Tiny House Homesteading

have the courage to dream

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Summer Garden Challenge

‎Hi everyone! This is our summer garden challenge. I wanted to encourage everyone to plant something this season. Some of you have already been planting and others haven’t started yet because you have been waiting for Memorial Day to come (and possibly go). Well even though it isn’t here yet, I have been planting what I could and I am ready to start my summer garden challenge for this year.

Okay here it is: My challenge to myself is to plant 300 plants or seeds in 30 days. My challenge will officially start May 8 and end ‎June 6. As always I would be super exciting to have all of my readers get outside and plant something and then tell me about it. What did you plant? Was it something you have planted before? Is it something new? Is it an annual or a perennial? I am super excited to hear from everyone!

Wheat Fodder

We found that growing fodder was super easy. There were only a few steps.

  1. Soak the wheat for at least 4 hours.
  2. Put 1/2 inch thick in a tray that has drainage holes.
  3. Rinse a couple of times a day.
  4. After we grew our wheat fodder we had to figure out who would eat it.

Goats‌
The goats ate some of the greens but they weren’t too interested.

Rabbits

The rabbits ate the greens and some of the wheat berries but they wasted a lot of the wheat berries.

Chickens‍

The chickens ate both the grass and the wheat berries. Chickens eat almost everything.

Ducks

The ducks were the big surprise.  The ducks went crazy for the wheat fodder.

I don’t like wasting food so I took the wheat berries that the goats and rabbits didn’t ear and fed them to the ducks and chickens, however I am guessing that if I left the wheat berries longer then the rabbits and goats would eat that part too when they got hungry enough.

New Life Means New Projects

Last week we added bees, Cayuga ducks, New Zealand rabbits,  and turkeys to our homestead.  What an exciting week. Adding new animals also meant adding homes for the animals.

Adjusting the Beehive
We had the beehive but realized we needed to add another box for a feeder. Our hive is set off the ground because we get flooding during monsoon season. It is also set on a small cement pad so its foundation won’t get washed away. It is in this enclosure because we get high winds here (often).

The brown box contains jars with syrup for the bees. When the weather warms up just a little more we probably won’t have to add syrup until it gets cold again in late fall.

Rabbit Hutch
When we added the rabbits we had to build some hutches for them. We have an 8 ft section that is semi-enclosed, so we build a triple hutch to fit the space.

Clear covers on these hutches would actually cook the rabbits, so we have cardboard on the inside of these covers. Eventually we will replace these covers with wood.

When we got our Cayuga ducks we immediately put them outside in the warm sun. We know that ducklings that are new need to be kept warm, but when we put them in the sun they were more than comfortable, so we try to get them out running around in the sun whenever we can.

A few days last week it was just too cold for them to be out, but we were able to put them out again to day to enjoy the beautiful sunny day. We check on them often, but they really are happy outside. We do have to bring them in at night until they get bigger or until it warms up at night more.

We also had to quickly build a little gate to keep the ducklings inside the protected space for them. When they are bigger they will be able to walk around the orchard, but while they are small they need to be kept in a space that is surrounded by chicken wire.

At the end of the week our turkeys finally started hatching. We currently don’t have a home for them. I am actually grateful that they will be in the brooder for a few weeks because I am still learning about turkeys and what they need so that I can find the best home for them here on our homestead.

We aren’t currently planning on adding any more animals this year. Right now we just have to make sure all our animals are in good homes that meet their personal needs. We are planning on adding more plants. We will continue to add as many perennial plants as we can and we will work to put up fencing and grow grasses so that we can add milking cows down the road.

 

 

The Intrinsic Rewards of Homesteading

Today as I was thinking about how my day went, I started surfing the internet. I was looking for new projects for my homestead. The truth is I already have a list of projects that I am working on right now. I really don’t need any new projects. So what was I looking for? Well that is an interesting and thought provoking question. You see the answer is that I get a lot of intrinsic rewards when I work on my homestead. There is a peaceful feeling when I walk around and take car of my animals and the garden. Being around living things brings a peace that  is very difficult to duplicate.

This is why we find so much peace when we are camping or hiking (assuming we aren’t being attacked by insects). This is why the sound of the river or the ocean calms us. Mother Nature has a magic that brings peace.

So back to my question, what was I really looking for when I was surfing the internet. I was actually looking to expand my peace. The thing is there are so many amazing ideas and projects out there that are quite incredible. The internet has made it possible for us to have dozens of mentors who can teach us with a few clicks. We can watch videos, read blogs or just surf through pictures full of information that we can apply or sometimes just dream about.  But dreaming is productive. It helps us.

On our homestead we have decided that there is value in raising new animals. We learn about them and through them. For this reason we periodically add new animals to our homestead. This also allows our children to learn about animals that they otherwise would have limited knowledge about.

Adding new animals to our homestead gives all of us an opportunity to learn to love more of God’s creations.

But we don’t stop there, we also experiment with new plants and new skills. Its fun to build new things even when we are good at it. Its so cool to step back and say wow we did it.

There are so many intrinsic rewards that come from homesteading. When I was surfing the internet I was reading about new plants, new animals, new projects. I was preparing for new experiences for my family. I was planning for the next DIY. We experience set backs often enough, but slowly over the years we have started creating an oasis in our desert and it has been rewarding.

 

One day my kids will be grown and gone. I hope when that day comes that they cant wait to come back home to our homestead to feel the peace here that they felt growing up. I hope that they are eager to bring their children here to see our little oasis in the desert.

I hope that I am still scheming with my husband planning our next DIY projects.

 

 

We cash flow EVERYTHING

Yep, we cash flow everything.  What does that look like on our homestead? Well that means we come up with creative solutions as often as we can using free, reclaimed,  or recycled supplies. We REDUCE/REUSE/RECYCLE! And then whenever possible we trade with friends.

Reuse
We used an old sign cut in half to make the shaded part of this chicken tractor. We used old chicken wire to cover the front part of the tractor. We used wood that was salvaged for the frame. There are other small pieces on the chicken tractor that we salvaged from various places. All the screws were salvaged or left over from other projects.

When we can’t do everything with supplies we already have we buy the very least we need to purchase to finish the job. On this chicken tractor we had to buy the latch to close it and the hinges for the door.
Our total out of pocket cost was $5.

Recycle
We prefer to build with screws. Why? Homesteads evolve and since we reuse as often as possible building with screws allows us to reuse supplies. We were able to rebuild a chicken brooder that was no longer useful into a rabbit hutch.

Using screws also helps us make repairs easier.

Reduce
Planning our homestead to include growing food for our animals helps us to reduce the cost of having a homestead. For that reason our homestead goals include gardens for our animals in addition to ourselves. Even if we have to purchase food in the short term, raising food for the animals in the long term is definitely wise.

Trading is Amazing

We trade services. My friend wanted me to hatch some eggs for her, so she offered to give me  some of the turkeys if I hatched them for her. What a great trade. It literally didn’t cost me anything to add some turkeys to my homestead.

We let our friends know what we are working on. It is amazing how much help you can get when you tell others about your projects. They might have just what you need. Perhaps they are willing to come over and help work on a project with you. Maybe they did something similar and they have a useful suggestion. Maybe they know where you can get the supplies you need for free or at an incredible discount. On another occasion my friend had more eggs then she was able to fit into her incubator and just offered them to me. Awesome, I will take free hatching eggs any day.

The result was 10 new chicks for our homestead.

Using our cash flow method keeps our stress level down and our projects going. Being creative allows us to do more on a limited income. Trying new things helps us to increase our skills. Although homesteading can have a lot of costs involved there are many ways that you can decrease the cost of living on a homestead.

 

8 “Must Knows” For Homesteading

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what advice I would give to someone who is or wants to homestead. This advice is not all inclusive, but there are 8 things I think that all new homesteaders (and some old homesteaders) would benefit from knowing.

  1. Interview your neighbors. Your neighbors know  lot about the seasons and the land. Glean what you can from your neighbors and your community. When we moved to our homestead our neighbors proved a valuable resource. They had been working the land for a few years before us and they had good information on improving the soil, when the rain seasons were, and what insects and other pests I could expect and in what seasons.
  2. Set your 5 and 10 year goals. Although my homestead plan is always changing and adapting to our time, resources, life events and current interests, having long term goals helps us to set goals today that will help us reach our 5 and 10 year goals. For example, if you want an edible food forest or an orchard, then planting trees as soon as you are able is extremely valuable.
  3. Plant food for your family and your animals. It is helpful when you have a homestead to set aside space to grow food for your family and for your animals. Planting food may take years to get to the point that you can use it, but having the forethought to plan long term for your family and animals can be very rewarding. Planting perennial plants can provide food for both family and animals, but often these plants and trees take years to get to the stage that they provide food in abundance for both. Planting an orchard or an edible food forest now will reap benefits for years, but it often takes a few years for it to mature. Likewise pastures and paddocks for animals can be great, but it can take years for the pastures and paddocks to be well established and  mature to a place that they won’t be demolished in a season of the animals using them.
  4. Set aside money for great deals. Setting up a homestead can pull ALL of your resources, but if you can set aside some money then you can jump on opportunities that are too good to pass up. If however you are always broke then you will miss out on opportunities that can quite literally save you hundreds to thousands of dollars and sometimes jump you ahead years on your goals. In the world of homesteading there are many great but rare opportunities that come up that you would be wise to take advantage of. However if you are broke all the time sadly you will find that you cannot take advantage of these opportunities. You would be wise to do everything you can to live off of 90% of your take home pay and set aside no less than 10% for rare opportunities that are valuable. I would add a word of caution here. Be careful when you buy. One mans trash is not always another mans treasure. Also, only buy things that help in your homesteading goals. Don’t buy sheep if your don’t want to raise sheep just because the guy down the road is selling them for practically nothing.
  5. Invest in good tools. My tools are EXTREMELY valuable! For this reason I offer two suggestions. (1) Buy the best that you can afford, and (2) take care of your tools.  Although there are many tools that I use, I have compiled a list of the 14 tools that I use the most on my homestead and that I think are wise to purchase.
    1. ladder
    2. wheel barrow
    3. cordless drill/driver set
    4. hammer
    5. shovel (After wearing out some of my tools in the hot Arizona sun I don’t buy tools with wood handles because they dry out and break too often, and I don’t want to spend my time replacing their handles. Instead I spend just a little more money up front to buy tools with handles that aren’t wood.)
    6. rake
    7. garden hose
    8. post pounder (this is extremely useful if you are planning on putting up fencing for your homestead)
    9. hatchet
    10. ax
    11. saw (I have and use a miter saw and a skill saw all the time although if you don’t have the money to purchase either any saw is better than none as you will find countless time when a saw if useful.)
    12. measuring tape
    13. bucket
    14. good work gloves.Sometimes saving money by  doing things the hard was can be really stressful.
      I enjoy saving money, but I also need to save my sanity sometimes.
      Having the right tool for the job can be a lifesaver to your homestead and your sanity.
      There are many tools that you can get that will make life on your homestead more successful.
      This is just the beginners list.
  6. If you can get a truck, then get it. Trucks are very valuable on a homestead. I can’t tell you enough how valuable a truck can be. We weren’t able to get a truck for the first 4 years of our homestead. As a result we have had to borrow a truck from friends and neighbors for years.

    We also shove everything into our car that we can, and we take advantage of home supply stores that will pre-cut wood at times. Having said all of that there is no shortage of jobs and uses for a truck on a homestead. I strongly advice that if you are homesteading and only have one vehicle consider a truck!. Sadly we have missed out on free or inexpensive things that would have benefited our homestead because we didn’t have the ability to haul things to our homestead without calling around to find a truck. Can you make it without a truck, well yes. We did for 4 years, but we have also borrowed one more times than I can count, sometimes multiple times in a week, and as I mentioned earlier, we have missed opportunities because we didn’t have a truck. Owning a truck is just a good idea!
  7. Enjoy your homestead!!! Homesteading is a lot of work, but it can also be very rewarding. However, if you aren’t careful  you can become “trapped” in your homestead lifestyle. My suggestion is don’t put so many projects on your schedule that you wear yourself out and become a slave to your homestead. Additionally, plan your homestead to include things that make you smile.
    Take time to enjoy your homestead and the lifestyle it brings. Plant food you love and build things that make your smile. Get animals you love to take care of. If you find your animals to be a burden then try new animals or make changes that make taking care of them easier. Don’t do everything the hard way. Find shortcuts and tools that make your life easier and enjoyable.
  8. Don’t be afraid to try new things. The reality of homesteading includes a lot of ups and downs. Failure is just part of the puzzle. We have tried lots of different animals here on our homestead, and we will likely try a lot more. Some animals that work for me don’t work for my neighbors or friends. Likewise some of the animals they enjoy aren’t a good fit for our homestead. Don’t be afraid to try different animals, plants, and skills. We try to learn as many new skills as we can, but we find that some homesteading skills just aren’t for us (or at least not right now). Because we live off-grid we have to be conservative of our power, especially during the winter months. For this reason we pass on some things that my friends who are on-grid and homestead do.  Learn what you enjoy and what you can take a pass on, but if you don’t try you won’t know.

Homesteading 101: How I set goals for my homestead.

How I Set Goals for my Homestead
I never run out of things to do and projects to work on here at the homestead. However my goal is simple:
Do something every day!


How to determine your target!

I usually pick out my target/goal early each morning. Sometimes I pick it out the night before, but it is usually close to the time I will be working on it. The size of my project is determined by a number of things.

Determination list:

  1. My personal energy level.
  2. My finances at the time.
  3. My resources.
  4. My helpers.
  5. Other activities on the schedule that day.
  6. The weather.

Sometimes my project is as simple as take apart a pallet for firewood or for a wood project. Sometimes the goals is to put up 100 feet of fence or paint a shed. The goal isn’t to do as much as I can as quickly as I can, rather the goal is to make progress as often as I can. If it is payday then I often focus on doing the shopping, if its Sunday I focus on the Lord, but every other day I set a goal and work on it.
Today’s goal was to hang two gates on my gardens. Very few goals on a homestead stand alone. Just like very few goals in life stand alone. Although my goal for today was to install three gates for my gardens. They were preceded in previous days by digging holes for posts that were set into cement. After that I attached fencing to the posts and then after the posts were installed and the fencing was attached I was able to set my target for today to hang the gates. This goal will be followed on another day when I go into the gardens and plant trees, shrubs, and berry plants. I will also build a pergola in the garden and install a watering system.

When I look at everything that needs to be done I realize that my garden project entails years of work. This is why I use the system that I have. I know what I want my gardens to look like when I am finished (well I have an idea that evolves), but I don’t have the time, money or energy to just tackle the project all at once. Instead I use my goal determination list to decided how I am going to make progress on my garden.

Assess your resources
When I got to the stage where I was ready to install my gates I wandered around my property to see what I already had. I had an old gate that was left on my property from previous owners. I determined that it would fit on the south entrance to my garden. I also decided that I had half the hardware I needed to install it. I just purchased the other half for today’s installation.

For the East entrance I used some wood from a pallet that we took apart. My daughter helped me remove all the nails and staples from the wood and build a gate. We then had to purchase the hinges and a wheel for the bottom.

To address the gate that was needed on the North side of the garden we used an old pallet to temporarily close off that entrance. To do this we put 3 t-posts into the ground and slid the pallet over the posts. If we want to use that as a gate in the future we just need to pull off the pallet. Because we won’t be using that entrance for a while we also attached 2xs to the posts on either side to secure it better.

My point is that the garden itself is a huge project that will take years, but I can set daily and weekly goals to work on my garden so that I can continue to make progress and work towards the end product and these goals are largely determined by the resources that we have. Also my homestead evolves as resources and finances allow.

Weekly Goals
Sometimes it is beneficial to set weekly goals. There are times when setting a goal for the week instead of the day is extremely helpful.  So what does setting a weekly goal do if I still have to set daily goals? A weekly goal gives me permission to not work on my goal if the day is crazy or full of distractions as long as I can keep working on my goal during the week. This also helps me to make progress during a crazy week because I know that I still need to work on my goal and make progress that week.

One example of a weekly goal was my loft doors. I knew that I needed to make progress on my  doors but I didn’t know how much time I had each day, or how many hours the project itself would take. Instead of trying to do it all in one day or break it down into daily tasks, I set the goal to finish the doors that week. During this project I worked on my doors at the end of the day making as much progress as time would allow for that day. The doors were finished by the end of the week and I set my next goal.

The following week I set the goal to frame in the opening for the doors. This brings me to my next point.

Patience is a valuable resource.
I used free wood for this entire project. I had to wait three weeks after the doors were built to actually install them because I had to get the finances to buy the hardware to hang the door.  In this area I am patient. When we built our home I often had to use whatever I had around and could find for free to do my projects. After our home made it to the stage of comfortable I decided that from that point on I would be patient with my future projects. I determined  that I could finish all new projects to be what I wanted instead of what I had to settle for. I still use free supplies as often as I can. I scavenge for things I can reuse, re-purpose, or get for free. However in my journey I use what I can get to build the best that I can build.
I currently have a pile of bricks that I obtained for free that will eventually be used on one of the projects on my list for my homestead, but I am not in a hurry to use my bricks. I will use them when the right project presents itself. Being patient helps me to make progress that is fulfilling and beautiful.

Treat your homestead goals like a job.
I find that when I set my goals (especially weekly goals) and I am only accountable to myself, it is important to hold myself accountable. I write down my goal and I often report to one of my accountability friends. I know that the people who I have chosen as accountability friends will ask me how I am doing on my goals. This helps me to accomplish them, but having someone to report to also helps me to me more accountable. When we work at a job full-time we are more accountable to our boss. If we are the boss we are accountable to everyone below us who depends on us making progress to keep the company alive. To keep our homestead alive we need to make sure that we meet our goals and this means holding ourselves accountable.

Set short-term and long-term goals
My daily goals are goals that I have set for my homestead. They are things that I need to get done that day, or it is a goal that I set because its convenient to work on it that day. However when I set my goals they are based on my long-term goals. I need to work on projects that I won’t see results on for years. When I plant a tree, I am setting the short-term goal of planting the tree for the long-term goal of having fully grown shade or fruit trees on the homestead years down the road.
When I compost I am preparing soil that I won’t use until the next growing season. When I get chickens or ducks I know that it will be months of raising them before I am able to get eggs.
I once had someone interview me. He wanted to know what I did on my homestead. He seemed disappointed when I told him I had spent years digging holes. I told him that I was getting to a point where I had new projects but there were still a lot of holes that we had to dig. In fact after my interview I spend the next 2 months digging holes for trees and fence posts, but now I can look out and see my beautiful trees and my gardens that I fenced in. It will probably take 5 years for my gardens to become what I dream about, but the work that I put in today makes a future for my homestead.

 

 

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Reaching your goals with limited income.

The purpose of this post is to share how I accomplish my goals on our homestead with a very limited budget. Sometimes our budget is actually zero, but this plan makes even a zero budget work at times.

Two years ago I was making progress by focusing on one project at a time. I did get things done, but there were always so many more things to do. My new approach came two years ago when I started the year with a list of projects that I wanted to get done that year, however my break through didn’t come until I put my list in a place that I would see it on a regular basis. What is important to know is that everything on my list was there because it was part of my goals. Here are the 6 steps I took to make my goals a reality.

  1. I made a list of the projects I wanted to work on. Sometimes it was simply buying something for my homestead lifestyle. For example, we live on a homestead that is off grid, so on my list was a stove top popcorn popper. I wanted to be able store and cook popcorn because it is inexpensive and stores well. If I had the right popper I could easily use it off grid and store popcorn to use now and later.  By putting the popper on my list I was able to buy one after my husband had worked some overtime. I looked at my list and my budget and purchased the popper. Until I had the list where I could see it often I frequently forgot to buy it when we got extra money for purchases. That leads me to the second thing that I did.
  2. I put the list in places that I would see often. To begin with I made more then one list. I wrote one in my planner. I put a second list in my Journal (but I didn’t see that often), and I put a third list on my bedroom wall. Perhaps the most important list was in my bill binder.  By putting it with my bills I was able to look at it on paydays and determine if we had the means to get anything on the list or work on any projects that were on the list. If I felt like we had money to put towards my goals I could then talk to my husband and determine what item on the list we would work on that payday.  This leads me to the third thing that I did.
  3. I discussed the list of things I wanted to do with my husband, my kids, and my friends. By telling others about my list it created opportunities for others to help me work on my goals. For example, my husband brought home a wood box and said, “I thought this would make a great chicken coop for you.” He knew that a chicken coop was on my list.

    It took a few days, but I was able to turn this box into a chicken coop using things I had laying around. The only thing that I bought was screws (I am always buying screws), door hinges, and some paint.

    The point is that when I share my goals with others they are able to help me accomplish them. They encourage me or keep their eyes open for things that might help with my goals.
    Once I told my friend that I wanted to purchase a small washer for my home. She responded by telling me that she needed help at her place and offered to let me come and work for her for a few days to earn the money to purchase the washer.
    Just recently a friend gave me some fertilized eggs to try out my new incubator. She had plenty of eggs and knew that I needed to learn how to use my incubator. When we share our goals with others they love to help us find ways to accomplish them. Sometimes they just give us encouragement, but that is extremely valuable. One friend tries to ask me often what my project for the day is. She knows that just by asking me what I am working on encourages me to set a goal for the day. This leads me to my fourth suggestion.
  4. When I get something for free I adjust my schedule to fit in a project on my list that includes the free items I get. Being flexible is very important to getting things done on my list. Its not realistic to drop everything on your schedule for projects, but I do try to work them into my schedule as quickly as I can. For example when a neighbor dropped off a box of tomatoes that were going bad I worked canning stewed tomatoes into my schedule as quickly as I could so the tomatoes wouldn’t go bad.

    Also I don’t have a garage or a barn so when I get free wood I try to work in my wood projects as quickly as I can because the wood will warp out in the sun, wind, and rain.
    When I told my husband that I wanted to enclose my loft area he brought home some reclaimed wood for me. However it was the middle of winter so I set to work getting the doors built and the rest of the area framed and installed so that the wood wouldn’t sit outside in the snow or sit inside as a trip hazard in our small house.

    Working on projects as soon as time permits also helps to get projects done quickly instead of stretching it out over years. This leads me to my fifth suggestion.
  5. Have patience. Although it is great to jump on projects as quickly as you can, doing things before you can afford to do them can double the price of your project. Although I do everything I can as quickly as I can, I do it with free supplies as quickly as I can get free supplies buying things I need that I can’t find for free when needed. However patience is crucial to getting things done and doing it with a small budget. We try to do as much as we can as fast as we can, but patience enables us to wait for free supplies. This is where my last tip is very important.
  6. Have a long list of things that you want to work on. By having a long list of things to do you can switch up your projects as resources present themselves. My list includes inside and outside projects. It includes winter, spring, summer, and fall projects. My list is huge because life is so varied. I have projects that require supplies on it, and I have projects that just require time. I might have an organizing project that just requires time. I might have a planting project that uses left over seeds from the previous year so  I can put them in the ground if i don’t have the money to run to the store and get seeds for this current year.
    When it comes to paying down my debt focus is very important. Focusing on one debt at a time brings a lot of power, but when it comes to getting things done on my property, the long list actually allows me to keep making progress no matter what the weather or what my finances are. This method won’t work for everyone, but it has made it possible for our family to double or triple the number of things done over the past two years.  Make your list today and start sharing it with the people in your life who encourage you.

Sunflowers

Last year I determined that I was going to grow some sunflowers.

The first thing I did was purchase some seeds from the store. I immediately planted my seeds. The next morning I woke up and discovered that our puppy had dug up my newly planted flowerbed. UGH!!! However I was determined that I wanted to grow some sunflowers, so I planted some more seeds. The first time I planted half the package, so this time I planted the other half of the package. Again the puppy dug up my flowerbed. Still determined I went to the store and purchased more seeds. This time after I planted the seeds my husband used some clear green house plastic and made a temporary cover for my flowerbed.

Soon little plants were growing out of the dirt. It was so exciting. That is until a mouse started eating the pants as they came up at night. UGH! But I really wanted sunflowers, so I went to the store and I bought more seeds, and I planted them again. This time when the flowers came up I put cayenne pepper around the plants. This worked for a little while but as the plants got bigger the mouse was able to reach them and still eat some of them. I decided to deal with the mouse by setting out poison. That did the trick.

Finally my sunflowers were growing! I was so excited. Then one day my goats who were grazing got inside the fenced in area where the house and flowerbeds are, and you guessed it my sunflowers were, and as you probably guessed he ate the top off my sunflowers. UGH!!! But I was determined to grow sunflowers, so I decided to just let those half eaten flowers continue to grow and see what they became. Well those sunflowers kept growing and after a while they split into two.

My sunflowers never got as big as they could have if they had the full season to grow, but they grew.

I love the memory of my sunflowers. It is a reminder to me to keep trying even though things might not work out how you planned. In fact I believe that things never work out how we plan, but I also believe that life if beautiful and full of surprises. I know bad things are going to happen; that is part of life. But I am determined to grow sunflowers. I think it is very important to have sunflowers and to fight for the beautiful things in this world. I believe those beautiful things like love, kindness, generosity,  and sometimes literal flowers are worth fighting for. I believe that we should all be determined to grow our sunflowers whatever that may be because life is hard and we will have dogs, mice, and goats all in our path, but we can know success if we keep at it. The success probably will look very different than we originally anticipate, but it will still be beautiful. So be determined and grow some sunflowers.

Preparing for our worms

Worms, Worms, Worms
A string of cold weather meant that I haven’t gotten a lot done outside this past week. Instead I have been working on ordering some things for our homestead. One of the things we ordered this past week was worms. We are hoping that the worms come today. However, while we have been waiting for the worms, we have been preparing for them. First, we located 4 buckets that we can use for their homes. Second, we gathered some newspaper for food for the worms. Third, we drilled holes in the top of the buckets (not the lids) for ventilation. We want to keep the soil damp but we also need to account for ventilation. Our solution was to drill holes at the top  of the bucket but keep the lids on to keep good ventilation but also keep the soil from drying out.
After we prepared the buckets, we tore the newspaper into 1 inch strips, and we add them to the buckets. Then we added water, dirt, and sand.  We will start with about 500 worms per bucket and see if the space is good for that many worms. We will keep an eye on the worms over the next few weeks and see how they are doing.  If we have too many worms for the space we can always move some to the flowerbeds.
We will also keep them inside for now since it is still pretty cold outside (especially at night). Some of the worms will stay inside all year though.
Right now there are 4 different reasons that we want to raise worms as part of our homestead.
1. We are always looking for an additional food source for our animals. Raising worms that reproduce on a large scale would be a renewable resource for our chickens.
2. Worms castings are an amazing addition to any garden.
3. We would love to have a ready supply of worms for fishing!
4. Sell worms and worm castings for another source on income.
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