Things have been a bit crazy around here for the last couple of months but we are finally doing it! Our family is finally starting the homestead we have always dreamed of. As I mentioned in previous posts things have been slower here on the blog because we were in the process of moving! Here’s hoping that we don’t have to do that again for a very long time – if ever!
We have located from our small suburban home to a 10-acre plot in middle Georgia. The land is mostly forested right now but it does have a small pasture and 2 stall horse barn already in place which was a wonderful bonus. Getting started with a homestead is going to be a slow process but I am really looking forward to taking this journey towards self-sufficiency with our family and friends.
Starting A Homestead
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While I spent several years in my teens leaving in the country with horses, goats, and chickens while doing 4-H its been a while and our family has a lot to learn! We are further challenged because we moved in late spring/early summer – which means we missed the boat for a lot of the spring gardening here in Georgia.
I really wanted to get some strawberries planted but I’m afraid it might be too late in the season now – if I can find some plants I might try anyways but we’ll have to see! In the meantime, there are plenty of other things to work on!
What We’ve Already Done
- Converted a Horse Stall into a Temporary Chicken Coop – We have had chicken for many years now! They were allowed in our old neighborhood as long as we didn’t have roosters and raising baby chicks has been a really wonderful experience. Since my hens are still laying really well I didn’t want to give them up. Waiting for new chicks to mature can be a lengthy process and grocery store eggs just don’t hold up. Thankfully it wasn’t too difficult to convert one of the stalls into a temporary coop. a little bit of wire to keep predators out, some nesting boxes, and a roost are all they needed to be happy until a more permanent coop can be built.
- Increased our Flock – Since we plan on building a much bigger coop (and the horse stall is significantly bigger than our previous coop) AND our chickens will be able to free-range we decided to go ahead and buy some new chicks. While I originally wanted more Easter Eggers (colored eggs are fun) we wound up with 11 Black Copper Marans. Black Copper Marans are a nice dual-purpose bird that will lay dark chocolate brown eggs and we were able to buy them locally rather than worry about shipping from a hatchery (which were all sold out for the year anyway). The chicks are super cute and I can’t wait to watch them grow up. Since we want to add a rooster or two to our flock I didn’t mind buying unsexed straight run chicks either. Extra or bad-tempered roosters will go to our freezer.
- Bought Guinea Fowl Keets – We took one walk through our woods and realized that some tick control will be necessary. Guinea Fowl are supposedly pretty good at eating ticks and when raised with chicks are more likely to stick around and be less wild. I’ve also heard they are dumb as rocks and funny to watch. We got our six keets from the same farm we bought our chicks from and so far everyone seems to be doing well! I’m starting to wonder about the dumb part however because one of the keets has managed to escape the brooder twice now forcing me to make some additional modifications. Here’s hoping I’ve made things keet proof now!
- Started A General Clean-up – No one has lived at this property for some time and while the house is wonderful the landscaping plants and trees around it have been allowed to grow a bit wild. Some of these will be removed later on to make room for food-producing bushes and trees but for now, we’ve just been tidying them up a bit and removing some deadfall.
- Set Up a Trail Camera – This was mostly for ou own curiosity and pleasure! We have seen deer on the property regularly, in fact, they tend to visit the back pasture in the mornings and evenings almost every day. Sitting out on the deck or in the sunroom while watching them has quickly become one of our favorite activities. We were curious about their nighttime activities – and also about what other animals might be lurking near our makeshift chicken coop. A Trail camera seemed like a good idea (and I’m hoping from some good pictures too!).
What We Want to Do Next
- Plan out a small Orchard – A few apple trees, maybe some cherries and other fruit trees seem like a nice thing to have around. Once we clear out some of the deadfall and landscaping trees we will hopefully have a nice spot to plant some trees come fall.
- Attempt to get a small fall garden started – We missed the spring planting season for our area but if we start planning how we might be able to plant a few things for a fall garden. It will depend on how the clean-up goes and what the soil looks like but I’m hopeful!
- Plant some berry bushes – Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries seem like a necessity really. We’ve already picked out where we want them to go we just need to get some planted!
- Fix the Pasture – The back fence line of our pasture is missing and some of the side posts are looking a bit worn. However, the gates, once we dug the bottoms out and tightened a few bolts are in good working order. Once we rebuild the back fence and replace a few posts things should be good to go!
- Goats! – Goats will probably be the first livestock we add. Not only are they great for clearing brush but I am also looking forward to milking them and they can live in the second horse stall for a while. Eventually, I would like to get a horse and teach the girls how to ride since that was my one true love when I was younger but horses are not a priority at the moment.