A Life Contrary

living a life out of the ordinary

Archive for the category “Homesteading”

Homesteading Update…

Okay, so since it’s been a while since I’ve written and I’m sure you all are just waiting with baited breath to hear how our homesteading experiment is going.  Right?

Well, there is some good news.  We are out of the camper that we were living in.  And while I was super excited to have it while we did, I can not explain how happy I am to be out of there.  There are so many things about living in a house that you can take for granted.  It is so nice to have a full-sized kitchen, a proper hot water heater, and a real bed.  Not to mention how nice it is for our little family to be able to spend time in separate rooms!

The house we are living in is actually our neighbor’s.  This is great for so many reasons.  First, we are close to our place, so when Nathan works on the house, he doesn’t have to go far.  Second, we really love our place and our neighborhood, so it’s great to be able to stay in the area.  Third, our neighbor is amazing and we are so thankful for them.

So, how’s the house coming along?  Well.  It’s not.  We’ve had a few setbacks and basically, no work has been done in about 6 months.  It is so hard for me not to get discouraged and be totally bummed.  But it is what it is and there’s no point in crying about it now.

Nathan has had a few side projects that he’s had to work on, but other than getting our car taken care of, he’s pretty well done with that, so we’re hoping that he will be able to refocus on the house at the beginning of the year.  Of course, he’s also going to be starting his second Masters and finishing up his final project for his Doctorate, too, but I guess we’ll see.

As for the land, it’s in about the same boat as the house.  Other than a bit of upkeep, we haven’t done much.  But since our neighbor is quite neighborly, we’ve been helping him out with some stuff, such as his garden plot.  Hopefully, it will be ready by spring and we will share the bounty.  He also has bees and though we’ve got nothing to do with them, I cannot wait until there’s honey!

On a side note, Chas has been hired on as a farmhand and helps out with odd jobs and takes care of the animals (two donkeys and a horse) when our neighbor doesn’t come out.  We’ve also got a few defectors – a hen and two roosters.  I’m not sure where they’ve come from or where they roost, but they seem to like staying here throughout the day and the hen has at least begun sleeping in the holly bush at the front of the house.  We’ve named them – Matilda Cluckenbach and her boys, Homer and Herschel.

So, now we’re kind of breaking for the holidays.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to regroup and get things going again soon.


Homesteading Update: March

slow down

Every so often, I like to give a bit of an update on what’s going on with our house/homestead.  It’s both a way to track progress and keep a running log of this crazy journey that we embarked on 11 months ago.

I have been pretty down about the house here lately.  I’m just not seeing the progress that I had hoped for.  We were really wanting to be in the house by spring.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it will happen.  However, we have seen some progress on the actual homestead.

Nathan was able to work on our garden plot and began to get it ready for planting.  We hope to get that going soon, but just like with everything else, it seems to be just another line on a to-do list.  He’s also got a good portion of the fence around our property done with the help of our neighbor.

As for the house itself, it is still slow-going.  And will continue to be for quite some time.  Nathan has a couple of jobs coming up that will be very good for our pocket book, but they won’t exactly further getting the house ready to move in.

Right now, we’re doing what we can as we can.  Nathan is trying to get the foundation for the fireplace finished so he can start laying floor.  But as I’ve said, it is a long and slow process.

As for me, I am learning patience and trying to trust that it will all work out.  It is a tough road and I’m not always handling it correctly.  Actually, I am failing more often than I am succeeding, but I’m still trying.  With lots of prayer and a lot of trust, I am trying.

I hope that one day I will look back on this whole process and see what I’ve learned.  That is little comfort while going through the process, however.

Quite Contrary…

Stacey, Stacey,Quite Contrary...

I LOVE grocery shopping.  It is so much fun, seeing all the different produce items and what’s fresh.  I like talking to the butcher about all the different cuts.  Looking through the bakery and spanning the aisles, crossing things off my list.  It’s a culinary wonderland and I love it.

Recently, I was in a discussion with some friends about grocery stores.  We’ve been blessed to live in several different regions of the country, so we’ve experienced several different grocery store chains.  From Albertson’s to Publix, Meijer’s to Walmart, Super Stop & Shop to Kroger, we’ve seen them all.  Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi’s.

A couple years ago, we joined a CSA – Community Share Agriculture.  It was pretty cool.  What I lost in traversing the beautiful aisles of a carefully arranged, beautiful produce, I gained in knowledge and freshness.  This was stuff that was straight from the farmer.  Not only did I get to talk with those who were actually growing the food, but the prices were pretty great, too (seriously, if you have access, you should check out CSA’s).

That’s one of the cool things about having a 5-acre farm, I get to grow my own stuff!  There’s only one problem – I don’t really know how to grow anything.  Have you ever tried to figure out how to garden?  There are just about as many gardening books, theories, blogs, and youtube videos as there are for parenting.

I will say that we’re narrowing down.  We’re in the planning phase, which from what I can tell is on track.  Unfortunately, we’ve not moved much beyond that.  The hubs spent a couple days preparing our garden area so that’s done.  And I think I have a list of what we want to grow.  We’re wanting to start small since I’m still trying to figure all this out.

Here’s what we’ve got going on our list right now:

Vegetables and Herb list

I may add a few things to my herbs and I want to add a few flowers.  But this is it right now.  We still have to narrow down the kinds that we’re going to grow.  I’m also reading Carrots Love Tomatoes which is all about companion gardening so that we can learn what to plant with what.


Also, on our agenda is our orchard, but that’s another post for another day.  Are you a gardener?  What tips of the trade can you share?

Homesteading Update: January

I haven’t updated since October.  And there’s a very good reason for that… there’s not much to update.  Due to several things, not much has been done.  NGD started work on the well house, a much needed project, but then then rains began and the hole that he dug for the foundation has become our own little pond.  Now the water has been drained and the rains have stopped but it’s too cold for the concrete to cure.

So, on to the next:  the fireplace/study.  This is the next area we hope to focus on.  As a matter of fact, NGD and Chas have gone right now to get the stones and mortar, etc. to begin work on this.  This is after a week of research, two failed attempts, and a broken pickup.  Sigh.  No one said it would be easy.  Even writing about this is hard.

I sometimes get discouraged.  Okay, I often get discouraged.  I have come to realize many things during this project.  One of which is contentment.  I’m learning to deal with living in close quarters.  I’m learning a new repertoire of recipes and things that are easily prepared in a camper kitchen with minimal resources.  I’m trying to find contentment instead of just railing about every little convenience because who does that help?

Once again, I am reminded that this is a LONG-TERM project and trying to grow out of my impatient, instant gratification ways.  As it sits right now, we have 11 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days on the countdown clock.  That’s a considerable amount of time and a lot can happen.  NGD assures me that we are still on pace and that this is still an achievable goal.  I try to make myself remember that when all I see is a house with no floors or walls and little to no progress.

So, with all the negative out of the way, here’s what’s on the horizon.  Hopefully, the fireplace will be done by the end of January and then we’ll start on the study (walls, floors, supports, etc.) beginning in February.  This is one step closer to being able to move in and actually live in the house.  We also may put a pause on the house and work a little on the chicken coop/brooder house due to timing and the fact that I can’t wait to have fresh eggs/chicken.  Baby steps, slow-going, and victory in inches are still my mantra.

*Btw, ‘sitrep’ is a military term (and possibly used elsewhere) from situation report.

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