Originally Posted by Latestarter
Helluva good story Oz. All caught up & glad to be along for your ride. Lotta ups and downs, but that's life. What an adventure you're on! Thanks everyone else for adding to the fun, entertainment, and loads of knowledge that has been shared! Now a bit about me... retired 24 year USN sailor (Chief), landlocked here on the front range of Colorado. Would love to be by the ocean again, and that may come to pass in the future, but if so, will most likely be on the east coast, somewhere in, or south of VA. Just love salt water (deep sea) fishing and eating what I catch
The name was chosen for BYC because I'm diving head long into chickendom in my late 50s with no previous experience LOL. As an aside though, I AM a night person and would love to sleep in every morning till 9-9:30 or so SO in that respect I'm also a "late starter" . Much like you and many others, I just want to become a little more self-sustaining. Bought 1.4 acres in late October 2013 here and will be starting with the chickens and a garden. The previous owner left a bunch of lumber and planted numerous fruit trees, as well as two rows of decades old grape vines. I hope to add a couple of goats maybe next year, but my "gentleman's farm" will be nowhere near as awesome as yours I wish!! But water is an issue here (semi arid, high plains) & there's just me and my old Golden Retriever to do it all, and I work 5 or 6 days a week, sometimes 10+ hours a day. I already retired once and look forward to doing so again! I'm very carefully considering participating in one of your future chicken missions, though I'm not in the medical field. I like to help others, and would love to visit the PI again, and maybe see parts I never got to see before.
I won't get my first chicks till the end of May. Very excited at the prospect! Have been fretting over coop design and whether to keep the 4 breeds I ordered separated or just all together as one big "herd" (I know... flock). We experience some short duration very cold nights here in the winter and I'm trying to arrange things to keep liquid water in the winter for them as easy as possible for me. I don't need a lot more work to do. Anyway, we'll see what develops
SO, thanks again for sharing your journey. May you always have fair winds and following seas! I'll be along for your continuing adventure. Sorry for being overly verbose <slipping back into the background>
Sounds like you've got your own personal adventure cut out for you.
Lovely to find old fruit trees and grape vines! Homebrewed wine and hard cider? (We had a conversation about this only days ago on our Alabama thread)
Originally Posted by lazy gardener
Latestarter, and any one else with water issues, at the risk of hijacking, I'd like to suggest that you research Back to Eden, Ruth Stout, Hugelkulture. Somewhat related topics, each with a different spin, but all designed to make gardening easy... the way it's supposed to be, and all use natural concepts to decrease dependency on watering and fertilizing, while decreasing or eliminating need to weed and cultivate.
Hugelkulture is good stuff, a bit of work to do, but worth it.
I've got a nice rain barrel system setup, two good rains fill my barrels up (4x 40 gallon barrels, catching water off the coop). Raised beds, because as nice as my soil is, it compacts terribly... Alabama clay Got worms to spare though, good Lord do we have worms.
I like the grey water idea Deb posted... I always feel so wasteful just draining all that water down. Considering you're PAYING for that water, it's yours to use as you please.. right? But I suppose if it doesn't end up back into the sewer right away it may be an issue... Not sure. Sounds like the most feasible solution though.. not hard to do, although could be tedious, but likely just something to have to get used to. Saving money is always a great motivator
Make sure to start a compost pile as soon as you can. Kitchen scraps and chicken poop will make you some black gold.. add any lawn clippings, leaf litter, brown paper/cardboard/soy ink treated newspaper etc.
Oh, if you do get raised beds, I really recommend lasagna gardening. You simply put down cardboard over weeds or lawn, layer things like leaf litter, compost and soil and just plant. It cuts down on the amount of work you need to do, retains more water and you just layer on and on every year.... better for the worms and such. Nobody likes tilling
You're going to love having chickens, they are such a joy.. only downside is that you'll look at your other pets and wonder what they do to pay their share of the rent