Thursday, August 25, 2011

The New Homestead Begins to Take Shape



With my recent move from the suburbs to a more rural setting on five acres again I have decided that I no longer can be considered an urban homestead so I have changed the title of the Blog back to Laura's Homestead Adventures. Slowly, the pieces are beginning to fall back into place and I am beginning to see progress.
Last weekend I bought four young laying hens off of Craigslist and a starter coop for them with plans to build a larger movable chicken tractor very soon. The chickens are currently moulting but should begin to lay eggs again as the weather cools off in the next month or so.
Because we have mild weather usually well into December here in Florida we can grow a Fall Garden, we have the fall garden seeds started and sprouting and 3 raised beds in place one with a nice batch of green beans already on their way. My daughter in-law Casi and I planted Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Garlic, Cilantro, Basil, Oregano, Thyme and Squash Seeds and all are doing well.
The plans for fall include establishing at least 8 raised beds for veggies, continuing to can and freeze our produce as well as in season produce from our local farmers market.
I have eight meat rabbits in the freezer thanks to my gentleman friend who does not mind doing the dirty work for me with plans to continue to butcher rabbits all fall and winter. I know I will eat the meat and will share it with the boyfriend and his family but I am not sure I will convince anyone else in my family to eat it, they can't get past the cute factor. We have four does and a buck and their offspring in different stages of growth. I know for many the idea of eating rabbits is difficult but I feel like if I am going to buy and eat meat why not raise my own in humane conditions, well fed, well cared for right up until the quick end. Worldwide, rabbit meat is consumed routinely and it is a great source of protein for families that can be raised in a very small space.
I have not yet learned how to spin my angora rabbit wool into yarn yet but plan on trying to take a class this Fall or Winter to learn the basics. If I am successful at learning to spin the yarn I might think about adding a couple of more Angora bunnies, but I wonder how many bunnies one might really need to provide enough fiber for knitting projects. Ash, our little grey Angora has become such a wonderful pet, he lives in the house and loves to run around and jump in peoples laps to be petted. He is terribly spoiled.
Now that I have mastered canning salsa, jams and spaghetti sauce I need to learn how to pressure can things like soups, chili and meats so that is the next project.
I will continue to dry the herbs that I am growing and hope to learn to dry some fruits and veggies as well.
These are small beginnings but beginnings none the less and it is exciting to get back to doing the things I love. This week I am going back to work after being home for four weeks following my horse accident, I have loved being home even if it were not under the most ideal circumstances but at least I go back with a clear reminder in my head of what I work so hard to support and that makes it so much easier.