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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

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

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