Monday, September 15, 2014

Farm Life: Setting Some Learning & Action Goals

Having a huge list of things you want to learn/do is great!  But if it remains a list, that's not so great.  There comes a time when you have to actually apply some effort to your list.  And that's what we've been doing around the farm. 

After some discussion, Bryan and I have set five goals for ourselves between now and next summer.  Ready to see what they are?

1.  Add meat rabbits. 

Cute?  Yes.  Cuddly?  Sure.  But rabbits provide a great source of lean protein.  And they reproduce quickly, which is great!  Some specifics for this plan.

Build/Rummage rabbit cages.  I know my parents used to have rabbits.  And when we were looking, we found feeders, which means we won't have to buy those.  There's enough wood around that I think we'll be able to build them (ok--honestly, Bryan will be able to build them) fairly inexpensively.

Acquire 2 does and 1 buck.  We are thinking a New Zealand mix. There have been some on Craigslist lately, so when the time is right, I think it'll be easy enough to find what we desire.

Get a breeding schedule.  I've been reading about that here, and found some good ideas. 

Learn to butcher a rabbit.  We know someone who is willing to help us learn which is a huge blessing.

2.  Add earthworms beneath the rabbits.

Since we are going to be having hanging rabbit cages at least in the winter, having a group of earthworms underneath them turning all that rabbit poo into rich compost sounds like an easy plan.  Plus we'll then have plenty of worms when we want to fish in the creek next summer!

We've done some research on this one as well, and it sounds pretty low maintenance. 

3.  Learn to make cheddar cheese

This one will wait until next spring when I have three cows freshen.  That'll be a lot of milk to experiment with.  Before then, we are going to find an old fridge (hopefully from Craigslist for cheap!) to adapt to use as a cave. 

Part of the perk of having a milk cow (or three!) is homemade dairy.  While I've dabbled in soft cheeses, hard cheese is something I've never tried.  I'm looking forward to it!

4.  Make homemade charcoal and build a temporary water filter

Emergency preparation is great.  But eventually the bottled water will run out, and we'll need to turn to another source (like our creek!)
See all that water just waiting to be filtered and drank?
 But, without filtering and boiling, I wouldn't want to drink the creek water.  So we want to try this process when it isn't an emergency situation, while we have internet access to walk us through the steps

5.  Last, but not least...Add bees to the farm.

This is a goal we share with my older sister and her husband.  We learned about an easy method of bee keeping during Between the Rivers, and this site.  The winter is the perfect time to build a hive (or two).  Then we'll get the bees in spring of 2015, and be able to harvest our first honey in 2016.  Yum!

My grandpa, who was the first generation of my family to live here, used to keep bees, and we still have some of his gear down in the basement.  I'll have to go through it and see what condition everything is in, but I'm thinking it's possible we won't have to spend a ton!

So there you have it.  Our five goals for the next several months.  We'll be adding rabbits and worms first, followed by making cheddar cheese.  The bees will join us sometime in late spring, and the charcoal--probably something we can tackle this fall once the burn ban is lifted. 

I'll keep you updated with our progress.  Makes me have a little more accountability for actually getting these done!

Do you have any big upcoming goals? 

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