Boy that went fast! The year flew by here at Bloom Where You’re Planted. Looking back makes me realize how much we accomplished!
Of course we have had chickens on the homestead for six years. Now I am always surprised at how fascinated people are about my chickens, because they just seem common place to us now. I do remember a time that I was obsessed with other peoples coops and how they managed their little flocks. I still really like to check out other peoples coops/runs especially if they are built out of repurposed materials. If you have a creative run, email pictures and I will put them up for us all to see. I am just helping someone start with a new flock of chickens. They have to remain anonymous as we are flying under the radar of an HOA. They also have to share the backyard space with three dogs so this will be quite the undertaking indeed. I will record it every step of the way so that if you are just wanting to get started you can follow along. Here is a link to how I built my chicken coop. Also a must read for people thinking about getting chickens here.
What is my greatest accomplishment this year? Hands down the completion of the front yard garden complete with a rabbit proof fence made completely out of free pallets. That was a lot of work! Right in the middle of construction the city threatened to shut us down. Read the story of how my neighbors rallied around me here. Also a big shout out to my friends who believed in me enough to sponsor the construction of the front yard raised beds. Thank you!!! I walked around with a silly smile on my face for weeks and parked my car out front so I had the excuse to walk by my beautiful garden each day. My family also probably got tired of passing me in the hall and being asked, “Did you know, I am a front yard gardener?”
What was my biggest failure of the year? Well whenever you loose animals because of a mistake you made it is disheartening. I sometimes have a tough time rising above those times. Unfortunately the rabbit den experiment my son was doing, while a worthy project, had one major draw back. The underground den floods, and badly. See underground rabbit den experiment here. On our little farm we have a hard time keeping our rabbits in cages all the time. Letting rabbits run around and explore is one of our favorite things to do here on the homestead. Unfortunately sometimes things don’t go as planned. When do they ever, right? We let our does out in one big group and then our bucks get time out alone (as they will fight viciously when let out together). I know! Who knew rabbits were so competitive? I guess Richard Adams, who wrote Watership Down, had a good idea. The rabbit warren is NOT a peaceful place. Any hoo, while ALL our does were out, one of our bucks broke out of his cage. I guess with all those girls running around, he just couldn’t take it anymore. This story is getting long, but the end result was that our rabbit had a beautiful batch of babies in the underground den(unbeknownst to us) followed by record rainfall in the Dallas area. We found the babies just a little too late. We warmed them and dried them, in hopes to revive them, to no avail. Oh, it was hard. Especially when kids are involved. Needless to say we are going to redesign the underground den in the year to come, hopefully to avoid the flooding issue. We will let you know the changes we make and if we are successful in alleviating the flooding problem.
In addition to these projects we added a rain barrel to the homestead, blackberry bushes, a fig tree, raised sweet potato bed, raised a lot of veggies and started a vermicomposting bin. We also raised meat rabbits from the decision to get them, through the building of a grow out pen, learning to butcher them and finally the celebration meal. See how my rabbit adventure began here. Surprisingly the most viewed post this year was Butchering Day on the Homestead. Second with views were the articles about raising black soldier flies to supplement chicken food. I consider that the single most successful project on the homestead to date. Read about raising black soldier flies here.
Whew, it has been a busy year indeed. It is rewarding to look back at how far we have come. While it looks like a lot, it was done one small step at a time. None of it happened overnight, that is for sure. I have to add here that I LOVE gardening and being outside. I don’t have lots of toddlers following me about anymore, instead I have strong helpers. So don’t compare yourself to anyone else. No matter where you are this year, let this be the year that you start with your small step.