We’ve had temps in the 60s the last few days here in the Ozarks and we have been taking full advantage of it! With all this warm, sunny weather God is spoiling us with, we just couldn’t help but get a little giddy and excited over Spring. These past two weeks we’ve done a ton of planning and even got a jump-start on a few of our projects.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
First, we had to decide exactly what projects we were willing to invest our time, energy, resources, and lack of sleep to. On a homestead that we are basically starting from scratch with, the possibilities were endless. We had to decide and agree (that is sometimes the hard part) what was a priority and what could wait to add in the future. Shockingly, this time around, we agreed more often than we disagreed. It was refreshing and it was so nice to be on the same page and see eye to eye on so many projects.
The very first, and probably the easiest project we discussed, planned, and have started working on is our garden project. Missouri soil is terrible! It is nothing but red clay and full of small and large rocks. So, raised beds it is! We’ll be using some of the 140 pallets that D was able to get from work. These pallets have been a huge blessing for us as they will be used to build our garden beds along with some other projects I’ll be chatting about in this post.
The plan is for our garden to be 32×50 and we’ll grow: tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, a variety of beans, peppers, melons, cucumbers, strawberries, beets, onions, squash, zucchini, and peas. We’ll also have two potato towers: one will be used for white potatoes and the other for sweet potatoes. This week I’ll get my herbs started and we’ll plant another small garden bed that will be dedicated to those. All of our seeds this year came from Baker’s Creek and Sow True Seed.
The Compost Bin
This is another project that we’re using our pallets for and D got started on it this week! We’re doing a three-stage bin, however, the main section is only two parts. The third part will be added in later, as we are thinking it should be a little bigger than the other two sections. The only materials we had to purchase for this project was the brackets, the hinges, hook and eyes for the doors, and the staples for the chicken wire that we’ll put around the outside. While taking a walk around our property last weekend, we found a whole roll of chicken wire that we can use for various projects.
The Chicken Coop
We currently only have five girls and their coop is just okay. I would like to give them something a bit bigger than what they have and then use our current coop for new baby chicks. Our hens have been very good to us this past year. Even though it is winter, we are still getting 3-4 eggs a day and I have my suspicions that the only reason I’m not getting any from Star my Easter Egger is that she’s been laying at my neighbor’s. They are currently free ranged and spend a lot of time digging around in our neighbor’s woodpile for yummies. However, with the garden going in, we are going to need to pen them up, at least temporarily until we get a fence up around the garden. My hope is to add another ten girls to our flock, which would supply us with enough eggs for not just our family, but for our friends and to sell some too.
Our first year in Missouri we processed ten meat chickens. Every person in our family agrees that we need to do this again, but on a larger scale. They all agree that the chickens we raised tasted much better than any other chicken they have ever had. Our hope is to have a smaller coop built for them and a little bit of a run before they make their way to our homestead in late summer. I would have liked to have done this in early Spring and then again in late Summer, but with all the other projects, I’m not sure that this one will make it to the top of the list for Spring.
We had initially decided that we were not even going to discuss pigs until Fall, but then God. He blessed us in a huge way, a way that we never even imagined. We have friends who are downsizing their farm and have offered us piglets and a pregnant sow if we’d like, along with all the materials they will need to move here. We have decided that we would like to raise pigs to help us sustain our meat supply, so the plan right now is to raise two females for processing in November, keep one of the males and then get him a wife. Our new piggies should arrive here at our homestead in early February and we could not be more excited!
We spent this past Sunday afternoon after church over at their farm visiting with them and their animals. They have a beautiful farm and the kids loved playing with the cows, dogs, pigs, and chickens!
Clearing Some Land
Much of our land is covered in brush, trees, or vines, so we do have some clearing to do. Thankfully this is work that can be done in the winter and doesn’t have to wait for warm, Spring days. D and Andrew started clearing out some of the brush today for the pigs, the chickens, and the compost bin. It really won’t take all that long to be finished and before we know it we’ll have animals, animal houses, and a compost bin in functioning order.
What projects are you planning on and working on at your homestead? I’d love to hear what you are up to! Please join the conversation below in the comment section and tell me all about it. Also, if you haven’t received our free homesteading organization workbook, you can check it out by clicking here.