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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

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

Our Homesteading Goals for February

Our Homesteading Goals for February

It’s hard to believe that February is almost upon us, I feel like it was just Christmas!

At the end of each month we plan to post our goals for the coming month. We are going to do this to help keep us on track as well as to share our progress with you.

For February, our goals are the following –

Get this blog up and running

Getting this blog up and running is a big goal of ours as we believe it will help us to achieve our other goals and especially help us reach our homesteading dream. We want to make this blog informational, inspirational and hopefully a rat race escape route to be used by others.

Finish the chicken coop

In January we started building our chicken coop, something that we have been talking about since at least last year. Where we live we can only have up to 6 hens, no roosters, so the plan was to build a chicken coop with a run but have them out free ranging when possible. Last weekend I was able to get some of the framing done, but in the next month I want to get it completely done and ready for some chickens come spring. I’ll create a separate post with more pictures, total cost, and placement in the yard once it’s done, but here is the progress so far –

Goal: Chicken Coop
Chicken coop framing.

Sew some outfits in preparation for the birth of our daughter

My wife is a fantastic seamstress and in between homeschooling, working, and everyday household chores she is hoping to sew a handful of outfits and blankets in preparation for the birth of our daughter. With 3 boys in the house, my wife (and I of course) are super excited to be having a girl! Sewing is one of those great skills to have, and luckily my wife has been sewing for quite a while now, always learning new techniques and always keeping her skill fresh. Below is one of the outfits that she has produced –

Goal: Sewing

Goal: Sewing

Finish setting up our homeschooling room

Another project that we had started last month was our homeschooling room. For the last 6 months or so we’ve been using the dining room table as a makeshift homeschooling area but it just wasn’t working out with all of the stuff that comes along with homeschooling. What we had decided was to convert our family room into the homeschooling room. The family room was one of the more underused rooms in the house, so it just made sense. We have moved a lot of the books and school supplies down there but there is still a lot of work and organizing to be done. We hope to get this project finished in the coming month and will create a post of the finished space. Here is a sneak peak –

Goal: Homeschooling Room
Our new homeschooling room.

Figure out how to make less trips to the grocery store

Lastly, groceries has always been an area of our lives that could use some serious simplification. We have been grocery shopping once a week for as long as I can remember. Just recently we started realizing how dependent we are on the grocery store… Our long term goal is to grow and preserve the majority of our food, but we aren’t quite there yet (not even close).

Some questions we are asking ourselves are – Would we be able to survive without trips to the grocery store? What if the grocery store doesn’t have what we need? What if a big store or some other natural event cuts out the grocery store for days? For weeks? So this month we want to figure out how we can improve our dependance in this area. Are we able to cut our trips to the grocery store in half? Stayed tuned and we’ll let you know how it goes!

So there you have it, our first goals post! We plan to do this each month to help give you guys some ideas. It will also help keep us on track in order to reach our homestead dreams!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria