Off-Grid Living

Whatcha Gonna Do

I never really know how my days are going to run on our farm. 

Problem 1

My conversation with my son went something like this:

Me: Why didn’t you tell me the goats got into the orchard.

Son: They didn’t.

Me: Yes they did.

Son: Oh you mean yesterday.

Me: Yes I mean yesterday, I can see all the damage to the bushes and the trees. You have to tell me when things like this happen.

I know things like this happen and its just a part of living on a farm, especially if you have goats. That why we built fences for our garden. The only way that we can afford to have goats is if we feed them off the land. This gave me 2 options. 1 fence in our land for the goats or 2 fence in our orchard and garden from the goats. I picked the second option because there are also free range cows that I need to keep away from my trees and because fencing in 36 acres was a lot more expensive then fencing in my orchard. However my 12 year old son will let the goats out to eat without checking to see if the orchard gate it closed. For obvious reasons this can be a problem. The good news is that because of all the yummy leaves we had on the ground for composting, the trees received minimal damage and since we are in winter months they should still do beautifully in the spring. However I think that installing my second gate to my orchard moved up on my propriety list. My son says that the gate was actually closed when he found them, implying that they had to jump the fence. Well if that is true then I need to know they can do that. Unfortunately I can’t be sure that happened as he really didn’t pay that much attention and the gate could have been closed after the goats got in. He also said only 2 goats got in which actually suggest that one of the goats probably accidentally closed the gate while trying to get to the other goats who where in the orchard. That is a lot more likely option. Our Orchard is actually designed to have a 2 gate entrance and all I really need to do is build the second gate. That is on my list and as I mentioned earlier, I think I might find time to do it today.

What is holding me back is I only have 2x4s to build my gate with right now, and that would make a fairly heavy gate. I don’t know what I will decide. For now I am going to talk to the kids about keeping the orchard gate closed while the goats eat.

This opening needs a gate to add a little more protection to the orchard. It would create a double entry for the orchard and help keep the animals we love away from the trees we love.

Problem 2

We have a set of chickens who have stopped laying eggs. I suspected that it was largely due to their diet. Although chickens may slow down their egg laying in the winter months, diet is more a contributing factor to egg laying than the cold. I actually have 2 sets of laying hens and they were both getting the same diet. It was simply wheat because I had gotten a lot for free. I got them back on a healthy diet and one set of chickens started laying right away. The other set of chickens did not. I decided to give the 2 set 2 weeks on the healthier diet before a made any decisions. After 2 weeks I noticed that a couple of chickens were gaining weight. Hmm could those chickens be eating the eggs. So today I started the process to turn the 2 plump chickens into dinner for tonight. The problem is that I have never actually butchered chickens before, and my husband who has butchered our chickens is working today. I am still proceeding forward and hoping that I can figure something out. I an grateful for YouTube videos.

We have already decided that those chickens will be moved to a new location by spring, so if they don’t get butchered then I have to find a new home for them because the space they are right now will be turned into a grass paddock for grazing animals.