Friday, January 1, 2010

Plans for 2010

In our first (official) year of Prepping, we've trimmed every line item on the budget, added chickens (for meat and eggs) to our livestock and put in a 16 x 16 raised bed vegetable garden. I've learned to pressure can and have been making my own bread with the help of my $15 bread machine from the Goodwill store. Considering we didn't start this venture until mid-spring and that Yeoldfurt ran out of contract work in mid-April, I think we've accomplished a lot. We hope to add to our stores this year but maybe more importantly, we hope to increase our set of skills and knowledge.

A primary goal is to better utilize the garden area this year. Because of some setbacks in our personal life, we planted about six weeks later than we should have and financial setbacks kept us from really doing much in the way of a winter garden. But this year will be different. The garden is set up and we will spend the next four to six weeks working good compost material into the beds. I will probably start some seeds indoors but will have seeds and seedlings out in the garden by the first weekend in April.

We also plan to put in at least two peach trees. We can buy mature trees from the local co-op for $25 each. If we get them in the ground in February, we should have some fruit this year and good crops beginning next year. I will be canning and freezing the fruit and making jellies and peach butter as well.

Our three hens are giving us 18-20 eggs per week. We use less than a dozen per week ourselves, but sell the rest for $3/dozen which more than covers the cost of chicken feed. Actually an $11 bag of chicken feed lasts us at least two months and we average $12 to $16 per month selling eggs. Can't quit the day job, but definitely a profitable use of our time and resources. So we would like to add 2-3 hens to the flock this year. The hens we have are Rhode Island Red crosses and lay brown eggs. We may try a different variety this year. I can't remember the name right now, but heard of one breed that is known for winter egg production and slacks off in the heat of summer. The hens we have now tend to slack off in the winter so that would give us more balanced production.

Our most ambitious plan for this coming year is the possibility of raising meat rabbits. If we do, I'll be tanning the pelts as well for a possible cash sideline. I raised rabbits for FFA when I was in high school and learned some ways to tan the pelts when a couple of my rabbits died. It's not difficult and they come out soft as kid gloves. Rabbit pelts are small and light weight enough to be easily sewn together on a regular sewing machine. There seems to be a market with crafters on ebay. Average sized pelts are going for $5 - $10 each. Larger pelts are going for up to $30 each. Lightweight bubble envelope mailers would make shipping cheap and easy.

Other possibilities we are considering are the addition of a good quality dehydrator. We go back and forth on this subject. I like the long term food preservation aspects but we don't know use much in the way 'dried' products now ...so can we justify the cost of a (good quality) dehydrator? Yeoldfurt has made his own jerky in the past so maybe it would be worth the expense. We'll see.

Except for the garden and the fruit trees, all of the plans are predicated on a little good fortune befalling us in the coming months. Yeoldfurt is still looking for work and unemployment ...even the extended benefits he's on now ...won't last forever. But we already have the seeds, the garden is there waiting to be planted and we have the money set aside for the fruit trees. I am optimistic and eager to see what we can do in the coming year.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Did it MY way said...

May the New Year bring all that you wish. Hard work does pay off.

See Ya

January 1, 2010 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Thank you, Tony. And may your new year be everything YOU hope for too!

January 1, 2010 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger SciFiChick said...

You guys have accomplished a whole lot HB.
You have some solid goals in place. I soooo can't wait to raise some chickens and rabbits. Tanning rabbit pelt would be a cool thing to know. I know who to ask now!

January 1, 2010 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Thank you...that means a lot coming from you, Chickie ...you are my inspiration for a lot of this! Now if I can just remember to look back at my list of goals through the year and make sure I stay on track.

January 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HB The peaches won't bear much if anything this year or probably next. We had an orchard a few years back and the trees had to get a few years on them before they produced much. Be sure and spray them with a good orchard spray about once per month during the time they have leafs. Hope your garden does well. fk

January 2, 2010 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Hello, Fatkat! That's what I thought too, but you know our growing season in LONG in Texas. The lady at the co-op is a horticulture major at Texas A&M and she said we would have SOME fruit the first year and a good crop from the second year on. We'll see. If it takes a couple of years, then the sooner we get them in the ground the better, right? : )

January 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM  
Anonymous The Frugal Fraulein said...

Hey WWRWH I would like to email you about a blog question. I have not found your address. Would you email me??? Thanks so much
The Frugal Fraulein at Frugal Canning

Happy Frugal New Year!

January 3, 2010 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Hello Abby. I did email several days ago but have had no reply. My email is rjrpainthorses@wildblue.net. I'll try again to send you an email.

Roxy

January 9, 2010 at 5:18 PM  

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