Friday, May 22, 2015

The stubborn quest for food independence

Going into our fifth year on the farm.... we have come so far,,learned so much and always learning more.
our goal is to provide all our own food... to have a true subsistence farm....
seems impossible right?
now when I say , provide all our own food I mean all the food we 'need'!
Not coffee or chocolate! We don't need those things.... we 'like' them but certainly can survive without them along with many other things.

I mean provide a totally complete , nutritious diet ourselves.
like vegetables , fruits, grain, a fat/cooking oil source,, a b-12 source like eggs or meat... some might use milk for that category .... add in a sweetener like tapping trees for syrup or honey bees and what else is there?
Culinary, tea and medicinal herbs also make a great addition to a healthy diet and can easily be grown!
We are so close to our goal!
I've said before, me and my husband hit the ground running! Within a year we were providing all our own meats.... 60% of our own vegetables , all our own milk and eggs ( due to the extreme high input of dairy animals we no longer raise them for a b 12 source,,, plus I have very bad reactions if I eat to many dairy products)
We forage for wild blackberries and pears that first year and planted our own fruit crops.
I started an herb garden that first year too.
We now grow 100% of the vegetables we need.... the four season garden and much canning provide all we need....and a good variety too! I'm also growing an heirloom dent corn to provide us hopefully , with enough grain for the year.
We raise several kinds of poultry , and hogs for meats and oil/fat source... plus nutrient risk bone broths!
all we need raised here....
It has taken awhile to get our livestock profile 'right'! And I'm still tweaking my poultry types and breeds to see what stands out as the absolute best for our farm and resources....

One thing I really want to work toward now is feeding at least one group of our animals with food all foraged and grown here.
because you're not 'really' food independent if you spend a ton at the feed store to keep your livestock alive.. that's not sustainability...
no matter what the quarter acre homestead books tell you!!!

So far the geese,,, maybe the silkies also...might be the livestock that project will work best for.
I used to think possibly the ducks but they require alot of food provided by me and fairly low in fiber to lay well... they can survive on pasture,Woodlots and pond forage ,, our muscovies have before! But then their eggs taste fishy,,, yuck!
geese forage for algae and water plants in the pond but don't eat fish... so that's nice! Since we tend to have some grasses growing for the majority of the year ,, and geese are grazers (and sorta browsers) along with the ponds and my excess veggies ,,,well, they seem to be very self sufficiant here!
We are working on the farm providing all our fruits too.... which has been hard! Way Harder than the vegetables!
Of course we provide all our eggs.... but my silkies so far , are the only egg provider that can do so without feed store bought grains. The ducks get a mix of whole grains that I ferment plus they eat greens, seeds and bugs free ranging... 
Honey bees will hopefully provide our sweetner in the future,,, right now we buy local honey or I buy local sorghum ....
can't grow salt..we Need salt! Can not do without it.... the body needs it and in preserving our foods we need it!
But if it's only salt we have to buy to complete our diet... I can live with that!

It's been quite the journey .... and I do love to look back and see how far we've come,,, helps keep me going....the great victories and the extra horrible farm lows....
Yeah,,,,the lows on a farm are like none ive known!
ha, that could be a whole other post.... 'things that make me wanna quite farming' sort of a reality check post like I like to do sometimes ....especially when someone has tried to tell me about how wonderful my 'simple' life must be! Grrrrrrrrrr! Lol
But,,,, nah, I do love it so deep down in my soul...and I believe this land is where God led us.....and I'm somewhat stubborn ......and I've changed 'lifestyles' just enough to know there is nothing else for me while I'm here on this earth.,, and at lest for now there are more victories than defeats....
much much Praise to the Lord for that!
And a big thanks to my awesome encouraging husband :-) who's so good at keeping my crazy in check!

Have a blessed week y'all.

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