Monday, October 5, 2009

The Substistance Farming Project

My first season at subsistence farming was met with some successes and some disappointments, albeit , I'm glad I even got to this point as most times I will think a project to death and never launch it.
My definite victory was the actual acquiring of the chickens.  Recall I pre-ordered 6 chicks for JJ's birthday last December and now we are up to 11 chickens. There were some roosters that needed to be taken back to Destiny Farm, yet we came back with a replacement hen or two!  We now have 3 (for sure) layers so that means we are getting about 3 eggs a day!  Which is plenty for us, but we definitely welcome more!  What progress I have made.  Never would I have dreamed that I would be so intimately involved with my avian friends.  So far so good.  It has been fairly easy.  I'm just waiting for the day when I actually have to administer some type of chicken first aid or something.  But as a free-rangers, I know their lifestyle is most conducive to a healthy bird.  I'll just keep doing what I've been doing and deal with the obstacles are they arise.  Raising birds in cold weather will be my next learning curve, but I'm ready for it.  As an animal lover, I have to constantly remind myself that life on the farm can be cruel.  I will be dealing with death as well as life.  Any day I could be faced with remnants of a predator's attack.  Or a bird that froze during the night. I'll have to remove the emotion from it...I'm sure that's easier said than done.
Next, the gardens...
Bear in mind that I originally wanted just to grow food for us to eat, but got caught up in wanting to grow for market.  No problem with either of those paths, but I think I need to be focused with either one or the other.  Trying to do too much has been my downfall.  So, for next growing season, I will stick to growing for our consumption only.  If I start to vear off my path,  remind me, please, with a gentle kick in the pants.

100 sq.ft tomatoes (includes roma, cherry and slicing tomatoes)
50 sq ft. zucchini
24 sq green beans
500 sq ft various greens (lettuce, spinach, swiss chard,kale,bok choi)
50 sq. ft zucchini
basil
oregano

Preserved:
8 1/2 pints of jam (mulberry/raspberry mix)
4 pints of  strawberry jam (Long's U-Pick)
10 quarts of raw pack tomatoes
2 quarts pickled zucchini
2 jars of preserved cherry toms (one in vinegar and one in oil)
1 pint of pesto

Goals for next season:
500 sq feet of wheat
500 sq feet of potatoes
100 sq. feet of green beans
50 sq. feet winter squash
25 ft. zucchini
50 sq. feet pickles
50 sq. feet sunflowers (chicken feed)
Not sure about the quantity of the next  few items:

onions
beets
garlic
peas
2 fruit trees
1 nut tree
2 berry plants

That's all I can think of right now...I'll continue tomorrow.

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