My current goal is to live in this house in the suburbs while paying off the mortgage within 4 years. After that, I will probably sell it and move back out to my property, this time with more money and more skills so that I can stay out there permanently. While I am waiting to pay off my mortgage, I thought that I might as well try some things that could be money making or, at least, money saving endeavors. If the projects fail then I can try something else. It is much easier to try things when I have reliable water, heat/AC, and stores nearby.
Backyard chickens seem to be all the rage but I had chickens when I was a kid and I know that they are noisy when they lay eggs and I do not want anything noisy. Chickens also need a very secure pen. Raccoons made a meal out of more than one of our hens. Since I have dogs, I would have to make a separate space for the chickens and my yard isn't very big. Plus, I don't really eat that many eggs. But, I was reading different homestead blogs and I came across another bird. The Coturnix jumbo quail. They lay an egg a day but it takes around 5 eggs to equal a chicken egg. If I get really brave, I can eat the quail (I don't know if I can do that).
I read everything that I could find on them and decided to buy a couple adult birds since incubators with the automatic turning trays are quite expensive and I can't stay home and turn eggs 5 times a day. Craigslist had an ad for quail but the person never responded. I found a website for a guy that lives a few miles from me and he said he could sell me 6 quail for $50. That price is high but considering that I don't have to buy an incubator (yet) or build a brooder (yet), I figured it was worth the money to see if I could keep these birds happy.
So, today I brought home 2 female and 1 male Manchurian gold quail and 2 female and 1 male English white quail. He didn't have any jumbo quail available but if I can keep these birds happy, then someday in the future I can buy jumbo hatching eggs. My quail are living in 2 rubbermaid totes until I can build a cage on the porch. I got one egg already. Maybe by the weekend I will have enough for a quail egg omelet.
Coming soon...my other micro-farm project is going to be an attempt at aquaponics. I'm going to start with goldfish and lettuce and if that works then I will work up to Tilapia. I think growing fish will be fun (if they don't all die). And I read that aquaponics uses 90% less water than gardening in the soil so I am excited about that. The hardest part of gardening in Arizona is the brutal Summer heat that dries everything out. This year I want to take advantage of the wonderful large covered porch that I have. I don't have destructive foster puppies like last year so I think I'm going to have more success no matter what I do.