Have you wondered where we have gone?? I can FINALLY tell you all what is going on! We have been selling livestock and stuff for the purpose of pulling up stakes and heading West, and I had to keep it all a big secret. We have been in negotiations since last summer with a network to do a t.v. show about homesteading, and we received the initial contracts about a week ago. If we can come to agreeable terms, you just might see us doing what we do, on a weekly basis! Weird. Super weird. But hopefully a great adventure!!

Stay tuned for updates as we follow the Oregon Trail!

 
 
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Photo Courtesy Charley's Greenhouse


To reduce costs, many people build their own greenhouses.  That way, you can get exactly what you want.  But what if you really don't have the time, or the ability, to build your own?

From Mother Earth News, an article about all the finer points of choosing a greenhouse kit.



People who love gardens also love greenhouses. The best backyard greenhouses 
feed the need to dirty our fingers while the rest of the garden is dormant. Even 
a small greenhouse can provide effective season extension by jump-starting 
seedlings in spring. When managed properly, a greenhouse is a backyard oasis 
that yields fresh food year-round.


If a lack of construction skills is keeping you from building a greenhouse, 
consider a kit. The best greenhouse kit is one that fits your needs and your 
pocketbook. Kits are easier than building from scratch and don’t require as much 
building experience (although it certainly helps to have a DIY attitude when
you  set out to build your own greenhouse, even from a kit).

Shopping for Your Best Greenhouse Kit

Local Regulations. Start by researching required permits, 
zoning, setbacks, underground utilities and other requirements for your area. 
Some localities demand a certain type of foundation. A greenhouse attached to 
your home will likely face more stringent requirements than a free-standing 
greenhouse. In some places, greenhouses are regulated under a “storage shed” 
designation. Consider size carefully, as you may be able to avoid many 
regulations by simply settling for a small greenhouse.


Site. Your greenhouse site must have adequate light — six 
hours of uninterrupted sun on a clear day. You may have to trim or remove a tree 
to create more light for your chosen location. Also, consider access to water. 
Is there a nearby hose bib to provide water, even in winter? Some gardeners add 
gutters and an interior rain barrel to their backyard greenhouses for a winter 
water source. Electricity can power heating, lighting and ventilation, so keep 
an accessible power source in mind, too.

Vendors. Check companies carefully — even a small greenhouse 
is a big investment, and you should feel comfortable with the supplier. Don’t
be  afraid to ask questions, such as:


• How long has the company been in business?
• How many kits has it sold?  
• Does it manufacture the kits or simply resell them?
• How extensive is  the warranty?
• What technical help can the company provide?
• How is  the greenhouse shipped and packaged?
• What is the cost of shipping?



You might add other questions to this list. If you have minimal building 
experience, read a copy of the kit’s manual beforehand to make sure it’s 
understandable to you. If you’ll be building the kit on weekends, ask whether 
someone from the company will be available to answer questions on Saturdays and 
Sundays. You may want to see demonstration photos or videos of the kit’s 
construction before committing to buy. Tech support may be limited if greenhouse 
kits are not the company’s specialty but just one of many products it
sells.



Read more:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/best-greenhouse-kit-zm0z13amzmar.aspx#ixzz2SFLa2VZh



 
 

This is the "birthing suite" within our French Lop rabbit enclosure in the barn.  My daughter and I got the front gate done about a week ago, and good thing we did!  This morning I could hear my four month old Anatolian barking and barking and barking, which she also did each time one of our sheep was giving birth.  I thought maybe one of the lambs was out or something, so I go out to the barn to see what was wrong.

I check the soon to be mama bunny, and she has pulled a TON of fur out and put it in her nesting box.  That means birth is imminent.  I didn't see any babies though, and Holly was at the front of her cage pulling more fur.  I go to feed the sheep and goats, and my 12 year old yells at me that Holly has gone to the next box and is having babies!  We actually got to see the babies be born.

So we have seven new little lives here on the farm.  My daughter says it's like Christmas.  :)

 
 
I have terrible anxiety issues, so finding ways to deal with it naturally is important to me.  There may not always be a pharmacy around, and even if there is, using plants is better for your body.  Many of these are very easy to grow no matter where you live.  Most will also work if you have trouble sleeping, and who wouldn't love a cup of lavender/lemon balm tea?

 
 
We have at least a few determined readers who live in town, or have no yards, or live in apartments, have health issues and can't manage gardens, etc. I am going to repost today some ideas for gardening in small spaces. It takes just as much work to plant and grow ornamentals as it does food; both are pretty, but for the
work involved, why not get some produce out of the deal?

Below are several ideas that I have found while traipsing around the internet, some I have posted before and some I haven't.  They are all great for inspiration.  Happy Growing!


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Container Gardening on Your Deck, Patio, or Balcony
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Grow Strawberries, Or Any Other Similarly Sized Plant, In Recycled Guttering
Above is an illustration on how to grow potatoes in a bag; you start at the bottom, and fill with dirt as the plant grows.

However, I want to add a little information to this drawing; it looks like it has the seed potatoes planted whole.  DO NOT plant whole seed potatoes.  You need to cut them in cubes first, with one or two eyes per cube, then let them dry (cure) for two or three days.  If you don't, most of them will rot before you get any food from them.  Then plant them eye up, and back fill dirt as the stalk grows.




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Grow food in a bag.
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Grow food on your kitchen counter.
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Grow food on your walls.
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Grow food in pots.
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Be creative and save some money; grow food in small backyards.
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Grow food in pallets.
 
 
 
 
It's funny, this homesteading life.  When you decide to do this, before you leave the city, you have these images in your head of tranquility, and peaceful gardens, and pure quiet as you sit listening to only the sounds that nature makes.  You have food in abundance, and time as well.  Little birdies land on your finger, small animals trail at your heels, and suddenly you can sing really well.  Your little country home is tidy and adorable, and filled with the smells of freshly baked bread and homemade pies.  Life is serene, beautiful, and oh-so-carefree.

And then spring comes.

Babies, everywhere.  Adrenaline, in over-drive.  Sleep, grabbed when you just can't keep your eyelids in the open position anymore.  Baby goats, baby sheep, baby dogs, baby whatever-you-have, even baby plants that need your care RIGHT NOW.  And don't forget the other spring chores; cleaning the barn, cleaning the coop, making repairs to things that suffered in the ice and snow, building new enclosures and fences, maintaining existing gardens as well as cleaning out the old ones and building new ones, making sure the machines that you use (or in my case the machines that someone else uses; one look from me and a machine refuses to go), catch and release all animals for spring de-worming, de-miting, general de-lousing, shearing and grooming, hoof trimming, and after all of that is done you have time to peruse the list of things you WANT to get done. 

Cooking?  Maybe tomorrow.  Cleaning?  Let's just say we believe in the Cleaning Fairy.

When I have time to write, there is nothing going on.  When there is something happening every day, I don't have time to write!!

I am taking tons of photos and trying to keep notes, so that when I do get to sit for a while, I will be able to write story after story to fill you in on what is happening here, how we are doing it, and the things we are learning on a daily basis.  Two and a half years in, and we are still feeling like we have no idea what we are doing.  And honestly, some days I wonder if we really CAN live this way, or if we are just dreamy morons who saw a pretty photo in a country life magazine one day and thought "I can do that!!".

We will not give up, and in a couple of months we will feel proud, as things go through the season of growth and into the season of production.  We will have time to watch the fireflies, and cook with produce grown by our own hands.  We will have time to sit on the porch with family, and tell stories of our new, sometimes chaotic life.  A life that is serene, and beautiful, and not so carefree.  And I wouldn't go back to the city if you paid me.

 
 
It is ironic that starting seeds indoors requires grow lights, and that they be close to the seedlings or they will get too leggy and collapse.  The sun isn't close to seedlings at all, and yet if you are growing things native to your area those same seedlings will thrive.  Just more proof that all living things do best in their natural environments, including humans.  :)
 
 
Our emergency well pump; we chose this pvc set up because there are no leathers to dry out if we don't use it.  This well is relatively shallow, but we had the same pump on our last well too, and it was 180'.  It doesn't put out as much water as a big iron pump, but for now it serves our needs. 

This well was abandoned when the house was put on county water, so no longer has an electric pump in it.  The pvc set up can be installed even with an electric pump, as that is how we had it on our last well. 

For me to feel secure, I like to have at least two sources of water that I can use even without power.  Now if I can get my windmill hooked to another well this summer, I can keep my ponds full too.