Saturday, October 05, 2013

Why Colors of the Wind? ( #homesteading #ColorsOfTheWind )

I explained the first part of our name yesterday - now for the second part.

Colors of the Wind. We're in an area surrounded by Native American Reservations. Those that hold on to the ancient ways, believe there's so much just around you. They were worshipers of nature. When I'm in the wind, I feel so free. It's a good thing as we have wind here almost daily (so much today that I had trouble getting out of my gates).

The wind and nature around us is full of a variety of colors (many we forget to take time to note). In getting back to the basics I'm taking more time to appreciate the little things...the scent of the air, the color of the bushes, the temperature of the wind as it finds its way to tangle my hair.

There you have it...those are the reasons my acres were named as they have been.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Why Healing Harvest? ( #homesteading #ColorsOfTheWind )

What's really in a name? Some people it has no meaning to. For me, it has to have meaning, it has to symbolize something.

The first part of the name came from a need...perhaps a goal, even.

Healing Harvest....of course we hope to have harvests for years to come. But the healing...everyone has had problems. This is my hope to break free of many of them and, in time, heal everything through harvests of love.

While it may sound cheesy, I want to go back to the times when families stuck together and didn't talk about family and friends as soon as they turned their heads. Homes were filled with the warmth of love.

Tomorrow I'll explain the second part of the name.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Homesteading for dummies ( #homesteading #livestock #ColorsOfTheWind )

I've began to put together my own homesteading book. While it would probably be a copyright issue to label it as "for dummies" -- it's how I feel it will be. I know there has to be at least one other person as confused about the entire process as I've been and I wish I would have had someone around to explain it all to me as though I were only 5 years old.

I'll let everyone know how it goes (and how many new volumes will be released as I hope to keep learning more). It might be a fun project. Though I really don't need to take on additional stuff.

Sometimes It's Lonely ( #homesteading #startingover #beselfsufficient )

I've decided that sometimes it can be lonely living so rurally. No bus transportation, no internet, no anything (well it feels like that anyway on some days). Then I think of ages ago when people had to travel for an hour or two just to reach their neighbor. I always thought it would be wonderful. To live so freely. To enjoy close family and warm fires.

Now that I'm approaching my first winter trying to homestead...I'm seeing that it can really be lonely. A lot of time is spent on my home and children, more time on animals and yard chores. But some days I long for the interaction I used to get by simply driving 15 minutes to the mall. Or to a fast food restaurant for a quick lunch.

That simply doesn't happen out here.

Some days I'm grateful for it. Others not so much.

I have to remind myself of why I chose to move. Of why I chose to try this. Of the benefits I'm hoping my children will gain from this.

Maybe this  blog will be my link to others who sacrifice and do the same things I'm trying to do.

Where to start Planning ( #Homesteading #Planning #SelfSufficient #Goats #Chickens )

Lately it seems as though I don't even know where to start. I spent part of the morning chasing a baby goat around the yard. Evidently he was having fun.

The issues -- some are friendly, some are overly friendly and others, they just want to be left alone. We want them for milk, of course. But then the thoughts been brought up about what to do with male babies. Do I even get enough off of selling them for it to be beneficial? Or is it more beneficial to raise them and slaughter them for the freezer.

Admittedly, I've never liked the idea of killing animals. But I'd by crazy to not realize that's how they get to your supermarket refrigerators and freezers. There is no magical wiggle of the nose and poof they appear. This way, I also know what they're eating and the conditions they're being raised under. Would it be better for me to feed a few extra goat mouths each season and stock the freezers?

I also realize I need sturdier fencing as they have a way of destroying almost everything they come into contact with (at least I have a couple that do).

The plan? As of right now I've decided I need the following areas:
Stud fencing/shelter
Female fencing/shelter
nursery fencing/shelter
breeding fencing/shelter
Jr fencing/shelter area females
Jr fencing/shelter area males
Milking area

I've figured I'll be spending a small fortune by the time I get this set up...but I'm hoping it will end in a decent profit and not so much money spend on purchasing milk (I've heard you can do almost anything with goat milk that you can with cow milk.)

I did end up with the rooster I hadn't wanted this past season. But, I'm looking at it as a good thing. I need to work on new fencing and coop designs since we have critters in the air that swoop down and steal unsuspecting baby critters. I had this wonderful (or so I thought as a person new to this) during summer. One by one I watched as wild critters picked off most of my stock. Any plan I tried seemed to fail. So, it's time for the complete fence rebuilding and a new outlook on livestock protection.

But how many chickens are too many? That's where it gets tough.

The plan? As of right now I've decided I need the following areas:
Egg layer fencing/coop
Egg layer breeding fencing/coop
meat chicken breeder/coop

meat chicken/coop

I do think the chicken areas will be the easiest to manage to set up, other than building the new coops. The plan is also to have the set ups with heat lighting so that they'll produce all through the colder weather months as well. I'm soon to stop buying eggs from the store (I hope).

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Meet the Kids ( #family #ColorsOfTheWind #homestead )

I guess it's time to meet the kids. It's been a rough change for them and some of them are more accepting of these changes than others. I do believe that this will be the best thing ever for them and I hope we can find that back to the basics, family first commitment that we had when they were small.

Zach Alan

Zach is my 14 year old football player. He's a straight A student so far this year and he's made the most improvement since our arrival to what I hope to be our homestead. We definitely have had some rocky roads over the last few years...but I am absolutely thrilled with this turn around. He even finally has a crush on a girl. She's polite, respectful and also a straight A student. We still have some mouthy issues and days of flat out refusing to do anything other than eat and sleep...but we'll get there.

Wesley Tyler

Wesley is my 10 year old, also my youngest. He has some conditions that make him even more special and our family is learning to embrace the daily challenges and a small community that isn't always too accepting of someone who is different (especially when it can't be readily seen from the outside). He's got a heart of gold and loves to be included. I'm sure one day the community will see that as well.

Amanda Leigh

Amanda is my 15 year old. She's a typical teen from what I've been told. Asking her to do anything is like taking away her curling iron. I thought she'd lose some of the priss and entitlement she's displayed all these years, but it's still the same. We're all her servants and she can't be bothered to help or mess up her hair. She's an absolute drama queen with a boyfriend that gives me nightmares. I'm hoping this new way of life will be our salvation when it comes to her.

Abbye Reece

Abbye is my 13 year old. She's learning from her sister, so I'm hoping our move was in time. While she's not as prissy, she's just as smart mouthed and unwilling to help. With her younger age, I'm hoping my tomboy will pull through faster and see that family is the most important bond any of us can ever have.

New Project ( #crochet #crafts #handmade #pattern #PatternsByHallieGrace )

I started a new project today. The goal on it is rather simple until after the beginning of the new year because I've already got so many projects going on. But this one is a have to. It's a blanket, in school colors for my son. I'd like to give it to him on his graduation. I can't believe it's almost time for him to be in high school.

Anyone wanting the pattern, I'll be sharing here along with progress. Now, since it's a pattern I'm making's a work as I go.

So far, for anyone interested:

crochet 25 chains and add your one additional for your turn. Double crochet all the way down. Do 10 rows. The tie off. That's one of your squares.

I'm doing them in three different colors. I always use two skeins of yarn at once (makes the blanket warmer). So my first is white/ second blue/blue...and my final blue/white.

Here's some beginning shots.

My first square was blue/white

My second was blue/blue

My final was white/ can see my first 3 here.
The goal is only one square a day (due to other craft projects that I really need done for the holidays that were already started. Good thing I have until June to get this done.

Again, anyone wanting the pattern, can follow as I go (going to try to do a progress update each week) or you can wait for the full pattern when I'm finished with the project.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Anyone Interested? ( #scholastic #books #reviews #school #bookfair )

Would anyone be interested in ? We recently had a and I thought it might be fun

Where to start? A few things learned in my first summer. ( #homesteading #ColorsOfTheWind #winter #chickens #goats #duck #geese #coyote #owl )

Some days I wonder if I've lost my mind in trying this. Over the summer, I've had a lot of trial and error. Namely coyotes. They are not my friend. And who knew owls would actually steal ducks, chicken and geese? I feel I should have researched before I jumped in with both feet.

The good news? I have learned a lot and have the winter to regroup. All is not lost. (although I wish less had been lost)

October is here and I'm zooming around wondering where summer went...running around in the mornings freezing and wondering if I'll have what it takes to contend with a full brood of animals for a homestead in the dead of winter. (Have I mentioned how much I dislike the cold?)

I know that at the beginning of spring, I need to have my fencing redone. So I'll start on the opposite side of my house. Get it built and move around animals. Then fix the fencing on that side.

I know that coyotes and owls will prey on my geese, chickens and ducks.

I know that I am still looking for pigs, but also relieved that I didn't get any over the spring and summer. I need to add manageable animals bit by bit.

I know that homesteading is not a one year path to off grid living. There's no way to have enough stock in that amount of time.

I know that my soil is awful and I'll have to create raised beds if I'm going to get anything to grow,

I know that the first summer as trying to homestead has created a huge financial loss that I plan on making up in 2014 (crossing fingers over here for a better plan that works).

Homesteading is a journey. Now that I've had my disappointments of a summer, here's to setting up for winter and building a successful 2014. I hope you'll join me in the journey as I share what will change.

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