Our Homestead

My homestead is a work in progress, but it brings me so much joy. When I started teaching full time, I thought I would have to give up on having the homestead that I wanted. While it is challenging some days, I have persisted because it’s something that I really want. I am still working on improving my gardening skills, but I’m learning a whole lot! I know that it will continue getting better.

Homemade

One of the things that brings me a lot of joy is making things homemade. My list has grown shorter since I started working, but it tends to be up and down. There are several things on this list that I always make and some that I don’t make as often. There are many recipes on the “Recipes” page. This is going to grow a lot over the next few months as I load many of the recipes that I haven’t included yet.

  • Greek honey vanilla yogurt
  • Granola
  • Whole wheat bread using freshly ground flour 
  • Most dinners (see the recipes page for a lot of my recipes- I’m going to be adding many more this summer)
  • Muffins, pancakes, waffles
  • Lara bars
  • Stove top popcorn
  • Tortillas
  • Salsa 
  • Tomato sauce
  • Elderberry syrup and gummies
  • Soy candles with essential oils
  • Some cleaners (I do prefer a few store bought natural cleaners)
  • Brined and roasted nuts and seeds
  • Desserts

Backyard Chickens

We started with 11, then lost 4 of them. In March, I got 8 more (and lost 1). So now we have 14 chickens. I’m pretty sure one is a rooster so he may end up being in my freezer. I’ve noticed that he’s a little rough with the chickens. Also, if he bothers the neighbors, we will have to do something about that. We’ll see. He’s only a few months old at the moment.

The breeds we have are:

  • Golden sex-link
  • Black sex-link
  • Barred rock
  • Olive-egger (they lay green eggs)
  • Easter-egger (they lay random colored eggs, usually blue)

Our chicken coop/pen is getting a little small for all of them. The funny thing is, they all choose to cram into one of the coops even though they could be in two. I knew that was going to happen. They really like to be close to each other.

My Raised Beds

My raised beds have been a labor of love. I set out to build some beds in the spring and I did most of the work. Robert helped some and I couldn’t have finished them up without him, but I did all of the planning and cutting of the wood by myself. It was actually pretty fun but also exhausting!

They look amazing, but unfortunately about half of my plants got eaten by worms. I have since learned how to prevent that in the future, but I can’t bring them back. I’m going to start planning a fall garden pretty soon, and that will include pest prevention. I didn’t even show one bed because the whole thing got eaten.

I have one bed that is overflowing. The main things that are doing so well are tomatoes and zucchini. The zucchini plants are taking up most of the bed and even shading out some others that I planted. I will know to do better next time. This was a total learning experience, and I knew it would be from the beginning.

Notice the crazy weeds all over our yard. It’s impossible to mow where we live because the terrain is full of rocks. So weed-eating is the only way, and we are too lazy to weed-eat the entire yard. Pretty soon this will all be dried out and eaten up by the chickens.

We also have some plants on our porch: rosemary, basil, jalapenos, cucumber (these may or may not make it up there), and a yellow bell pepper (as well as succulents and cacti).

I have big future plans for my garden including building another bed or two (probably next spring) and planting a fall garden. I want pumpkins so I might have to have most of a bed for that.

All of this is a learning experience, and I’m here for it. I love having a homestead; it’s an amazing hobby for me.