Updated: Mar 31, 2020
This past summer I hiked 51 miles across Montana, British Columbia, and Alberta, and the last day of my trip, I hiked to the peak of a mountain in Golden, B.C. The reflection I had standing on the top of that mountain and overlooking the World, ultimately inspired this blog post. Getting lost in the remote wilderness for 15 days made me re-evaluate many things in my life and it certainly made me appreciate the beauty in simplicity.
Simplicity to me, means being rich in the good people you surround yourself with and the life in which you have built for yourself. Do you wake up each day loving what you do? Who you are? Who you're with? Where you are? Are you happy with the decisions you made yesterday? Are you truly being yourself?
If not.......FIX IT! Only you can change you...but in order to get to where you want to be, you need to know where it is you want to be (the dream), what steps you can start taking to achieve that dream (the goals), and finally how are you going to achieve your goals? The Game Plan.
Exactly 30 days from today, we will be the owners of our new farm and hauling our lives across the state of Wisconsin to start a new life. Austin and I have endless conversations about the direction we want our farm to take. I am beyond grateful that I found someone that shares my same level of motivation and isn't afraid to put in a hard day's work to achieve what was once a dream, but now a reality.
With that being said, I am dreaming of the produce and livestock production side of the farm, while Austin is dreaming of a big wood shop where he can hand-craft furniture and other unique, one-of-a-kind wood works. Oh....and Austin wants elk. He is dead set on raising elk...so I say, why not?!
In my last blog post, I made a point to say that one of the keys to successful chicken raising is doing what works best for you. We are applying that directly to our Homestead and trying out different things until we find what works best for us.
This coming summer we plan to get the garden in full swing. Last year, my garden was 40x30, so I am sure it will be even bigger this year :). I am not sure what I all plan to grow yet, as this is a new garden with new soil. I could take any dying plant to my old garden and it would flourish, because the soil was dark and rich. This new homestead soil will be much sandier, so I will have a trial and error season to find what works best for me. We also have about 6 fruit trees (apples and plums), so I will research and learn the art of keeping and pruning fruit trees...for a future blog post!
Our yard runs adjacent to a corn field, but there is a 10-foot wide section that falls at the end of our yard along the corn field that is pretty unkempt. Austin and I plan to till that run and plant wild flowers as a buffer and to promote healthier soil, pollination attraction (which will help the garden out too), and aesthetics.
An apiary is the next logical step in this sequence to help maintain the garden and the flowers. For those that do not know what an apiary is...it is a bee hive. I tend to use honey a lot! I use honey whenever I drink tea, or sometimes I just throw honey in some warm water if I have a sore throat. I also substitute sugar for honey when baking as it tends to make flaky baked goods, a little more rich and dense so they don't crumble. I love a good butter/honey spread on fresh-baked bread or toast too :) I am also a candle-maker, so I want to try my hand at crafted beeswax candles and maybe even soap!
The next phase would be the livestock. As you already know, I have GRAND plans for my princesses, aka chickens :) I will be expanding the flock. My goal is to have a variety of breeds to produce multi-colored eggs and to potentially get a rooster, and try my hand at breeding chickens. I am certified in cattle insemination, but chickens...well that's an entirely different ballgame!
Austin and I will be shifting around the current cattle fencing to expand the cattle yard to some weedy areas of the property that have potential, but have been left to waste. I plan to bring those areas back and regenerate them so the future livestock can have more nutrient dense foraging areas. After we have the facilities up-to-date, we plan to get a few elk, bison, and cattle. We might be crazy, but we are going to try and raise them all together. It might end badly, but then it'll be a lesson learned. You never know unless you try, right?
Austin has plans to turn his shop into a wood-working studio as well. He is very handy and crafty and already has plans to build some wood/epoxy tables/end tables. Once Austin has a few items built, I will launch the online store on our website, where I will feature our meats, produce (local sale only), candles, wax and honey products, and other misc items we find ourselves creating. I also have some incredibly talented family and friends and would LOVE to showcase some of their work as well!
In addition, we plan to attend local farmer's markets. Our dream is to get a booth at the Dane County Farmer's Market on the Capital Square in Madison, WI. I will be applying for a booth this coming summer as the wait list to get a spot is 3 years!!
Okay...so to summarize the game plan...Garden, flowers, bees, chickens, elk, bison, cattle, wood shop, online store, farmer's markets.
That won't be hard to juggle...on top of full time jobs...right?!
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