I just finished reading Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter. I’d tried for months to get it different ways through the local, county, state, and national library systems, but no one was loaning it yet, so I went ahead and ordered it from Amazon.

It was everything I had hoped it would be Рengagingly written, an emphasis on sustainable living without a lot of preaching, and boy howdy was it ever informative (I have more than 12 stickie notes marking places that she recommends other books about specific topics such as raising rabbits or swine). It is probably the best book on homesteading that I have yet read. I could wish for some more concrete details, such  as a plan of the garden, the rabbit hutches, duck pens etc., but I can look that stuff up on my own.

It did fail, however, to stop this maddening homesteading itch I’ve got. (J had thought that reading about butchering and skinning animals would turn me off of this harebrained scheme. Not so – I’ve been doing a large part of my research on YouTube.)¬† In fact it exacerbated it. Poor J. I’ve made plans to start learning about beekeeping this Saturday and will start keeping a hive or four next year whether or not we get the new property (I can keep them in the Patch, if not). Mmm, honey. Mmmm, hand-dipped beeswax candles!

And now our hypothetical flock of three laying hens is up to a flock of several ducks. I think that I’ll start off with them just for eggs, and then when I feel more confident with my animal husbandry skills I can let some hatch and use them for meat as well as down. I’m also planning on getting a goose because they are such good weeders – though people say you have to have two or they get lonely – and then Novella’s description of her own fresh free-range turkey for Thanksgiving was so mouthwatering that I can’t help thinking it might be fun to have a turkey too. So that’s like 6 ducks, a goose or two, a couple turkeys…. and don’t forget a couple goats, so I can have fresh milk and make my own yogurt and cheeses.

I’m very excited about a potentially self-sustaining system, though it’s terribly daunting right now to think about how much work it will all take to set up correctly (and do I really want to resign myself to never going on vacation again? I mean, who could I hire to baby-sit goats?!). Here’s the idea:
– a hutch of rabbits are available for meat and fur, should you choose to do that. In any case, they are set up above a worm bin because bunny poop is gold.
– the worm bin makes worms to feed the fish in your aquaculture system
– the dirty water from the fish tank is pumped to water your veggies in the greenhouse. It is filtered and purified by roots and soil and dribbles back into the fish tank.
– the veggies, fed by the fish water, feed you. The scraps go to feed the rabbits.
And on and on…

And don’t forget the extensive orchard, vineyard and vegetable garden as well.

Yeesh, where do I start with all this stuff? I wish there was a simple guide, year-by-year and animal-by-animal, that I could simply follow.

One Response to “Moo”

  1. Ann Says:

    Sounds like a book ready to be written!

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