Thursday, March 21, 2013
So Here We Are - The Small Hold
2008 was a real eye opener to say the least. In 2008 the Small-Hold was still mostly abandoned, overgrown and falling apart. Most of the ground had not been worked in ages nor had stalls been cleaned or for the most part even the barn used for years. There was not a single cat or dog at the Small-Hold in 2008 when my son and I came back here and began our work. Now we have three dogs and six cats, all of them strays that just showed up and wouldn't leave. Frankly they have nowhere else to go. The barn has now been repaired and repainted and in constant use, we have raised then butchered or sold about 96 sheep off the property and seen the passing of one of the old retired nags.
The bee hives started in 2009. A full 1 acre of land was set aside for the garden and many fruit trees have been planted along the way. An old outbuilding has been restored, solar panels installed, fencelines mended or torn out, gutters installed and rain barrels put into use, the cistern reclaimed and many a raised bed constructed.
2012 even showed a slight surplus and some produce sales believe it or not even with the drought.
1350 pounds of scrap metal has been removed to date in the form of busted old farm equipment, broken gates, tire rims, a swing set and mower parts among other misc items and there is more of that to come as we are just now getting out into the actual pasture and long fence lines. There are three old round bale feeders going to go to scrap soon as well.
we have restored one old trailer that had rotted down to just a metal frame as the wooden bed disappeared. We also managed to purchase a farm truck and pay the land off totally free and clear.
We still have a long way to go however. Many more loads of gravel, countless yards of fences to repair, more land to reclaim and eventually a few acres of feed to begin growing for our own instead of buying it.
Other major costs are going to be purchasing tractor equipment scaled down to under 20 horsepower instead of relying on the larger stuff we have available. Ultimately a small diesel tractor will need to be purchased but for now I am still using an old gas 9N Ford instead of the big Massy and Farmalls. The Small-Hold needs small sustainable equipment rather than the larger fuel hogs. A small solar/Battery trailer is also on the wish list in the hopes of reducing the refined fuel needs to the bare minimum by using electric tillers and even chainsaws for the lighter duty work.
We could by my calculations make it a year or more as the Small-Hold stands right now with out any outside contact. There are two areas that would have to give in the end though. The first one is pet food. I am not sure how we would manage to keep feeding these cats and dogs like we have been during a collapse situation. The other is special food for a couple of the old nags. A few of them cannot really eat grain and grass any longer, hell one of them can't really see more than two foot in front of her face. They require twice daily feedings of beet pulp soaked in water. The reality is in a total collapse situation I know who would be taking care of those problems. A Winter collapse, especially during a Winter like we just had would also bring some other livestock feeding issues.
These are the changes that have occurred around the Small-Hold in just under five years. Tomorrow I will be rehashing some of the changes I have seen locally and then expand that out from there. I believe it is very important for us to keep a running total of just how things have changed around us as it will strengthen our resolve and confirm we have made the right choice.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!