Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 160 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm

Welcome everyone, it has been a long problematic few days. We had a friend/neighbor pass away, the second one this month.  Not only will we miss them, but if I do not act fast I will miss the opportunity of acquiring the land that either held.  Land is very hard to come by here, though not expensive.  But when you are already cash strapped 6 dollars can seem like a lot of money.  So we will have to be very cleaver and wise and do our best to make it happen as the only way I can see our farm making it in the future is to increase our land.

For instance the cow really needs one acre all to her self, the three horses, really should have five to seven acres, that way we would to not need us to hay them. The goat and sheep should have around five to acres to themselves.  One must keep in mind we are doing everything we do on a very tiny 6.32 acres of land, and although it is possible, it is very hard.  Our feed bills alone nearly break us each month and for us it is a race against the clock to have enough feed and hay to get us thought the winter months that are fast approaching.  To aid us in our ability to feed all of these animals we have liquidated some of the animals, but still need to liquefy more, this mean eating allot of birds, and maybe another ram. I am unsure at this point what the future holds for our farm and others like it, with corn and other grains reaching all time highs, and the weather in this country destroying most of the corn and other feed crops, it may be very hard for us very soon.  Aside from that much of our corn in America is made into ethanol, or shipped over seas.  this year we were able to get corn to grow for the first time, however it will not be anywhere close to enough to feed everyone.  I have spent hours, days and weeks, trying to learn new ways of making it work, searching out edible weeds on our property to feed our selves and the animals.  We will be gathering seed heads to supplement the birds feeds as well as edible greens that we are drying in huge numbers as winter fodder for them and us.  We have one "weed" called plantago that spouts up a seed stock, with tiny high protein seeds that has been a favorite by the natives of this country as a survival food and flour replacement, I am unsure how much we can harvest of it maybe by seasons end 50lbs, not a huge amount but added or blended with other things may help us to make this work.  I have other plants I am looking at for this new feed mix, such as lambs quarters (also known as goose foot), it's seed heads will be saved as animals feed as well as the plants, we shall put a way at least five pounds of this dried for ourselves as it is super nutritious and tastes very much like Spinach.  I am thinking about curly dock and some of the other wilds that just seem to produce nice seeds heads.  We have also talked about raising more worms and even fly lava to add to the feed , along with dried greens, kelp and dio earth. 

I took a break a while ago and gave the quail some yummy greens, they seemed very happy.  If you are every looking for a super easy to care for bird, cortunix quail are the answer, they are small, easy to keep in a limited amount of space, eat very little, lays lots of eggs all year round and from the time they hatch it only takes 5 weeks from them to be ready as a table bird.  If one could gather and supplement the feed with free weeds, then they are almost free to raise at least half of the year.  You can start with as few as 4 birds and have plenty to eat.  If you plan to raise these, you need to know a few things, you need three hens for every rooster.  A cheap 10 full spectrum florescent light will keep them laying all year long and they can tolerate extreme heat and cold very well.

Everyday is a challenge to get the most basic of tasks done in the time the extensive heat allows us. We gather what is ripe, process it or eat it, water everything, replant where needed and than of course the feeding and care of all the animals and birds as well as things that need done at the house, it really does take a family to run a farm and I am grateful for mine...
Be blessed , Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm

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