The front wall, before retaining
I was tempted to start a new blog in private (Bushland Project II) as I felt the new direction would be too extreme from where we started. Only when I had something to show for all the drastic changes, was I going to reveal the new blog. But there's no mystery - nothing to hide - it's just another change like so many we've been through. I guess I was afraid people may think us crazy for doing what we're contemplating.
I'll give you an example to mark our new direction...we're going to be selling all our chickens. Told you it would be extreme. But we may keep three; it all depends on reaching our objective which is reducing our responsibilities to meet the function intended.
We started keeping chickens for fresh eggs and I suppose the romantic notion of country life. Soon I became obessed with breeds. Which isn't a bad pursuit in itself, but when measured against our finances and wider ambitions for this place, it was becoming unbalanced.
Hilltop chicken coop
Time to strike a new balance. Something which meets function, finances and our family. At this stage, the plan is to keep Hilltop our main chicken coop, with chickens bred to produce eggs. I'm leaning towards New Hampshires, as they're still a heritage breed with a good reputation for egg production. We may or may not keep a rooster. It would be desirable to keep one, but it has to meet our objectives.
By doing this, we'll effectively reduce our feed bill by half or more, and free time and resources to pursue the most important strategy here - food production.
Middle ridge chicken coop - marked for new propogation area
This is why our chicken coop dubbed, Middle Ridge, will be renovated to become a propogation area. We've got the shaded run already, where we can propogate cuttings, grow crops and the chicken coop itself will be turned into a potting area come greenhouse. We'll be ripping the roof off and making it high enough to walk through.
This is just a small taste of the changes we'll be making in 2010. It sounds ambitious and radical from the direction we've been travelling. But while country life is kind of romantic, we have to be able to manage it within our finances and main objectives. Food production has been shafted for a few years in favour of setting up chickens. Now it's time to wind that back to strike a better balance between the two.
We feel re-energised now we have a plan to follow. There are other changes on the way also, but all in good time...