As 2016 comes to a close, very soon, and 2017 is upon us, just as soon, we at Dogwood Hollow Homestead off grid would like to thank all our readers, fans, friends and family for being a part of our off grid family here on WordPress. From our blog to our Facebook page and new Facebook group to our personal pages as well as our new YouTube channel….we thank you for being apart of our world. If you missed any of our channels on the net, now is a great time to search for us in all your popular visiting places on the net and see if we are there! 2017 came sort of quick for us on the homestead and I am sure many more can say that. But running a homestead is busy work and we are always doing something, whether its a down day on the internet updating all our followers or a project day at the homestead, there is always something we are doing.
In 2016 the biggest project we completed was the pallet cabin.
Those of you that have been following us, know all to well, that this has been a heck of a project to get done and we did it in about 2 years and we live in our little creation now with plans of additions, to the cabin, already in the works. It seems like we JUST made the announcement that we would be upgrading our animal stocks to get closer to as self sufficient as we were 6 years ago, when we first began our journey. Which we announced about Dec. 2015. You all watched as we did just that. We now raise, turkey, chickens, ducks, guineas, pigs and rabbits. Although we have just 1 turkey left 😛 haha. We just got the guineas and we have just 2 potbelly/market mix girls left, we had to butcher the boar this year. We do not plan on continuing to raise pigs, we are not fans. So they are up for trade or sell so we can get a few milk goats. We used to raise milk goats.
We miss making cheese, coffee cream and drinking raw goats milk and we want to start making our own soap. So 2017 we will be getting back into making those things from goats milk that we will be raising on the homestead. We have almost totally decided to add even more to our animal population so to be able to provide more of a sustainable food source for our family in the form of meat birds. Currently we only raise chickens and ducks and have 1 turkey hen. But all those are just for egg laying. We seldom butcher one of our birds to eat and always eat a bird that becomes sick or injured to prevent loss when the bird dies. However, we want to raise a pen of meat chickens so we are tossing about the idea of raising Cornish cross birds next year as well as commercial turkey. The commercial turkeys I am thinking of raising for a 2 fold idea. One to supplement our meat source and two to supplement our main source of income. We want to be able to sell turkey at the local auction and to people around the holidays. So look for us to get into that. 6 years ago, when we began off grid living, we raised turkeys, you can see them in the picture below.
These are Royal Palms. They are more for show, but I liked their color markings. We sold these birds around November for about $20 a piece. We Are thinking a pen of commercial turkeys will bring in a nice profit at the local farm auction, fall of 2017. So again, we are saying we are striving even more to become more self sufficient. And isn’t that the name of the game folks? To become 100% self sufficient in all your ways and to live a sustainable life on the earth while we are here IS what we are about. We are still working towards getting a renewable power source up and running at the homestead as well. Now that will certainly be a major upgrade. We have lived with no sustainable power at the homestead for almost 7 years. I think we will be keeping our oil lamps, however! We already have had donations to the homestead in this area. Earlier in the year we had this system given to us. Although, small, it got us going.
However, what we will need and what we have are two very different things. Currently we have these panels, a 12 v converter and a 12 v charge controller (2 of them). Problem is, we have to run wires over a long way to get to where the sun is at the forest homestead. SO because of that we need to have a 24 volt system. So we have to replace our charge controller and our converter and work on getting 24 volt panels. Recently we had a 320 watt solar panel donated to the homestead by a friend of ours. We are quite happy about it because it saves us quite a bit of money. It is quite large, weighing in at 50 lbs. But it is a 24 v panel and so we are well on our way. Now to save money and buy some good batteries to store all our solar energy. So you will see us doing that this next year, I am sure. We are in the process of reforming as an eco-commune so you can look forward to posts about this in 2017 as well.
We are always trying different things, changing what we do for what seems better and upgrading where it makes since. Another big change that will come for the homestead is the transitioning from traditional gardening to more garden boxes and Back to Eden gardening methods. So we currently are not planning on tilling of the ground anymore, but that could all change, I am sure. As for now, all that could really change that is the fact that we do not get the wood chips we need. Back to Eden gardening method requires a lot of wood chips. So we have our tiller up for trade/sale to aid us in acquiring 2 milk goats. We don’t keep things that we do not use anymore just sitting around, we try and trade the item to upgrade our lives in other areas. So here is the tiller.
We used this tiller for 2 years putting in our garden plots each year. It has seen a lot of work and been in the shop. But it is still in very good shape, so can be used for a good trade. I have it listed on our local online network but still no good hits. So as 2016 closes for us and 2017 stands waiting to be noticed, don’t forget about us, we sure won’t forget you. Happy new year everyone!