We are done with our first year on the farm! I have a hard time fathoming all that we have accomplished in the last year. We have LEARNED so much, we have WORKED so hard! It has been such a great year, that we need to do a throwback. Here are my top 10 favorite pictures and moments.
Desolate Homestead Top 10 Pictures of our First year
Our first goats, Fawn (brown one in the front) and River (white one in the back). River was a few months into her first lactation, so I got right into learning how to milk and how to nourish a milking goat. Take note of the dirt in the back. It is lush grass now!
I remember that time when I found some young laying hens for sale locally, so I took off and picked up 10 without asking Curtis if we had an area to keep them in. I wanted fresh eggs so bad! He came home from work at 6 pm to throw together a shelter for them, until he had time to build a coop. This is the coop he came up with, the first one we built here. He used recycled pallets, tin roofing and ladders. We have already built another coop (our mobile coop), and will be putting together breeding pens this year.
The kids enjoying, and learning to be gentle with our first chicks. We have had many, many chicks since then!
In one of our many births, our sheep, White, gave birth on a beautiful Sunday morning. It was a great experience, as we were all able to watch. Even better? She had quads! The ewe raised all four of them by herself without interference, and they thrived.
My Rye Guy. This pup is a great help here! I love that he can go into the pasture with me, but doesn’t herd unless asked. He also keeps the chickens out of the barn and the goat’s grain while I’m milking. He is so smart, and training is going great. I expect by next year he will by my right hand.
Fawn’s birth was very significant. Her kids were born too weak to stand, usually they are up and nursing within an hour of birth. I spent the next 3-4 days force feeding them around the clock, and remembering all the tips I had learned to try to save them. Unfortunately the boy died after a few days, but we saved the girl. It was our first big loss, and our first time having to make huge decisions.
We have had some amazing home grown food this last year. This is a picture of a rack of lamb that we raised here, mashed potatoes, gravy from chicken broth and sourdough rolls. Lamburger is one of our favorite meats, and we will have more of it later this year when the rest of our lambs our grown. We are also gearing up for fall breeding, and we plan to have enough extra lambs that we will be able to sell a few.
This is my husband’s aquaponics set up. He has worked so hard on it! This picture is right after he set it up, but it is now growing mint, Anaheim peppers, tomatoes cherry and beef steak, duck weed and fairy moss (a great chicken feed), tilapia and houses his black soldier flies (another chicken feed).
More chicks, right!? These are our turkey chicks. They are quite big now. We ended up with 7 toms and 2 hens. We are excited to try our first home grown turkey later this year, and even more excited to breed our own heritage chicks for next year.
Last, but not least, look at that grass! We have spent a lot of time digging ditches and moving dirt to get our irrigation running to the back. We also had to get grass established. We are taking what we have learned and had to adjust to our climate and acreage. We had to come up with our own pasture rotation plan. Our hard work in this area is starting to pay off. We have enough grass to have our sheep and goats off of hay, and we hope to have even more pasture growing by next year.
I can’t wait to see what year 2 brings us. We are starting our orchard, breeding cream legbar and bielefelder chickens, penciled palm turkeys (heritage), tilapia, black solider flies, and expecting great kids and lambs. We have many more adventures, and hours of work ahead of us. This was a great first year!