What do you think? Can homesteaders travel or are we tied to our farms?
My husband and I love to travel. So that’s a discussion for us anytime we add an animal or projects to the homestead. Is this going to keep us from traveling? That was a big concern for me when I bought Lucy, our first dairy cow.
But so far it hasn’t been bad. We chose to bred her so she’d be due end of summer so we can dry her up the last 7-9 months of pregnancy. It gives us all a break until the busyness of fall birthing. Homesteaders have a little more on their plate when planning for a vacation. Here’s our simplified list. It may give some idea on how to plan, keep in mind, this will change depending on the animals and other variables on a homestead.
1) Make sure the chickens will have plenty of food and water. We have 2 water and feed buckets that last our chickens 2 weeks.
2) Clean out the coop and provide fresh bedding.
3) Make sure a neighbor is collecting eggs or in our case we have 3 brooding hens so we borrowed a rooster from our neighbor to stay with our hens and fertilize the eggs while we were gone. We are allowing the hens to sit on the eggs.
4) Move the cattle to fresh grass.
5) Make sure the cattle have enough water. We currently have to haul water to our back pasture until we find a better water source. So we filled up 3 tanks. That’s enough for all week but our neighbor will check on them just to be sure.
6) Plan vacation around the cattle birthing. We purposely plan when to breed our cattle and take into account what’s best for them and us. It takes some forethought but planning makes it easier on everyone. We try to dry up our cattle a few months before birth to give us all a break. This is a good time to schedule vacation. If it doesn’t work out that way there are still ways to go on vacation with a dairy cow. Such as, paying another homesteader to milk them or purchasing a second calf to nurse the cow so enough milk is being taken off her each day.
7) Make provisions for the garden. If we are traveling in spring I try to travel before the garden is planted. If not, I use a deep mulching method to keep my plants protected and the soil moist while we are away. I keep an eye on the weather forecast and ask a neighbor to water for me if it’s going to be hot and dry for an extended period.
8) Make sure the dog and barn cat have enough food and water. We use self feeders for them and ask a neighbor or family member to check on them. Currently, we can’t leave the barn cat nor his food outside at night. We have ferrell cats in the area that eat his food and usually tear the hide off of our cat. So, we have to leave our “barn” cat in the garage. Lol.
The last vacation we took, our neighbor only had to top the water tanks for our cattle. All other animals were fine the whole week and our garden was watered by rain. Oh, and our hens loved being able to lay on their eggs all week 🙂
That’s how we travel as homesteaders. 🙂