Wow! One Year Ago Our Adventure Began

One year ago today we packed up our moving truck in a warm and muggy Texas spring day and moved our family to the country. Starting the biggest adventure our family has experienced and has yet to slow down. In fact it more than likely will even get crazier as our time out here continues.

We had have some great times on our homestead and some sad times as well. We lost a few animals but gained even more. Started with a dog names Bear, a city dog in fact, to everything we now have.

From day one when I surprised the wife with Charlie our first kitten, to me bringing home 2 Labrador puppies my wife is now more surprised when I don’t come home a new animal.

Yes, we lost Charlie and up until a few days ago we had thought we lost Shadow, missing for almost a month, came home skinny and looking nearly dead. We have lost a good number of chickens, mostly due to Ginger our Labrador that really loved playing with them.

Now a year later, we have 3 Jersey steers, 2 donkeys, 31 chickens, 2 dogs, and 2 cats with one cat expecting soon. They said to start slow and we tried. Well my wife did, I didn’t.

A newly planted orchard will bring us many fresh fruits and nuts in the future. Looking forward to the many variations of plumb, peaches, pears, pomegranates, pecans, and blueberries! As time moves on we plan to add more trees and a verity of different fruits and nuts.

We started a small garden this spring. In the fall we will convert about 1/4 of an acre to various vegetables and fruits for our first phase and growing that even bigger. We also plan on converting the smaller pasture to our calorie crops like wheat, oats, beans, corn, etc.

We have plans for a dairy cow that will double as a nursery cow for the bottle feeding calves we will buy. Hopefully, we will start our own heard and birth our own calves soon.

We have plans to bring in some pigs as well here shortly. So bacon and eggs will be a staple on our breakfast table.

Overall our goal is to be as self-sustainable as possible when it comes to our food and our farm animals food.

There is so much work to be done but we can only do it a little at a time. I am learning we don’t need to buy everything but make use with what we already have here. In fact we plan on using muscle to harvest our hay this year.

We are so grateful for this opportunity, to raise our boys country and teach them hard work and the rewards from it. To teach them that their imagination is better than a video game and to give thereal-life experiences and skills.

This last year was amazing and looking forward to our second! The adventure has yet has started! Grab a horn and get ready to continue the ride of our lives!

Does this Ass make my Homestead look small?

So on an icy and very cold Sunday afternoon, a trailer arrived with 2 new members of the Turner Homestead.  Who are the new members?  I can give you a hint?  They have long ears, four legs, fur, and can be very stubborn.

If you guessed Donkeys you are correct.  If you guess anything else then I would recommend you spend some time on a farm or ranch.

A few months ago we started to think about getting a donkey to help protect our 3 steers from predators like coyotes and bobcats.  Especially when we move the steers to the back pasture closer to the wooded area of our land.  One day while attending a work meeting in Dallas I mentioned that I was looking for a donkey.  I was surprised when I was told that someone knew a co-worker that volunteered his time at an animal rescue and they had donkeys to adopt.  That next Saturday my boys and I where on our way to Double D Animal Rescue.   There we met our two new furry friends and made arrangements to get them back to the Turner Homestead.

Now, our steers are not sure what to think of their new friends and our dogs are very curious to what just happened.  I am hoping that our two new furry friends and our 3 steers will become very good friends (Well, until our steers become steaks that is.)  I also hope that our dogs are not dumb enough to investigate the donkeys on their own.

This should be another exciting adventure? What could only be next?  As I end this blog I will leave you with random photos of our new furry friends and a joke that a pastor told years ago at a men’s breakfast.  (yes, just remember, this was a pastor that told this joke.)

What stretches farther, skin or rubber?   Skin!  After all, Abraham tied his Ass to a tree and walked up a hill.  

 

Eggs!

After months of waiting our hens to lay their first eggs, we finally have eggs. It was a pretty exciting day for us here knowing that once we have one, many more eggs will come.

Now we just need to have a few of our hens to start brooding so we can start expanding our flock to help produce food for us this year.

Merry Christmas

This year has been amazing and wonderful and full of change and new life experience for our entire family. This is our first Christmas here at the Turner Homestead. We have been here for just a little over 6 months and looking forward to many more years and Christmas’s to come. So from our family here at the homestead; our 15 ladies and a the rooster, our labs Gunner and Ginger; Bear the dog, Meatloaf, Littlebit, and Big Red, our three steers; our crazy boys; my beautiful wife, and myself, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas!

What? She was pregnant!

A lot has happened on our little homestead since the last time I blogged. Again, my primary job seems to suck up most my time, darn work! I think the last blog I wrote was about me bringing home 3 Jersey Bull calves. That was nearly 2 months ago! How time flies when you are busy. Anyway, the three calves are doing well. In fact, today was their last bottle feeding. Poor Big Red, he isn’t going to like that. He could eat!!!! Anyway, they have plenty of grass in the pastures, hay on the way, and they still get their calf starter gain for a while. What they don’t know is they have a trip here soon that on the way there they will have balls, on the way back not so much. 😉

So, remember our white dog that adopted us when we moved in? Well, about a month and a half ago she supposed us by getting really fat really fast! Well, a few short weeks later she was a mamma to three healthy little pups. She lost one during birth. 😦

So, if you want a Thanksgiving puppy….. we have 3!

We don’t know for sure who the daddy is but we have our suspicions. There are two male Weimaraner dogs down the road. We think one of them did the deed.

Poor mamma!

Well, that is my update for now.

Shelves to Nesting Boxes

With our chickens slowly approaching the ripe young age of egg layers I needed to come up with more nesting boxes than the 2 that where already in the roost/coop when we moved in.  I didn’t really feel like buying anything at any of the feed stores nearby.  To be honest, paying 10 or 15 bucks a nesting box is a little too expensive for us right now.  We had some old shelves sitting on our porch for some time now from the previous owners that we had no plans to use again. So today I took those shelves and created what I call the Motel 6 of chicken nesting boxes.  Like I said, these are not the Hilton but at least they are or hopefully will be functional when my ladies start laying eggs.

Pretty easy job even for a non carpenter like myself.  Below is a picture of one of the shelves.  Alone these are not deep enough so I was going to cut them and stack them on top of each other.

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Like I said before, these are not the Hilton of nesting boxes for our chickens.  Just wanted something cheap and functional, so we got the Motel 6 edition below.  I am thinking of adding a bottom to these using chicken wire or something so I can hang them off the ground if needed.

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I have a few chickens left out of our first round that haven’t died due to various reasons….  these hens have full range of of the barn, and any pasture at this time.  I have them separated from my other chicks at this time, so I left one here in the barn where they normally find a spot at night anyway.  I am thinking a bottom would work well and then hung above from that 2×4?

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These shelves made a total of 4 boxes with 2 nesting boxes within.  The nesting boxes themselves are big enough for 2 chickens if needed.  So hopefully I will have enough spaces for all my ladies coming this fall when they get old enough to start producing eggs and the heat dies down a bit.

Not a bad job I have to say without having to break the bank?  Now, let’s hope these work!

When mother is away, daddy does….

My wife recently traveled back to Phoenix with 2 of our sons for the weekend.  While she was away I decided to do something on a whim without really thinking ahead to far into the future.  So, she came back to this….

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Yes, I did.  We now have 3 Jersey Bull calves that need bottle feed 2 times a day.  The small details that I wasn’t really worried about when I sometimes do things around the Homestead.  However, we now have our first heard of cattle that will help me keep our pastures grass down and save us a few hundred dollars not having to mow.  It all works out in the end.  Not to mention that in 18 to 24 months we will have plenty of meat in the freezer.

Our boys love them… I joke and say they love them now but just wait till daddy pulls off a tasty steak off the grill how much they will love them even more!  🙂

A boy, his dog and three bulls…  I think  that can be a good title to a good country song?

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Josie our adopted dog even loves sleeping with them now.  Or she just loves the straw?  Not too sure but these calves are now part of her pack and her responsibility to protect them as well.

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The funny thing about this adventure is watching my boys and just enjoying there expressions and reactions to everything.  I put out the first of many salt licks for our calves. My boys have never seen one of these and asked me what they are.  I told them, it was a salt lick, the calves will like it to get salt.  They asked if it was salty and I said yes.  Then asked if they could lick it.  My reaction.  Sure why not.  🙂

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So at the end of the day our adventure now includes 3 new Jersey Bull calves that in the next few weeks will become steers…  oh poor bulls…  going to lose your….

Until next time!