Farmstead progress – Poultry and Vegetables

I find myself bored at home, and in quite a bit of pain due to shingles (normal work in the week, and not enough farm = stress = immune failure) – so why not write an update on our farm progress.

Those near to us would know that we started some months ago on the Karoo farm, with a basic building (solar, and water all sorted off-grid) and almost no plants other than the existing fruit trees. Things don’t go fast, and while pretty much everything is a learning process (forever learning, always improving), time goes by quicker than milestones can be reached. Also, as we are working in (with!) the veld, the Karooveld, extra time is needed to make things eco-friendly and self-sufficient.

Alexia’s been really busy preparing for her first batch of animal husbandry etc. Lambs and goats are in process of research, while the chicken coop is in the building process. Her initial location selected for the coop is one that was previously used as a chicken run, and we have mounted the wooden coop in this area, while planning out predator proof fencing in the meantime. Out of interest, we have to deal with proofing animal areas against all the Karoo can offer, while keeping in mind that every predator out there is also an animal that is simply doing its natural thing. The main fellas we need to keep out though are mongoose, snake, genet, wildcat, birds of prey and rats.

Fortunately there are many ways to do this, but as we moved along, it became apparent that some tweaks were needed. We met with our nice neighbors last weekend to see their poultry configuration, and will use this weekend to walk and talk over changes needed on our side. The wooden coop will likely be altered or get used for another purpose around the homestead area (turkeys, ducks, goats, who knows). One thing is certain, getting materials and building done so far away from roads and infrastructure is not easy. Patience and the “long game” are at play here.


Last but not least, on the vegetable front…

I have two projects upcoming here, while keeping a firm foot on the natural veld rehabilitation and improvement.

  1. Mr S’s personal garden needs assistance, and I am going to help with this by generating seedlings, planting out and doing general upkeep for him. This garden is automatically watered from a reservoir and has massive potential. It already has 30-40 olive trees, some peach, apricot, apple and pear, tomato, composting heaps etc. This will be an ongoing project.
  2. My personal interest in a greenhouse around the homestead is progressing slowly. Most of my time is currently going into assisting Alexia with her poultry setup, but other than that, I am thinking, procrastinating and planning the greenhouse build. Wind is a major source of my fear, and secondly, building it in a way that does not attract too much attention from the life forms out there. On the upside, I am having a blast building an Arduino based greenhouse management system for it. This system will monitor a variety of sensors and make timed/dedicated decisions on watering the plants inside the greenhouse (or turn on fans, etc).

But that is mostly it for now.


Some images to highlight my explanations a little more…



Our reservoir got a valve now, once it is filled again, the garden will have direct feed from it!

The wooden chicken coop system designed and built by Alexia, still lacking a roof, and it’s final place. If we use this for chickens and not turkeys or something else 🙂

Bonus! The karoo had some rain and thunder, 4 or 5 mm, but enough to get some seedlings up and the veld smiling.

A sneak peak of the BigJim plastic box enclosure housing some parts of what is so far my waterproof Greenhouse management system. 🙂




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