You Are My Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

My Only Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

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25 May, 2015

Moving To The Country.....

It's that time again... We've grown restless in the city and we're ready to move. We decided that with our little one heading to middle school after a successful year of homeschooling, that we wanted to really make this move count. As luck would have it, an amazing opportunity has fallen into our laps and we're sitting on the verge of "go". In typical fashion, we do nothing without copious amounts of research.

So here's the deal. 5 acres. Let me say it again. FIVE ACRES. What's better than that? Five acres off a dirt road, outside of a small town that's I've heard mentioned for literally my entire life. I can remember as a small child in the car being drug to my father's latest dirt bike race, every time we passed that particular exit "Oh, I'd love to move there". Mom and dad never did move there, but I am.

Country life is something that's in my blood. My grandparents on my mother's side raised chickens, hogs, and cows. Grandma used to show her polish chickens at the fair - and give eggs to the doctors in town. Daddy had horses, and who knows what else. It's a goal of mine that I have a couple of those Polish chickens as an homage to those amazing people I never got to meet, but always heard how much they'd have loved me, and how I'd never have come home if they'd lived long enough.

Polish Chicken - Not my photo!
Of course the realization sets in that 5 acres is a lot of maintain, and a goal of ours would be to make this property work for us. Another goal would be to utilize the property for more self sustaining activities to eliminate as much dependence on the local grocery store - and hell, if we're going to spend money to eat healthy, we might as well raise it ourselves! (Note: Research if I can fit buffalo on 5 acres. THAT was an amazing hamburger!)

After HOURS and HOURS of research, here is our short term plan to convert our little piece of Heaven into one amazing home, and a way of life:


  • Garden 
  • Raising our own pork and show hogs (of COURSE 4H comes into play here!)
Hereford Hog - Not my photo!
Mulefoot Hog - Not my photo!
  • Raising our own eggs and meat birds
Cornish Cross for meat - Not my photo!
Ranger for meat - Not my photo!

Barred Rock for eggs - Not my photo!
Rhode Island Red for eggs - Not my photo!

  •  Raising turkeys for meat
Bourbon Red
Bronze
 There are pros and cons to each breed and variety of animal, and likewise a purpose to each of them - not to mention the pens, feeding and care! Each breed is selected on the length of time to harvest, size, durability, and quality of meat.

I also wanted to stick with Heritage breed animals that are considered "critical"by the Livestock Conservancy. I fully believe doing our part to continue tradition and preserve certain breeds is so very important.

My initial goal is to get the hog pens built so the hogs have the opportunity to till, root, and fertilize enough area to put a garden in next Spring. The garden provides not only food for us, but for chickens and the hogs. The hogs provide pork, and literally, two hogs will feed us for the year. 

Chicken pens are easily constructed and provide eggs. Meat birds have a short lifespan. Literally 6-8 weeks for the Cornish Cross, and 10-12 weeks for the Rangers. Hello farm raised chicken, farm fresh eggs. I really can't imagine anything more hysterical than our first chicken processing line. I haven't plucked anything since I was little - which was a wild turkey my dad shot with a shotgun - as it was running away. 

We hope to be reformed city people by the end of August, so stay tuned! There's lots of exciting things taking place throughout the rest of the year. We'll be setting up our homestead and doing LOTS of diy remodeling on our home. I can't wait! We are literally marking off the days.


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