifts, and every time we got nudged in the ankle by a rubbery nose, we would fix a bottle. (By day 3 she was used to the bottle) Most farmers I’m sure have a better set schedule, but I figured if she was still with momma, she would have had a 24 hour all you can eat buffet. Plus, all the kids wanted turns holding bottles for her, and after all she was really REALLY cute.

Day 8 Gloria was now an expert at taking bottles and being carried around without squealing. Of course night after night of no sleep, was starting to wear on all of us, and we were all getting anxious to get her eating solid food so that she could self feed though the night.  The thing about that idea was she was not on board. Those green pellets labeled “pig starter” were certainly not made for her. So we tried to get a little more creative, we mixed some starter into a mush with her formula, it apparently still was not up to standard. So we tried applesauce. This was a success. Of course Gloria would only eat it if it was spooned into her mouth, if it was in a bowl, it apparently tasted disgusting. So now we were spoon feeding the pig which was needless to say quite messy, so this was only done outside. However even outside after every bite she had to let you know she wanted more, and to do that she had to nose your leg. And while nosing your leg applesauce was smeared everywhere. There are times, I’ll admit, I pretended I didn’t notice the pig was hungry, then she would move on to someone else. Then they were suckered into feeding the poor, helpless, spoiled rotten, brat of a pig.

Day 14: Gloria was eating more solid foods by this point. She would eat apples, musk melon, sometimes oatmeal cookies, and of course she always wanted her beloved bottles. These were only given twice a day now, although she complained all the time about this fact. She literally nosed my ankles until their were bruises.I am not exaggerating. I was more than ready for her to move out. I was tired of sharing the house with the pig. Although I will give her some credit about the potty training thing, she was good about not going in the house. Of course the front porch was her designated potty area….so there is that…. Anyway Gloria got kicked out of the house.

Day 21: The end of the bottles! Gloria was officially weaned and me and my big girls were quite relieved. We had actually done it! We successfully reared a piglet and kept our sanity…sort of. Little miss attitude still was sneaking in the house and going up and down the stairs( she thinks pigs are supposed to do that), then back outside to pee on the porch. She still was following people around like a little lost puppy, squealing at them when they would walk too fast and leave her behind.So yeah, maybe she was driving me a little bit crazy.

She is now 2 months old. More rotten than ever, and she thinks she runs the farm. I suppose she does. She has made friends with the pilgrim geese, and has somehow talked them into “pruning” her on a regular basis. She hates our feeder pigs, stating that the have no sophistication, and will Houdini her way out of the actual pig pen, screaming the whole time. The feeder pigs have no idea why she is making all the fuss, they hardly glanced at her. The poor ducks can’t figure out why all their eggs are disappearing, and I think Gloria told them it was me. Of coarse this is not true, I personally saw her eating them but she denies it. Most of the time she will bite peoples ankles, which really has lost whatever cuteness it had before. And so we are stuck with this pig we don’t want to breed (since her momma passed down the whole narrow hip problem) and we don’t want to eat because now she’s has somehow claimed the coveted “pet” title. ( I do threaten to turn her into bacon every time she pees on the porch, but she just wags her tail and laughs) So thats our story for now, and I’m not sure how it is going to end, but I am sure it is a summer that we won’t forget. 13450163_258217154555368_8935281217006463820_n 13432409_261078634269220_1985234504927263176_n 13620206_274100879633662_6520307389160926833_n

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Ideas for making poultry easier to raise

Lets face it… Infrastructure is not glamorous. It my opinion, it is not fun (my Dad would say otherwise) Yet it is a necessary component of this thing we call homesteading. Outbuildings, electric, water, compost piles, animal pastures and garden space must be utilized to make working your homestead easier. It is hard enough with a good infrastructure, a bad one… well… it is quite near impossible. The following are ideas that we have come up with along the way, and hopefully they can aide you in your own homesteading journey. Raising poultry is a fun and rewarding experience, but at times can be challenging.

Lets start small.. with chicks. Chicks need to be kept warm, dry, and fed. Our brood boxes are set up so they can be sectioned off into 3 parts. These sections can be opened up as the chicks get older and need more space, until eventually they going into a floor brooder after they are feathered out. But, while they are small, all that space could be deadly. Turkey pullets, for example, don’t realize they should go under the lamp if they are cold, they must be forced to stay under it. I have had turkeys freeze to death just feet away from their lights. They are not the brightest of God’s creatures. The heat lamps that we use are made up of string hung from the ceiling on pulleys. One end attached to the heat lamp, the other anchored to the wall so the pulley can then raise the lamp to decrease temperature for the chicks as they age. The food dishes that we use are the standard metal ones that attach to a mason jar, water dishes are the same. A word of advice though, when putting your chicks in their new brooder, wait a few minutes until they have calmed down before adding waterers. Excited chicks don’t look where they are going any many can end up in the water dishes. This can be fatal for day-old chicks on a cold day. Again, I say this because I have learned the hard way. Temperature I’m not to much of a stickler on, I’d rather watch behavior. All huddled up, literally trying to stand on one other,too cold. Panting trying to get away from light, too hot. As a general rule, start around 95 and reduce heat by 5 degrees a week. If its hot summer day, I keep the lights off, and just put them on at night….basically a common sense approach rather than a rule set.

Fast forward to adult birds, and the wintertime, uggh. I hate the winter. My main problem has been the frozen water, however this past year we did purchase an electric heater that the water sets on top of. Much nicer to have the heater, but if you don’t have one, I would suggest to have 2 waterers. Then they can be switched out a few times a day as they thaw out in a mudroom or garage. Also it is nice to have a light on a timer system to encourage your birds to lay year round. These can be purchased online, or you can sometimes get a deal on them after christmas as stores use them for christmas lights. We have our set to come on BEFORE sun up that way we can collect a few eggs when it is time to let them out when the people get up in the real morning. Otherwise, the eggs may freeze and bust if they are left out too long, and thats just annoying.

I hope these tips help you in your own poultry raising adventure! Please message with your own tips!

 

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5 homesteader skills you should know

Being a homesteader isn’t like a thing that you can wake up and one day decide that you are. It isn’t something you become after you move to the country, or even after you buy a pair of overalls. To me, being a homesteader is a state of mind, backed by skill sets. These skill sets are learned over time, through sweat, and adversity. It is a constant way of life that I continue to add new skills along the way. I’m still not sure if I am a true homesteader. After all, the goal of self sufficiency is still so far away. We are still quite dependent on the grocery store an don’t even get me started on the feed store. That remains our biggest challenge. How can we grow THAT much food for the chickens, turkeys, goats, pheasants, quail, geese, hogs (at least the cows are grass fed) and whoever else I might be forgetting? A problem for another day…. Anyway, on to the skills.

  1. LEARN TO GARDEN. Seems simple. It is not. Gardening is in in-depth learning experience that takes time to learn. You must figure out what to plant, when to plant, how far away to plant, when to water, how much to water, how to weed, how to deal with pests, when to harvest, and how to store your harvest. Then when you get all that figured out, their is still soil amending, plant rotation, and seed storage. But DONT GET DISCOURAGED just because it might not work the first year, doesn’t mean it won’t work the next. Ask an old timer for advice, or join a Facebook group, people generally are pretty awesome about sharing knowledge.
  2. LEARN TO STORE FOOD. Food storage can be attained in a number of ways. Freezing, dehydrating, canning and the root cellar are the way we handle it around here. But, there are many other ways as well. Learning to pressure can and hot water bath are essential for our food storage systems and I highly recommend learning. There is nothing better on a cold winter day, than being greeted by a plethora of jewel toned jars in your pantry. It is much easier for me to open a jar than it is deal with frozen bricks of food. However with that being said, I do freeze corn, spinach, and all my meats. Potatoes, onions, and winter squash go to the root cellar.  Make sure to store potatoes away from onions, or they will greatly shorten your shelf life.
  3. LEARN TO CARE OF YOUR CRITTERS. Unfortunately taking care of livestock is more than just keeping them fed and watered. Although that is definitely the most time consuming of chores, there are other skills to be learning along the way. How to keep chicks at the correct temperature, how to administer medication, tattoo ears, and clip hooves are skill sets learned along the way. These are nuggets of information that can be passed along from year to year, and hopefully, generation to generation.
  4. LEARN TO USE A FIREARM. Guns are used more than just for personal self protection. Guns on the homestead are another part of keeping things running smoothly. Although they are not used often, guns are used to protect livestock, cull old or sick animals, and aide in the butchering process of large animals. THIS IS NOT A MAN SKILL. Ladies I know it is easier to have hubby go out a cull old Ms Waddles, ( and lets be real, my husband does this job ) at least know how to use a gun if you HAD to. As in, raccoon in the henhouse type situation. I think a shot in the air is better than nothing.
  5. THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL IS TO LEARN TIMING. What do I mean, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you! The timing of seasons on a homestead are critical in making it work effectively. You must know when to plant specific crops in order for them to survive. Some plants like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts and kale, like the colder climates. You can plant these early in the spring and again for a fall harvest. They don’t do well in the heat and will not produce like they should. Everything equal except timing, the same plant cared for identically only in different months will either succeed or fail. Chicks, as another example, you also must keep on a close timing schedule. If you order your meat chicks too early in spring you will be doing constant battle with the cold, and may end up losing them due to uneven temperature. If you wait too long into the spring, before ordering meat chicks, then when it is butcher time you will be battling the heat and flies. TIMING IS CRUCIAL we order meat birds early, and have them delivered may 1, that way we can raise them until the first of July. Then we can  have them in the freezer forth of July weekend. Keeping a calendar of crucial plant dates, harvest times, breeding seasons ect. will keep your farm running efficiently. Otherwise you may forget you need to breed back your cows, or when to get a hen of a nest of unviable eggs. Not that it has happened to me or anything….
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How to be a homestead friend.

I have never had a lot of friends. Growing up homeschooled I only a few close friends, and I was completely satisfy with that. Into early adulthood, I was never the “social butterfly”. I had a few friends from work, or neighborhood acquaintances, but never any homestead friends. Now that we have moved out to the county, and we no longer can see a living soul in any direction, I stay at home with the kids and don’t interact with clients. How is one supposed to be make a friend? Well, slowly. As we have been here we have met fellow farmers, joined a homeschool group, 4-h group and even Facebook group and have slowly begun networking a group of homesteader friends. These friends have taught me the true meaning of friendship, one that I had never experienced inside city limits.

Sometimes friendship comes in the form of advice, we have a dear neighbor that had mentored us in everything from growing potatoes to raising pigs. He has been invaluable in letting us learn from his many years of wisdom and experience. Who else would be able to tell you “when the potatoes flower: thats when you put the water to them… or piglets pop out like popcorn. If they’re not, somethings wrong”

Friendship comes in the act of teaching: calling on a fellow farmer to show you how to butcher chicken or how to split beehives. These time gifts given to us are priceless nuggets that we have tucked into our our homestead arsenal. The old saying if you give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. This couldn’t be more true. Now we have been taught and will be able to pass this knowledge on the our children.

Friendship comes in the act of comrodery. An afternoon spent with friends, or a night roasting marshmallows while kids run to and fro, these beautiful time with friends although seemingly fleeting and “unproductive” add to the richness of homestead life. A richness that I never knew I was previously missing.

Friendship comes in the act of gifts, sometimes in comes in the form of baby bunnies delivered to your door easter weekend. How can you say no to a gift like that? Sometimes in comes as in the form of a freshly baked loaf of bread, an always welcome treat, because well, I LOVE bread. Its right up there with baby bunnies. Add some butter… I mean seriously does it get any better?

As you can see, this whole homestead friendship thing is pretty complicated. I mean, its hard right? And now its my turn to be an advice giving, skill set teaching, comrodery giving, and gift making homesteading superhero. I’m not sure if I am up for this challenge. I mean, loading stubborn hogs into a trailer is an easier feat than being a homestead friend. But, I’m going to give it my best, after all, my friends deserve it.

 

 

 

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Learn from my mistakes:Raising quail

This year we have added quail to our livestock resume. It was originally intended to populate our aviary. But after talking to a local breeder and finding out that they are not as cold hearty as the ringneck pheasant, we decided on putting them in a movable “tractor” of sorts that we could pull around the yard. These bird do fly, although not too far at a time, and don’t  come back. All our animals that we can free range we do, but these guys must be fully enclosed. So after buying 50 day old chicks, we began our adventure.

The chicks must be kept warm and dry, even normal chicken waters can be too much for these tiny guys. Rocks were added to the bottom to prevent drownings. We had a quart waterer spill over, killing some of them because they didn’t know any better than to get out of the wet. We were able to save some of the chicks that got wet, even though they seemed to be barely breathing, by moving them under the warm and dry area under the heat lamp.( So if this ever happens to you, don’t give up!) My lesson with the waterers is to add the chicks to the brooder for about 10 minutes BEFORE adding the waterers. The chicks are quite scared entering their new home, running all over the place. They will run right into the water dishes. This can be fatal if the weather is cold. After they calm down, then add in the water dishes.

The chicks are good at monitoring their heat however,and will move in and out as they need. (turkey chicks never seem to figure this out) They should to be kept at 95 degrees the first week and slow reduce by 5 degrees every week after. I do not completely follow this, and usually rely on behavior. Huddling chicks are too cold and chicks that make a “ring” around the lamp circle of heat are being kept too hot. This just takes a little observation and practice and you will be doing without the thermometer too.

After my little cuties feathered out and grew, they were ready to be moved to their outside tractor. Loving called the “quail Jail” they enjoyed their new home getting moved everyday to a new section of grass and buggy treats. The males started crowing, and then we received our first egg at 5 weeks to the day.( Quail eggs are pretty awesome. They all look different, the patterns and even size and shape vary egg to egg.)

Then they starting fighting. We found one quail completely decapitated, and others had bloody heads. It seemed the sexual maturity of the females had set the males into aggressive mode. So then we had to figure out males from females. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Gross, not hard. To sex a quail, flip it over (feet up) in one hand, then with the other hand press on the vent. If white foamy stuff comes out, its a male. No foamy stuff, female. The males also have more of a cinnamon color on their chest, females have more of a cream color. Females also tend to be larger, but the vent method has been more fool proof for me, even though it is pretty gross. So after we separated out the male female ratio to 5 to 1, extra males went into a cage together without further incident.

Eggs seem to come slowly, I had 20 hens and was only getting 4 eggs a day at week 7. What was I doing wrong?! Well two things as it turned out. First I was really stupid and forgot to switch their food from the growing feed, to the higher calcium layer feed. I also added oyster shell free choice. This helped some but still, 7 eggs from 20 hens was still not good enough. So we made a judgement call to end the quail jail experiment, and move them to retired rabbit cages. It wasn’t as fun, and I felt kind of bad taking the grass away from them, but everybirdy has to pull their own weight. And this did the trick. I’m not sure why, but after the move, they ALL starting laying. Now I have more eggs than I know what to do with! 20 eggs a day is a lot!

They are so fun to collect, and even more fun to cook with! I have made the best ever cheesecake with quail eggs! And I have made a lot of cheesecakes. You just have to use 3 quail eggs to 1 chicken egg in your recipes. I have also been quite successful in hatching out our eggs as well. This makes quail a great renewable meat source. ( I love to eat our cornish rock cross chickens, but hate that we can’t hatch out our own) Those extra males that we had ended up on the grill Fathers Day. Yum! I was pleasantly surprised at the meat taste. And they weren’t all that much trouble to butcher since we just pulled off the skins-taking the feathers off with it. All in all, the quails have been an awesome experience. The birds have such a different personality than chickens. They lay all spralled out, looking dead, then when you get closer they pop up like popcorn! These birds would make a great addition to any homestead, or urban farmer (quails are not banned from city limits like chickens are). Hope you consider adding them to your livestock resume!

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10 confessions of a homesteader

THIS POST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN AS ADVICE.THESE ARE TRUE STORIES.

 

  1. I have worked all day in the garden growing beautiful organic produce only to come in and feed my kids cereal for dinner.
  2. I have been snooty about chemical bug spray… and used a can of raid on a wasp nest
  3. I have ran out of chicken feed and fed them bread for dinner
  4. My kids have learned sex ed from livestock
  5. I have given away produce like a saint…. because secretly I just don’t want to can it
  6. I am terrified of mice and snakes
  7. I hardly ever make scrambled eggs, even though we get beautiful eggs everyday. (my kids hate them and they wore me down with the eewww gross!)
  8. I would much rather clean out a chicken coop than clean my house
  9. I spend more on animal feed than I will actually confess to
  10. I tell every baby animal THEY are my favorite

 

 

 

 

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tips on how to make your vegetable garden beautiful

  1. When you plant use string. I am HORRIBLE at making straight lines of seeds. Using string tied to two stakes for your rows insures even spacing and beautiful results for seeds or pre-potted plants.
  2. Weed your garden in the morning on a day that it is not going to rain. The morning means not to hot for you, and the weeds will have all day to cook in the hot sun. If you weed before a rain, somehow all the weeds replant themselves…I don’t know how this happens but it is a fact
  3. Plant flowers. I know it one more thing… but sunflowers (my fav) along the edge of the garden adds a huge wow factor plus you can eat the seeds after the bloom dies.
  4. Put taller plants to the back. Tomatoes or trellised plants should be put in the back as to not block the view to the rest of your beauties. Keep in mind though, you want your tall plants to the north of your garden so not to shade other things.
  5. If you are like me, keeping up with weeds in your rows is an annoyance at best, and they win the battle most of the time. Therefore I usually cheat. Adding landscaping cloth, or cardboard in your rows minimizes weeds making your garden prettier. Likewise I also use straw around tomato plants to keep weeds down and moisture in.
  6. If time allows, fence it in. A fence gives you more definition. If you don’t want to fence, plant garden away from the edges enough that you can mow right up next to the garden. NO LONG GRASS in-between yard and garden. This is an easy way to made things look more trimmed. I have told myself in previous years “oh i’ll just weed-wack” yeah right. This didn’t happen and it looked terrible. Mowing up to the dirt is a way better option.

Hope these tips help you create a beautiful garden!

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Mommy! Daddy! There’s a snake in the sandbox!

Mommy! Daddy! Come quick! These are the words that I hear from my littles a few hundred times a day. Nearly every scrape is an emergency and every drawing must be viewed AT ONCE or it may disappear altogether. So -sigh- I will go look at another “emergency”. My husband walked out with me to the backyard. He made an EPIC playhouse/sandbox combo. This thing is amazing. It has two stories, thatch roof, sandbox underneath. The cats thought it was for them of course, pooping in it immediately. So a plastic netting was added to keep the cats out of “their” sandbox. Now back to the story, as we are walking back to the sandbox the two boys are talking a mile a minute “its totally NOT a gardener snake …and I think there is like 3 of them!” Gardener snake have not been all that uncommon this year, I see them almost every time I cut the grass. The boys both age 6, are pretty familiar with their coloring. So as they say that it is not one…I’m starting to get a little anxious, but the snake would surly be gone by the time we got there..right? Wrong! This was a for-real-mommy-is-freaking-out emergency. There were snakes tangled in the plastic netting literally right next to where the kids had been playing for 30 minutes. They had to have been there the whole time, so my babies were inches from sudden death! Poisoned or strangled or whatever these devilish looking creatures do. True to the boys identification, they were not the small dark green annoyances that I was sure they would be, rather, they were very large, black snakes. Did I mention, large? My husband runs to the garage for some kind of killing device. I jump up on the trampoline for some vertical protection. I happened to remember my oldest daughters were giving the neighbors a farm tour. The neighbors are more “county raised” then we are, and was hoping they could help identify this terrible creature. So they get called over to all the commotion.Neighbor Phil, reached down, almost sympathetically, to untangle the beast. “Its just a black rat snake” he says, picking up the snake and cutting the plastic away from its wriggling body. The snake lashes out biting him, but he just continues his work until the plastic is all removed. A few drops of blood emerge from the bite. He said it was just “gumming him”. I never want to be gummed like that. The monster was huge, dangling down it was almost as tall as him. It turned out there was only two snakes, they were just both huge, so it seemed like there was more there at first glance. After untangling snake one, my daughter Allysa, who had never taken her eyes off the creature volunteered herself as a tribute. “I’ll let it go!” Phil suggested to let it go in the barn. Over my dead body. That thing would eat my baby quails as a appetizer and the chickens for main course. Apparently, true to name, they eat rats and mice. I don’t really care. They were lucky they were getting off death row as far as I was concerned. Allysa grabs the snake around the neck, close enough to the head that it couldn’t turn around and bite her. It quickly coiled up around her arm. She grinned, obviously impressed with herself. The second snake was also freed. My husband grabbed the second, and him and Allysa went to the pasture to let them go. Just like Jack Hannah or something, the walked off like it happened all the time. I finally hopped down from the kids trampoline. Safe now that they were far away. I had to laugh at myself, and what I baby I was being. But at least my kids are going to be country raised. Plus now they know how identify another type of snake. The next day my son found a shed skin from one of them. It was like a thanks-for-not-killing-me gift from them to us. Now I have tangible proof of how big they were, which is nice. That way its not another big fish story.13412914_254721044904979_9031994869406604637_n

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Why starting seeds in pots is better than direct sow

When I started gardening six years ago, I didn’t know much. Thats an exaggeration, I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know how to bury potatoes over and over to get the best crop, or how to trim tomato plants to yield a sweeter harvest. Fast forward to now that I am a little older and wiser plus have a few more youtubes under my belt, I have made a new discovery. I don’t like direct sow. This has been  recent development because I had always started seeds early in a pot before frost, than after the cold, I would just direct seed my squash, pumpkins,corn ect in May. But after some experimenting, I think next year EVERYTHING will be pots first. Let me make my case.

  1. I don’t like to weed. If your plants are bigger when you put them in, you know where they are.You can weed accordingly. Direct seed you don’t really know whats coming up where…and weeds are allowed to grow for a while until what is what can be determined. Then I have to play catch up to get rid of unwanted guests. And I don’t like to weed.
  2. Starting seeds in pots means bigger plants faster. I had to see it to believe it, but it is true. Seedlings in pots are almost six inches bigger in the same time, just for getting better water than direct sow counterparts.
  3. Prettier gardens. Because you have plants instead of seeds, you have more control over straight ones and spacing. Seeds tend to move around in the dirt when watered, plants are more stationary.

So there you have it. My arguments on pot seeding.I hope this makes sense and helps you in the future. But for now, I need to get off the computer and get out and plant! (in pots of course) Hopefully I won’t have to weed.

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Time for sale

So as we all know, gardening is a hurry up and wait game. Hurry get your seeds in, wait forever until harvest. But now, as I am trying of making money on the homestead, have realized that people buy time. A seed packet that costs $3 and contains 25 seeds will equal 25 large plants that sell for $5 each.  Those same seeds are now worth $125. All that is added: time (and some dirt and water). A egg cost .25 cents; add twenty eight days in the incubator, now is worth $3. Add another twenty weeks to laying age, now worth $10. Just add time (chicken food and water). Strange that farming seems to work this way, most jobs you get paid for your skill set, or selling a readymade product. But here, all you need is some time (and hopefully a green thumb,) to turn cents into dollars. People generally don’t have time, convenience items are a must, and easier is better. So now more than ever, people are willing to pay for time. Which leads me to my next thought, is my time for sale? I suppose it is, so why not spend it on doing what I love? If I can teach my kids along the way to garden their own food, milk a cow, tend to bees, and care for tiny quail, isn’t it time well spent? Sometimes it isn’t the end of the road that we should try to get to, the million dollar idea realized, or the checklist completed. Sometimes it’s just enjoying the time along the way. Of coarse, this is only made possible by have a loving husband who is the actual breadwinner, my goal is to earn enough so that my hobby farm is self supporting. Hubby keeps the lights on. So  I am forever grateful to him that I have time. After all, a little time is all we get.