Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Decision has Been Made

I have a few things to finish for Christmas and I also have to do Christmas letters but instead I'm going to do Ground Hog letters. I've waited in part because I wanted to say "We are moving." We have indeed made the final decision. We ARE moving.  

We were there on Tuesday, the new place that is, and had a hard time leaving. It was so quiet and the mountain view was phenomenal. The area is teaming with wildlife, Sharp-tail grouse were in the yard, two pheasant roosters on the road, and white-tail deer bedded down everywhere. We have lots of wildlife at our present home but of a different variety and the change will be fun.

We have big plans for this place. We hope to move up several notches in the self-sufficiency area. There is a sun room off the kitchen with windows south, north, and west. Besides putting in a raised eating platform so we can munch and watch the elk on the foothills, we are going to put up shelving to grow herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. I'm going to try doing some sprouted grain fodder for chickens too. If we can grow some of our salad fixings that means fewer trips to town. Town in each direction is over twenty miles away. Yes, we will be in the middle of nowhere. Won't that be grand?   

Does anyone raise tomatoes and cucumbers in their house? I start them but I've never grown them to the point of eating. We've never had a great window arrangement in this house.  We've found windows and grow lights to be most effective over just grow lights. Right now I'm looking for seeds for really small cucumber and tomato plants. What about Tiny Tom? They can't take up too much room.

As for the outside the owner says the soil is thin. I can fix that in the garden with compost piles and additions of manure. The lawn is natural grass which will need less water and shouldn't require as much fertilizer. The house sits part way up a hill on a south facing slope and that is a perfect location for a garden. Warm air rises so the temperatures will be warmer where we are compared to the bottom of the hill. I might over heat but the plants are going to love it.

The tempting creek bottom below is a place we would love to be if a plot of land was available but it is a poor choice for raising a garden and garden wins. It is colder down below  where creeks roam and it stays colder longer as the trees hold the cold. It is most likely to freeze there first and so the plum, apple, and cherry trees; strawberry plants and raspberry plants on the place that are producing I'm sure really appreciate the choice. The ranches below will hopefully provide lots of manure for the garden and trees. I plan on making friends. Most ranchers are happy to oblige as long as you are polite and willing to do the work yourself. I'll just hustle down with the tractor and trailer.

 The present garden will be my permanent bed's garden where I'll add an herb garden, grapes of several varieties, asparagus, currants, and we will see about blackberries. Another garden will be added for corn, beans, etc. The chicken coops will be alongside the gardens with runs to add width to the existing fence and discourage the deer. I plan on letting the chickens roam in the fall and spring to stir up the soil and pluck the unwanted slugs. All things I've read about but have never had an opportunity to in act.  

The plan is to go as self-sufficient as possible. Grow as much as we can in the summer for winter and then grow some salad fixins and herbs in the house come winter. Up until now I've only been preparing but this place will be the real deal. We will have to switch around the breeding time for the goats and stagger the times so someone is always producing. Freezing and canning a little to cover the brief dry period is okay but I don't foresee much freezer room.

 The chickens will have light for the winter with electricity available hence, increased egg production since light  stimulates the photo-receptive gland near the eye and tells their body to produce eggs. We won't use light unless we have to and right now our present chickens are doing just fine without it. If we get lots of cloudy skies in the winter it can mean not enough light to get the job done. You can use light also to trigger horses and other animals to cycle during the winter and hence change breeding and foaling times. Or simply shed their coat of winter hair. Neither of which I plan to do.  

With a few meat animals now and then and maybe rabbits, yes we are thinking of adding rabbits in the future to our menagerie. Three does and a buck can produce as much meat as a beef in one year. That is if the winters weren't so long and cold as ours but we might be able to enhance the available light and add heat naturally. I'm going to do some thinking on that subject. It is something we will look in too, later, a few years later I'm thinking. For now we will concentrate on increasing what we have. There is a nice loft in the barn and in will go the loom I've never used. Toni is planning on coming in the summer and we will set it up. Meanwhile I'll keep spinning the bountiful supply of material I already have.

There are only five few acres with the place so efficiency will be the key. Often less is more anyway. So it looks like come March we will have a new home. Then after we move we can finish this one and get it up on the spring market. Hopefully prices will be better and more people looking. I know things have been a bit sparse as for how to article. Please be patient they will be coming in an abundance when we the change takes place.

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