As with everything else here on the MicroFarm, the actual farming has taken aback seat in the last few months to....simply getting by. However, now it is time to jump back in and get this land producing.
Here are my MicroFarming BIG plans:
· Goats: With an all-time high of 7 goats, we are now down to just two...one of whom couldn't even help us with baby goats even if he wanted to. The big plan is that we would like to edge our way back into dairy, with a foray into meat production also. I am hoping to add a male Nigerian and a female Kiko. The idea is that a male Nigerian wouldn't be as difficult to handle as a full-sized buck and would work well with Miss Mermaid (our sole doe for the moment) for producing cute little, sale kids and milk. The Kiko female could also (hopefully) be bred by the Nigerian fellow to produce a meat flock. Granted the kids would be smaller than if they were full-blood Kiko, but I think the greater manageability of Papa goat would be worth it in the meat department. To do this, we need to get a post-hole digger (lovely, rocky glacier-land soil.....) and finish up that buck pen.
· The Poultry front: We currently have 12 laying hens, having lost an Ameraucana somehow in the last month or so, and one accidental rooster. It's a mixed flock, and they are amazing layers. One of Mr. SoulFull's co-workers has to move, and we will be inheriting 12 more chickens, along with 2 turkeys, and 2 ducks; to sweeten it further, we are also gaining the extra nesting boxes. I am extremely thrilled about the ducks, nervous about the neurosis of turkeys, and delighted to have the chickens. The ones we have are such good girls, so happy to do their job with little in return.
· Rabbits: We are scaling back on the rabbits. I feel like we got in over our head with breeding, since they do reproduce like rabbits, after all. We gave almost all of our breeding stock to a family from church that it is trying to get into rabbits. We kept our New Zealand/California X doe and our New Zealand/Giant/Champagne D'argent Buck. I haven't done any breeding since before the school year started, having known that things would be crazy (I didn't anticipate exactly how crazy....). I think that once we have the fencing managed for the rest of the critters, we will breed once again. I am looking forward to having a freezer full of non-grocery store meat again.
Oh goodness. This has been the biggest point of frustration and disappointment in our farming experiment. This year I think we will scrap the aquaponics, for the most part. It has been a constant struggle to keep the main tank from filling, then leaking, and draining the pond, as the result of some malfunction or another. On top of that, whatever does grow BumbleTot picks before it is ripe. So this year, the big plan is that I am going to try lettuces and Kale in one of our front, decorative-type beds. The raised bed will get the peas and other veggies that I have been researching for our area. I am also going to try to do some nasturtiums in there too, because they aren't just pretty and edible, but apparently, they can protect some of the veggies during growth too. The tomatoes shall remain where they have been, in patio planters, and finally, I hope to continue slowly working on turning the apple trees on the property back into fruit trees, as opposed to shade trees. * An update since I started this post is that Mister actually stopped into the Organic, Local Seed Company in town. They sell seed heirloom seed packs based on what grows well around here. It sounds like a great idea, and they sound very helpful and friendly, but I am still nervous to attempt anything but very easy to grow plants....as I am so prone to killing them. It could, however, also mean a business opportunity for the The Boy, since the man is very interested in worm castings and tea, and Big Boy wants to get his worm farm up and running again. Either way, another late snow (today, March 1st) has bought me a little more time to deal with planning this out :)