Andrea Hicks

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since Sep 11, 2020
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Recent posts by Andrea Hicks

I know I’m very late to this conversation, hopefully you’ve already found solutions. My climate is also very different from yours, but I have dealt with incredibly invasive, established weeds when setting up my mini farm. My best success has been using lots of livestock heavily stocked on small sections. Pigs, turkeys, and chickens (I don’t know which ones do well in your climate) all dig, scratch, root and poop heavily on the area, which leaves it much clearer next season, and perfectly fertilized for nitrogen lovers. In my climate, corn, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes all grow faster and yield better on this than any garden I’ve tried to date. I also throw a LOT of castoff produce, bread, and even dairy and meat that I’m given for them to scratch and compost for me in there. Good luck!
1 week ago
Electric fence energizer. The sales lady said it was portable, but it really wasn’t. Moral of the story, do your research yourself.
1 month ago
That is a very location dependent question. Here in western NY (state, not city), where summer is fairly hot but short, I’d strongly recommend beans and peas for starters. Don’t monkey with any cucumbers, melons, squash, anything that needs a long season, at first.
I’ve been there, so hard, but so rewarding, both the parenting and the homestead. I started our homestead when I had a two year old and was pregnant with our second. I can tell you, not much got done towards the end there, but it worked out ok because we timed it so I would only be heavily pregnant in winter here. Hubby only had to worry about the chickens for the month or so I was too pregnant/convalescing. As far as after baby, I got really good at baby wearing. She slept in the wrap through planting, fertilizing, weeding, and harvesting. Toward the end of that summer, she was old enough to learn to nap in the house while I did farm work. The next year, I did my outdoor work during her nap time again. This year was interesting because neither small kid takes a big nap anymore. We’ve gotten very creative with outdoor activities for them to do near me while I garden. On the upside, they’re big enough now to help feed livestock. It can be done, you just have to adapt as you go. But we’re really glad we had them when we did, because, at least for us, it would’ve only gotten harder. Good luck!
1 month ago
Really, it’s about priorities. My area (western tip of NY state, not city) has everything you want, except we do get cold for a couple months in winter. But zero natural disasters, fabulous rainfall levels, good soil, lots of open farm country, acreage for under 20k. Really, if the worst that happens is a couple blizzards and property taxes, that’s pretty great. Personally, I’d never live south, west or closer to the coast, due to wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and plain old high property costs. You have to pick your poison.
1 month ago
A note for those like me who can’t stomach certain parts like brains or blood: if you have a dog, cat, or  even a pig, they will love anything at all that you give them. For chickens, drill holes in the sides of a bucket, hang where chickens can reach sides but not get into the top. Put unwanted meat scraps inside. As the meat decomposes, bugs will be drawn to it, and as bugs and maggots crawl out the sides, the chickens will eat them.
1 month ago
Another use for a fridge or freezer: build a cheese cave, if you have dairy animals.
1 month ago
For me, I would solve the free range chickens versus gardens dilemma. I’ve tried free range and lost half my garden. Tried a chicken tractor and had them escape, again resulting in garden loss. Tried a permanent enclosed run, and bringing them produce, and the lack of bug hunting has really skyrocketed my feed costs. There must be an easier way.
1 month ago
If you haven’t already bought your chickens, I would suggest Chantecler or Icelandic breed. Like you, I live in a very harsh winter climate (down to negative 20 pretty much every winter). I learned the hard way, with badly frost bitten chickens, that not all breeds are cut out for that kind of weather. Chanteclers and Icelandics truly are.
1 month ago
Gotta say, the dumbest thing I’ve done to date is to get day old chicks in the winter. Very cute in a box in my kitchen at first, then less cute in a large bin in my basement, then an absolute nightmare breaking out of the box and pooping all over the basement. Thank God for the warm snap which allowed me to transition them all outdoors. Never again, there’s a reason most places only sell them spring to fall.
1 month ago