I've always had this dream of being self sufficient in our food supply. While this is not really practical (especially in our cool northern climate) I do enjoy working towards that end.
This is a picture of my garden this year. I dug up a new area that has a lot more sun than where the original garden was. I dug rows that were 4 feet wide with 2 feet of grass left between each row to walk on. I was concerned about the grass roots growing into the garden area from the paths, but it didn't seem to be too big of an issue. I plan to plant only annuals in this garden so I can dig it up well each year. It was really nice to be able to pick fresh vegetables without getting all muddy! This year I plan to expand my garden my a few more rows.
We raise rabbits for our own consumption- I think we butchered 30 some rabbits this summer. They taste similar to chicken, but a lot less fatty. I don't know how economical raising rabbits for meat is, so sometime I'll have to figure it out, but I do know that they are raised humanely, that the kids enjoy them, and that they poop out lots of good garden fertilizer.
Venison is the other source of meat for our family. We got two deer this year, so we should have enough to last until next hunting season. We do occasionally buy pork chops or fish for a variety in our diet, but venison and rabbit are our main sources of protein.
I really enjoyed growing this mix of green, yellow, and purple beans this year. They look so pretty on the table. I didn't get a huge crop (I probably needed to water more) but I did manage to get some put away in the freezer for the winter.
I also grew a rainbow of carrots- they were really fun to pick and they look a lot more interesting when served together on the table! I only grew a 4 foot by 8 foot area of carrots, but I stored enough in the refrigerator to last us all the way through January (I am glad to have my fridge space back now, though!)
This was the last batch of tomatoes I picked. We had a very cool summer, which is pretty common for here, so my tomatoes were just starting to really produce by the time the first frost hit. The night of the first frost I cut off all the tomato plants at the base and brought them into the basement, cage and all. The roma tomatoes ripened up really well- I had fresh tomatoes for 2 more months after bringing them in from the garden just by leaving them to ripen on the vine!
Before the frost I did get some salsa canned (garden salsa is SO much better than anything you can buy!) and some spaghetti sauce canned. I was surprised at how many tomatoes it takes to make a little bit of sauce- I think I'll keep my tomatoes for more salsa and buy my spaghetti sauce on sale!
This is one of our Golden Laced Wyandotte hens.
This is one of our Golden Laced Wyandotte roosters.
We're getting about 10 eggs a day now, so we're starting to sell some eggs, as that is more than we care to eat a day! They are really good, especially in the summer when the chickens are out eating bugs and other slimy things. Our chickens are free to roam all over our property in warm weather- they absolutely love scratching through the leaves in the woods for tasty things to eat and they stay really healthy with all the room to spread out. So far we have been really lucky and haven't lost any chickens to predators, but I suppose that can only last so long!