A Crazy Plan

A couple of weeks ago I wrote Planning a New Plan.  We had spent 1 1/2 years trying to come up with the perfect homestead plan, but weren’t making any measurable progress in getting there.  The time had come to re-evaluate and create a new plan and that’s what we have done.

Now, some may think this plan sounds crazy and that we’re delusional.  Maybe it is crazy and we won’t even discuss the delusional part right now.  Yet sometimes the best things in life come out of crazy delusions.

So what is this crazy plan you ask?

We have decided to buy property.  Actually, we plan to buy property when we find the perfect property to buy, but our plan is to make a purchase none-the-less.  It’s ambitious, but it’s an investment in our future.  It’s a step forward.  A chance to have property that is ours and begin working on that property – putting up fencing, planting an orchard, preparing our garden area, building a chicken coop, a shed, a barn, maybe even a house – while we wait for all the stars to align so we can move to our little homestead.

A nice benefit of the internet is the ability to shop on-line and I’ve been property shopping.  I found some property in the Missouri Ozarks that hubby and I are very interested in seeing, so we are going to look at it this weekend.

We like our new plan.  It’s probably a little bit crazy, but crazy makes sense to us, so we’re moving forward and hoping for the best.

Weeks Homesteading Part 3 – Donkeys

For those who have been reading my blog for quite some time, you probably don’t remember me ever mentioning donkeys as part of our homesteading plan.  There is a good reason for that.

Donkeys were never a part of our homesteading plan.

But several weeks ago, I learned something about donkeys that I didn’t know.  Donkeys can be used a livestock guard animals.

Guard animals?!!!  Yes!!!  And they are especially good guard animals for sheep, goats and cattle.

I had absolutely no clue that donkeys were used as guard animals, yet it appears they will protect farm animals from coyote, wild dogs, fox, and bobcats.  They rely on sight and sound to detect intruders and will run after them and use their loud bray to run them off.  If the intruder doesn’t back down, the donkey will rear up on its hind legs and strike with both front feet.  A solid single blow from a donkey can severely injure or kill a predator.  Wow!!!

Not all donkeys are created equal, which means that not all donkeys are good at guarding.  For those who want more information on using donkeys as livestock guard animals, you can find some good information at Hobby Farms.com.

I still have no plans for a donkey on our little homestead, but it’s nice to have this information in my back pocket.

Heating the Homestead Cabin

When we decided to remodel our living room several years ago, we put in a gas fireplace.  Just flip the switch and we have a fire and a heat source.  While our primary source of heat comes from our gas furnace, this particular fireplace also came with a battery back-up.  We’ve lost power in the winter a few times and our furnace doesn’t work without power.  So a back-up source of heat was a wonderful selling point.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out quite as well as we had imagined it would.  For a matter-of-fact, I can only remember one time we were able to get the fireplace working during a power outage.  Not a good thing.

Our frustration with our gas fireplace has led hubby and I to some discussions on how we want to heat our future home.   We both enjoy watching the fire in our fireplace, but we do miss the sounds and smells that come with burning wood.  So as we consider features we would like to have in our next home, a wood-burning heat source is high on that list.  Power or no power, as long as we are diligent in making sure we have wood, we will always have heat.

Now the decision becomes fireplace or wood stove.  We discussed.  We researched.  Ultimately, we decided a wood stove is the best way to go.  No big masonry work required and less heat loss thru a chimney.   Twice a year cleaning of the wood stove pipe is recommended, but I’m sure that is something we can handle on our own.  The harder work will be cutting and hauling our own wood.  We learned a little about that last spring when the big Hackberry tree in our front yard got hit by lightning and fell.  Yet the thought of having wooded property that allows us to provide our own wood source and a  roaring fire in our wood stove providing heat to our home feels right.

And there are so many wood stove choices.  Like this one . . . . .

the Hearthstone 8012 woodstove.  It will heat up to 2500 square feet, will burn up to 10 hours with a heat time of up to 14 hours.  No need to get up in the middle of the night to put more logs on the fire.

Of course there is also the option of a wood cook stove.

But I haven’t researched them enough to know if I’m sold on that idea or not.

Making plans and considering all the little details of our homestead is part of the work that goes in to turning our dream into our reality.  Sometimes the decisions are easy and sometimes the decisions are hard work.  But it takes work and perseverance to turn dreams into our reality.  

Snowy Thoughts

The snow is coming down. It’s not coming down vertically as light fluffy flakes, but instead millions of tiny snow flakes are blowing horizontally across the yard.

DSC_1224

Every once in a while a stronger gust of wind sending even more flakes blowing off the roof of the house, spiraling down to the ground. Drifts of snow forming across the yard.  Our fire pit slowly being buried in white.

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According to the forecast, we have several more hours of snow yet to fall.  A total of 6″ – 8″ inches expected, with winds becoming stronger and temperatures continuing to drop as the day goes on.

Our dogs don’t seem to mind the snow at all.

Snowy face Zoey
Snowy face Zoey (Keeshond)

 

Jagger (Papillon) and Jada (Keeshond)
Jagger (Papillon) and Jada (Keeshond)

 

As I have been watching the winter storm today, my mind has been wandering to what our life on the homestead might be like in weather like this and I realize just how unprepared I am.  No insulated overalls, coat, or gloves for working in weather like this.  No insulated work boots either.  I do have a couple of pair of really thick, warm wool socks.  I suppose I could start a new farm fashion trend with my Vera Wang wool coat and Ugg boots, but somehow they just don’t ooze ‘farm life.’

So much learning and preparation that still needs to be done for our life on the farm.  And no time like the present to start learning and preparing.