Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Plan, Revise, and Plan Some More

For most plans it goes like the diagram. When you are a homesteader, I usually go through a couple options and revise the dickens out of them. kind of like washing your hair- wash, rinse, and repeat. Or, repeat until it is literally squeaky clean. Don't laugh, but there been times working that I've had to rewash my hair four times to get it to that squeaky clean state. The planning stage of "Set Goals" is a definite goal.

For 2019, the goal is get dairy/fiber goats. I wanted goats for three reasons.

1) They eat bramble so they will help clear areas. We've got an acre of uncleared, heavily wooded land covered with blackberry thickets and poison ivy. Goats love this.  With the over population of trees comes the seeding of new trees, goats devour these too. After they munch their way through one area, we'll move them to a new area via 30 sq. ft. section of electrified fencing at a time.

2) They produce fiber twice a year. We decided on Nygora goats. Since they are herd animals, we want two to start. Two does (preferrable) or a doe  and a wethered buck in a pinch. Why Nygoras? They are smaller than regular goats and command a great selling price ($400-$800) each. They often have multiple babies. Their fiber is mohair with a much longer staple lengththan angora. It can be blended with angora, or sold on its own at a price a little under the price of angora, and within a year they will pay their own way.

3) Food for us.They go into heat every 30 days or so. So we can alternately breed two does for a year around supply of milk. A dwarf nubian cross angora equals a Nygora. As such, they'll produce 1 qt to half a gallon of milk per day. That's plenty for us. I can makes cheese or butter with the overage. If a baby doesn't sell or has unwanted qualities (poor fiber, aggressive), it's meat for our table. Being small, about the size of a German Shepherd, they'll be easier to handle, care for, and even butcher. When butchering you are talking about less than 100 lbs of meat which is great for us. Within a couple of years, we'll have a flock of six to care for (our maximum). So that's the goal.

4) We want a year to get to know our girls before we breed them.

But first, we have to fence off an area. The electric fence is cheap enough at under $200. A solar charge on controller with all the bells and whistles is another couple hundred.(I'm still in the shop around stage)The head stanchion and stand is easily made from scrap lumber or pallets. It's a very good thing that we know a guy for pallets.(grinning) The same goes for their housing and feeders.I want to have everything in place before we get the goats including a good supply of alfafa hay. 

Part of any plan is resource allocation. Everything begins and ends with the almighty dollar, doesn't it? I've outlined a few of the costs above. Eventually, we'll need a ferrier and a shearer services, at least once, to show Mel the ropes. She'll carry the brunt of this load because my one-handed self won't be able to do it even with a well mannered goat.

Mel is also talking about going back to work this year. Yeah, this surprised me too. Being almost 60 and finding a job for a nonpeople person like Mel is hard. I won't say it's impossible, but we'll see. It will put less of a financial burden on me, but more of the day to day operation of the homestead on me. Not that I mind that. It will take some juggling, but I can do it.

The building projects will just have to wait until Mel's time off, but we've got nothing but time. As for the rest of the year's progress, we are coasting. We'll put out fires as they crop up, as they did multiple times last year. Take care of what we can when we can. What else can we do?

We've done the research, compiled our data, revised, our plan, planned some more, and now is the time to implement the plan. We'll be monitoring our progress along the way, revising again and again as the need arises. It all begins now.

Y'all have a blessed day.
Jo


2 comments:

  1. The reanalyzing and revising are ongoing, aren't they? I think you have a good handle on the process! Concerning goats - I couldn't imagine homesteading without them. Besides milk, meat, brush control, and entertainment, they provide valuable manure! I'm really looking forward to watching this goal develop.

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