• Fauna,  Flora,  Hard Lessons,  Hearth

    Running the Homestead While Unwell

    Running a homestead can be difficult work at the best of times, but what happens when you fall ill, or something happens where you can’t look after things as you thought you’d be able to? These past few weeks have been a bit quieter on the blog front, because exactly that has happened. Unfortunately, I find myself catching most things that go around. These changing of the seasons have been no different, and have left me somewhat couch-bound — not fun, and not a whole lot happening out on the homestead! That being said, I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think, haha, so here are some of…

  • Fauna,  Permaculture,  Sheep

    Lambs on the Homestead

    We never expected to get sheep. Mr BirdCat would say now and then that he wouldn’t mind if we got one as a lawn mower, but that’s about as far as it went. This week, we welcomed two East Friesian ewes home after a three hour drive with them inside the back of our car…. We knew from the start that we’d like a dairy animal, and figured that a cow would fit the bill nicely. The city council here doesn’t allow goats, and we didn’t even consider sheep. It wasn’t until we had problems with our dairy cow, and asked around about the best ways to fix our half…

  • Chooks,  Fauna

    A Fix for a Coop

    Awake or asleep, chickens are messy. Messy chickens are good if they spread that rich soil repairer throughout the yard. Chickens that are sleeping can be good too, if that mess is being made on straw or the like that becomes compost…not so good if said chickens decide to sleep in their nesting boxes! No one likes a messy egg, and we were getting far too many. The chicken coop was one of our April projects, and I’m glad to finally be getting around to writing up about it! You can read more about the start of our chicken journey, and how we inherited a coop by clicking this link,…

  • Cattle,  Fauna,  Flora,  Fruit,  Hearth,  Month in Review,  Veggies

    April in Review

    Despite COVID lockdowns in place, April has been a deceptively busy month around here! I say deceptively as it doesn’t feel like a lot has happened…until thinking back on the way things have changed for us over the past month and the adventures we’ve had in our very own backyard. The Veggie Patch A much needed fence was installed around the veggie patch to keep the chickens out, and so far its done a wonderful job! We have plans for improving it, but for now it definitely fits the bill. With the fence, we also extended the veggie patch area to make the current rows longer, as well as added…

  • Cattle,  Fauna

    Halter Training an Eight Month Old Calf

    Three days ago, we finally found our clean new rope halter in the mail. Three days ago we placed that very same halter on our calf knowing full well what it’s going to be dragged through! Our homestead has become a lot quieter and calmer since selling our “future” dairy cow (read more about why we did that here). That being said, we decided to keep her calf to grow out. Unlike his mother, Mort is a gentle soul, and doesn’t seem to have an aggressive bone in his body. After the first few days of separation had passed, he comfortably stepped in with our daily routine. Despite being a…

  • Chooks,  Fauna,  Hard Lessons

    Chickens, Coops, & a Fox

    Chickens pave the way to regenerative agriculture and permaculture practices, and here at Innisfree Homestead, we count ourselves lucky to have six of them. All six have names (Red, Blondie, Ros, Cinder, Coru, Crookshanks), and their own personalities to boot! So far only our Isa Browns Red and Blondie are laying, but any day now the rest should start, and help feed us (even more important during these Coronavirus times). Originally the plan was to have a chicken tractor with five hens moving around the yard. As the restriction in the city limits we live in is ten chickens per property, Mr BirdCat’s parents (who share the land with us)…

  • Chooks,  Flora,  Permaculture,  Veggies

    The Veggie Patch

    Despite dabbling with veggies over the last couple of years, it wasn’t until starting our 6m x 6m veggie patch in the beginning of February 2020 (getting on to the end of summer here) that I felt like a real gardener and homesteader. Stay tuned for a post on how we started our veggie patch, but over the past few months we’ve gone from this: To this: The original idea was to have five rotating beds, with them moving along each Spring to help with nutrients and pests. In order, the original five beds were: Fabaceae (Beans, peas), also was planning on putting onions and garlic here?? Have since learned…

  • Back paddock
    Cattle,  Chooks,  Fauna,  Land,  Permaculture,  Sheep

    To Fix a Paddock – Part 1

    Our property here backs onto half an acre of land owned by the local roads jurisdiction, and has been fenced and used by Mr BirdCat’s family for the past twenty years. As long as we maintain it, and don’t plant any trees or permanent structures, we can use it. This is a fantastic benefit! Though the property we are on is an acre and a half itself, Mr BirdCat and I really only have access to a quarter of an acre. By backing onto the paddock, it extends our land to the point where we can manage our own livestock beyond chickens. Just one problem — it has sat out…

  • Cattle,  Fauna

    Life’s Too Short for Cranky Cows

    Especially ones with horns… When Mr BirdCat and I just happened to be looking for a milk cow and we saw the ad, it seemed too good to be true! A young dexter cow with a calf at foot and another on the way — all for a reasonable price! Within a couple of weeks we loaded up a trailer and started a new chapter in our homestead adventure. And what an adventure it has been! The cow we named Gala (apparently Greek for Milk), and the steer calf at foot was dubbed Mort (which may be a mistake naming him…but seemed a bit better than Mr BirdCat’s idea of…