Grit Blogs > Back to the Land

Busy Bee Off the Farm

A photo of MalisaIt's been a crazy week, but one of those weeks that you don’t get much done. Instead of cultivating plants, I was cultivating young minds. I was director and teacher of a preschool vacation Bible school. It had only been a year since I was in a classroom, but that had been a classroom of high school students, big difference between teaching preschool and high school. To say the least, between chores, organizing and planning VBS, teaching VBS, and trying to get stuff done before we leave next week for Custer WI, it has been crazy.

My daughter, Banion, has been harassing me to sort the rabbits. We have 25 bunnies right now. Seven adults and 18 baby rabbits that are 7 weeks old. The babies are still with their moms and we have a young trio that was given to us. All are ready to be moved around to separate or larger cages. Seven are red New Zealand’s, ten are Rex, and the rest are mix between Rex and Satins.  She wants to sort them into three cages; sell, keep, and butcher. I told her maybe our first step is to sort males and females so we don’t end up with all females, again…. I had to borrow a friend’s buck last time we bred the rabbits. New Zealand rabbits are great meat rabbits, and Rex are a pretty good dual purpose breed. The does (females) I will keep in cages together in groups of 3 until I breed them and they are ready to kindle (give birth). The bucks (males) need to be kept in cages alone, since they will fight if kept together. I would like to keep about 6 back for our breeding stock.  Banion has a couple friends looking for a pet rabbit and there is a local feed store that would sell some also for her. Seventy-five percent of her rabbit money goes back into rabbit feed and supplies. 

The Niles family will be traveling to WI for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Fair June 15-18. For those who haven’t heard of it, it is a self-sufficiency fair and workshop extravaganza. My husband, Rick, plans on going to sessions on renewable energies, especially solar. I am planning on going to several gardening workshops, business planning workshops and food preservation sessions. There are even sessions and events for the kids. It will be our first official family vacation. 

Living on the farm means a great deal of work is required before you can go anywhere. Finish the fencing on a goat pasture, butcher 40 chickens, finish planting the garden, plant 54 trees I picked up at the NRCS tree sale,  clean house, expand the calf’s fencing, and organize the travel itinerary for trip are on the to-do list. Of course when you travel you have to find someone to cover animal chores. I am fortunate to have a couple local teenagers I can call or a fellow self-sufficient friend.  I remember the days of just packing the bag, and off I went. Being gone for a couple days now means a lot more. 

I should treat every day as the day before I go on a big trip, just think about what I could get done. 

nate sahl
6/20/2012 6:55:00 PM

I have just met your husband and have been working here in SD with him the last 2 weeks. My wife and I live on 6 acres in rural Iowa. I have always been into being more self reliant. I am glad I met Rick and now have a Co worker/friend who is interested in the same things as myself! Look forward to reading more of your blog (I should start one some day) and keeping in touch. Nate.


nebraska dave
6/20/2012 12:41:36 AM

Malisa, congrats on being a featured blog in the July-August GRIT Magazine.


nebraska dave
6/13/2012 2:42:35 AM

Malisa, work on the homestead is sun up to sun down. No time for such shenanigans as hours of Farmville on facebook, game playing on the Xbox, or shopping at the mall. I just can't imagine why anyone would want to spend all that time on Farmville when they could be outside doing the real thing. At the Urban Ranch, rebuilding a picnic table replaces the worthless time spent viewing TV reality shows. Why not be in reality instead of watching reality. It just doesn't make any kind of sense to me. Of course I'm just a last century old fashion kind of guy. :0) Have a great trip and be sure tell us all about it when you return.