Sustainability

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120 articles in category Sustainability / Subscribe

morninggoats1
If there is one thing that is a constant around here it is that things are constantly changing. And so it was with our chore routine just recently. The boys weren’t feeling well last week, but even before that I knew I wanted to be more involved in the animal chores this summer. Their brief illness gave us just the opportunity to make that shift. Instead of just sticking in with the littlest three and making breakfast, we are now venturing out together first thing, Annie, Joshie, and I, while Ruthie inevitably chooses slumber.

morningmilkpail

The boys do like to milk so I usually take one of them with me to the goats. We’re in an experimental phase of kid separation at night and milking two does in the morning and, so far, it has worked out. So toddler on my hip or by my side, we let a goat out of the barn, tie up any strays going after the feed, and Elijah or Abram grabs a stool at the milking stand. Straight into the kitchen and through the strainer the milk goes before it is tucked away in our solar refrigerator. This is when the boys usually haul water for the goats.

morningchickens

morningbucket

Chickens are next, if they haven’t been let out already. The chickens are completely free-range but we do provide water and minimal feed especially in the harsher summer and colder winter months. One thing we’re trying to get back into a routine of is soaking the feed for a couple of days to ferment it. This is just some milo from a local farmer that we have purchased in bulk. The process is simple in that I fill the bucket about half full with grain and we add enough water to get it all moist but not so much that it is swimming. Then let it sit for 24-48 hours and scoop out as needed. This feed also goes to the hog when the slop pot isn’t too full and I don’t want it to get moldy so we’re going to be prepping this feed about 2-3 times per week.

After breakfast and morning projects and housework comes lunch and school and then free time for the boys. If I can get supper on the table early enough, we usually have another hour or so and that is when I like to head to the garden with my littlest helpers and water. This is also when chicken and goat water gets hauled again and Abram usually cares for the hogs.

morninggarden

That long stretch from sunrise to sunset sure allows for plenty of daylight for the things that need doing on a homestead. But sometimes, when the sun begins to fade and we begin tucking in little ones, I can’t quite discern what occurred this morning from what occurred yesterday.

And so it is in these full days of June, when the sun is high and the days are long and the mornings sweet.

barn-outside

The barn project has continued since its earliest beginnings and the addition of the 2500 gallon water tank.barn-outside2

There isn’t much to say except Stewart finished putting the tin walls up and began work on the stalls. He has completed three of the stalls which include using reclaimed pallets for doors.

barn-stalls-1

This has worked out well so far for milking and getting them into shelter when it rains. We are currently separating two moms and their single kids overnight and milking them in the morning so these stalls are really coming in handy for that purpose.

milking

Whenever I think of all of the farms and homesteads I have seen throughout the years, I now see all of the outbuildings and sheds and fencing in a completely different light. This is all infrastructure built either quickly with plenty of resources, or slowly over many years. In either case, much of the infrastructure is critical to productivity and food production. It is really the bones of a homestead we are building, layering on better soil or more animals and just more food production overall.

barn-stall-2

And so when projects like this come to fruition, we are really grateful for the tool something like a barn becomes to a homesteader. All of the resources and time and energy put into it is truly a gift and we thank the Lord for His work and His mercies in the whole process.

There is more to be done to finish up the inside of the barn including a new milking stand and some other additions. Lord willing, I will share that with you as we move forward.