Still doin’ the gardening, farming, self-sustainable challenge

Now is the time for a homestead, prepper, gardening, farming, self-sustainable, gourmet, farm-to-table, challenge – complete with goats, chickens a huge garden, and pigs, if there ever was one.

There’s nothing like a worldwide pandemic to change most plans. However, since my plan was to eat off what we produce here on our small homestead-farm, not only is it not changed, it seems downright prescient.

The Homegrown Year challenge was designed to be an exploration and a learning experience. There’s no doubt there is also some late-30s mid-life crisis sprinkled into this lofty goal, too. However, the one thing I had never considered it might be, until now, is a necessity.

The world has changed since I started preparing for this project, though. People are concerned about food security. They’re worried about the future. Rightly so. So, what now?

For me it’s just this: head down move forward.

Unforeseen challenges

What is there to do in the midst of uncertainty but just power through? One foot in front of the other. So, the plan is still intact – at least for now. I’ll start the Homegrown Year on August 1st, and just keep going until I either prevail or something makes it untenable.

New challenges have arisen as a result of shelter-in-place orders, though.

I assumed when starting this project that all the chicks I would need for laying hens as well as to raise for meat would be available for purchase. I have incubated duck and quail eggs for chicks in the past. However, I have a great chicken guy who usually mails me my chicken chicks. Well, both he and every store in Colorado are sold completely out of chicks. There was a huge national run on them when stores ran out of eggs. So, I’m back to incubating, this time for chickens.

Along with people’s new concerns about the long-term effects of our economic shutdown has come an either new or reignited passion for gardening. This is great, the more gardens the better. It also means, though, that seeds and plants, just like chicks, are scarcer than I have ever seen them before. I’ve had to get a little creative as a result. Luckily, there are a lot of things already in the kitchen, from potatoes with eyes to the onions from the bottom of the fridge that have sprouted (we all have them) that can be repurposed for the garden.

New opportunity

One of the original goals of the Homegrown Year before was to find creativity and new skills by creating a framework of rules. So far this has meant, for instance, that I learned how to salt-preserve lemons. I would have never done so without the challenge.

The new rules, laws, and social norms that have come from the coronavirus are hard to overcome and work within, but will offer their own opportunities for creativity.

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