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In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!

May

May
May and I enjoying some sunshine
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71 days until Spring

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yeah I know.  We're solidly within the Winter months here in Northern Vermont.  We're looking at subzero temps again this weekend- at night at least.  I haven't been getting out to enjoy the snow enough so I've been wishing it away.  I just keep thinking about Spring plans and I'm ready to get started.

I can't even start our seeds until March (even that is a little optimistic).  Not that I've bought them yet (you know if I did they would be planted by now).  I've got my shopping cart at High Mowing Seeds saved so when I'm ready to order I can just click the checkout button and we're gold.  I've got a nice selection of everything from peas and beans, to onions, potatos, sweet and hot peppers, carrots and celery, spinach and salad greens to name a few.  The more I think about them the more I want to just click that 'checkout' button.

The other thing I'm itching to get going on is our poultry order.  We decided that we're going to get another lot of cornish x rock broilers this Spring so they'll be ready for slaughter early in Summer, then we'll probably get another bunch later in the Summer for slaughter in the Fall.

We're going to get another dozen egg layers, Silver Laced Wynadottes, I think.  I know, its just two of us and you're probably wondering what we're doing with almost a dozen eggs a day as it is.  Well, for your information, we've been selling around four dozen eggs a week, and I'm pretty sure we could sell more if we had enough to get rid of.  Not to mention that I've been looking forward to freezing some quiche's but haven't been able to because we're selling the main ingredient.  And I don't have enough eggs to eat for breakfast every day- only enough for the weekends.  This isn't much of a problem as I don't normally have time to eat before I leave for work (I typically take some fruit and cottage cheese for a later lunch at work) but I wouldn't mind having the option.

Also on the poultry order will be the turkeys.  We haven't decided yet how many we'll get, and we haven't settled on a breed, but they're in our radar.  I really want to go with the Royal Palm turkey but Kyle would rather have the standard Large White turkey...you know, the kind that won't even fit in your roasting pan with the cover on...yeah that one. 

My thing with the Royal Palm turkeys is that they're a heritage breed, not a commercial one, so they're better foragers and wouldn't require as much commercial feed.  Although, I guess they are a little smaller than most other heritage breed turkeys...so maybe we could compromise a little.  I just love those black and white markings.  Anywho. 

So the plan is to place our poultry order in March (or February and request a later ship date) so by the time these little guys and gals are feathered in a bit we'll be able to stick them outside as much as possible.  The sooner we can get them living outside and fending for themselves the better.  I do love a good grass-fed egg/chicken/turkey.

The last thing that is on the radar is our start into pork production.  We decided it was time we really start getting serious about this whole "self sufficient" thing.  So, we'll be buying a handful of piglets as soon as we can construct housing for them, and erect some sturdy fencing.  The plan is to keep them in a little grove near the house where they can dig up the ground all they want.  Once the little piggies are gone we're going to convert the space into a future buck pen so we can have our goat breeding done on site.  Unless we decide to get a breeding pair of pigs so we don't have to keep buying piglets year after year...which really would make more sense.  Either way- I'm going to insist on heritage breeds for the pigs, for sure.

So that is our plan for this spring.  Until then I'll just have to keep watching it snow...rushing out to the barn to collect eggs before they freeze, planning sledding parties, and drinking obscene quantities of hot chocolate, trying to make the best of it.  Because, lets be honest, as soon as the summer heat hits we'll be thinking back to these frigid days and long for the crisp, cool air once more.

4 comments

  1. JWLW Says:
  2. HI Melissa: You have quite a game plan laid out there. Visiting your blog and having you and Kyle share you life style with is a nice experience. We enjoy coming here.

    Have a great evening,
    John

     
  3. Melissa Says:
  4. haha, yeah- we're pretty ambitious sometimes. Thanks for coming by again, JWLW! Hope to see you around here again soon!

    Take care
    Melissa

     
  5. oxrayfarm Says:
  6. I am excited for you! More chickens, turkeys and pigs too!

    We want to raise our own meat birds also but that's a goal for 2011. We're starting our bee's plus beer/cider making this year, I have a tendency to take on way too much to fast so I am trying to pace myself. I can't wait to see how your farm grows.

    Cheers! oh... and Happy New Year too!

     
  7. Melissa Says:
  8. Yes, we're going to be doing bees this summer as well! We started our hard-cider-making last month but it is SLOOOOW going right now. :)

    We tend to take on alot, too...but I kind of like it that way. I never was good at wading into water, just have to dive in head-first. :)

    Good luck with your place! I'll post a picture of that chicken-plucker we made soon so hopefully that will help you when you're ready for that step.

    Happy New Year, Oxray!
    -m