Sick Kids and Busy Work

Sick Kids and Busy Work

Sick kids, and busy work! That pretty much sums up our last week and a half…

This is the first post in while, well in about a week and a half I guess, so it’s nice to be back at it!

Sick Kids

As the title of the post suggests, our children have been pretty sick recently… it started with one and then all three of them caught it. They have some sort of stomach bug, no fever, but it has been a persistent little bug that just won’t seem to go away. As a matter of fact, it’s been a number of days since any of the kids showed any signs of it, so I took the kids out hiking last night… We were about 10 minutes into the hike and out of nowhere the middle child, he’s 3, barfs after showing no signs of anything whatsoever… so we’ve been dealing with these types of situations lately and would appreciate if you could send some prayers our way!

Weird thing is, my wife and I haven’t caught this dang thing yet…

Busy Work

As if the sickness wasn’t enough, work has been extremely busy as of late! Like busy as in last week I ended up working around 60 hours… We had a huge project that we rolled out and ran into some bumps with, but it’s out there, bumps are resolved and so far so good, so I’m glad that is behind us now. Working that much in a field that I’m starting to not really enjoy much anymore is really starting to wear at me, and my mind has been hard at work thinking of possible alternatives.

Pregnancy Update

I also wanted to share an update on my wife, she’s still pregnant… she does have about 2 weeks to go until her due date, but I know she is more than ready to not be pregnant anymore. Our first 2 kids were about a week late and our third one was about 10 days early, so you just never know! But as soon as our (first) daughter arrives, I’ll be sure to post some pictures!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Our Homesteading Goals for March 2017

Our Homesteading Goals for March 2017

Can you believe it’s already MARCH!?! I sure can’t! Time sure is flying by this year I feel like, which makes sense because we’ve had a lot going on. It’s a lot of work working towards the self-sufficient life, but it is well worth it! 🙂

This post, as the title suggests is our goals post for March! I know we’re already 9 days into March, but I want to get this out there, so here it goes…

Get the Garden Prepped

For the last couple of years we’ve had 2 raised garden beds, one is 4 ft by 10 ft and the other is 5 ft by 10 ft. The harvest from these beds the last couple of years was so-so, and I feel like that was from not maintaining the proper balance of nutrients in the soil. But here we are again, Spring is near and it’s time to start thinking about planting again!

Last fall when we put the beds to sleep we piled on all of the compost we had on hand, a ton of grass clippings and wood chips, and we finished it off with a pile of leaves. I was just out there looking at it the other day and it’s starting to look very promising.

So this month we want to finalize our garden plan, start some seeds indoors, and add an additional layer of compost to the beds. We also need to redo our fencing around the beds. We have a large number of deer in our backyard and last year we had a cheap 7 foot high garden fence which did the trick, but is in dire repair or replacement with something else.

Bring Home the Chicks

Last month we finished up the chicken coop, well, we’re about 95% done, and this month we are going to bring home the chicks! As I had mentioned in a previous blog post, we are going to be picking up the chicks from Tractor Supply! They get new shipments on Wednesdays and Fridays until April 30th, so I’ve been calling up there eagerly waiting for them to get in some Black Australorps or Buff Orpingtons. I don’t know if the kids are more excited or if we are! 🙂

Prepare/Welcome? New Baby

As some of you may know, we are expecting our 4th child, and our first girl in the next couple of weeks!! We are eagerly awaiting her arrival but have a lot to do before she gets here to ensure we have plenty of time to relax and bond with her 🙂

In the last few weeks before her arrival we want to ensure we have a lot of freezer meals made and put up, as well ensure the pantry is stocked. We still need to pack our hospital bag and figure out the plan for when my wife goes into labor, such as who is going to watch the boys and all of that kind of stuff. Definitely some exciting times!

Stock Up on Non-Food Items

Lastly, this month we want to stock up on all of the essential things we need that are not food related. What I’m talking about here is toilet paper, paper towels, personal care items, etc. We want to buy this stuff in bulk and have a system in place where we’ll always have a multi-month supply. We think this is a good idea because it is just one less thing we would need to worry about during our bi-monthly grocery store trips.

Leave a comment below with the goals you are currently working towards, we’d love to hear them!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

February 2017 Goals Recap

February 2017 Goals Recap

In this blog post we recap our goals from February and give you an update on our progress towards our homesteading dream.

Overall I think February was a very productive month for us! We had several days of nice weather that we completely took advantage of. Besides the goals we had for February, we accomplished a ton of stuff around the house including:

  • Cleared out a TON of honeysuckle in the back corner of our yard where we hope to build a shed this year
  • Repaired some fencing that has been down since we bought the house, 4 years ago…
  • Stacked a TON of firewood from 4 trees that were cut down last fall

Alright, so here is an update on our goals from February!

Get this blog up and running

We started this blog at the end of January to share our thoughts, our goals and our adventures as we chase our homesteading dream of providing for ourselves, being less dependent on the system, and learning skills that have been forgotten in our generation. So we are about 1.5 months into this blog and so far I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve been trying to get at least 2 posts out per week about things I find interesting, things we’re working on, etc.

We hope you guys find this blog to be interesting and we THANK YOU so much for reading it! There is still a ton of stuff that we want to add to the blog, so check back frequently and subscribe! We hope this blog is a great resource for you (and for us) and we hope that others find the inspiration to start homesteading as well 🙂

Finish the chicken coop

I made a TON of progress on the chicken coop in the last month. It is not quite completely done, but it is just about there. Inside the coop I still need to setup the roosting boxes and the water/feeding stations. Outside of the coop I still need to setup the run, the water/feeding stations, and the quick access doors to the back of the roosting boxes for easy egg retrieval. Overall I’m loving the way the coop turned out and I’m excited to share the building process with you once it’s complete.

Sew some outfits in preparation for the birth of our daughter

Believe it or not, our new baby girl is going to be here in just 4 short weeks! We’ve been busy preparing for her arrival and my wife was able to make some cute outfits and blankets for her 🙂 It’s weird seeing pink in the house as we currently have 3 boys, but we are so excited to meet here! A lot of friends and family have also been extremely generous and have bought outfits for her as well.

Finish setting up our homeschooling room

The homeschooling room is about 95% complete! We had transitioned our (underused) family room into a homeschooling room last month because we wanted a centralized place for all of our homeschooling stuff, other than the dining room table! We are really happy with how this turned out and it has been extremely functional. We have organized bins of all the supplies, we have an area to hang the children’s artwork, we moved all of the books (that were scattered over the house) into the room, and it’s all just working out so good. Pictures to come soon!

Figure out how to make less trips to the grocery store

I think we just about nailed this one on the head as well! As long as we can remember we have been going to the grocery store once a week. To cut down on unnecessary trips and to have more food stored on hand we decided to only go every 2 weeks to the store. We are not completely where we want to be quite yet, but we are a lot better off than we were. One of these days when we start producing a lot more of our own food, we might be able to cut this down to once a month! 🙂

In the next couple of days we’ll be posting our goals for March… I know we’re already a week into March, but stay tuned!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Tractor Supply Chick Days

Tractor Supply Chick Days

Howdy Homestead Dreamers, I hope everyone is doing well! I just wanted to write a quick blog post about our chicken situation…

I was super excited to find out this week that our local Tractor Supply just received their chicks! I had always heard that they had chicks each year, but this year is our year! Our chicken coop is about ready, but we still have a few more things to do such as set up the brooder and pick up some organic chicken feed.

For the brooder I think we are just going to use a box or bin with bedding and a clip-on heat lamp. With the organic chicken feed we lucked out and there is a small family-owned pet store on my way home from work that carries the feed, so I’m going to be swinging by there on my way home from work to pick some up.

I was also happy to see that they have multiple breeds available. We were hoping to get either some Buff Orpingtons or some Black Australorps, and it looks like they may have both! Another great thing about the Chick Days at Tractor supply is that I believe their minimum order is 6, whereas if you buy from an online hatchery, the smallest order that I saw was 15. Being that we can only have 6 hens where we live, this is perfect.

Buff Orpington
Buff Orpingtons
Black Australorp
Black Austtralop – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Australorps_henne.jpg

We will be posting some pictures as soon as we get them, so stay tuned!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Being Prepared on the Homestead: Bad Weather

Being Prepared on the Homestead: Bad Weather

A few nights ago we had a HUGE storm blow through. It woke the kids up and it kept my wife and I up for most of the night. Not only were there torrential downpours for hours, but also thunder/lightening, hail and strong winds. It was quite a site to see as I watched (during bursts of lightening) a valley in the backyard fill up with water and get larger and larger.

As I laid in bed trying to fall back asleep amidst loud bursts of thunder and pounding rain on the roof, I started realizing how unprepared our family is if our power would have went off or worse…

We are completely dependent on the power grid, and like many, this hasn’t really crossed our minds as much as it should. It takes storms and situations like this to get your thinking back on track and to have a plan in place when a disaster strikes.

Some of the things that came to mind were –

  • Where are the flashlights? I know where one is, I think, but are the batteries in it good?
  • Where are the batteries? Do we have enough spare batteries?
  • Emergency updates and communication. What is our plan to receive updates on the situation if we can’t just turn on the TV or check or internet?
  • What if our drains become clogged and water starts coming into our house? When was the last time I checked the drains?
  • If the power is out for a while, what are we going to do with all of the food in the fridge/freezer?

Although we made it through the storm without much damage, it did help me to get my mind back on track and think about what needs to be done to better prepare my family in the future. You never know what mother nature is going to throw at us, but by staying alert, being prepared, and staying calm, you’ll be much better off.

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Being Prepared on the Homestead: Water

Being Prepared on the Homestead: Water

Homesteading and preparedness go hand in hand, even if you don’t realize it!

I wanted to use this post to share some of the things that I have been thinking about lately as we have been working on pursuing our homesteading dream. The more that we travel down the homestead road, the more I realize how dependent we have become and how unprepared we truly are!

Water

Let’s face it, water is one of the most important resources that we need! With that being said, I do feel as though a lot of people, including us, take it for granted… We don’t think about all that goes into what makes our water clean and drinkable, all we do is turn on the faucet, fill up a glass, and take a drink. What if one day we turn on the faucet and nothing comes out?

We’ve always had a couple of extra gallons of water on hand, but not nearly enough for our family of 5, especially if the water was off for an extended period of time. What about our garden, what our animals? How are they going to get water? We need to think about those things as well.

So lately I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and this is definitely an area that we need to work on ourselves. I think we’ll continue to buy a couple extra gallons of water whenever we are at the store, but that water doesn’t last long in the cheap plastic containers that it comes in. I’ve been scouring Amazon the last couple of days for some ideas and here are some of the products that I’m interested in.

Products

     

As I’m trying to develop our plan for water preparedness, I’m thinking about water storage, water filtration, and water purification. Whichever route we end up taking and whichever products we end up going with, we’ll need to begin to fold this into our routine so that we become comfortable with these alternate methods of getting and using water. Someday it would be great to have a well or a natural spring, but until we get to that point, we’ll need to have alternate backup water plans.

We’d love to hear what you are currently doing in this area, so please leave a comment below!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Homestead Updates

Homestead Updates

Howdy fellow Homesteader friends! I just wanted to provide a quick update on what we’ve been up to recently.

Chicken Coop Update

For the last week or so I’ve been extremely busy working on the chicken coop. With the warm weather that we’ve been having recently, I’ve been out there working on it every chance I get until it gets dark. I did have a minor setback this week…

I was screwing in a board above my head, one had on the drill and the other holding the board, and before I knew it, the drill popped off the screw head and went right through my fingernail on my index finger! After I got the bleeding to calm down a little bit I saw that my fingernail actually was pushed through my finger to the other side… Luckily I was able to get the tweezers and pull it all the way through. It hurt like the dickens, but it’s been a few days now and it’s starting to feel better 🙂

Needless to say, be patient with your projects and safety first!

Inside the chicken coop.
Inside the chicken coop.
Chicken coop almost finished backside.
Chicken coop almost finished backside.
Chicken coop almost finished front.
Chicken coop almost finished front.

Food Recall

I got a call this week about a recall on some Gouda cheese that we had purchased from the store due to a possible contamination with Listeria. After looking into this some more, it started to scare the crap out of my wife and I. As you know, my wife is pregnant, and after doing some reading, this could be a very bad thing for the baby if we were actually exposed to it. When things like this pop up, it just makes me want to work harder towards making our homesteading dream a reality.

Back to Eden Gardening Film/Method

This week we watched the Back to Eden Gardening Film on YouTube. This video was awesome and it provided excellent information on gardening with wood chips. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend going and checking it out. So after watching this video I started calling around to various tree service companies in our area to see if they had any extra wood chips that hopefully we could get for free, but I’m still waiting to hear back from them. We are really excited to get our garden started again this year, exciting time!

Well that’s what we have been up to lately, we’d like to hear what you guys have been up to on your homestead, please leave a comment below!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria