I wrote last time about the property we have found. We have searched, and been patient, and prayed...and prayed...and prayed. We have come close to finding things, and at the last minute, been turned away for one reason or another. I have always seen the possibilities, but never had "the feeling". That moment of being so sure, the feeling a bride gets when she finds the perfect dress, the feeling of knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt that "FINALLY, THIS IS IT"...until we saw this place. All I could say to Mom was, "this is what I dream about at night." We are so close, and yet sooooo far from actually having it. I have felt, for a while, that the Lord is telling me to "be patient." I am trying. If, someday, my patience pays off this is what I dream of doing with this slice of heaven in the near future.
2 Horses. We already have one, very young, very sweet, trail horse. She is technically Dad's, but she has been trained extensively to be able to handle time and activities with the kids. The second, will be mine. Not that I am unwilling to share, but while most little girls outgrow their pony dreams, mine just grew into a draft horse.
Cows. This gets a bit complicated because at any given time we will have a different number. In theory we will always have one good momma. From January or February we will have a calf, until he or she is big enough to sell or butcher. Then probably no baby for about a year. That number may eventually grow to be two mommas, so that we will always have milk, and have a calf big enough for butcher every year in order to provide enough meat for the family.
I am always looking to have animals and crops that do double, or triple duty. In that regard I am interested in a breed of catlle called a Milking Devon. They are a heritage breed that provide great milk, and good meat, combined with a gentle personality, typically easy birthing, and usually great mothering skills. They have also been known to be trained as a team breed for pulling a wagon or plow.
Chickens. I started with 24 female chicks, a rooster, and a mystery bird. We lost one chick right away. Shortly after we added a large white hen to the mix. Over time, one by one we have lost them all, except for our mystery bird. It turns out he is a giant rooster. By breed he is a Cochin. He is beautifully colored, gigantic, loud, and feather-legged. The plan is to add a few hens back into the mix as soon as possible and begin raising chicks to repopulate our greatly diminished little herd. I like Rhode Island Reds for their prolific brown egg laying, but I have not experienced any of the gentle personality they are purported to have. I am looking to learn a bit more into some other layers.
Pigs. I will be the first to admit I don't know much about pigs. The limit of my experience is one week with a relative who taught me a little about moving piglets from place to place, but not much else needed to be done. I also watched Doc Hollywood, (which incidentally was filmed partially on that same relatives property) and a very young Michael J. Fox walking through town and everyone telling him he had a "good pig." I had a friend in high school who had a pet pig, and I learned one very important fact. I LOVE pigs. Maybe not as much as I love cows, but it's close.
Bees. Bees are in trouble. The fact is, they are dying for reasons known and unknown by entire hives. It has become a fairly serious problem for earths most prolific pollinators. Bee enthusiasts everywhere are begging regular folks to try their hands at beekeeping. It may literally be a matter of life or death. The more we can encourage genetic diversity the better chance we have of saving the bee. I mentioned before the admiration I have for the "double duty" animal. While I believe that all animals are endlessly useful if given the chance, no other animal produces HONEY. To have access to such a phenomenal source of nutrition, anti-aging, anti-allergy, fragrant, multi-purpose food, as well as skincare product, and beeswax for candles and skincare, and making all kinds of things, well...it just makes sense.
Some other thing. I don't know if it will be a few rabbits, or a few goats, or some other thing, but eventually I want to have fiber, food, fertilizer, soap, cheese, and lots of other things all coming from my little domestic zoo.
Hubby and I have debated endlessly on what will serve as our temporary shelter. My wish is to go as inexpensive, and low impact as possible. I want a YURT.
My husband, on-the-other-hand, wants no part of what he perceives as long term tent-living. My way we put every extra penny into the farm, and building a house. His way we live in a too-small trailer for many years while we pay down the mortgage enough to scrape together money to begin building. Either way it will be a while before we are finished building, but my way is years, his way is decades. I don't know if I can wait that long. I really don't want to be under a mortgage either.
Not only do we have an immediate need for shelter, but so will all of the animals in some form or another. It means building a coop, a barn, and probably a few other short term pole structures while we work towards permanence.
We have debated how we will build our house at least as intently as we have discussed our short-term plan. Some considerations are:
1 Using the bamboo we planning on growing for Lumber.
2. A cob house. This has been a fascination of mine ever since I first saw Mike Rowe making Cobs on Dirty Jobs.
3. A log cabin is something of a stretch, to both our budget and our ability. I think we could do it, if we really wanted a small square cabin, but I don't. Lumber prices are prohibitive these days, so buying is out of the question, and we don't have enough large hardwood on our property that we want to strip it just to build a house. There are better options.
I have so many things I want to grow. We will start with the ready-made product. Of our hopeful 40 acres, 30 are head high with several types of grasses that are suitable for hay. To that we will obviously add a garden. Tomatoes, lettuces, cabbages, carrots, broccoli, celery, peppers, cukes, okra, watermelons, beans, and lots of other veggies are possible in our fabulous climate. Just to make sure that my days are too busy to slow down and breathe, I want to grow bamboo. It serves a thousand purposes. No matter how we build we will use the cured product for flooring, shelving, and probably internal wall framing. We will certainly use the cane for fencing and wildlife refuge. It cleans runoff from animal waste, or human waste, so it can help prevent that lovely smell that frequently results from keeping livestock. Bamboo thrives on wet, dirty water, it filters like no other bush, tree, or grass can. It renews itself at such an astounding rate that some varieties grow three feet a day.
I guess that is it. HAHA. I picture my day busy from start to finish. We want to be green, and as self contained as possible. I have some other ideas in the works, but I think I will save that for a new title Maybe *special projects*