How We Got Started Homesteading and Catching Up

I started on this Homesteading adventure back in 2006. My life has really changed since then. Nothing absolutely nothing has worked according to my plan. I am not where I planned to be in stock, self sufficiency or breeding plans. 2006 was a learning year. We got a few goats, bought a few rabbits, ordered chickens, and started a garden. In 2007 my husband lost his job and we had to rely on those resources and so thankful we had them. This was the closest to self sufficiency we had gotten. Eggs for almost every meal some days. Rabbit when available and we even butchered our first goat that was given to us. Our garden did well thank God and the goats produced the only milk we had. Our extensive food pantry out in the storage building dwindled down. More money went to feed for the animals then grocery shopping. We eventually lost power for two weeks. We cooked on a grill for our meals. It was rough. But it got rougher.

In this time also my infant son was diagnosed with a metabolism condition and was very tiny. This was not from our lifestyle but was a genetic condition. My daughter who had joint pain was diagnosised with a couple joint degenerative conditions. And my other son they were suspecting he was autistic. My husband and I grew apart more and more with all of the stressors in our lives. Financial and the kid’s health being the worst. We ended up splitting up in 2008. I sold all the rabbits and some of the chickens. I found a ratty old trailer in a trailer park but it had a three acre pasture out back I could rent for the goats. I later moved the chickens and the goats out to the new place. I had someone build me a chicken pen and the place already had a shed for the goats. This is where my new beginning starts.

The ratty old trailer turned out rattier than I thought. The sewage leaked under the house. The flies and roaches were horrible. There were holes in the air ducting so bad it was freezing during winter. I wrote the manager a letter to repair the damages. She said the owner is not doing anything to the trailers. So I got the owners info and also found out she was purchasing the park owner finance and someone else was actually still the legal owner according to the state. So I sent registered letters to each person. Only one person read there’s. The legal owner. He called me telling me he wasn’t responsible. I told him he was. I let him know how bad things had become out here. He still refused to budge saying he was not the owner even though the state of Texas said otherwise. Then came the fire.

You see the owner hadn’t paid for dumpster rental so all the trash from the park they just stuck in a trailer and dumped over and over again into a huge pile in a nearby pasture (not mine). One day the acting maintenance guy decided to burn the whole pile. Everything including household trash, old propane tanks, wood, and who knows what else. The size of the fire quickly gathered attention of the county. It created a grass fire and trucks came from all around to douse the fire. Tickets were issued to the maintenance guy, the lady financing the place AND the legal owner of the property for illegal dumping and burning without a permit. Finally the legal owner got involved.

They showed up one day with letters to put on our doors saying they are the new owners and do not pay rent to anyone but them. They asked us to write a list of repairs needed to be made. The next few months were a whirl of contractors coming to fix the houses. It was unreal the changes that were being made.

I heard they were going to sell the houses that had land attached to them. That worried me since my animals were on one of those pieces of land. And soon enough the owner came knocking on my door asking me to remove them. I refused since I had a contract. They asked for a copy of my contract. I can’t remember if I gave them one or not but I blew them off but still watched as the renovations were happening to the house that belonged to “my pasture”. I knew it was only a matter of time before they tried to evict me so they could sell the land. I started to see potential buyers at the house and one such day I saw two men walking in my pasture. I jumped the fence and politely asked them if I c could help them. They said they were buying the place. I kind of laughed and asked them did the guys tell him the pasture was rented out for another 4 months. They didn’t. They also thought the big well on the property would be there’s. I said no that is a community well for the whole park. Well that was enough for them and they left. Yeah, I felt a little dirty but I did not lie and told facts.

The very next day the owner came to my house so mad he was spitting in my face as he talked. How dare I mess up his deal? I told him he was underhanded and I told the truth. He then said why don’t I buy the place. I couldn’t I don’t have the credit or money too. He left mad but I think he knew he was stuck, at least for 4 months anyway. And he didn’t want to wait. Soon after his wife came by the house and said they were owner financing for some other people and wanted to know if I was interested. I was but wanted more info. She went and got her husband out of the car and he said they could sign papers now if I had a down payment. I knew I was about to get my tax refund so I could do the downpayemnt but was still not sure to trust these people. I asked about titles and surveys. I’ll never forget the creepy smile he did and said “what you see is what you get” meaning no surveys or title changes. I said I will only do things if they are legal and then I walked in the house and left him fuming.

Over the course of the next month they continued to remodel the new house and showed lots of people the house and the land. No one committed to it. I soon got a call saying if I had the downpayment they would survey and do everything legal. I said sure! Things were a whirlwind of excitement after that. I paid my down payment and signed papers at the bank. The owners carried the note but the title was in my name with them the lien holder. They gave me keys that day and I soon started moving in. My goats seemed confused as to why I wasn’t feeding them where they normally were fed (the other fence line) but quickly figured it out. I also eventually moved the chicken pen. That was an ordeal itself. I was so excited. 

My kids were having a hard time so I finally I agreed my estranged husband could stay here temporally but you all know how that ended up. Yep, we got back together. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t. But things are defiantly better than before. I give all glory to God on this cause who would have thought these change of events were possible! d6a8bc4c8208__1249167791000

We moved in the end of February and quickly went to work on the garden. We had it tilled up and then we planted. I also had the awesome benefit of a neighbor who also enjoyed fresh food so she did a lot of the weeding in the garden that spring and summer. She was priceless! We planted sweet corn, watermelons, canteloupes, zucchini and yellow squash, cucumbers, okra, yard long beans, sweet potatoes, black eyed peas, green beans, lettuce, carrots, beets, onions and a wide variety of tomatoes. The corn did amazing. The cantaloupes flourished. The watermelons did great. The okra and squash did so well we donated so much of it. The onions, beets and carrots did surprisingly well. The green beans did good until a couple ducks we bought started to eat the blossoms. It got so bad we gave them away in trade. I can’t even remember what I traded for but was glad to get rid of the ducks. The sweet potatoes got HUGE. Almost as big as a childs head. The tomatoes were looking very promising until we got 6 inches of rain in a little over 24 hours. It flooded the garden and we soon discovered the were in the low part. Our 78 tomato plants were soon dead. I replanted them but they just didn’t do as well. But overall was a good year.

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The goats did well. About half and half does to bucks. We did pretty well on milk even though we didn’t always have money for alfalfa hay. We still had great grazing pasture (coastal) and milking ration (grain). We tried new recipes for ice cream. Our favorite was banana. I found one recipe which I that added gelatin to it that made it creamier than it made without. We also tried a soft farmers cheese. It is kinda like a mixture between cottage cheese and neuchattel. We flavored it with ranch dressing mix and once even crushed pineapple or just used it plain in recipes like ricotta. We did not butcher any goats this year.

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Our chickens laid really well. We bought some new Dominequer chicks to add to our flock. We also ordered some purple guineas. We had a few left over from some babies I had carried with me in the move. I sold quite a few of the purple guineas and kept the rest. I really enjoy my guineas but it breaks my heart when they end up flying off or some coyote gets them. Which is what happened recently.

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We also bought a bunch of Royal Palm turkey poults for only $6 a piece. About half made it. We raised them up to Thanksgiving and butchered the most dominant (and mean) male. We gave another Tom to a friend in return of a favor and kept the other Tom and three hens as breeders.

This past spring 2010 my husband got a job about 3 hours from home as an Ag teacher. He wasn’t home much and had his own apartment and came home on the weekends when he could. As a change this year we paid to have more soil brought in to raise the garden level a little and a trench going through the center so water could drain. We tried planting some onions, some lettuce and a few tomato plants but they did not do well since we didn’t have much rain and when we did it was too much at once. We just cut our losses and let the ground rest. We butchered a wether goat around Easter. Not a religious thing was just when my hubby had time to do it. Was a little tough since he was older than a year but still mostly good eating. We had cut it into quarters, a few steaks, the backstrap and the rest cut up into stew meat.

We did not milk this spring since my husband was not home to help me. We really missed the milk. We got plenty of eggs this spring, summer and fall. Not enough to sell but enough to share. Our turkeys and guineas laid well. I tried incubating them without much luck. I had two turkeys hatch but both had problems with their feet. I think I didn’t have the humidity just right or something. I hatched about 5 guinea keets and they did well until the hawks found them.

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Summer was hard. Not enough rain and too much when it did come. We lost half our chicken flock. We even lost our tom turkey, Chief. We had shade fabric over half the chicken pen and a good chicken house but we lost them anyway. I plan on next year putting a metal cover on the top of the chicken pen and shade fabric on the sunny side of the pen. I did buy another tom turkey late this fall. He is a merrill turkey a rare heritage breed.

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We also gave away a horse we got in exchange for tearing down a barn. We kept her for a year and used the wood salvaged to build a chicken house. We couldn’t afford to feed her anymore since the pasture grass didn’t grow well this year with the drought. We also acquired a show hog for my daughter. A Chester white gilt. This was our first time raising a hog. She didn’t make weight for the show so we will have her butchered on the Jan 20th once we fatten her up some.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. You have an amazing blog!!! I would really love it if you took a look at my blog to see if I am doing a good job! I am new and am looking for any advice I get.
    Sincerely,
    Emily Smith.

    Reply

  2. yes, you are telling something true.

    Reply

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