Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Self Sufficient Life

The mission is changing. Well the mission is being slightly altered would be a more accurate statement. When we originally moved onto our five acres I wanted a place where I could create a business plan for profitable small acreage farm. While that goal is still at the forefront of the decisions we have made from a livestock perspective I have discovered a second and equally challenging goal. After stumbling across the book by John Seymour The self-sufficient life and how to live it I have been challenged and inspired to have this simple five acre plot be a place where we as a family can grow and produce all of the food we would need to eat year round. While this may not be an easy goal it is one that I hope to be able to bring to fruition in the next five years.

My wife and I have started a journey to get out of the rat race of life. i truly enjoy going to work and am blessed to be working for a great company that is stable and safe. If there is one thing I have learned for the great recession it is that depending on the safety of a paycheck is no way to live life. We have sought the council of many people including the teachings of Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Donald Trump, ect... and have come to the conclusion that living life free from the chains of debt is the best way for us to raise our family and allow our children to live a life better than ours. Isn't that the goal of any parent to have their child live in a way better than they were able to. I am blessed in that both of my parents allowed me to have a wonderful childhood and I feel that to do the same for my family we need to be debt free and live a life closer to the land. I am by no means going to quit my job. In fact I look to do the opposite. I look to work in a way where I make decisions that I know are best for the company and can have the freedom of knowing even if a boss disapproves to the point of me loosing my job that I will be bale to live without the worry of where my next meal will come from. Take time right now and add up all the things we pay each month, (car note, credit card bills, house note, phone bill, student loan perhaps, cable bill, ect ect). Now imagine if all of that money stayed in your bank account each month instead of going to the banks and fattening their bottom line. We began a journey about a year ago to be debt free minus the house by the end of 2012. I am happy to report that we should not only hit that goal but possible get there a year early. At that point we will look to pay off this homestead.

This rant on debt brings me back to the original intent of the blog. We will be starting a venture next spring to propagate an acre garden that will allow us to produce all of the vegetables we need to eat on. We will also be getting strawberry plants, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry bushes, and maybe even a few grape vines. With the cows and pigs already here and chickens for laying eggs the only other meat we will need is chicken to eat. I will be building a Salatin style pen next spring to try out and hopefully it will prove successful enough t where we can produce all the meat we eat at the Jones household. Imagine you grocery bill cut by 90%!! that is the journey we are on. So come along and enjoy the ride and feel free to stop in for some help along the way!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

First Harvests, Losses, and additions

Well we just got in from the garden and much to our surprise we were able to harvest 5 pods of Okra today. We also noted 3 cantaloupe developing and a watermelon had popped up. We have been pleasantly surprised with how easy the garden has grown this year. We really rushed to get it in and in doing so we did not get it tilled as well as we would have liked. The tomatoes are coming in well and we should have some in a few week. Squash is starting to form and the pole beans are beginning to sprout! We also have 2 pumpkin sprouts that we need to get in the ground.

Now for the fun news we are getting 3 pigs. They will all be female and hopefully will provide us with some free labor. While Logan and I both enjoy and occasional ham and eat bacon weekly these girls will probably not see the butchers knife for a few years. They are going to be put to work instead plowing up and fertilizing our strawberry patch and then the location of next years garden. I will be purchasing these three next weekend from a animal science professor at UT. They were involved in a fertility study but are no longer needed. Below is a picture of the house they will be getting. As with all things here on Little Feet farm we want to do what is best for the animal, us, and the earth. We believe that having these pigs out on pasture is a healthy alternative to the way most pigs are raised in confinement barns.