Homestead Update

Today has been a fairly standard day in the life of a homestead family.

We (and by we, I mostly mean myself) have gotten into the discipline of purchasing more produce than we need in the gardening off season.

What do I mean by that? Just that before we really got into homesteading and knew what it takes to feed our family for a year, we would buy only what we could eat fresh without wasting.

Now, as homesteaders creeping up on our 6th year living this lifestyle, we buy bulk produce in season as it goes on sale and we can it all up!

This means, in the winter, when we don’t have fresh fruit and veggies coming in from the garden, we still have stocked pantries and we can still avoid buying as much from grocery stores.

It saves us money in the long term because we get the produce as it is ripe and in season, and we preserve it until we need it. Now, I’ve started doing this with each grocery trip because 1) covid vindicated prepper wisdom. 2) our fruit trees aren’t mature yet, so we depend on organic apples and pears and such from farmers market, Misfits Market, or grocery stores.

And while I’m on the subject of frugality and prepping, in these times of jar shortages, I try to buy my honey and coconut oil in jars that I can use for canning later. You do have to be careful with this, as not all glass was made for pressure canning and the thin stuff will shatter. But the honey I buy comes in quart mason jars and they work really well for us in accomplishing dual purposes.

Anyway, we canned up about 11 pints of apples/pears in honey syrup, which has become a favorite of ours on oats or grits, or rice porridge for breakfast.

We also moved the goats’ electric fencing today, and gave them some slightly new scenery. They appreciate the pine logs we gave them to play on.

Miss Luna is starting to look pregnant. I tried to get a picture, but I think my gawking offended her delicate sensibilities; She’s always been the more slight of our two goats and she was laying down on the milking stand this morning and I had to laugh at how round she’s getting. Granted, I suppose it could just be her filling out from winter weight/adulthood, but since her heat window has passed, we are just gonna be optimistic and assume she’s pregnant. I took my measuring tape out with me just in case and she is measuring about 4 inches of growth in 6 weeks, which according to all my text book knowledge is spot on for this point in pregnancy. Whether she’s actually pregnant or not, it has been interesting gaining this practical experience.

I don’t want to count my goats before they hatch, but there is the potential for us to end up with a Guernsey bottle baby buckling who will take on the role of herdsire this coming fall/winter 2021. Which- is so exciting to think that I may be off the hook for nervewracking AI procedures that I am more than willing to put in the time and effort for 8-10 weeks of having a bottle baby. Our plan A is to graft him onto one of our does, and not have to do much bottle feeding, so that he doesn’t become too needy. But, we have what we need for bottle feeding if the grafting doesn’t take. We always prefer as close to nature as possible though.

In other exciting news, we’ve accumulated all of the rolls of welded wire fencing we need for our perimeter fence! That’s a big deal because when we got an estimate from a fencing company, they were going to charge us 15k. Yikes! So, we went the route of buying a roll as we could afford it and putting any extra cash toward fencing. Which is about five 330 foot rolls of the Red Brand fencing. This has been a top priority since we moved in and have had to deal with random neighborhood dogs and children cutting through our acerage. It just doesn’t seem like a safe situation for anyone involved and potentially detrimental to our livestock or children, so it definitely feels good to be getting that issue solved. Our next step is to have our property surveyed (the most recent one was from 1965) and make sure our boundary markers are accurate. Then we can begin the arduous task of driving posts and stretching fence.

For now, I’m enjoying the Sabbath of the winter season and refreshing before Spring hits and we’re back in the thick of it with all the homesteading responsibilities.

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