So a dear friend of mine said? Ok, so you want to make some changes and I know you love your lists.. so what do you need to produce? I did the first three fast off the top of my head, meat, milk and eggs.
Its a good answer but its not complete by any means and it got me thinking.. What do we need to produce?
The gardens need to produce
- Fresh Eating Veggies
- Storage Veggies
- Canned or Frozen Veggies
- Root crops
- Cold Storage Crops
- Healing Plants
- Protein (plant based)
- Bee and Native pollinator food
What does the farmyard need to produce
What does the land need to produce
- Fodder crops
What else does the farm land use and or the farm produce
- Blood meal
What are our other main goals on the farm
- A small non-sprayed piece of land that is run by human or animal power
- To provide for the people and the animals that live on this piece of land
- To provide a safe haven for native plants and pollinators and other small critters that thrive on our land, be it snakes, breeding turtles, toads/frogs/ salamanders and so much more.
What other goals are important as they relate to the farm
- A way to give back to the community
- A way to share the knowledge of what happens on the farm with the great community at large.
So what do we have on the farm that is meeting those goals and how many overlapping layers on certain things do we have? Can we tighten in our overlap, and what does that mean, does it mean remove? or does it mean reduce numbers?
Two good examples of this are Eggs?
We have chickens and ducks. We have three breeding programs of chickens, do we need all of them? Do we need ducks as well as chickens and if so, do we need as many breeding groups, how many of each do we need for our own personal family of two adults, two dogs and seven cats need?
A second example is the goats/sheep.. do we need a milk goat if we have a couple nice milking sheep? Goats give more milk for a longer steadier curve then the sheep do? Goats can cycle more easily out of season then the sheep will.
Does it make more sense to reduce the sheep flock and keep the milking goats or does it make more sense to remove the goat herd and only have the sheep flock?
When it comes to meat production, a pig is the king in this regards.. Honestly I can not beat the production rate of a nice little well bred weaner piglet for turning all my extra’s into really good protein and fat for use in our kitchen.
Having said that, we have been naturally over the past five years having many more meat-less meals, more plant based meals, more huge salad based meals. This means that I need to continue to look at shifting what we are going in the gardens to meet those meal needs, while reducing the animal carrying load on the farm.
Mulling.. Mulling.. Willing to hear what you have to say in regards to reducing the goat-sheep herds or thoughts on removing the goats totally and just focusing on the sheep for our household milk needs.
A good steady ewe can hold that half gallon milking for a good long, long while.. it’s not enough milk for a dairy but its about right for our own household needs (need more when we want to do cheese etc but that is when they freshen more) but do basic house needs.. I have done it number of years where I get a quart a milking for months and that works just fine for the two of us?
But that does not give enough for pig feed, but it does give enjoy for extra yogurt to go to the hounds and a bit for the farm cats now and again per week. or to finish fattening up a couple butcher chickens on clabber.. (if you have never had a clabber finished rooster.. do try it.. o so good)
Also on the hmmmm block is our Geese and Turkey programs.. How many fowl breeds do we need to run and carry?
This is the last post this week on this subject, I have a lovely recipe going up tomorrow and then I will off (I think) for a couple days as I am going on a mini holiday and hubby will be home and running the farm. I am planning on taking those days off from the blog at that time.