Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Backyard Farming Connection Hop #76

 OH MY GOODNESS!  This was one of those spring is here/let's garden/time to clean out all the animal bedding/we got a llama weeks!  After months of planning and indoor projects, this week we jumped into spring with both feet.  Already our daily routine is quickly being turned upside down as we head out in the morning and rush back in to throw dinner together at the end of the day!

Probably the most exciting thing was that on Sunday we added an adorable 2 year old gelded male guard llama to our homestead.  Cocoa made his appearance, and already seems at home out in the pasture.  Before I get into this week's features, let me share just one photo of our new buddy: 




This week's features:

From Homestead Lady: Goat Forage in Your Backyard


From Walking in High Cotton, Lambing Help Part 1: What does Normal Look Like?



I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.

Backyard Farming Connection


Backyard Farming Connection

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Backyard Farming Connection Hop #75

This week the whole homestead is just starting to crawl with life - bugs, the first green shoots, bulbs are growing, and the animals are everywhere.  We've just managed to get a few early season things going and have a huge list of projects planned for the coming year!  

This week's features:

From Garden Up Green: Covered Raised Beds


From Katie's Farm: Baking Soda: 25 Household Uses



I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.

Backyard Farming Connection


Backyard Farming Connection

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Defender of Dirt: A Review

As a parent I am constantly hunting for meaningful, relevant, and inspiring books to share with my children - especially books that deal with topics that I'm passionate about. Just over a year ago, I heard about a local author writing a children's novel that explored some of the current issues around modern homesteading.  While many people still understand and romanticize farming; the perception of the urban homesteader is much harder for people to grasp.  I was thrilled to learn more about this ground-breaking book that presents these topics to our next generation and am excited to share a little more with you here today about Ruth Ann Smalley's new book: Defender of Dirt.

http://www.jeansgreens.com/shopping/books.htm#other


Defender of Dirt follows the adventures of two children, Squirrel and Sam, as they move to a new town. It doesn't take long for them to discover some interesting habits of their new neighbors including: gardening, raising chickens, building with cob, and providing habitats for bees and worms.  As new homeschoolers Squirrel and Sam set off to learn more about why it's important to think about the natural world around them and to reconsider some of the choices they make; including the food they eat.  With the help of their new friend Mae, as well as others, they quickly become part of this new community of people trying to live in harmony with the earth.

Not everyone in the neighborhood agrees with the backyard farming ways of the family next door however, and the Franklin family down the street seems intent on spying and turning people against them. The Franklin's think of chickens as 'against the law' and bugs and birds as 'vermin'. Sam and Squirrel learn their biggest lesson when they decide to stand up for what they believe in and support their new friends on their urban homestead.

Defender of Dirt not only carries the reader smoothly through the plot, but is filled with bits of information the children gather through their own curiosity about GMO's, pesticide use, the importance of pollinators, and of course the benefits of coming together as a community.  With more and more people interested in growing food and raising animals, this book looks at the modern issues that drive the backyard farmer and presents them in a way that everyone can understand.  The book is without a doubt a page turner and is full of wonderful illustrations that keep the imagination going.  While this did work as a read-aloud book for my 5 year olds (they just wanted me to keep reading), many of the topics will gain a deeper meaning when shared with a slightly older crowd (8+).


Inspiring the next generation of urban homesteaders is one of the best things we can do for our world.  Defender of Dirt is the perfect balance between green living inspiration, environmental awareness, and just plain fun.  If you are looking for a book to inspire a young homesteader as well as broaden their viewpoint, this is the book; it is a must-have for any aspiring homesteader.

You can order your own copy of Defender of Dirt through Jean's Greens (find the book under the book section: specialty books).  If you're looking for something for younger children, you can also check out Ruth Ann Smalley's green-living children's book: Sheila Says We're Weird

Thank you to Ruth Ann Smalley for allowing me to review a copy of this book and having the opportunity to be involved in this truly inspiring project.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Backyard Farming Connection #74

We are right at the transition of winter and mud season here in NH which means that life around the homestead is starting to move a bit faster.  There is sap boiling, half sheared goats are running around the pasture (or hopping over the fence depending on the day), seeds are getting started, and everyday more and more ground appears under the snow.

This week's features:



From the (mis)Adventures of a 'Born Again' Farm Girl: How to Catch Wild Yeast

I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.

Backyard Farming Connection


Backyard Farming Connection

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Backyard Farming Connection #73

It was 4 degrees here last night - as in SINGLE digits.  Luckily there was tap flowing last week and just a few bulbs peeking up through the snow.  Spring is coming!

This week's features:

From Several Gardens Farm: Why I love Winter Pruning


From Everything Home With Carol: How to Live on One Acre


I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.

Backyard Farming Connection


Backyard Farming Connection

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Keeping Rabbits

This post is part of the series: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Homestead.  If you missed the other posts in this series, you can get caught up here. If you're looking for some great resources for planning your homestead, check out some of the books here.  

Rabbits - they're soft and fuzzy, adorably cute, relatively easy to keep, low cost, and a truly multi-beneficial animal for a homestead.  One of the biggest benefits of keeping rabbits is their small size and quiet natural; making them a great starter animal or a good addition for the small or urban homestead.

Rabbits can be raised for meat, kept as pets, and some can even be raised for their soft fiber. Since they are small, they are a perfect choice for someone with limited space.  One of the truly biggest benefits of keeping rabbits is their poop; which can be used directly in the garden without composting first.  Some people even create a vermiculture bin below the rabbit's cage to catch the droppings.

On our homestead we keep 2 angora rabbits that we use for their soft, warm fiber.  While many people keep rabbits successfully in cages inside or even house train the rabbits, we've found the clean-up much easier when we keep them in the barn (not to mention it helped my husband who is allergic to the rabbits)!  While rabbits do well in many temperatures, care must be taken especially in hot weather since they are used to burying into the ground when it gets hot and can't regulate their temperature well outside. While many people do keep rabbits for meat, our rabbits are strictly pets and are well loved additions to out homestead.




Benefits
  • Produce a higher yield of feed to meat ratio than other animals
  • Angora bunnies produce fiber
  • Can be kept in small spaces
  • Have even been used to help mow the lawn
  • Quiet
Cons
  •  Don’t do well in hot weather
  • Since rabbits are widely considered pets it may be difficult to slaughter them (both for you and your neighbors and friends)
  • May need separate living quarters since a rabbit fight can end quite badly.

Requirements

Rabbits can be kept in hutches, cages, or pastured; they need a place to escape the elements and be protected from predators. They should to be fed hay and feed, plus have constant access to clean water.


For a few books on raising rabbits check out some of these.  You can also visit many of the links below to find out more (if you're reading this on email, click through to see the links):




Over the next few months, I will be exploring the opportunities available to the homesteader and offering thoughts on how to set goals and gain a focus on what you want on your homestead.  Many of these thoughts are already available in my ebook: The Modern Homestead, but I invite you to follow along here and on my Facebook page for a deeper look into ideas and thoughts on creating your dream homestead.You can also find a wealth of information at the tabs at the top of the blog about gardening, raising animals, and learning new homesteading skills.  If you're looking for experience and examples, check out the Homestead Highlight series for first hand accounts from homesteaders. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Backyard Farming Connection Hop #72

This week's feature:

From Oak Hill Homestead: Why Your Should Have Goats on Your Homestead


I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.

Backyard Farming Connection


Backyard Farming Connection