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 and I enjoying some sunshine


Another month has passed

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1 comments

Again, another month has flown by in what seems like just one long, deep breath.  I am guilty of wishing away the remains of winter and dreaming daily of the promise of green.  We are lucky in that we have enough exposure that the sun has melted away a good portion of the snow around our house and we've been seeing the beginnings of my *shhhhhh* spring flowers.

Although living in northern Vermont means you have to have quite a bit of patience and a BIG sense of humor.  Sure, the calendar says its spring but we're due to get another Nor'easter this weekend.  Whoever coined the phrase about March with it's lions and lambs surely didn't live in Vermont.  Not that this is much of a surprise, last year there was quite a storm up here on Mothers Day.  You just never know.

Things here on the homestead have been idling since the addition of our daughter.  But plans are always in the backs of our minds and soon enough we'll be jumping into action again.  We are beginning to recognize that although we have the best intentions, sometimes we jump a little too hard with our ideas.  So this year we plan on focusing on the motto: small but successful.  This translates into smaller gardens that we can rely on to AT LEAST provide us with the staples to make Isabel's baby food when she begins solids later this summer/fall.  We're still planning on raising chickens and pigs to feed our family but this year we're planning on three pigs instead of four and a few smaller batches of meat birds instead of one big lot of them that would all need to be processed at about the same time.

We're toying with the idea of stepping back from the dairy goats for now as well.  We'll see how milking goes this spring/summer, but at the present they are relatively expensive pets.

We have some plans for better broiler production.  Last year, we kept them with our laying hens and about half of them jumped the fence into the pigs' pasture, becoming supplemental protein.  This was a major disappointment so this year we're planning on making some inexpensive chicken tractors similar to Joel Salatin's (approximately 10'x12'x2') so we can keep them on the lower pasture where they will get plenty of grass yet still be safe from predators (both domestic and feral).

Speaking of which, we had a major loss last month.  Some unfamiliar dogs paid us a visit and much to our dismay they killed off half of our laying hens.  Then, thanks to the pile of dead chickens that we probably should have just processed and turned into dog food, we attracted a fox and some weasels.  We lost another two or three chickens and are now down to just over a dozen.  To top it all off we have at least one weasel living IN our barn.  We see it every time we go out to feed the goats and the chickens.  Needless to say, we have pulled out the .22 and are going to borrow a livetrap from my brother and sister-in-law.

So, that is where we're at.  I'm going to be pulling out the leftover seeds from last year so we can take stock and see what needs to be purchased for this year.  I'm hoping to get some of our seeds started this weekend. But, in an up coming post I am hoping to detail our plans for food production in a little bit more detail.  Thanks for sticking with me folks!