Things are coming to life

by Farm to Suburbs

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So many things have happened over the last month or so and we are exciting about the possibilities.  We have moved from our very nice, pristine and landscaped home to one that is full of character, charm and family history.  My husband’s parents are preparing to leave in July to serve as long term missionaries with HCJB Global in Quito, Ecuador.  As they are leaving their home of 30 years we are blessed with the opportunity of creating our very first urban homestead.  The home is the one that my husband was not only raised in but also born in.  It’s a 1911 Craftsman style bungalow that has been maintained and loved on by my in-laws, family and friends for the last 30 years.  It needs some work, as well as some updating but we are so excited about the possibilities.  A list of things to happen this spring and summer include replacing the kitchen and laundry room flooring, replacing the gutters and painting the trim, and replacing the fence that surrounds the entire backyard…just to name a few.

I have done months and months of research and considered what things to include in our backyard adventure.  Do we get chickens?  Honey bees?  Or a potbelly pig?  How many raised beds will we need?  Do we want any grassy area left or will we just fill the space with garden galore?  Once you answer all of these questions as well as the many that they rise within themselves you get the joy of moving on to determining the best practices.  What things need to be planted when? Where is the best place for them?  Is a potbelly good for meat or are they mainly just kept as a pet and something that tills the compost for you?  How can we operate at as little cost as possible?  Do we have space for a rain water catchment system?  We firmly believe that while we want to remain within a budget we endeavor to make our decisions based on what provides our family with the best quality and nutrition as well as replenishes our surroundings.  An example of this is – the old gutters that are coming down and being replaced, why not attach them to the back side of the garage and plant herbs and lettuce in them?  Or, rather than buying loads of chemicals and supplements to get the soil to the quality we desire, why not covered the beds with compost and then let a potbelly pig till them in and add a little of his or her own touch to the till?  Don’t want to spend a lot of money on pots and other various containers for your vegetables and fruit bushes?  Why not use the flexible twigs pruned from the apple and pear trees and shape them into baskets for your potatoes?  Or my most recent discovery – a container that is often used for compost tea or rain water catchment can cost anywhere from $30 – $60 (unless you can find them for $10 at Bring Recycling).  Why not cut a hole into one of your 32 gallon size trash bins and seal the lid on it?  You can get the trash bins at Jerry’s for roughly $15!

So last month we started seeds for various veggies like pole beans, snap peas, broccoli, tomatillos, tomatoes, red peppers and onions.  Within a week we started to see things coming up and now, just a month later, the beans and peas are in the ground and the tomatoes are right on track.  The beans are now just over a foot tall! I was so excited to get the ball rolling and feel like we were right on track for the season.  I didn’t think I could get any more excited.  Then just a few mornings ago I went with a friend of mine to pick up her broiler chicks (which weren’t in) and saw a great deal on chicks for us.  A couple of text messages later (to double check with the hubby) I brought home 16 chicks.  We are now the proud adoptive parents of 4 Americana’s, 4 Barred Rocks, 4 Black Sextons, and 4 Rhode Island Red’s.  My cup runneth over!  I find myself waking up around 5:00 a.m. just to watch them sleep!  And for those who know me – you better have a REALLY good reason for waking me up that early, with coffee in hand! They are about a week old now and are responding to us more and more each day.  We hope to handle them enough in their younger age so that they can become acclimated to people and therefore friendly when we have them outside of the coop this summer.

What’s next on the agenda you may ask?  Well, there is a play house in the back yard that is being converted into a hen house for some of our lovelies as well as a couple of tractors to be built.  We are laying a few more raised beds and getting them filled.  Then we will get supplies for our honey bees and get the seeds planted for their wildflowers.  We may also build a pen for a potbelly pig that will be raised for butcher, though the verdict is still out on this one.  We found some really great economical ways to do our construction – feel free to check them out on my Pinterest page http://pinterest.com/farmtosuburbs/farm-to-suburbs/

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