State of the homestead : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

Now that you've all told your stories, lets all share about where we stand now. Have you reached all your goals? Is your garden choking big time like mine?

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, June 21, 2001


Little Bit, you must be getting tired of hearing from me. I hope someone else chimes in soon! The state of our homestead is fair, getting better and healthier. We have all the animals in good pens and shelters, the garden and orchard are fenced and mulched and producing well. Our challenge is coming up with a steady income from the farm. I'm off work for 2 months this summer, and things are going to get pretty slim. We came through the Great Icestorm last winter with the help of a generator and fireplace, so we know we can face and survive adversity. I think our biggest challenge will be an experiment with solar energy. We have talked about it, read about it, but haven't taken the plunge. We have good exposure and plenty of sunny days, so solar water heating would work, if nothing else. I get concerned with whether we will be able to continue getting seeds that we have come to trust. Not everything I grow is heirloom and open pollenating, so there is always the chance some varieties will disappear. But the biggest challenge of all is that there are NO other like-minded folks nearby. We have friends, but they really don't understand why DH got me an incubator for our 35th anniversary. Or why we must rush home from an engagement to feed the chickens and gather eggs. A supportive community would be so lovely. That's why the forums are so important to me.

-- melina b. (, June 21, 2001.

Hey Y'all! I haven't posted in ages; really needed a break from the cyber-world. I missed you guys.

I've started packing for the move to MO next May. Little by little, and making lots of lists. The garden is smaller this year, I'm trying to keep it manageable. (I'm still working full-time and doing 3 paper routes.) Kevin has really gotten the homesteading bug, now that the shock of moving so far away has worn off. He's come up with some wonderful ideas, and (Thank God) doesn't seem to have any doubts that we'll be fine when we get there. We're going for a visit in Oct.

I found a small dairy outfit that sells me raw milk, and I've been making butter and cheese. Another woman is selling me her surplus eggs. I recently bought a grain mill attachment for my Champion juicer, and have been making bread with fresh-ground Montana Prairie Gold wheat. It's wonderful, not heavy at all.

Little Bit, it's good to have you back. See ya, Cathy

-- Cathy in NY (, June 23, 2001.

Nope, I haven't reached all of my goals. I seriously doubt that I will EVER reach all of my homesteading goals, but I am much further along than last year.

My garden has been doing great. Some of you might recall that because of all of these grasshoppers here I built a screenhouse for my garden. I have learned a few things about per usual.

First of all the fifty percent shade cloth has not harmed the plants at all. When i discussed it with a few different nursey folks, they though I might get spindly plants, but due to the texas sun, I have no leggy plants at all. I also have always planted things really close to shade out weeds and keep the moisture in the soil. Since I mulched heavily with the peanut hulls for two seasons, and with pine needles, straw, hay, horse manure, goat manure and shredded oak leaves etal for two years previous, the soil is GREAT. My plants are gigantic...this is causing a bit of trouble because of my close planting. I have lost some tomatos and squash to mushiness for lack of a better term. It really didn't seem like blossom end rot, but like there wasn't enough air circulation around the fruits.

The other problem I encountered early on was a load of fungus gnats, but Melina B clued me into Neem oil to treat that, and it worked fabulously!

Overall I would say that the screenhouse has been a lifesaver for my garden. It was expensive, but it is worth it. I planted everything heirloom variety only and have a bunch of bean seeds already. I messed up on the cilantro and lost them, but I might get some volunteers next year.

If I ever get the chance, I will post a photo of the hoppers here so you folks in other parts of country can appreciate the insanity of the situation. It is like a plague.

-- Doreen (, June 23, 2001.

Have I reached my homesteading goals? I'm not dead yet so the answer is NO. There will always be one more project.

My garden finally has a fence around it to keep the chickens, cats, deer and horses out of it, but I still need to plant quite a bit and start building new beds. It looks like my perimeter fence may be finished sometime this week, that will be a landmark event.

Starting next week, I have family and guests coming from all over the country to visit and stay with us, including in-laws I haven't met yet. In August, I am hosting a family reunion and my parents 50th wedding anniversary. The horses will need to be off the lawn and the chickens off the porch and their evidence removed.

I have a rickety garage that needs to come down and a half a barn that needs to go up. I gotta do something to prevent that big mudhole from forming again next winter, too. We have 2 1/2 acres of slash to clear by hand, stack the firewood, lime the ground and get it ready to plant in pasture by fall.

I have three kids doing horse 4-H. They want to go to horse shows and go to fair with their horses. Two of them want to go 90 miles so they can do Junior Rodeo, too. I have kids that need to improve there horsemanship and riding skills and I have a green horse that needs training and miles put on her. One kid has to be driven 300 miles to go to dance camp in July. Of course, every kid is shouting, "Mom, watch me!"

My husband wants the house clean like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. I want the yard cleaned like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens..........

I'm tired just talking about it!

-- Laura (, June 24, 2001.

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