22.5.13

Homesteading

Homesteading:  A weekly account of our journey to becoming off grid homesteaders.  Our path will be long as we are only paying in cash and our funds are very limited.  Mike and I have no idea what we're doing so we'll be learning as we go.  I know we'll make mistakes and that's ok.  It's all part of the process.  

We would love to read about your homesteading experiences, so if you'd like to share your favorite resources, tips, funny stories, recipes, books, website or even just a photo from the week, please leave a link in the comments.

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This last weekend was our first camping trip of the season on our land.  It feels so good to be back sleeping under the stars.  It's also nice to be back to working on some homesteading projects!

Mike's step dad made us a little stool for our bird sanctuary out of a tree that fell on their homestead.  I'd like to make a few more of these, to put around the campfire!

Luke has been asking if we could make a nature book, so we're taking pictures of things he wants to identify.  We think the second photo is an Allegheny Serviceberry.  They grow all along the hill and along the edge of the woods.  Right now, the trees are covered in clouds of white flowers, but soon will have sweet, juicy berries. We hope, anyway!  In the fall, the leaves will turn a brilliant shade of orange and red that glow like fire, in the evening sun.

Last week, we mowed an area where are going to build the house.  This week, we staked out the perimeter of our tiny house and mowed the area where we'll put the giant garden next year!  We decided to till the garden for the first year and then work the soil as no till from then on.  We just don't have money in the budget for a truck load of compost, and by then we should have a good amount of our own humanure compost.

I also had to share the most exciting part of our weekend... snakes!  And lots of them.  Jake said the garter snakes were the most angry and feisty he's ever picked up, hissing and biting.  Garter snakes are usually mellow and very tame.  He also found a Fox Snake out on the road.  It's the largest fox snake we've ever seen in the wild.  Jake measured it against is 6ft tall body, and this snake was a good 5 feet long.  It stunk really bad, so he only held it long enough for me to take a few pictures and then let it go back into the ditch.

For this next weekend, we're looking forward to building our harvest table!




7 comments:

  1. Now THAT is a garden! Or *will* be soon. Those snake photos are gorgeous. And we have plans to build our own harvest table too :-)

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    1. I know, right! I can't wait to start planting. :)

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  2. I love seeing all the steps your family is taking towards your dream! What is the footprint you are planning for your home?

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    1. Thanks, Tonya. We're going to keep it really simple and small for the house. The initial size will be 16 feet square, with a loft for sleeping. Based on how many square feet we actually use in our current house, it should be just fine. Jake wants to build a tiny house of his own and we'll have a separate building for the humanure compost toilet. If we decide that we need more space/privacy, we may add on next year. Finances, you know. ;)

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  3. Awesome! My family has also worked seasonally to build an off the grid homestead on the cheap. Every weekend's worth of projects feels like a victory!

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  4. My husband and I have been living on a postage stamp lot in a subdivision for three years while constantly dreaming, researching and planning our future homestead. You simply must check out River Cottage. Look for a youtube station called shazzandfred and start with the show "Escape to River Cottage". Hugh Fearnly-Whittinstalls books are a staple in our homesteading library. Also, Les Crowder's Top Bar Beekeeping book, and the Backyard Homestead books, one one veg and one on livestock. SO HELPFUL. If you're doing everything in cash, I'd start with long term investments like fruit and nut trees. You can never make up for time lost growing them and many take years to mature. I'm looking forward to watching your homestead bloom and grow!

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  5. Thank you so much for all the great info, Amanda!

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