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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

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

Identifying Our Dependencies on Food

Identifying Our Dependencies on Food

As we begin to travel down the road towards our homesteading dream we thought it would be a good idea to list out the dependencies we have on things. We are beginning to think of ways to be less dependent on things and to become more self-sufficient.

This is the first post in a series of posts where we will go through the main areas of our lives as we strive to simplify them.

Food

We currently make at least one trip a week to the grocery store, but we are in the process of trying to cut that back to twice a month. Below are the most common items that we buy, and ways that we are trying to be less dependent on the grocery store with them.

Milk

Milk CanIt would be nice to have a cow or a goat to provide our milk, but where we live that is not possible. For the time being, we’ll continue to buy milk from the store.

Eggs

Our family goes through a lot of eggs, almost 3 dozen a week. We are in the process of building a chicken coop and then we will be getting some chickens to produce our eggs!

Cheese

Until we are able to produce/get raw milk, we’ll continue to have to buy cheese from the store. We do want to start shopping at our local farmers market, so maybe we’ll be able to buy cheese there.

Bread

We hardly ever buy bread at store anymore, as we typically make 2 loafs every week or so. We do want to start making our buns though.

Chicken

cooked chickenWhere we live we are not allowed to butcher our chickens, so we are stuck with either buying them from the store, or the farmer’s market.

Meat

In the past we have bought a quarter of a cow from a local farm, and that was great. We need to look into doing that again until we can raise our own animals. I also want to take up hunting, as our family loves the taste of deer meat.

Fruit

We currently buy most of our fruit from the grocery store, but would like to start buying it at the farmers market where we can. We would also like to plant some fruit trees, but we’re not sure how long we are going to be at this location.

Vegetables

VeggiesFor the last couple of years we have had a small garden which has produced some of our veggies, but not all of them. This year we hope to double our yield from last year, especially with tomatoes. For the veggies that we are not able to grow, we hope to buy them from the farmer’s market and can them so we can have real veggies all year.

Nuts

Like the fruit trees, we’d love to plant some nut trees, but we’re hoping to move to a larger piece of land in a few years (maybe). We may plant some regardless, at least to benefit the people who come after us.

As you see, we have a lot of work to do! These are just some of the food items that we buy, but they are the big ones that we want to focus on first.

In the next post we are going to focus on some of the household items that we want to start making ourselves.

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

What’s In Our Food?

What’s In Our Food?

Howdy fellow Homestead Dreamers! We’re going to be starting a new series soon on “What’s In Our Food?”

What is this series going to be about?

The series is going to highlight one particular food item per post. We are going to explore the ingredient list, the manufacturing process, the place of origin, the distribution, and anything else we can find out!

Why are we doing this?

As we are trying to lead a more homestead-centered life, being healthy and eating healthy plays a HUGE part in that. We want to know exactly what is in our food so we know whether or not we should eat it. Our ultimate goal is to grow and produce ALL of our own food, but we are not there yet. So in the meantime, we are going to be researching some of the common foods that our family eats, so that we know what to avoid.

We hope you enjoy this series and if you have any particular food item you want us to investigate, feel free to drop your ideas in the comments below. Also, be sure you don’t miss out on these investigative posts by subscribing to our email list below –


Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

tomato shot
What’s inside our food?
You Know You Should Become a Homesteader When…

You Know You Should Become a Homesteader When…

Below are some fun (and serious) statements I’ve put together to help you realize that you should become a homesteader 🙂

You know you want to become a homesteader when…

  1. You start to wonder where your food REALLY comes from.
  2. While you’re at work, all you can think about is being at home surrounded by all of the people you love and all of the things you love to do.
  3. You start to wonder if you should trade your car in for a horse.
  4. You don’t want to report to anybody and you want to be your own boss.
  5. You find a hair in your meal from your local fast food restaurant.
  6. You want time to pursue your hobbies while making an honest living.
  7. You want your kids to be active, engaged, and surrounded by nature.
  8. While you’re sitting in a meeting at work, all you can think about are the homesteading projects that you want to do when you get home.
  9. You want to spend as much time with your family as you can, each and every day.
  10. You start looking for deals on canning jars more often than you look for deals on anything else.
  11. You’re tired of working in a job that you don’t enjoy just to pay bills that you don’t enjoy paying.
  12. You’re tired of the fake tasting tomatoes from the grocery store.
  13. All you can think about homesteading.

 

I’ll keep adding to this list as I think of some more 🙂 Also feel free to leave some of your ideas down below in the comments!

Until next time, God Bless and Happy Homesteading!

Andrew & Maria

Homestead Tomatoes