Minimizing and Zero Waste

Green Thumb Thursdays – My Journey to Homesteading

So I have had a “normal” sort of life: I grew up in a suburban home with a nice big yard. We lived in Wisconsin when I was little, up until I was about 10 then we moved to Colorado. In Wisconsin I would help my mom with flower beds or my grandpa with his garden but that was the extent of it all. In Colorado we had a garden a couple years but then didn’t keep it going for too long – too many tomatoes for a family with only one tomato eater (ME!)

My grandpa teaching me how to plant his garden. I wish you could have seen it at the end of the summer!

I’ve always loved the idea of having a garden but didn’t really put anything into place until we moved to a small house on hardly any land. I don’t know why didn’t do anything when my husband and I were renting a house on a half acre – oh yes I do, because I worked 12 hour days, and so did he.

Anyways, I had researched online quite a bit about garden options for our house here in California. After trying out container gardening (and not having it work so well for me) I decided to invest in raised beds to put in my back yard since there is no grass back there. I wasn’t sure how I would like them so I decided to use pine and made two beds 4′ x 4′ and one 10′ x 2′. I really wish I would have spent the money and made them out of cedar.

So I built my beds with the help of Joe one weekend and decided to plant quite a bit. I chose familiar seeds and also planted some things that I hadn’t had before. Word to the wise – find those things you haven’t had before at a farmer’s market or grocery store rather than planting them, just in case you don’t like it…. but then you could just feed that stuff to your chickens.

My garden beds with my chickens wandering around. Don’t mind my fence-in-progress

Soon after planting our beds my husband gave in and we went to Tractor Supply and bought a chicken coop as well as the extender that goes with it. We searched all over town for bantam chicks and finally found some at one feed store in town. We got a mixture and set them up in their new home. Two months later we discovered we had a rooster, then another, and then another;  yes I had three of my five chicks turn out to be roosters. We called the feed store and let him know and he actually bought them back from us so we took that money to another feed store in town to see what they had available and low and behold there were two silkie chicks left. We swooped them both up and took them home, it was a hot day so we put them in the coop and covered them with shade and decided to come check on them every thirty minutes or so to make sure they were doing ok. A few hours into the second day of doing this and they looked great until one suddenly died.

It was a crazy scramble to bring in the one we had left so she was not left outside to die the same way as the other and ran around town to try to find another silkie. Of course we couldn’t find one, we could find any bantams in fact and decided to get the youngest chick we could find. Turned out to be ‘Momma’ as we call her. She came home and took our little silkie who we named ‘Fluff’ under her wing so to speak and took care of her. After about a week in the house we put the two chicks out in the coop and kept a very close eye on them. A month later I decided to swing into the store where we picked up the silkies and found a whole section of silkies with quite a few looking very sick. I picked out two of them, brought them home, and surprised Joe when he got home from work. Turned out they were both roosters.

Me holding a two month old Fluff Muffin

Yes that is right folks, of the 10 chicks I bought this last year, I ended up with four hens. I ended up having to butcher my rooster from the original group due to food aggression where he would attack any of the other birds as they tried to come eat, and other one ‘bit the dust’ when I caught the two silkie boys tag-teaming the girls.

We now have our incubator full with three eggs, two from my original bantams and one from Fluff – this is the one we’re excited about as we are going to try to increase our flock to only silkies. I did have two of Momma’s eggs in the incubator but they weren’t fertile and one of Fluff’s had a blood ring (I think). These guys should be hatching any day now so I will share that with you as soon as they start hatching. I’m such an excited mama! ha!

Next week I will share with you everything I have planted in my garden and the review of my Dandelion Jelly I made this past weekend.

Were you from a city like I was or raised on more land?  What did you start with on your property?

Hope you have a great weekend.

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