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Spotlight

Ultimate Blog Challenge – Day 6 – Spotlight

So I guess the spotlight needs to go on my husband, Aarron. I can’t tell you how much I love this man. I know he doesn’t believe it right now, but he is the strongest man I know besides my Dad.

Things have been so hard since Corona Virus started and then losing my Dad. I don’t know what I would have done with this man right by my side.  He is the back bone to this homestead/farm. Nothing happens without his help. He is the one that has built everything we have needed for the animals. He is the one that takes care of the garden. He is the one that keeps me going when I feel like I want to quit.

This man works so hard for us that I wonder how he does it at times. Even when he is down, he is always there for me. Losing my Dad last year was the hardest thing that I have ever been through so far. I don’t think I would have made it through with him by my side. I don’t think I would have stayed when my brothers didn’t want me to without him by my side. I would have given up. I know I would have, but Aarron pulled me through.

Honey, I know that things are rough right now, but I also know your heart. We will get through all of this and things will eventually get better. I just want you to know how proud I am to call you my husband. I don’t know what I would do without you. I love you Aarron and we will prevail!

Have a great day!

Renee

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Best Piece of Advice

I feel like the best piece of advice that I can give when it comes to homesteading/farming, would be to start small but just start. I feel like we jumped in with both feet and then were a bit over whelmed. I believe that if we had started smaller, maybe that wouldn’t have happened.

We started with about 20 chickens, 2 ducks,  2 goats and a large garden. When we didn’t have any idea what we were doing. Of course the first summer we lost several birds due to predators and the heat. That was a heartbreaking and expensive lesson learned the hard way.

 

I would recommend finding someone close to you that does some of the things you would like to do and learn from them, even if it’s while working your own plan too. Having someone who knows what they are doing on stand by would have been a big help to us. We didn’t know our neighbors when we were first starting but since getting to know them, they are probably my go to source for most information that I don’t already have.

We now have chickens, goats, turkeys, pigs, and cows that we tend to on a daily basis. I wouldn’t give up this lifestyle for anything but if we had started smaller than we did, things would have so much easier to begin with. No matter what you do, research it first and make sure you know what you are getting into. However, with that said, even the best research cannot prepare you for the actual experience.

Getting to know your animals and your land is the best way to learn for anyone, but I would suggest having some research information first  just to make sure you know what to expect from whatever it is that you plan to do on your homestead/farm.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Good Things Come in 4s

Ultimate Blog Challenge – Day 4 – Good things that come in 4s

Today’s topic is good things that come in 4s. I think this topic came at just the right time because we have a goat that will be kidding soon and I am hopeful that she will be having quadruplets. I have several pictures of her belly so hopefully someone will be able to confirm this for me.

I thought that she wasn’t due until the end of June, but the ligaments by her tail are just about gone, which tells me that it will be much sooner than June. Unfortunately, this also tells me that when one of the boys escaped the pen, he got to her rather than the one I thought to begin with. This is alright but I didn’t write down the date that my boy escaped so I wasn’t aware that she would be due this early.

However, over the last 2 weeks she has really gotten pretty big. I was thinking two at first but she continues to grow and get wider so I’m thinking there will be three or four now. This will only be the second year we have had anyone kid on the homestead so I am still unsure of myself but we had a successful delivery last year and hope for the same this year.

How many kids do you think she is hiding in there? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a message below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Greenhouse

We have most of the greenhouse planted now as well as the garden. I am hoping to plant some extra that maybe we can sell in a month or so, but so far I haven’t gotten that far yet. I am pleased with how the planting is coming along so far and hope that it will continue to get better this year with the greenhouse in a new location.

We only planted one tomato in the greenhouse this year and the rest in the garden. We got a strawberry plant and bell pepper plant that we put in and they are both doing well and will hopefully be producing soon.

 

 

 

I’ve planted my herbs in my big planter. So far nothing is coming up but I have only planted it a week or two ago so I should start seeing something there too.

 

I have other herbs planted as well that are just starting to come up so I should have a good harvest this year. With planting more than we need I should be able to dry and save more too.

I am so looking forward to how everything will do this year and I pray that we have a good harvest for ourselves and for what ever I can provide for our neighbors as well. This will hopefully turn out to be a good year.

Have a great day!

Renee

 

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Garden

So we have started our garden this year and so far it’s off to a good start. We have planted feed for the animals and for us and everything seems to be coming up nicely already. We are working on a better way to water the garden because it is so large.

We planted alfalfa and other graze for the animals along with wheat grass for them too. The alfalfa is coming in very nicely and you can see the wheat grass in the back. All of this is going to help us to be more self-sufficient and not have to rely on the stores as much.

The vegetables for us are planted in this section and are starting to come up as well. I am looking forward to being able to feed the family out of our garden this year. I am hoping there will also be enough to can some for the winter time. Although our growing season is longer than most because of the weather here so that helps us quite a bit too.

The corn is coming up now too. It’s about a foot tall now. However, the corn and wheat require a lot of water. Because of this we are working on a way to try to water more efficiently and with less waste. Aarron plans on putting all the water from the house to the garden as well. Well, the grey water anyway. All of the sinks will be routed to a holding tank so that we can water the garden from there.

We are hoping this will allow us to water the garden without spending more on water than is absolutely necessary. Or that is plan anyway. So here’s to planning. I would love to hear what you’re doing on your homestead. What are you planning for this year? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Playground

We all know that homesteading and farming can be messy. Or at least I know that ours is a lot of time. We have scrap laying around that Aarron uses to build what we need all over the place. Usually where he is working on them. Aarron builds just about everything we need here out of this scrap that we get. One of the things he put together was this playground for the grand babies to play in.

 

He did this to ensure that the little ones stay safe but can still play outside. All of their outside toys are kept in the playground and it is surrounded by fencing to keep them in an area that is safe for them to play in. I know that our youngest grand child loves to go out there and play for a while every day.

 

The next project for the playground is to put up a shade because this area is all open and the sun gets pretty brutal here in the desert in the summer time. Of course the kids don’t mind, but again the concept here is to make sure they have a safe area to play in. So the shade will make it just a little safer because they won’t be out in the sun all day.

 

I know that the youngest one absolutely loves to go outside all the time. I have to make sure that he is out in the mornings or the evenings because right now this area has no shade. So far it’s not over 100 degrees here yet, but it will be soon. For the time being he goes out in the morning and the evening so that the sun is not at it’s hottest. I’m pretty sure he would live out there if I would let him. He loves it. Once the shade goes up he will be able to stay out longer but not yet. At least he is safe though.

Have a great day!

Renee

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New Building

So it’s a busy time of year here right now. We are getting the garden going and reworking the greenhouse. We have also been trying to make the front yard look a little better too. So, because of all of this going on, we have a bit of new building going on too.

In cleaning up the front yard, Aarron has come across some ATV wheels. He removed the tires and hung a bar in the tree to make a wind chime. I have to say that I love the way this wind chime sounds. It’s not the tinny ring that is usually equated with a wind chime. It’s more deep that what you would usually hear, yet it rings longer and louder. He just hung the bar from the tree and put the rims under it on the ground. When the wind blows, the bar hits the rims. It was so simple to do.

We have planted tobacco this year to help offset the price of smokes. When they first started coming up, the animals were getting to them so Aarron put up a privacy fence to keep everything out of it and the help provide shade in the afternoon and evening. So far it seems to be working so we are hopeful that we will have tobacco in a couple months.

So the picture above is going to be our new greenhouse. When I do my greenhouse update at the end of the month, you see inside of it, but for now I just wanted to show this. Aarron used 2×4’s and privacy screen to enclose the awning area in front of the house. It gets morning sun so I am hopeful that things will grow in here.

This area was part of the area the animals had in the back yard. This will now be Aarron’s miracle junk pile. I call it a miracle junk pile because any time that I need something made, he just goes out there and finds what will work to make it. It just seems like he always has what he needs to do what I need him to do. This  will allow him to organize it a bit better and get it all our of our front yard where it is sitting right now. I am hoping the neighbors will appreciate this because it is a lot of work for Aarron.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little tour of what is new on the farm. I would love to see what you are doing. Leave a comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Planting Season

So last month was planting time here in Arizona. I love this time of year because it’s not too hot yet and I can be outside a lot. I love to be outdoors but in the summer time it gets very hard for me to get outside. I can usually only be out in the early morning and the late evenings so this time of year is almost perfect for me. Any how, we have been very busy trying to get things done around here and the planting is one of those things we have been trying to get done. I think we are almost done now, but there have been some big changes this year that will hopefully work well.

 

The picture above is the new greenhouse area. We have an awning on the trailer that we live in so we enclosed the awning with screen and this is going to be our new greenhouse area. I have started planting in here our herbs and we also have strawberries and blueberries growing in here so far. I am going to plant some of our vegetables in here as well this year and see how they do as well.

We have started growing tobacco this year as well. So far we have only had a couple come up so we are going to try to plant a few more in the area and possibly in the greenhouse too so we can figure out where this will grow the best.

Near the tobacco we have also planted some wheat. This is just starting to come up now so hopefully it will do well here. Of course we also planted a lot of wheat in the garden this year too so we should have plenty for us and the animals. Or at least that is the hope.

 

We have finally got the garden planted as well and it is just starting to sprout stuff. We planted quite a bit this year so that hopefully we have a little extra that maybe we can sell or trade for other things we need. I am really looking forward to harvest this year and hope it will be a good one.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Foraging for Wood

We use a lot of wood here on the homestead. We host campers year round and we enjoy a good fire most nights as well, even in the summer time. Because we go through a lot of wood, we need to gather a lot of wood. Thankfully, there is a lot of desert behind us that we can forage through for the wood we use.

 

When we forage for wood. We only take wood that is already down. We do not cut trees down. As you see in the picture above, the tree there is dead and on the ground. We will go in and cut it down a bit smaller so it will fit in the car. Once we find a good size tree on the ground, Aarron will take the axe and cut it into smaller pieces that we can stack in the back of the Highlander.

We do this several times for several different trees that we find on the ground. Once we have a car load, we head back home for the real fun to start.

 

Some of this wood will be broken down for our fires and that of our guests while camping. Some of this wood will be cut into bigger chunks for the charcoal. It will all be burned though. We are working toward self-sufficiency and this is one of the ways we are doing this because the only thing we have to pay for in doing it this way is gas and our time.

I think I enjoy the fires at the end of the day more than any other part of foraging for wood, but it’s something that we have to do if we want to continue having our fires at the end of the night. Either way, it makes for a good way to end the day and relax before bed.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Making Charcoal

Have you ever wondered how charcoal is made? Would like to make charcoal to maybe add an income stream to your homestead? Well, I have you covered! Aarron has figured out how to make it and I am going to pass on that information to you.

It all starts with wood. We go out and collect wood from the side of road and out in the desert. We do not cut trees down for this. We only collect what is already on the ground. This works better anyways, because the wood has to be dry before you can make it into charcoal. Wet wood will not work for this very well.

After you collect the wood, you have to burn it almost completely. The fire has to burn long enough and hot enough to start to burn the inside of the wood. Aarron cuts the wood down into smaller pieces so that it won’t take a very long time to burn. He will let it burn for around 20 minutes or so, depending on how much he has in there. The fire pit we use for this isn’t very big and doesn’t hold a whole lot but enough that at the end we have about 3 or 4 lbs of charcoal.

As the fire begins to burn down, cover it with sand. You have to make sure you cover it completely. You don’t want to see any fire or smoke coming out of the sand. Once it is completely covered it will continue to smolder under the sand for quite a while. Aarron leaves it covered for at least 12 hours. Once he uncovers  the wood, it is now charcoal. You will need to sift the smaller pieces out of the sand.

This is the charcoal after he has sifted it out of the sand. To light the charcoal, he just puts some paper or a small box under it in the grill and lights that. It will light the charcoal from there. This can be used to smoke meat as well as cook it.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Record Keeping

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. To see my full disclosure, click here.

Record keeping is probably the hardest part of homesteading for me. It can be tedious and just plain boring. However, if you make money on your homestead, Uncle Sam has to have his share, therefore record keeping is probably one of the most important parts of homesteading.

 

For the most part, I try to keep track of everything from the animals to the garden. I want to know what comes in and what goes out and the reason for it leaving. Of course you have to keep track of income and expenses too. Since we sell out animals, we have to record everything that we do with or to them as well.

 

 

We sell our chicken eggs, so that is another thing we keep track of. I record how many we get every day. I record how much they eat every day. I record how much we spend on their feed every time we need to buy it. I even keep track of any time one seems sick and what we do to help that bird.

 

 

I have bought a few different record keeping systems, but I haven’t found one that I really like so far. I think I like certain parts of different systems so I have put them together to suit me. You really need to find what works for you and use it. Look around online, there are some that are free and some that you have to pay for, but you really need something that will help you to track your homestead.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Planning

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. To see my full disclosure, click here.

Planning on the homestead is probably the one thing you will do over and over again every year and possibly every few months depending on how you do your planning. We are working on a new plan for our garden and the green house.

The picture above was our garden last year. It was very large and hard to care for. This year, so far, the plan is to have a garden half the size but in the same area. We want to make sure that we are getting the biggest bang for our buck as far as seeds and water go. While the garden did good last year, it was just too spread out to do any thing beneficial for the food or the soil.

The green house worked great for some things but not for others, so we are going to redo this completely. We probably won’t have it ready until next year now, but we will work on it and try to get it up and going by the end of the planting season this year.

 

The new garden area will be in the shade most of the time. We are hoping that this will help with the heat in the middle of the summer to make sure the plants do better. This area will be used for vegetables that we will use in the house and possibly sell some if we get an overstock. Time will tell with that one.

We have several other plans in the works this year that I will show you later on as we begin working on them. I look forward to showing you what our homestead is and will become in the future. I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I do.

Have a great day!

Renee