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I heart lists & these boots

January 6, 2011

Winter. Everything outside is frozen, sleeping beneath a crust of snow beyond our darkened windows. Inside, the wood stove is glowing. One of the children just got her arms stuck in a laundry basket and another one is practicing CPR on himself. It’s chaos as usual, and yet I am persevering…hoping I can finish this post about lists and boots. I think I can….I think I can…despite the chaos and the gentle Kahlua haze that has recently descended.

I picked these crazy things up the other day. They’re a full size too big and they say Las Vegas all over them. I am not a fan of that city (Las Vegas New Mexico is another story, however….), but I heart these boots. They will be my gardening boots this year. I will wade through amber fields of weeds and negotiate cactus landmines with nary a puncture, thanks to these.

My plan is beginning to unfold, and on cold nights like this there are few better things to do than make lists. Lovely lists.

Homestead 2011 (part one of who knows how many)

Phase 1, (January, February):
1. Sketch out diagrams of where everything is going–garden areas, chicken coop, compost pile(s). Years ago, I took a permaculture class and learned that one of the most sustainable ways of keeping chickens and growing food was to build a chicken coop in the middle of the garden area so that the coop (or a fence) spans the width of the garden. Build the coop with doors on either side, so that the chickens can enter BOTH garden spaces….but also make the doors so they can close, to keep the chickens on one side only. Then, while the chickens scratch around and live on one end of the garden, plant on the other end. Then, switch. This will help with soil building, etc., as the chickens scratch around pooping and eating bugs and weed seeds. I’m thinking this might be the best way to go for our garden and chickens, as long as we fully enclose the garden to keep predators out. Lots of work will go into setting this up, but should be pretty self-sustaining, ultimately.

2. Set up the indoor vermiposting box, and order some worms! Time to start composting. Also, set up outdoor compost away from the house. Something at least temporary until it warms up.

3. Decide what to grow and write up what goes in when and how, i.e. what seeds will be sown directly and where, and what will be started inside. Already have a little portable greenhouse to help the seedlings get started….but still need to invest in seed starting goodies, like cells and warming mats and soil mix. My promise is to not half-ass this like I’ve done in the past. I want the best results possible!

4. If we’re really getting spring chickens and goats, we need to get the coop and fencing done. Goats have lived on this property before, so we aren’t starting from scratch there. But the fences are old and need some TLC.


I think that’s plenty for now. If you’ve read this far (thanks!) and have any personal experience or expertise about this stuff, please share your ideas!!!

One Comment leave one →
  1. hallie permalink
    January 7, 2011 8:45 am

    Well, since you asked … all the chickens I’ve had are great help with tilling up soil, but sort of pestiferous in actual planted space. Meaning, they don’t care which plants are ones you want there and which ones are weeds. They were always digging up my strawberries.

    I thought, too late for my own purposes, that I should have put chicken wire down, flat on the ground, and planted between the hexagons, so that the plants I wanted, they couldn’t scratch deep enough to dig up, because my weak-assed attempts at fencing them out never lasted under their focused assault (they had all day to undo my work, day after day). I never tested this idea, but it would be worth a try, since nothing else I did worked.

    The crazy farmer guy featured in Omnivore’s Dilemma probably had the best use for them, following the ruminants, but if you don’t have room for one o’ them, probably a movable coop would work just as well. My cousin Jessica’s been using one with great success for nearly a year, it’s the darkest hour now, and her girls are laying again pretty well after a good molt.

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