Farming/homesteading is 95% observation. I spend a lot of my time just sitting and watching my animals or doing “barn checks”. After morning chores, there isn’t a whole lot of time spent doing physical labor. I’m sure as our homestead grows, I’ll have more chores to do, but I think 95% of the time will be spent watching.
Farming is just a giant science experiment. Figuring out what works, what doesn’t and what needs work or a whole new approach. The biggest part of science experiments are observations. Your observation determines everything.
Things I am seeing in my homestead include my chicken broilers are consuming WAY more food than I expected and calculated for. My costs are rising rapidly. They seem to be going through 40 lbs a week! We were feeding them organic non-gmo feed and expenses were skyrocketing.
I always want to feed my family the best, but there is a point where I have to draw the line. This week we have switched to conventional feed until we can figure out a better way. We have been researching local feed mills that provide non-gmo feed for reasonable prices. We have found one “locally”, but is still an hour away. I may need to start rationing as well.
Another observation is that I need to have my soil tested. I’ve never done this, but I think it will be important information. You see, in the front of my house I planted out squash starts and they completely died. So I counted my losses and moved on. I planted other seeds in their place and waited. A lot of my seeds are doing well, but my brassicas are just not germinating. Now this could be as simple as theft from scavenger animals, or my soil needs some amendments. My vote is soil because the ones that I have seen germinate are still there.
The seeds that I started in my raised bed out back, are doing amazing! I have already started harvesting salad greens and soon radishes. I don’t have to bend to weed and I could add the compost directly to the soil while we filled the box. This may be my preferred method to growing things.
Observation is key to a successful experiment. I can now determine problematic behaviors among my chickens because I know what is normal. I know what things need to change or be remedied to fix my problem. If I don’t know, I’m pretty handy with google 😉 Can I officially call myself a scientist now?