The Empty “Nest” Homestead – regrouping and starting again

Soon our bare-root trees will be delivered and we will be busy planting a test orchard, and several flowering trees and bushes.   The orchard will have apples and peaches, and cherries.    We will also be planting forsythia and lilacs,  one red maple and ten flowering trees.

I ordered the trees from the Arbor Day foundation who provide a list of the best trees to plant according to your zip code/growing zone and don’t ship until the best time of year for your zone.   Our best planting time is late Oct-early Nov.

With membership come discount prices, and free trees, free shipping and guarantee to grow.  This week will be when we beginning preparing for the plantings by deciding where each tree will be planted, and where we plant the orchard.   I have two sites selected where I think the orchard will thrive.

The orchard:  2 Montmorency Cherry trees, 2 Belle of Georgia Peach trees, 3 Red Jonathan apples, 2 Early Harvest apples, and 1 Lodi apple.   The apple trees are all semi-dwarf.

This new start on the farm is very welcomed following a very frustrating year.

2018 has been difficult on the homestead.  Predators, mostly neighboring hunting dogs, have decimated our flock of chickens, again.  In total they have killed nearly 100 of our chickens despite our attempts at fortifing their run.   The last time they attacked, they had to tear through three fences to get to the chickens.

I am planning to buy solar powered fencing for next year’s flock of Bresse chickens. The meat chickens will live in chicken tractors where they will get to feed on all the bugs, which reduces the need for feed,  while they fertilizing the fields.

about Bresse chickens video

chicken tractor video

Along with solar powered electric fencing we will also include geese in the flock to help protect them from predators.

Last year, 2017, we sold the goat herd  which reduced our work load and costs.  We also re-homed the dogs to the same farm this year.  It was painful to see them go, but without the goats or chickens there was no reason to keep them.  They are quite happy at their new home with their goats.

The only livestock remaining are the pigs, and they are currently staying at a neighbors farm.  They kept breaking out of their pen, and running straight through their electric fence.      A few weeks ago they escaped for the fourth time and our neighbor suggested they stay at his farm where they could not break out, until next month when it will be time for them to go to the butcher.

We did sacrifice one of the pigs during their last excursion because it refused to get into the trailer with the other three.  We will be sending those three to the butcher at the end of November.

This was our first time raising pigs and it has definitely been a learning experience.   We have decided to fence a wooded area for next year’s pigs, instead of a penned yard.  We have approximately 17 acres of trees which will provide lots of foraging opportunity, as well as adjoining pasture where they can feed.

So, these days it is rather lonely at the farm when not even the buzzards are around looking for prey, but hopefully the emptiness won’t last much longer.

 

 

 

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