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I just cannot believe how far we've come in the last few years on our little homestead (5 acres). We started w/a few chickens. Now we have LOTS of chickens, pearl and splash guineas, Californian meat rabbits, Nubian goats, honey bees, gardens, peaches and figs, and in a few months, our first pigs. Over the weekend we came home with 8 Brown Pharoah quail, and I just got a call that our Muscovy ducklings are in (a friend is brooding them), and as soon as I hung up the phone, it rang again because our purple and lavender guineas hatched!<br><br>
*******sigh******* I just love living on a farm! It might be a small one, but we do alot with it! Now to learn to make soap and cheese from the goat milk we'll have this coming Spring, candles from the beeswax, salves, lipbalms, etc....Where will I get the time? LOL! Then there's the wind turbines we want, and the solar panels to run the a/c in the rabbitry. My mom wants to start doing sheep instead of goats, and so I'm sure we'll be involved in that somehow, too.<br><br>
We just put gobs of rabbits in the freezer, and a lamb this past weekend. We are butchering 3 goats this coming weekend w/some neighbors (we'll split it), so lots of sausage-making to come. Why would anyone want to live in the city? I LOVE country livin'! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Chicky, how long have you been at it? We've just passed 3 years, and it is incredible to see the changes. When we got here, there were junk piles all over our acreage, several "burn pile" spots with lots of buried metal in the ground, huge weed patches of burdock, thistle and mustard. The house had 4 windows boarded up, the upstairs was uninhabitable (except for the starling, owl and squirrels that lived there). The downstairs was both mouse and rat infested. The carpets were soaked in dog and cat poo.<br><br>
Now, the house is still a work in progress, but it has a new roof and windows, and we can sleep in the upstairs bedrooms. We've planted apples, pears, raspberries, strawberries, a privacy hedge, willows, grapes and asparagus. We've transformed the biggest weed patch into a corn/squash/legume patch and established perennial herbs and annual gardens.<br><br>
We started with sheep, and have chickens, goats and bees as well. I milk the goats, we get plenty of eggs, and we harvested the loveliest honey last year. We fill our freezers with our own meat and produce, and I learned how to make pickles and can tomatoes and dry herbs and fruits.<br><br>
It is amazing how much you can learn if you really want to. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
I love it too, even though I am hardly living in the country. I'm 3mi from the nearest Walmart and 5mi from the center of town, but I love that we're making this little haven. During the bubble, the trend was for all the smallish old farmettes to become horse places, rather than productive farms. It's interesting to see more and more goats, rabbit hutches, and chickens foraging on yards. And of course, the trend for the family garden.<br><br>
We are incredibly fortunate.
 

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I'm sooooo jealous.<br><br>
We are getting the house ready to put up for sale so we can move across the country and purchase a homestead.<br><br>
We're having trouble finding property in our price range that is more than an acre and within a reasonable distance from jobs.<br><br>
I can't stop reading about chickens, goats and pigs. We eventually want to do a market garden and make soaps etc. Maybe have a formal garden to rent out for weddings....I have a huge list of ideas.<br><br>
It's great to hear how quickly things happened for you and on smaller acreages.
 

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We moved out here 6.5 yrs ago. My dh was going to work at 6 a.m. (45 minutes away) and then to another town(further away) to go to HVAC school, so he'd get home around midnight. We planned to move out here, let him finish school, and then build a MIL house next to ours. APS started calling and we had to hurry up and build so we could move MIL and her sister out here. So for that first year we were incredibly busy, and I had to handle the vast majority of it myself. Then MILs sis died here in our home, and dh had graduated school and we got busy. So, really, we've been at it 5 yrs. The first thing we did was get more chickens and plant peach trees. Then we got some guineas from my mom. We started our first traditional row garden (3000 sq ft), which this year we abandoned for SFG in raised beds. I'm afraid we won't grow enough this year to put by, so I'll probably haunt the farmer's markets.<br><br>
We started rabbits w/some satins we were given. They didn't do well at all, so we restarted w/Californians and we could not be happier. They provide so much meat (all white!) for us, and teach our kids so much responsibility (my 21 and 11 yo dds butcher them). We also raise them for county shows (meat pens).<br><br>
My kids won almost $650 in cash from an art contest for a goat association and then they bought the fencing for our goat area. Then they purchased their first 2 dairy goats, Bella and Ginger. They will be bred for the first time in Oct., and the kids got to help a neighbor milk her goats yesterday and they were so excited to learn how!<br><br>
We are approx. 5 yrs ahead of schedule for our little farm. We went out looking one day at manufactured homes and fell in love w/the Solitaires (fabulous, sturdy construction, unlike some manufactured homes we've seen and my dh has worked on). So we found 5 acres about 15 minutes from a town of 5,000. My dh doesn't mind the 45 minute drive to and from work because normally the traffic is not too terrible. When we lived in the metroplex, he worked about 15 minutes from home, but it took him just as long (and WAY more cussing, lol) to get home.<br><br>
I love being able to use a clothesline and have no complaints from an HOA. We are not way out either, but just far enough, imo. We can burn a campfire (or our trash) and no one says anything. Our roosters can crow all night long and no one is bothered. The dogs have radio fencing and can run and run and run. The kids can climb trees and pick fruits and veggies, play with their goats, and they just have room to run.<br><br>
It is always a work in progress, and we have lots more planned! We just take it a season at a time, 'cause that's all we have time to think about. Summer around here is much more lazy, because it's too stinkin' hot to do anything other than swim. Well, I can and dehydrate, too, but in between jumping in and out of the pool, lol. Dh is always doing a/c jobs (side business), but Spring and Fall are always hoppin' around here!
 

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That sounds wonderful, Chicky. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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See, Chicky, that is amazing. I agree with taking it one season at a time, too. When we first moved here we were overwhelmed with everything we could do/should do over time. Now, we try to focus on the job at hand while enjoying the rest and not getting caught up in all the stuff that's waiting. We're on the opposite schedule, seasonally, because we can't do much in winter, when everything is under snow or just super-freezing. We do inside projects then, and from April until snow, we're working on outdoors.<br><br>
And those are the things I really love, too. Having as much garden space as I like, mowing lawn on my own time, using the clothesline, watching my kids play with my goats' kids. Love the milking, collecting eggs, even like cleaning the barn. My dh enjoys the gardening, I love the animal husbandry.<br><br>
We raised rabbits when we lived in town and slaughtered them for meat. I had a rabbit project in the Peace Corps too (Californians and New Zealand whites). They are great meat animals. Thrifty, easy to raise, perfect size for providing a family's protein and some income. But we got to the point where we just couldn't handle slaughtering them anymore. Dh slaughters all our meat. He doesn't eat chicken, so that doesn't bother him much, and you can get a lot of meals for one death with the larger animals. We had a choice. If we didn't, he'd probably get over it.
 

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all that and bees, too?! my goodness you are one busy mama.<br>
i know you're excited about the rabbit in the freezer, too. we now have some hopefully successfully bred ones now, i think i feel marbles. hopefully we'll have some productive days before it gets too hot.<br>
we're thinking getting guineas too- for tick control.<br>
do you have dogs? i can't remember. are the guineas tough enough in a pack to defend themselves if the dogs try anything? i guess they're way too big for hawks to pick off (when they're not biddies).<br>
way to go, mama!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>hildare</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15408877"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">we're thinking getting guineas too- for tick control.<br>
do you have dogs? i can't remember. are the guineas tough enough in a pack to defend themselves if the dogs try anything? i guess they're way too big for hawks to pick off (when they're not biddies).<br>
way to go, mama!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"></div>
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IME, our guinea is pretty tough. She'll take of flying anywhere, always roosts up high and is pretty self sufficient in that way. That being said, I've heard many stories of guineas just taking off into the woods.....They like to roost in the trees and then they just keep going farther and farther out. But I guess I've never seen a 'wild' guinea so they must not make it too awful long. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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So, Chicky, what are your next additions? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
I feel kind of bad that we didn't get fruit trees in right away, because they'll take time to be productive, but they are $$$ and so even now we buy a few each year and put them in until we have what we think this farm should have. We found some super-cheap at end of season, and those have done well, so we'll keep an eye out again this year, but our big plan now is hay. We have about 6 acres of field that was KY bluegrass (which makes no sense at all in our location) that we <i>must</i> plant to an alfalfa mix this fall. The other part of the hay equation is finding and affording the small machinery to make the bales we need. Small implements are hard to find and pricey.<br><br>
We were paying two home mortgages for the first half a year on our place, so any money we'd have spent fixing/planting/starting was instead spent paying for a house we weren't living in. Still, I wouldn't change a thing. We were incredibly fortunate to sell our home right before the meltdown, and so far we're OK.
 

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That's awesome, Chicky!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>hildare</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15408877"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">all that and bees, too?! my goodness you are one busy mama.<br>
i know you're excited about the rabbit in the freezer, too. we now have some hopefully successfully bred ones now, i think i feel marbles. hopefully we'll have some productive days before it gets too hot.<br>
we're thinking getting guineas too- for tick control.<br>
do you have dogs? i can't remember. are the guineas tough enough in a pack to defend themselves if the dogs try anything? i guess they're way too big for hawks to pick off (when they're not biddies).<br>
way to go, mama!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"></div>
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Yes, lovin' the rabbit meat! I should have 6 pregnant does right now, and we just scored a 3-ton a/c unit for our rabbitry for $100! And it works well (my dh does HVAC as a side business). Now we can breed thru the summer and we'll actually spend less on a/c than we do now. PLUS, we can enclose the outside part of our rabbitry now! (just gotta score more insulation first).<br><br>
We have 2 labs. Midnight and Sunshine and they wouldn't dare touch our guineas. Besides, the guineas would bloody them up quick like, lol. Oh, and they are certainly not too big for a hawk to pick off. I've seen a hawk take off w/one of my light Brahmas (full grown large size chicken hen) right in front of my eyes. Man was I pissed! If a hawk could carry her off, they can certainly carry off a guinea.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Linzie2</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15410702"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">IME, our guinea is pretty tough. She'll take of flying anywhere, always roosts up high and is pretty self sufficient in that way. That being said, I've heard many stories of guineas just taking off into the woods.....They like to roost in the trees and then they just keep going farther and farther out. But I guess I've never seen a 'wild' guinea so they must not make it too awful long. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"></div>
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If you train them to come home, they will, as long as you provide roosting space for them. We use millet to train ours.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>1jooj</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15411191"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, Chicky, what are your next additions? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
I feel kind of bad that we didn't get fruit trees in right away, because they'll take time to be productive, but they are $$$ and so even now we buy a few each year and put them in until we have what we think this farm should have. We found some super-cheap at end of season, and those have done well, so we'll keep an eye out again this year, but our big plan now is hay. We have about 6 acres of field that was KY bluegrass (which makes no sense at all in our location) that we <i>must</i> plant to an alfalfa mix this fall. The other part of the hay equation is finding and affording the small machinery to make the bales we need. Small implements are hard to find and pricey.<br><br>
We were paying two home mortgages for the first half a year on our place, so any money we'd have spent fixing/planting/starting was instead spent paying for a house we weren't living in. Still, I wouldn't change a thing. We were incredibly fortunate to sell our home right before the meltdown, and so far we're OK.</div>
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Ouch with the 2 mortgages!<br><br>
Our next additions just happened, lol! We got the keets that hatched last weekend. 32 of 'em, and approx. half go to one of my neighbors, and another neighbor is going to be ticked when they start eating his chicken feed, lol. (it's all good-natured teasing w/our guineas and his chickens that come to my house to lay their eggs and hatch out their babies, lol). There are 4 powder blue ones, and the rest are purple (wheeee!!! I love purple!). THEN, just 2 days ago I walked out to check on the keets in the brooder, and realized that my adult guinea hens were off their nest. Then I looked down and realized I was about to step on a carpet of keets, lol! They finally did good and hatched out some clutches for us (after 4 years-I thought they were getting too old!). So far 26 have hatched and looks like 2 more might...!!!!!<br><br>
We found some fig trees really cheap recently and planted those. Next we want a couple of apple trees and at least one more apricot (we have a 5 yr old tree w/no mate to pollinate it--we couldn't find one so I'm going to order one). I also want a pecan tree or two, but we just found a place to get all we want for free when we picked up our purple guineas. Our son was commenting on the beautiful pecan tree (his fav. nut), and the guy said he couldn't give the nuts away. Um, yes you can we said! So now if my mom doesn't have a good pecan crop we are good. Now to find a place to crack and shake them for us. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Today we are redoing some rabbit hutches so we can move 2 outside preggo rabbit does inside (it's getting hot quick). We're also making home made goat brats to smoke on the smoker while we just hang out and relax tonight. We haven't done nearly enough relaxing and enjoying the last few months!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>limette</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15407739"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I keep going back and forth on rabbits. I just don't know if I can get past the cuteness factor.</div>
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My parents raised them in the middle of Las Vegas when I was a kid, lol. Domestic rabbit is my fav meat. The cuteness factor wears off pretty quickly when you have say, 10 bunnies in a hutch (large hutch, obviously) and you realize you are filling the feeder 4x a day. Around 6-7 wks they stop being cute and start being expensive so it's time to schedule in a butcher day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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My meat chicks just crossed that line today. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> Boy, those babies can EAT.<br><br>
Congrats on 32 (!!!) keets and a cheap AC unit! A friend scored us some used lumber last week. Love the free stuff. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 
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