Upgrades on the homestead

Part 1 of the homestead upgrades – The Chicken Yard.  We were consistently having issues with our chickens getting out of the yard.  The first 4 yrs we lived here, we did not have issues with the chickens getting out.  Then we added some new breeds and tripled in size.  Parts of our fence were small enough that some of the chicks got out and the rooster decided he needed to protect them as well and flew over.  Once he did that the some of the other hens decided they weren’t going to be unprotected and next thing you know I had a host of free ranging chickens everywhere.  The problem with that is that most of them hung out in the horse barn, eating the grain, dog food, cat food, whatever they could find; not to mention the presents they left behind (if you know what I mean)  I see why dogs are meant to eat dog food.  Anyway, I thought if my son would just put them all back and we block off the fence to keep the chicks in we’d be fine.  Unfortunately, the taste of freedom was too much for them and they begin flying over our fence and then I found out also, that my son had been throwing them back over the fence (further boosting their flying confidence).  I know you can clip/pull out the flying feathers.  Just seemed a little inhuman to me.  We’re trying to keep everything as much as possible as God designed it.   Here’s the finished product after the 3rd snowfall:

chicken-yard-2009-01-02

Egg yields were good this year.  Here’s a sampling of the differences in Egg sizes as compared to a white store-bought XL egg.  The far left is a double-yolker.  We had a chicken that was always laying double-yokes.  The middle one is a normal single yolk and the far right is the white store-bought egg (obviously)

Fresh (non-caged) Benefits

Fresh (non-caged) Benefits

Christ-Sufficient Lifestyle

As we have started getting serious about our homestead journey, I’ve begun the process of researching blogs.  I have to be honest that I’m continually amazed and disappointed at the use of the term “Self-Sufficient”.  As a follower of Christ it is my understaning that everything good comes from the father(James 1:17); and apart from Christ we can do nothing.  We have never been nor will we ever be sufficient by ourselves.  I feel there is in an important distinction to be made.  Our goal of homesteading is not building big barns and storing for ourselves, but that by more closely depending on God and his provisions, that others may see and glorify our father in heaven(Matthew 5:16).   Christ is sufficient in all things, we are not.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to begin things I know are destined for failure.  Self-sufficiency is destined for failure.  I prefer the Christ-sufficient lifestyle.  As I finish this post, my only concluding thought is that I pray that these thoughts taken from scripture would encourage you as well as ring in my own head to humble me and remind me daily to see God’s goodness in all things he has for His children.  For His word says…And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  So whether our harvest is great or small, our efforts seem wasted or productive, we are to be confident that the result is for our good.  Who knows what we need more than He does?  Who has to power to give more than Him?  What more could Christ have done for us?  I gladly say that I am fully dependent on Christ and His victory at the cross.  I am thankful that I will never be self-sufficient.

His thoughts on growing season of 2008

Well the growing season has passed since the first entry of his perspective was posted.  After a heavy season of rain we really ended up with a very small harvest including a few buckets of apples, 2 rows of lettuce and some green beens.  This was primarily due to mass quantities of rain prior to and after planting.  I would have had better success growing cranberries with how marshy that area was.  I believe we are going to need to rethink our strategy of gardening and use raised beds next year.  One of the other real challenges was getting the garden in due to time constraints.   Seemed like whenever we were available it rained.  When we were gone, it was beautiful.  To support our family, I’m still working about 45-50hrs/week.  Add in some other activities with all the children as well as account for broken lawnmowers, weeds, etc. and we have a serious time crunch.  We’ll have to look at investing in some more tools to speed up the jobs in the short run.  It is true that we do what we make time for.  It’s near impossible trying to live a lifestyle of homesteading and children in sports.   Sometimes the time is gone and I wonder what I spent it on (similar to money).  This is our 5th growing season on our homestead and I can’t help but feel some frustration with growing more weeds than sustainable food for a 5th year and yet my mind still grows excited about the thought of actually growing a garden next year.  I will spend every extra moment I have this winter fixing all of the lawnmowers, tractor and skidloader to prepare for spring.  It may be that long before I post again.  Until next time, may you find God’s blessing rich and abundant …