building a homestead

January has been known for its resolutions for most, but for us, it’s a continuation and improvement upon things we have already set in motion. Now that the holidays are over, we work on turning our new property into a home. In August, we and my husband’s parents moved to a modest, yet plentiful 1/2 acre property in a small town nestled in the mountains. While they occupy the main house, we live in a small carriage house in the back. Clocking in under 500 square feet, it’s been a great introduction to ‘tiny living’ while we build a real tiny house this spring. Though we moved in during the last weekend of August, we haven’t been able to really settle and cultivate our plans. My husband, the kids and I drove cross-country to New York immediately after moving, which took up the bulk of our September. October was full of actual moving, and November was full of renovations. December was December the way it is for anyone with a lot of family, and now we find ourselves in the quiet of January. All of us are figuring out what our expenses are now that the months will look more routine, and my husband and I have been going on a serious downsizing/minimalist overhaul of our home. At 480 square feet with two children and two dogs, every square foot has to be carefully thought out. No bulky furniture, ample use of wall space, only clothes we love and need, and just enough of the essentials peppered with comfort for good measure.

Before we get too deep into tiny living and that project, we have to first focus on things that need to be done right now. I have been spending so much time researching gardening methods, crop rotation, natural pesticides, chicken maintenance, and building green that my eyeballs might fall out of my head. You can give me any subject and as long as there are books on it and a quiet afternoon, I can bury myself into it and not resurface until I have some sort of handle on it. Piled next to me are journals full of notes and pages that have been carefully marked for future reference, and I have a cork board full of pinned notes, articles, photos, and various useful things to help me out during this journey.

What I’m learning, since I’m relatively new to this, is that gardening takes a whole lot of planning months in advance- seeds need to be obtained significantly sooner for a lot of crops, which are planted at different times of the year. We’ve ordered an extensive list of seeds a few weeks ago, and I’m currently on the hunt for butternut squash, acorn squash, and zucchini to round it out. The coming weeks will see us building six 4×8 raised beds, and a chicken coop from scrap materials and cool pieces of character wood. Not long after, we’ll discuss a shed and building a greenhouse using alternative material.

While we have the veggies down to a science, we are blessed to have what is essentially an orchard out back. Four or five apple trees, pear, plum, sour cherry, and crabapple trees, and a randomly placed, but bountiful, blueberry bush. We have a few grapevines lined up, some raspberry and blackberry bushes, and plans to grow strawberries on our balcony. The greenhouse will see tomatoes mostly, with a few other veggies and herbs sprinkled in, and another slice of land has been reserved for herbs. I may not know a whole lot about gardening/farming yet, but my husband’s parents used to own a farm and come with a wealth of knowledge. What most excites me is not only the things they can teach, but the new methods and things we can all learn together as we build our homestead. If all goes well, we could see a rewarding harvest – with the expectation that it may take a couple before we hit our stride and get familiar with the land and its seasons.

I’m new to the gardening and tiny home building, but I’ve been doing wholesome eating, natural alternative cleaning (what’s up, essential oils!), tiny living, and thrifting for a long time. The stuff I don’t know about, I’ll be having some guest posts done by dear friends of mine, or I’ll bury myself in research and share.

Happy Friday!

 

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