Spring Time on the Homestead

edoardo-busti-297737It’s winter and it’s freaking cold. Last summer, I thought I liked the cold better than the heat. But now, I’m starting to realize that I really love warm weather! Like bring on the 100+ degree weather baby!

Warm weather is even more critical when you are trying to live a self sufficient lifestyle. Water isn’t freezing all the time. Animals don’t need more bedding or more food. You can have more animals a little easier when the bitter cold isn’t trying to give you frostbite every time you walk out of the house. And of course, my favorite, gardening!!!!

If only we could grow food year round on the homestead — I would call it heaven. But then again, we chose to live where we live, so there isn’t much complaining I can do.

But I really am ready for spring. I need 40 to 60 degree weather. Where my animals’ water won’t freeze during the day and I can actually work outside without having rock hard toes, snow pants, and 4 sweatshirts on. And I won’t look like someone just woke up mama bear and pissed her off every day. Who really wants to get all dressed up, and then realize that hot, sexy outfit really isn’t that hot and sexy when it’s -20 degrees? Am I really asking too much? But maybe Mother Nature needs this resting period and I’m just being a selfish bitch.

So what do we have planned for our 2018 spring?

Well, basically everything! We’re talking gardens everywhere, chickens, ducks, rabbits, canning, freezing, preserving, dehydrating, clothesline drying, oil lamps. The works.

I thought I would go more in depth of what we have planned. So, I broke it down into a couple categories.

20180202_095856498834775.jpgGardening

This year, our motto is — if it isn’t bringing in money or benefits, it needs to go.

Ya it sounds pretty harsh, but just hear me out.

Take for instance, grass. This is not only making zero profit, but it’s also taking money and time away from other things. Weed whacking and mowing all take time. And precious nonrenewable resources and money. We hate that shit. It just keeps growing and growing and we want it to stop. We don’t want to care for it. Truth be told, we almost got fined from the city for not mowing our front lawn.

It sounds like we are a couple of hillbillies who live in a hoarder’s house, but rest assured because we are the furthest from that (minus our graveyard of misfits perfect for any projects). Our front yard is a complete straight up hill. You can’t walk up it without sliding down on your knees a couple times, swearing, and hitting your face on some branches. A walking cane and cleats won’t even help. It feels like you just hiked up Mount Everest when you make it up that hill. How the hell are we supposed to mow it? So, we thought we would just get all natural and let wildflowers grow and let the bees do their bee things and be happy. But the city (or a disgruntled neighbor that was sick of looking at our weeds) was not going to let that happen. And so we groomed it. Or should I say — The Beard did all that work. While I brought him lemonades and water as he glistened with that sexy sweat 😉

Anyways, what does grass have to do with gardening? Well, it wasn’t benefiting us and it wasn’t making any money. So this year, we are putting garden beds in every place the sun hits for 6+ hours. Like everywhere. Our dogs can run around them. And we take them on enough walks at local parks where they can free range. They get plenty of exercise.

I’ve already had 3 garden boxes ready to go at the end of fall last year because I was so excited  for this spring. And let me just say, last year’s garden was a bit of a bummer. Okay, a freaking HUGE bummer.

So, I’ve done my research. I know there is a learning curve to gardening, but I’m hoping to demolish it this year. “I CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL!!!!!!!”

We ordered over 30 packets of heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. And it’s based out of Des Moines, Iowa so it was perfect for us to support a somewhat local business. It also really helped that they offered organic, non-GMO, and heirloom seeds. Ya — I’m a little jacked! Like a 25 year old man on steroids who wears little spanks to the gym. Whoooo! Let’s go! Bring on spring!

So I’ll digress before I get too embarrassing. But this year’s garden is gonna be bomb ass ya’ll. If you live in the MidWest, start planning in January!

Our first indoor planting date is next Friday and I am so pumped. There are going to be little containers everwhere in our house with little sprigs popping out like they are ready for a drink and a party.

Animals

This spring, we are going BIG with animals. We sell pet ducks, chickens, and rabbits. We’ve go to a few animals swap meets so we will definitely be buying quite a few from there.

And we will also be breeding our animals to keep them a little closer to home. Our rabbits are honestly the best to breed because everyone wants an adorable 1 lb pet Lionhead.

But our chickens have also been a big hit, even though we just started them 3 months ago. We really think this spring, chickens sales are going to go crazy. We live on the outskirts of a town that just legalized domestic hens in urban areas. Last year was the first year for it.

And while many people bought chickens for eggs and possibly meat, there were quite a few that weren’t ready to get their feet wet or pooped on. They wanted to see what issues would arise with the city and other neighbors who had chickens before they dove into the investment of their own backyard flock. So we are expecting big things for our ladies in the yard.

And if not, well, we’ll have plenty of farm fresh eggs to sell!

We just finished enclosing our 300 sq ft chicken/duck run so we can accommodate a lot more animals. Once you get the infrastructure down, it’s a lot easier to raise, sell, and keep a larger flock.

Right now, we have 5 hens — Ruby (my favorite), Rosanne (who needs to go by herself because she is quite aggressive), Ruthie, Rita, and Roxy. Plus we have 3 baby leghorns.

Ruby is kind of a bad ass. Okay — a big bad ass because she is still laying and she was even producing every day when it was -30 degrees for two weeks straight. She ain’t goin anywhere.

The House

By now, most of you already know that we bought a fixer upper. Like she needs a total gut job.  We’re talking expensive liposuction. So add that to the list of big projects we’ll be doing this spring and summer.

At least, we’ll have an adorable little cabin to stay in while we fix the house up.

We’re knocking her all the way down to the studs. Ceilings exposed, new insulation, walls being knocked out, everything.

And then it’s the fun part for me! Because that means it’s design time! I’m sure there will be controversy over which shade of navy to paint the house. Or which way to lay the flooring. Or how the furniture should be arranged. But we’ll figure it out because we always do. At least for the most part 🙂

Hopefully, by September of next year, we will have a brand spankin new house to love and decorate.

I must say, this is definitely competing with how excited I am to garden this year!

Our Cozy Cabin

Of course, we picked the coldest months to start working on our AirBnB. But this is the time to do it. Once spring rolls around — it’s moving season. And that means we get flooded with orders from people who are moving to a new house, remodeling, or just did some spring cleaning and thought their mail covered table could use an update.

We’ve been working outside in these freezing cold temperatures for a couple weeks and it’s really starting to wear on us. We’re so close to finishing, but those last details are what take the most time and concentration. The most focus I have is to not lose blood flow to my toes or fingers. So, hopefully this weekend is the weekend to get ‘er done.

And from there on out, it’s smooth sailing. Passive income as we like to call it. We can still handle all those furniture orders while making a little extra without much effort. Granted, our AirBnB will still need to be cleaned and laundered, and I will have to bring breakfast out on morning we have guests. But at least we aren’t trying to build a whole new structure while also trying to get our aggressive time schedule done with our furniture.

But I really can’t wait to show you all the big reveal for our little cabin. It’s even better than we imagined. I’m a finishing kind of gal so no peeking until every cup has been rotated properly, every pillow has been fluffed, and every piece of furniture has been moved at least 6 times before it has found it’s forever home.

So you better stay tuned. Because it’s coming soon! And this is the part I realize I sound like an old VHS Disney tape.

Self Sufficiency

We are, of course, always working on this one. We are trying to cut out our reliance on other people — public energy, public sewage, garbage pick up.

Composting our sewage will probably not be a viable option within city limits.

We are trying to replace our lights with old fashioned, plant-based oil burning lamps.

We are possibly thinking of replacing our furnace and stove to get a two-in-one old fashioned wood burning stove (oven and cook top included). And I’m super pumped about it. I guess that means I might also get to design a summer kitchen. Oops! SORRY I’M NOT SORRY! (Thank you Demi Lovato for inspiring me to use this quote every day)

And we have been chopping truckloads of firewood to cook with, have bonfires and to sell. We live 5 minutes from a couple campgrounds so we get a lot of traffic selling firewood.

We have even tried to cancel our trash pick up, but they say anyone that has public sewer and water going to their property must pay for garbage pick up. So we are a little stuck on that one too. But we honestly are trying to also cut down our trash as much as possible. We recycle just about everything we can and probably a little bit more than we should put in that blue container. We compost EVERYTHING! Dog hair, egg shells, plant clippings, produce shavings, coffee grounds. It all goes in there and we’re pretty sure our garden is going to reward us this year.

I am going to preserve as much as I possibly can from our gardens this year. I will be sweating pasta sauce by the time it’s all over. Canning, fermenting, dehydrating, roasting, freezing, sun drying, jamming (if that’s even a thing), and anything else I can do to harvest our fruits of labor. Adding to the list of things to do — I’m already designing a root cellar in our basement for food preservation. The Beard better watch out or I’m going to be planning ten times as many projects as we can handle. Did I tell you? He is my voice of reason.

Not to mention, we have a front porch we need to put on our house this year.


Those are the top 5 things we will be starting this spring and continuing throughout the year. But spring brings the beginning of beautiful things.

And I’m sick of resting. This winter resting period has had it’s place and it’s time to move on. Granted — I wouldn’t call building a cabin in below zero temps resting, but you know what I’m saying.

What are your big plans for your homestead this spring?

2 thoughts on “Spring Time on the Homestead

  1. Wow, what a list! It looks like you’re heading into a really ambitious year!

    We are still in the “saving up” phase of moving into the woods, so it’s really exciting to see the process of those who are ahead of us. Can’t wait to see some updates on the garden!

    1. Don’t worry. You will always be in the saving up phase because you’ll want to keep adding to the list! With new projects comes exciting things!

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