While the world around us descends into chaos, I thought I’d keep it light for tonight and talk a little bit about some of the things that are on the agenda for the Kearney household this spring and summer.
Final Planning For Our New House
So as you know if you’ve been around for a while, we want to build a house on our property in Eastern Washington for cash. No banks for us. As part of that, we’re going to be building it phases so we have something that’s livable faster.
We have an architect engaged who should be starting the preliminary drawings next month. Based on those, we’ll be able to estimate how much we’re going to need to come up with to get this thing built.
In the mean time, we hope to spend some time doing final site planning, as well as some longer term improvements like putting in an orchard, fencing in some of the pasture, and building a totally awesome tree fort for the kids.
Rudy the Beekeeper
So I have a garage full of wood that needs to be assembled over the next few weeks into hive bodies and frames. I’ll be running two hives at a local farm that has good access to a variety of different nectar sources.
I’m going to try to document as much of the process here as I can, but much of that will depend on the help I get from the family. One of my girls has said that she’s willing to help me by going with and taking pictures as I work, but I don’t know if that will actually happen!
In any case, my bees arrive in about a month. I’m getting Italians from Heitkam’s Honey Bees this year. Conveniently, they show up the same day my mother in law is coming out for a visit, so I have a ready made excuse for disappearing for a while …. just kidding! (or am I?)
Long term plans for this include adding a couple more hives (at least) next year. When we move I hope to eventually grow up to 50-60 hives, though one of my bee mentors says that once I get past 20, going up to 200 or so isn’t a huge deal. I’d like to have bee products as a side income at some point. We’ll see how that pans out.
Garden Expansion Project
I mentioned this the other day, but we’re going to take advantage of self watering containers to grow quite a bit more food here than we have permanent beds for. I’m not willing to put in more permanent beds at this point, so the SWCs are a perfect fit.
Off the cuff, we’re looking at increasing our space by a factor of five or six. Most of this will be a various experiments in growing stuff that we have either never grown or make good longer term storables.
I have to admit though, I’m going to try my hand at growing some giant pumpkins for fun. There’s a few varietals out there that claim to be able to get 1000-1500 lb pumpkins. That’d be entertaining.
I’m pretty excited about this, because not wanting to do more permanent beds has certainly been a downer for us and for our production.
I’m also planning on plumbing some of these containers together to make it easier to water. I’m not completely sure how to do it yet, but it’ll make leaving for the property much easier if we can just set it to water on a schedule when we’re gone.
With my parents living full time out at the property now, Dad and I have been discussing running a few head of cattle on the pasture and getting some hands on experience running beef. We had cows when I was a kid, but we haven’t had any since then.
It should be a good learning experience, and it will also help us decide if raising grass fed beef is something we want to do at a larger scale when we move out there. Right now it’s definitely on the list but that can change of course.
We may also get a couple of pigs. Tasty! Ideally this helps us offset some of our food costs for the year and gets us some good hands on experience as well.
Time for Bed!
Well, it’s late and I’m heading off to bed now. My beautiful wife is already there sound asleep and it’s an early morning for me tomorrow. I just thought I’d give you a heads up on some of the things we’re planning for the year.
That does lead me to a quick question though … do you guys like this sort of thing, where I talk a bit more about personal stuff, or do you prefer it when I stay on topic and talk only about prepping stuff and current events?
Let me know in the comments…