The first animal on the farm was Bandit. We got him when he was tiny. He is supposedly a mix between Australian shepherd and Australian cattle dog (blue heeler).
There wasn’t a dog for the first little while on the property because it was too busy getting other things cleaned up first. Growing up, always having dogs, it seemed weird not to have one on our little place. Kept looking online and in papers at dogs and puppies. Even called and asked about a few but they were already gone by the time we would ask.
Then there was Bandit. As soon as we saw his picture we knew he was the one we wanted.
He has been a great addition and the place just wouldn’t be the same without him.
He trained well and can sit, stay and “leave it” which even works for food placed on the floor. He would rather be outside than inside, and has his own bed room he stays in during the day. His bedroom has an outside door with doggie door that leads to a good size pen as big as the entire back of the trailer.
Left the pen door open one time after mowing, went to work the next day and he just stayed in the yard (we got lucky there).
He does like to make a mess with some of his toys. Here he is in a before and after with a stuffed hedgehog.
He does ok with the animals we have so far. Very curious, as would be expected but he has not really tried to mess with any of them. Not really sure what will happen when something gets out and starts running. Like most dogs, he gets triggered when something is trying to run away. Still waiting to see what will happen there.
He loves being outside and patrolling the property and he watches out carefully for the kitties.
The first winter on the property was one of the most frustrating times spent there. The place is surrounded by fields . Although we love the privacy when those are cut back at the start of winter, the mice decide to move to our place. We could hear them in the walls , see their evidence on the counters, it was just horrible.
With not many fast options, that first year we put out poison. Poison has its place, but we prefer not to use it if there are other options.
Meet the other options!
Callie and Ursa! Callie is named after her coloring, Callie the Calico. Ursa is named after the bear constellation Ursa Major, because she looks like a “great she-bear”. They are cousins or half sisters, we’re not sure which. 3 mama cats had litters at the same time and they all were raised together.
Two new additions are already keeping the porch cleared of flies and crickets that stray too close. When they are bigger we have no doubt they will wreak havoc on any pests trying to steal our food.
They get along great with Bandit even if he does step on them often.
We are also hoping their presence deters the baby rabbits that love to eat on our garden. They are very welcomed additions and have been hours of entertainment watching them play.
We’ve made sure to get them fixed, as well. We don’t want them to wander off when they go into heat and we don’t want any strays to come up and be a problem, either. It is for sure the right thing to do.
Probably something we should have done sooner, but we finally got some grape trellises set up and some planted our second year in.
There are some muscadines on the property already , and we have been eating them and making jelly from them, but we wanted more grapes. So fingers crossed ,in a few years we will have loads of them!
For the trellises we used old cedar posts that we had on the property already. For what to run between them we looked at the standard wire options, but with more thought we decided to go with t-posts. Easy to get, last forever, and are actually cheaper than most of the wire/ wire hardware needed to support grapes. So with some T posts and electrical conduit clasps we had some trellises. Only hard part was digging the holes but even that was not to bad. We managed to plant these right on top of a snake nest too. Luckily, it was October when we first started the digging and it was only eggs that we found.
We have planted four vines so far. Two white and two red. The two white are called Niagara and the two red are Mars.
None of them have died yet, so that is a start! We even have a small handful of grapes on the older Mars variety we planted. It feels very promising!
We have been wanting chickens since day one of the homestead. Actually we wanted chickens years before the homestead.
Being on our third year in we decided to go ahead and get some.
4 barred rock (turns out we did not get these as expected maybe just got 8 Rhode Island reds)
4 Rhode Island red
4 Golden Comets
So not going into the chicken industry yet, but it is always exciting to get new animals on the homestead.
We started them out in a giant Rubbermaid tote which worked great for the first few weeks!
We did some research on a bigger area for them and found this brooder idea from Lumnah acres. Chick Brooder
It was easy to build and has worked fantastic for the past few weeks. I made mine a good bit taller than their plans, mostly due to Bandit, our dog, and we had the materials.
The things I like most about this set up is when taken apart can be stored easily , and it can be used for various animals for a little holding pen when need be. I’m thinking I might make another one for our rabbits at some point.
The chickens are healthy and happy. They started out in the house but were eventually moved to the porch. They are now in the simple coop we built and in the area we want them to prep for next years garden. Have not let them out yet, letting them get used to where home is. Hopefully we get to release them soon.
Will be posting more about the coop later. Any questions? Comments? We would love to hear from you!