Chickens and other things

This week has been one excitement after another!  Aside from the excavator and almost finishing the digging we also ordered our first round of chickens, acquired wood from a wonderful dear friend to make a chicken coop, and modified our GoFundMe account.  So check this out:

We are trying out a hatchery that is recommended by Joel Salatin.  I ordered 25 heavy heritage roosters.  I know they are tougher meat than hens but I hear if you do a brine wash on them they loosen up so i’m gonna give it a shot and see what I think, especially since they are $1 cheaper per chick than getting hens or even straight run.  Hopefully the processing goes well and we wont really be able to tell a difference.  I cant wait to get the little guys in the mail next week.  SQUEE!!!

I have also been stressing about this chicken coup.  I figured it would cost about $50 to build which I had not figured into the budget, meaning i would have to stress myself more to work my business harder than i already have been or take the money out of our building fund.  INSTEAD my very dear friend has offered some wood she had laying around.  Meaning chicken coup=almost free!! I love this kind of country lifestyle.  i have something you want that i dont need so you can have it, and I know I’ll be bringing her some veggies this summer too, and maybe a chicken or two.  it’s a win/win on all sides.

Finally, and probably the coolest part, is that The concrete foundation is going to be cheaper than previously expected.  I called around and did more price shopping.  it looks like the gravel will be about $1000 (instead of $1500) and the concrete should cost about $3300 (instead of $4000).  I did some more calculations and it looks like if we can raise $2000 by the end of July we can have the entire foundation finished!!!  I am extremely excited!!!  Also a bit nervous.  Looks like i have a lot of work to do to raise $2000 in 2 months!!  Wish me luck!  www.gofundme.com/0tohomestead

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More digging

The new excavator arrived yesterday.  They hauled the old one away to fix and now we have a new one that works like a charm.  C went out to the property on his way home from work and spent 2 hours digging.  it looks amazing.  Although we still have about 2 more hours of digging left, the house needs to go back about 5 more feet.  The doesn’t sound like much, but if you think about it the walls are at least 12 feet deep at that point.  Standing next to the back walls right now (which are about where the living rooms will be) is pretty crazy.  The walls are about 3 feet taller than i am!!

digging 3 digging 4 digging digging2

I am so excited about how the whole thing is coming together.  I still can’t believe it’s really happening.  We will be meeting with our architect soon to finish up the plans so we can take them for approval.  We will also be flattening out the excavated area and digging for the grey water filtration, the cistern, and the pipes this weekend.  we will also be planting the last of the garden this weekend, and i will be attempting to build a chicken coup!  On my to do list for next week is getting the health department out to approve for a septic system, moving the hens to the coup, tending the garden, and working on promoting our farm so we can get some donors.  Whew!  busy busy!!  Stay tuned for updates

Fundraising

I set up a GoFundMe account yesterday.  This should be the only time we need one, but this will prevent us from having to stall the project for 5 -6 months.  I realize that it’s a long shot in getting anyone to help us with our project, but I figure even if nobody donates anything it should at least help us get the word out on what we are doing.  The account is http://www.gofundme.com/0tohomestead.    Please check it out, if you can’t donate (or don’t want to, and that’s ok too!) at least share with your friends!!  Thanks!!

dirt pile

We broke ground!

This was an exciting weekend!  We broke ground on the property!!!  The excavator rolled up on a SEMI!

semi truck

The guy then drove it down the hill and onto our land.  C pulled up about 5 minutes after the semi left.  We were planning on using the equipment first thing Saturday morning but we were both so excited we decided to get started on it right then and there.  It was fantastic.  The bucket drove through that ground like it was soft butter.  We worked on it for about 30 minutes until we had to go pick up the kids.

excavate 1

Our plan was to get started on it first thing Saturday morning and have it finished by Saturday night.  It didn’t quite work out the way we had planned.  The excavator had some issues the next day.  It kept stalling and it was really difficult to run.  We got about halfway done with digging it out when it finally just gave up.  We are supposed to have a new piece of equipment on Tuesday though.

rock wall excavate 2

It sucks because we will have to work late for a few days this week to get back on our schedule but as long as we can get it done by this next weekend we plan on finishing up the excavating using a backhoe to flatten it out and dig out the spots for the septic system, the cistern (we are pretty sure we are going to do a cistern instead of a well), the grey water filtration, and the pipes.  Once that is done we will be laying the pipes, filling the grey water filtration,  and getting the gravel and then the concrete for the foundation.  When the foundation is set we can start on the tires (which will take the longest time and is virtually free, except for paying a few people to help).  The upcoming problem is that the gravel and concrete will cost us close to $5000 which will take us about 5-6 months to save up.  We really don’t want to have to stall the project for that long.  So it looks like we will be running a GoFundMe campaign for a short period of time.  I was hoping to not have to, but we can’t put the project on hold for that long.  Once we run the campaign we wont have much in the way of expenses until we put the solar panels in (which we are using next years tax refund for), and buy the cistern and septic tank.  I’m not too concerned about those though because we will have at least 4 months of mostly saving money which will pay for those things.  This initial building cost is stressing me out a bit though.  I guess all I can do is tell people my need and pray!!

5 year plan

Today is one of those days I need a bottle of wine and a good long cry.  Stuff just continues to pile up into a big giant pile of crap that is today. Tomorrow should be better, but today totally blows.  Today is a day that makes you realize there are certain things that can and will never change no matter how much of a good person you are, how hard you work, or how much you care, people will do what they will to bring you down to make themselves look better.  The only thing you can do to prevent it is eliminate it, and the only way to do that is to be the one running the show.

Part of this project has always been to have a 5 year plan.  In 5 years or less we will be completelly debt free with only about $250 in bills every month, that way if something does happen it won’t be a huge tragedy.  In 5 years or less the farm and our two combined businesses will be bringing in more than we currently bring in, that way we have control of our livelihood. Lastly, in 5 years or less we won’t have to worry that someone else’s lies will destroy our lives. We just have to make it 5 years. That’s all. 1 month down and 59 more to go. 

Politic and other things

If you haven’t noticed already C and I are pretty vocal about politics. We see the broken system and want to do whatever we can to change it. C has even thrown around the idea of running for city council, which he probably still will once we complete our project and become more active in the community. 

Anyway, last Saturday we went to a meet and greet for an independent candidate running for governor. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I really liked him. His main platform was wanting to fix the broken system here in ky, which included fixing badly written and broken legislation as well as not being able to be bought (which would prevent bad legislation that only helps coorporations or the rich). I went with several questions, all of which were answered very well and in somewhat unique ways from other candidates. For example: he is all for raising minimum wage, but his solution would be to make small businesses exempt for at least a trial period if not for good. His solution to helping the Appalachian area is hemp and legalizing medicinal marijuana (it’s going to happen sooner or later anyway, why not make profit on it now) so it can legally be grown in those areas.  He also wants to fix the secondary education system so people aren’t graduating with huge debt and no jobs. He is also all for moving to renewable energy sources (like solar) once we can get the cost down closer to $.04 per kWh, which we will once the larger scale Tesla batteries come out. 

If you can’t tell already I really like this guy.  

One thing that really stuck with me though was this: we were talking about the poor and what can be done about helping to stop the criminalization and blaming of people who use the system (either temporarily or for long term) and he made a statement that I had ever thought of before. He said that even though the poor are made out to be irresponsible that there is evidence supported by studies that the poor, and especially the homeless, are better at money management than those who have money. I thought about it and realized that he’s right. When I had disposable income I spent it on a lot of crap I really didn’t need. Now that we don’t I know exactly how we can eat and get gas for the entire week on $50 without over drafting our account. That’s skill.  That’s something I’m really proud of.  Anyone who can make me feel even somewhat good about being in a tough situation is worthy of a vote in my book. 

Exciting things 

This week exciting thing are happening!!

First off this Saturday we will be breaking ground on the property. We have rented a hydraulic excavator to remove all the dirt in the area where the house will be. This will be an interesting experience. C is beyond thrilled. Not only to be breaking ground, but to be operating such a large piece of machinery to do it. If you aren’t familiar with a hydraulic excavator  it’s this:

  
Secondly I will be building a chicken coup for my ten layers. I’m super excited about this project. I spent all day yesterday trying to figure out what I wanted it to look like and what was needed to put it together. I think I should be able to do it for close to $50. I’m going to try to do it myself too. I know C can do it, and do it better than me, but the chickens are kinda my pet project, and he has so much more on his plate right now than I do. It will be a source of pride for me, even if it ends up looking like a five year old did it and it’s half falling apart. I will forever know that I made it all by myself. 

The final thing that’s happening this week is that we are ordering 25 heritage meat chickens. I can’t wait for them to come in. It will take about 4-6 months for them to get the size I want them to be but that doesn’t matter too much because we will be using the Joel salatin method of raising meat birds so we won’t be buying feed for them I can’t wait to not have to spend $8-$10 on chicken anymore. 

Actually there is one last thing: once we have excavated the property I will be launching a small fundraising event to raised money for our concrete foundation!

I’ll be taking pictures of the process with all three of these exciting things so stay tuned!!

I have the most amazing people in my life

We have some exciting news….

As long as everything goes as planned tonight we should be excavating on the Saturday of Memorial Day!!

I am so excited!!  Can you tell?  We are waiting to get some quotes from the father of a friend of mine on renting an excavator.  We are meeting with him tonight at the property to show him what we want to do and make sure that the one we want to rent will be the correct one for us.  As long as the price is right we should be able to rent it in 2 saturdays.

What does this have to do with my friends being the best?

1) because they totally ARE!  2) because we were able to find an architect through an awesome client of mine who is using our plans for his senior project.  He has so far been super awesome and i am very excited to see what the final plans look like.  And lastly 3) We have really been trying to keep the cost of building this house very minimal.  We are shopping around and getting multiple quotes from people before laying down any money.  So far we have saved over $2000 and we haven’t even started building.  I got a few quotes from large companies on renting excavator equipment but i really want to stay local, and many times doing things locally actually ends up saving you money, although sometimes it doesn’t.  I put out a request on social media asking people if they knew someone who would let us rent their excavator and my friend replied back that her dad rents them.  We will see after tonight if renting locally and through friends pays off.  Either way I give total props to my friends for wanting to help us find things!!  Keep it us guys, we’re gonna need some help as we continue with this!!!

A full life

I was talking to C the other night about how both of us have the equivalent of 3 jobs.  We both have a full time job, only one of which pays, and two part time jobs, which currently only one of them pays.  My full time job is taking care of my kids.  M0st of the time, as I am writing these blog entries, I am also running after at least 1 child, usually 2, sometimes 3.  I am currently sitting in one of our small towns fine coffee shop establishments half paying attention to what I am writing as I am also trying to make sure my daughter doesn’t destroy something we would have to pay for.  In my defense I consider myself pretty darn good at my job and she typically behaves herself to where I can only pay half attention to her in situations like these.  I get up at 6am, sometimes earlier, to get breakfast and lunch ready for C, get myself half ready, and get three kids dressed and in the car by 6:30 so I can get our son to preschool on time.  I then have to spend 3 hours finding something to do until he gets off school (since he only has 2 weeks left we didn’t transfer schools when we moved so we have a long drive).  Baby girl and I typically spend the time either with friends or having breakfast at one of the local shops, although the later is what we prefer sometimes it’s either not in our budget or she isn’t emotionally ready for that kind of responsibility.  There have been a day or two where we sit in the car for an hour or more.  those aren’t fun days.  The kids do go down for a nap/quiet time for two hours mid day but since we have made the move te 5 year old isn’t fantastic at giving mommy quiet time.  Plus I still have the baby to deal with.  That time is typically spent working on one or both of my part time jobs.  The first being my business (which makes me money), the second being the farm (which WILL make us money).  I also make any phone calls that need to be made during this time and/or clean the house.

  
The kids usually go down for bed around 8/8:30.  The hour or two C and I have after that before we go to bed is the only real time we spend together anymore.  When he gets home from work around 6:30 is when he works on one of his part time jobs, the farm.  The farm is more his job than it is mine. He does all the muscle work with it.  Right now he has to fix the tractor so we can get the ground worked up enough to plant the rest of the garden.  We have  probably close to 200 plants that need to go in the ground in the next two weeks, most of which are tomatoes.  We plan on having a ton of tomatoes so we can have enough to last us until harvest time next year, and we can have some to barter/sell.  Taking care of the garden will be more my job once things get planted, but we do most of that stuff together, I just have more time to do it than he does.

I also try to make sure there is enough food in the house, which means making sure there is always bread, some kind of treats for C (he is type 1 diabetic), and snacks for the kids as well as making sure we have regular meals.  For example, today I will be making tortillas to keep in the fridge, zucchini bread (one to eat and one to freeze for later), and possibly some oatmeal raisin cookies if we have enough butter (which we probably dont).  Butter is one of those things we go through a LOT of.  I hate buying it too.  It’s really expensive and it’s one of those things I know we could make ourselves once we get our cow.  What I need to do is find someone local I can buy milk from in the meantime.

Meanwhile I try to fit in working my business, which doesn’t always work out.  I try to make sure I am contacting customers every day, getting stuff mailed out in a timely manner, holding some appointments.  Of all f my jobs this one tends to get pushed to the back burner more than I would like.  It’s tough trying to juggle everything and sometimes some of the balls drop, but I think we are doing pretty good considering.

This life is tiring, it’s tough, it’s hard work, and we go to bed every night completely exhausted, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.  It’s exactly the life that we want and we are blessed to have it.

Family visits

My mom came to visit for a short time this week.  She came to help with the move and with the baby so that I could have more time to heal and not overwork myself.  It was really nice having her here, as it usually is.  I was able to get the rest I needed yet we were also able to get a lot of things checked off of our overwhelming list.  I say overwhelming because we needed to fix the water filtration system to the house, move some large items that belong to our friends from the upstairs of the house to the loft above their garage, move boxes upstairs, start to unpack, move the old dryer out of the laundry room and replace them with our washer and dryer, fix the tractor, and mow the lawn.  All of this needed to be done as soon as possible (like before the end of the weekend kind of soon) and without my help since every time I overexert myself I set back my healing by a few days.  Thankfully with the help of my mon we were able to get everything on the list done except fixing the tractor and moving all the boxes upstairs (although to be fair my mom moved over half of them).  My stress level is greatly decreased.

I wish my mom could be here more often.  Not just because she is a huge help, but because I really enjoy having her around (even though I spend a great deal of time fussing at her).  We are at a point in our relationship where we are trying to navigate from being mother/daughter to being adult/adult.  I know that I have this need to prove to people that I am a grownup who can do things on my own, and I know my mom likes to help however she can.  Its really sweet and I really appreciate it, but for some reason I take her help personally.  It’s nothing that she is doing wrong because she isn’t, she’s being fantastic.  I am reading it as though she is telling me she wants to fix what I am not doing right, which C has made pretty clear to me isn’t the case.  I want people to see our finished product of where we are going but until then there are times when things are gonna get hairy, and that’s ok.  It’s ok if my mom other people or sees those parts of our life.  This isn’t where we are going to end up forever, this is just a temporary stay, and if people want to judge us for it then that’s their problem not mine and I need to stop feeling bad about it.