rhysfamilyherdingHerding horses on the homestead
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A whirlwind

A whirlwind is really maybe the only way that I can accurately describe the last few months. I almost can’t believe how much has happened in what is relatively a short amount of time! I am so behind in blogging and keeping up with my homestead story, for which I can only say that I’m sorry. So bare with me and I will do some recapping here.

So, in the months since my last post and video, I have been doing some consulting work on a farm in my area, and am working on getting a secondary consulting job on a farm that might turn into a more permanent management position. I have done so much farm/homesteading work, which is really exciting and I have lots of stories and lessons to share as well as some blog posts coming that are really going to bring some, what I feel like, are really important issues for homesteaders.

So now I’d like to address why I was so busy. Too busy to blog and get pictures up, but rest assured that homesteading is on my mind pretty much around the clock.

Now, I know that this was a shocking five months ago, but if anyone here has watched my Youtube video, you would have heard me talk about my going to school for sustainable agriculture from a really great university. Well, that had to be put on hold, and that in and of itself is a really, long story and probably a whole separate blog post. But I still have school plans, and will talk about that later on.

What I didn’t talk about in my video was the fact that my husband and I were having a wedding this past October, just in time for Hurricane Matthew. Let me just start off by saying, that I love my husband. So much so that when he said he reaaaaaally wanted a wedding, well, I reluctantly agreed. lol the wedding we had…well that is also another blog post. One that probably wont happen, unless you want my list of why you should skip having a wedding. But hubby and I survived it and now things are starting to move along for our homestead plans.

If you are in suburbia like we are, transitioning and making your dreams come to fruition is a long and often bumpy road. Unless you have the money to just pick up and move everything, (pssst, we don’t & I would assume most don’t.) then it is a long process, it’s really just two steps forward, one step back, one more step back, one step forward, et cetera. So we are not discouraged, we knew it would be a while before things would be placed on a fast track and feel like they are taking off.

The fast track we are on, or that I think we’re on is my husband’s career change. He’s applying out of state for a job that will put us somewhere in the south and it will be a surprise! So we could end up in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia or Florida. So I am just really excited for a new change of pace because I feel that this is going to be a huuuuuge step forward for our homesteading lifestyle. I will of course keep you updated on that.

The next few months will be a matter of getting ready to leave the place we live now.

So for now, I’m going to go get together some of the homestead topics I’ve been eager to write about, and  I’ll definitely start getting those out sooner than later.

I’d just like to thank everyone for their patience, and I’m really happy to get to be back and reshift my focus back onto homesteading.

 

 

 

The Importance of Quarantine

I cannot stress this subject enough. Quarantining animals will save lives, save you money long term, and could possibly even save your farm or homestead. I’ve seen too many people go buy animals from someone and immediately introduce them to the other animals on their farm. This is such an incredibly bad idea. Even if you’ve purchased animals from a reputable source, there is still a chance that those new animals could be sick and could introduce any number of contagious illnesses or parasites that could devastate your livestock.

Just because you have bought animals and released them onto your farm with your other animals before, does not mean that it would be far fetched for you to experience an outbreak at some point. There are so many things that could go wrong by carelessly or unknowingly exposing your animals to something that could potentially wipe out every single animal susceptible to that strain of virus/bacteria, et cetera. So just, consider protecting yourself and your animals. Can you even imagine how devastating it would be to have all of your animals die within weeks and there be nothing you can do about it? You’d possibly have start over from scratch.

I’m not bringing this to light to scare anyone. But honestly, I don’t see enough people talking about this regularly. Even googling it, I had to look around a little bit more than I normally might to get the information I was looking for.

So some of you may have seen Nat Geo’s show, Shear Madness. I really loved this program, and so while it was sad it was canceled, I got to find out about Natalie and be inspired by what a force of nature she is and how empowering it was to watch her do what I want to. So now I follow her on Facebook as well as YouTube ( Natalie’s Youtube Channel )

Episode one of Season one just shows how quickly it can happen that you have a possible quarantine issue. One phone call. She was informed that someone who had also purchased livestock from the same breeder she used, that those sheep had just tested positive for Ovine Progressive Pneumonia (O.P.P.) which is a retrovirus. (Read the Full O.P.P Description )

Now, she had kept those animals in quarantine and had released some of them into her flock. But at that point, it could very well be too late. She could have just killed her entire flock. If you read about the disease in the link I posted, you’ll see how absolutely horrifying that would be. And if you want to know what happens to Natalie and her flock, you can check the episodes out on Amazon. Such a great show

That all being said, no matter if you have goats, sheep, pigs or fowl, you need to set up quarantine stations! These stations need to be away from all other animals. Whatever tools and supplies are in that area need to be for quarantine only. You don’t want to spread disease so this needs to be a very clean area. When you’re done using it, you will want to sanitize it thoroughly.

So, if you know that  you are going to be buying multiple animals from multiple people at the same time, it is going to be important to have multiple quarantine pens. Because if Animal A comes from farm A, and Animal B comes from farm B and you put them in the same pen, Animal A could get Animal B sick. So that is truly something to consider. Your quarantine pens don’t have to be expensive either. There are tons of options for a cheap but reliable set up. You just want to make sure that those animals couldn’t break free or get loose.

There are still preventative measures you can take to lessen the chance of bringing illness onto your farm or homestead. Before you purchase animals and bring them onto your farm, careful examination of animals is needed. A visual inspection is a good place to start. Typically you won’t be buying a sick animal. Most people won’t sell you one, but before you go to purchase an animal, do your best to know what to look for. Lethargy, runny noses, eye gunk, et cetera, all stuff you don’t want. Don’t buy an animal that’s sick!

What I’d really recommend is having your veterinarian contact the breeder’s veterinarian to get information regarding overall herd health. A reputable seller of livestock should have a vet who at least occasionally works with the animals on the farm. I would probably consider it a red flag if the seller does not use any kind of veterinary services ever. (This is likely less true with poultry and fowl.) What you really are looking for the status determine the vaccination and health status not just of the individuals you are buying, but also of the herd of origin.

Here is a site I found that had some pretty good quarantine protocols. University of Vermont: Animal Biosecurity. I would love to outline it here, but I feel as though I’ve already been talking for quite some time! Finally, I would just say use common sense and precaution and you will minimize the chances of losing any animals to disease. Thanks for reading! I’m sure that I’ll be posting more on this matter later, but if you have questions, I’ll do my best to help you find an answer!

Camera Update!

So! My Camera, a Fujifilm Finepix S8200, is not taking videos. Rather, it’s not consistently taking videos. It takes great pictures, but I’m getting crazy static and grey screens and absolute nonsense from it. Which is crazy, because I spent more money than I’ve ever spent on a camera before, and part of that was that it was supposed to take pretty good videos for its price point. Well, at least it’s still taking really nice pictures!

But, when I bought it 2 years ago, I used it once and put it away. So I know that it’s unwillingness to work isn’t because I’ve dropped it 1000 times or accidentally dunked it in water. I digress, it’s all up to date on its firmware and was reformatted by my gracious husband, who is much better at that stuff than I am. But still, nothing is working to correct that issue. Which means a trip to Geek Squad is in order to see if they’ll know whats wrong. I really don’t want to have to buy a new camera. So wish me luck! I’m taking it down to the store tomorrow.

If this doesn’t pan out, I’m going to have to return the tripod I just bought for it. But that was thankfully only $20.

I hope everyone is enjoying their April!

An Introduction

I am about to embark on an exciting adventure. This isn’t something that is about to instantly materialize for me, not unless I hit the lottery of course. It will be hard work, both physical and for the time being now, mostly mental and emotional. So at 28 years old, I am making the push to start my journey to the homestead. I feel like I’m starting a little late in life, but I’ve had so many hurdles up until now, I don’t want to give myself too hard a time about it.

For now, this blog is a journal of life experiences that will lead me to my homestead life. I already have a bit of garden, farm and homesteading experience. Which I am so grateful to have as it will give me an edge going into all of this. So I’ll be writing posts and making videos and tutorials to explain things that I feel bring value to those who are looking to homestead as well as document my own journey.

One thing that is another huge advantage is that during this year, I’ll be attending school to get my associates degree in sustainable food and farming. This means that I’ll be able to share many of those lessons (ones that I’m paying for! $$$) here on my blog, and on Youtube, so I can better educate those who are looking for more in depth reasoning into all areas of what makes a homestead successfully function.

I know that attending school for homesteading isn’t a necessity, and I’ve really weighed a lot of the pros and cons to going for a degree, and truly, its taken me a long time to come to this decision. But I think that for me, it’ll answer a lot of questions and give me some background to the science behind a lot of what I’ll be doing.

So for now, I’ll leave you with this. I suppose sometime soon, I’ll type up an ‘About Me’ so you guys can check out my qualifications. Thanks for reading!