February Farm Update

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I think it’s time for a blog update! We are currently buried under snow here in our neck of the woods, so there is not a whole lot going on around Willow Lane Farm – other than braving the almost daily chilly temperatures to slog through ice and snow to complete the daily chores. Though it’s pretty wintery around here still, I do know that spring will be just around the corner (or if not, maybe around several more corners after that…!)

It’s never too soon to start planning for the busy spring and summer months. (For some tips on setting homesteading goals, check out this post.) I have to admit, I haven’t begun my 2018 homestead planning as early as I have the past several years, so it’s about time I follow my own advice and officially start making some lists and goals. I definitely have an idea of what I’d like to prioritize this year and I do have a little bit of a vision in mind. It’s going to be a bit of an infrastructure and building year again, both with new projects and completing some from last season. I’ve included in my post a few areas that we will be focusing on this year, as well as some updates. Continue reading

Little Farm’s Tex-Mex Crustless Quiche Recipe

Copy of Copy of Copy of hikingIn my last post I wrote about laying hens and egg production. So what happens when your hens start to produce so many eggs that your fridge is so full of them that you have no room for anything else? Well, you could start a little egg business. You could also trade your eggs with other “backyard homesteaders” – ie. your eggs for their fresh veggies. Or you could freeze your eggs for later use (yes, you can!) Also don’t forget that refrigerated eggs are perfectly edible for several weeks (at least a month, if not longer). When in doubt, don’t forget about the old “egg freshness float test” – place your egg in question in a glass of water. If it sinks, it is still fresh enough to eat. If it floats, throw it out! And finally, you can always try using more eggs in your own cooking – which leads us to today’s post! Continue reading

Everything I Know About Laying Hens & Egg Production

Copy of Copy of Copy of hikingHens, especially young hens (commonly called “pullets”) will lay eggs. Just how many eggs and how often depends on a number of factors. In addition to age, the breed, environment, diet, health, and time of year all affect a hen’s egg laying potential. This post is content heavy so I’ll get straight to the point – I will share what I know in a nutshell (or eggshell?), and remember: there is always lots to learn! Continue reading

Get Growing! A Guide to Vegetable Garden Planning & Prep

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Gardening! Gardening is what’s on my brain this week. I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt and get some seeds into the ground! It’s hard to wait when we start getting these warm spring days, but necessary since unfortunately winter in western Canada is not truly done until… well, is it ever truly over? Ha ha, I’m kidding – sort of. This spring I feel slightly less prepared as I am only just starting to plan my garden now. In previous years I had my garden plan, planting schedule, and seeds all ready and waiting to go by early March. This year I am taking a much more chilled out approach and I feel that I am ready to “go with the flow” of spring in an effort to stay relaxed and enjoy the experience. Continue reading

Weekend Project: Build Your Own Raised Garden Bed (Part 2 of 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of Little Farm in the Alberta Foothills’ raised bed garden box feature! You can find part 1 here. In this post we will discuss the logistics of building the raised bed garden boxes and give you the details and specifics of how you can follow our design and what you will need. This straightforward plan can be started and completed in just a couple of days, making it the perfect weekend project! Let’s get started! Continue reading

Little Farm’s Guide to Raised Bed Gardening (Part 1 of 2)

hikingWelcome back! Today’s post will focus on one of my favourite homesteading topics…. gardening! While many of  our friends in more temperate climates are on the cusp on planting season, here in the Canadian foothills we are still a couple months away from spring. However, it is never too early for planning ahead and getting a head start on some of your homestead building projects! This post is part one of two about our raised bed gardens, and will discuss why we chose raised bed gardening over the more tradition in-ground style of garden. A follow up post will detail how we built our raised bed garden boxes, and how you can build one (or two, or three!) of your own! Continue reading

Hens On The Homestead: 6 Questions You Need To Answer Before You Get Chickens

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The backyard chicken craze is gaining momentum as more people come to realize that chickens are entertaining, social, and useful pets. Many are also drawn to raising chickens because, of all the barnyard livestock, they have a reputation of being among the easiest and cheapest to keep. Chickens are the second most cost efficient homestead animal in converting feed to meat (the first being fish, which are far less feasible for the Canadian backyard homestead.) There is also a huge interest among urbanites, small-town dwellers, and country-folk alike in knowing where our food comes from and learning to raise it ourselves. Considering all of this it’s no wonder that chickens are such a popular backyard pet! If you’re just starting out with chickens, though (or even sometimes if you’ve been raising chickens for years!) it can be very overwhelming when trying to decide on what type of chickens to get, how many, should you have a rooster or just hens, etc. etc. Little Farm in the Alberta Foothills is here to help!

Is keeping chickens for you? And what exactly should you consider when you are trying to decide on a chicken breed? In this blog entry I will pose a few questions that you need to consider when deciding the answers to these very important questions, and relate to you our personal experiences. Continue reading