Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Goals

Last year was a somewhat slow year on the homestead.

We put up more fencing around the property.  The goal is to divide it up into 4 smaller pastures for rotational grazing and for when we wean calves.  Last summer we were finally able to keep the cows out of the front pasture so we would have something to bale.  

Another long-time goal that we accomplished was planting a pasture in oats, clover and alfalfa.  While I wasn't a fan of the oat hay, the cows really seemed to like it.

We purchased a small square baler and baled our own hay.  This was a HUGE step towards self-sufficiency for us.  We still bought some small round bales from our "hay guy", but now we have almost two years worth of hay.  

The Triple H Farm had it's first heifer calf born on the property!  Welcome to the homestead Mabel!

While we didn't butcher a steer, Nathan did get a cow elk.  We actually had to buy another freezer in anticipation of him getting one otherwise we would have definitely run out of room.

Now onto this years goals.

~ Finish fencing new pastures and corrals.  We plan to make at least three small pens and an alleyway behind the barn. The alley will make loading the animals much easier and will allow us to separate them into different pastures easier.  The pens will be used for weaning, calving, and for winter storms.  We also plan to fence the small wooded pasture and one of the pens for pigs.

~ Introduce pigs to the homestead.  I'm not a pork person.  For me, it's a personal, Biblical reason.  I will eat it if nothing else is available, but in general I tend to avoid it.  I don't push my feelings towards pork onto my family, however, because they are ham and bacon lovers.  I also see the potential income raising feeder pigs might bring in.  Pigs were really at the top of the list when Molly was alive and I would have been able to feed them extra milk.  Now we'll just have to see.

~ Dig a well.  This is our big self-sustainable goal this year.  It's scary being dependent upon another source for your water.  Wells in our area can cost up to $30,000 because they have to go so deep.  Neighbors right by us are only about 300 feet deep.  We hope that ours will be the same.

~ Begin Mabel's training as a future milk cow.  Miss Mabel has a big job ahead of her.  With Molly gone, she will be our future milk cow.  Although that's more than 2 years in the future, I have already started with halter training, stanchion training and teaching her to respect me.

~ Plant more fruit trees and berry bushes.  So far we have 3 apple, 2 peach, and 2 pear.  Our cherry trees got trampled by a naughty steer and one of the apples didn't make it through the hot summer.  I need to replace the apple and cherry, and find a nice apricot tree.

~ Move strawberries and rhubarb.  They are too big for the garden and it's time for them to find their own place.  Maybe a loft downtown with a view of the city. ;)

 ~ Build a Greenhouse!!!  This has been on our list since we moved out here.  I keep changing my plans, location, etc.  Perhaps this year will be the year.

~  Build compost bin.  We have the pile, but it would be nice if I could keep it somewhat contained.

~ Chicken tractor... need I say more.  :)

There is SOOOO much more that we would like to do, but these are our top priorities.  It's always fun to plan what you're homestead is going to accomplish, even when you know nothing ever goes according to plan.

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