Weekly round-up for the week ending 3 July 2022: As the first week of the second half of the year comes to a close, we wind down another week on Milo’s Farm with an atypical weekend of rain and a few big jobs done.
This last week’s recap includes more fun with Instagram, more baking of sourdough, decisions on the new coop build, a short new blog post series on social media for homesteaders and work around the farm.
Instagram Reels has been fun!
I’ve been having a lot of fun with Instagram Reels. If you recall in last week’s round-up post I mentioned I wanted to get into them a little more to grow my followers and engagement and it has been an interesting venture into seeing what ticks the marks and what doesn’t.
On Sunday last weekend, Moose went next door to the neighbour’s place for some luscious grass eating adventures. This was the first reel I posted for the week.
To be honest I thought that Instagram Reels was going to be a fad and I never paid much attention to it, but after doing some research this last week I have learnt it is something Instagram is really pushing with vigor and is one of the best tools to try and grow your following.
I think I still have a lot to learn when it comes to some of the niche ways to use Reels. Moreso in the way I think about making Reels from things I do all the time. It’s that DIY/tutorial/educational stuff that is really useful, and the stuff that is different.
This reel is an educational one I did on how to fold sourdough:
With that in mind and looking back at some of the reels I posted this week, I think I’m going to redo my editorial calendar. I think it’s important to have a mixture of content so you don’t look overly curated, but that does have structure. If your intent is to grow your following or develop engagement, then I don’t think it’s viable to just post randomly and hope for the best.
I also want to make some time one day a week to film a bunch of Reels and save them to draft. That’s not to say if something new or interesting comes long during the week that you couldn’t post that instead – but it’s usually weekends where we have something major happening that I can film a few things for that could be useful.
So far I really enjoy it and am fascinated by learning and understanding what makes some things get a lot of views and some things very little.
The decision on the new chickens
When it comes to the chickens and the new coop, I have finally decided on the breeders I am looking for.
Essentially I want to get started breeding my own hens, and being able to sell eggs, or meat, or fertile eggs, day old chicks or even the excess roosters eventually with the expansion of the business (more of that coming soon!)
Once the coop is made – which, the build will be starting very soon – then I will introduce meat hens specifically to get some meat into the freezer quickly. Then the plan is to bring in breeding groups of chickens to produce heritage level meat and eggs.
I’ve decided on Wyandotte’s, Orpington’s and Australorps. The choice is quite simple – the Wyandotte’s and Orpington’s are great layers and very good multipurpose chickens. This means I can use the same breeds for meat and eggs.
The other reason behind this choice is that Orpington’s and Wyandotte’s are heftier birds, so bred as meat hens you will get a lovely bird with excellent meat and fat proportions.
Wyandotte’s are superior mothers, and for this reason I am trying to have birds that will need as little interference from me as possible. I’ll still be on the hunt for a second hand incubator incase I do need to step in and help, but for the most part I want the layers to lay and hatch on their own.
Wyandotte’s and Orpington’s are also superior layers, said to produce over 300+ eggs a year. This is fantastic for us and a great opportunity for the expansion of the homestead.
Australorps I chose as they are the ‘Australian’ chicken so for hardiness and a bird that is used to the environment here, I chose this bird. They are not the best mothers, and not as broody but the other breeds should cover that for them.
All in all, by around September when the freeze dryer comes, I want to be ready to cull our first lot of meat hens and have point of lay birds starting to lay.
Tartine has changed my sourdough game…
I mentioned last week that my book arrived from Amazon, the Tartine book.
I absolutely love it.
I straight away went into making their basic crusty loaf and started a second starter with just whole wheat and white flour. As part of the process, you start by making a leaven for use in the bread, and so with the extra beyond the 200g you need for the recipe, you put it back as starter.
Another thing I’ve learnt throughout this week, is that adding rye flour to a sourdough starter will make it more acidic, making the resulting sourdough tangier as a result.
Well, that thing has been so active, much more so than my first starter. I have been actively adding Brero Rye Flour from Basic Ingredients to the first starter though, so that does make a difference to how active the starter will be.
The other thing with maintaining two starters is having the right container to do so. Just last night I ordered some Weck jars from Oz Farmer specifically for my sourdough starters. I picked the tulip jar and the tapered jar as both received great reviews by other bakers.
It also tends to have a denser loaf of bread and doesn’t rise as much. It can still be active, but I’ve found that adding rye should be more of a once a week type thing as opposed to every feeding.
The below image is the first bake from this week which was the rye bled. It’s a bit hard to tell in this picture, but it was a much denser loaf with less crumb.
Unless of course, you wanted a specifically tangy starter and one more mild.
Regardless, I’ve been baking a fair bit this week. We enjoyed the blended loaf, which was 25% rye, 50% white, 25% whole wheat. It was a very sour loaf though, perhaps a bit too sour for my liking. I don’t mind a sour loaf, but I feel it limits your use to only savoury things.
A slightly milder sourdough is less obtrusive in taste. So I made a second batch as the week progressed and that was far better tasting.
Instead of leaving the second dough to bake the next day, I baked both on the same day and froze one immediately. So far we’ve found over the week, we can get through the two loaves easily with no waste.
Defrosting it for use is also easy. It slices better as the crust has softened but is still chewy and the inside isn’t dry. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having fresh sourdough available and cannot wait to get this into a better routine.
Next week I will do a Tuesday bake again as that seems to be the best day. Factoring in we also have focaccia or pizza throughout the week also, and so we can use the same dough mixture for those too.
The Social Media for Homesteaders series
Back in the day when I was a university student in undergrad, I did a double major in Communications and International Relations. As a result, I have this secret skill of technically being able to do the work of a social media manager, but no actual work experience in the field.
That’s not to say I don’t already know a thing or two about social media as a result. I don’t profess to be an expert, but I sure do know a few things from managing my own social media profiles.
I decided to start a short series called Social Media for Homesteaders. I realised there was a lot of content and social media coaching out there for people in various niches, but nothing specific to homesteaders. I thought it would be a great bit of content to develop.
So during the week I released 5 posts in the series in how to get the best out of social media for your homestead brand and business.
I really enjoyed writing this series and had a lot of great feedback on it. I will definitely consider doing more on different themes.
The other thing I’ve done this week is optimise my blog. I found a great plugin called Rank Math which embeds itself into your posts and page section and shows you all the things you can optimise. For example, it might tell you your url is too long, or doesn’t contain your SEO keyword.
Each post and page can have different SEO keywords listed. It then uses those keywords to show how often they come up in your post with related keywords, if it’s used in your meta description and alt text on images, etc.
I’ve optimised one page of posts which is 20 posts, but I have 98 written in total which means I still have a ways to go!
What I found as a result of doing this exercise is that it has given me the opportunity to do a second edit of sorts – check spelling, split paragraphs, update links and images – that kinda thing. So far the optimised posts look significantly better than the original view of them after I had written them.
Optimising the blog is no easy feat. There’s other things I’d like to do such as do some Pinterest images, and make some freebies in the form of checklists, ebooks and other downloadables.
I think once I get through this tranche of work on the blog then I will make my way back into the other things on the list. And all whilst still writing, still making videos, vlogs, and putting content out!
At the end of the day, I want this blog and the associated businesses to be my business. I want to be able to leave my corporate job and do this full-time.
Burn-off, clearing and getting ready to go back to do the bush arena
We started a project last year to clear the bush arena. Due to covid, work and other commitments, we got it half cleared before we couldn’t tackle the project again.
Now with some other work planned for the coop and wanting to get grass sown in the back paddocks, we’ve had some more clearing done around the fenceline and about an acre in the back.
It not only looks fantastic but has opened up the ground to more sunlight so we can try and eradicate the asparagus weeds.
This reel was from the first day of burn-off. We also had the earth mover out for the day after, and he is scheduled to return in a few weeks to do the rest of the bush arena.
And there you have it! A productive and busy week with lots of work being done. I managed to get out into the garden for some weeding and planted my elephant garlic. So fingers crossed this weekend of rain helps them get going.
I also have seedlings planned for next week, and am also now planning the entry way garden. I’m looking at bringing in some tiger grass and japanese box hedging for the front entry and azalea’s for colour in the house yard.
I hope you have a fantastic week and we’ll catch up again soon!
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.