Homestead Update

I’ve heard a few people now mention that soreness that comes with getting back into the busy spring season of homesteading. I’m there! Nothing like weeding and cleaning up gardens to really stiffen those winter-relaxed muscles.

We took the much needed time to clean up the raspberry bushes. We planted about 8 plants 3 years ago now and they were looking particularly scraggly.

My oldest VOLUNTEERED to rake up the old dead canes. He ASKED to do that job. In his button up shirt, khakis and sunglasses, he was exactly as cool as he thought he was.

(Sidenote: kids actually like work- nay, love it- it validates them and gives them a sense of purpose and indespensibility to the family. Especially when heaps of praise are poured on for being such valuable members of the familial homesteadimg team.)

So that took a couple hours, but it got done!

And a special thanks to my husband who purchased me a set of universal blades for the weed eater to convert it from the line trimmer. SOOOOO much better when I don’t have to constantly fiddle with the line getting tangled or pulled out.

Speaking of my husband, our 10th anniversary has proved to be a “go big or go homestead” kind of year. Shoot… Between the new barn, dairy goats and corresponding handbook, grape trellises (I’ll get to those later), not to mention the tools and kitchen gadgets and leisure reading (the collected works of G.K. Chesterton and the Father Brown series), weed eater blades, That man speaks my love language.

He asked me, “How is it that most women get and are content with fruit baskets or flowers and somehow you end up getting rose bushes and entire orchards?”

I thought for a minute and said, “Well, either it’s you being overly generous and giving more permanent gifts, or it’s you handing me some saplings and bushes and telling me to make my own dang fruit baskets and boquets… I prefer to think it’s the former.”

I got a good chuckle out of that, rude though it may be to laugh at one’s own jokes…

Grape trellises!

That’s been a long time coming. We actually set up temporary T posts until the vines got tall enough to climb to the guide wires. Or- maybe we were just selectively lazy and procrastinated that project? Either is possible. And one is more probable. In any case, we finally got the end posts set, and guide wires up. We followed the example in this video, and set a wire at 3 feet and at 5 feet. The posts are a little wonky 1) because the soil is so soft and moveable and we didn’t concrete them in, and 2) because there is a little tension on the wire. But they can be anchored or otherwise supported when it becomes necessary. For now, the vines aren’t really even reaching the bottom most guidewire yet, let alone putting weight on them, so it’ll do for now.

I have plans for expanding the “vineyard” across the swale and incorporating an arbor over our footbridge, but that is a way down the line back burner kind of project that will happen when we’re out of other pragmatic things to do and can focus on asthetic projects. *laughs hysterically*

The barn/materials should be arriving within the next week or so and that will be “fun” to set up our goat area. The electric netting fence for our rotational or New Zealand style grazing is here and to the best of our knowledge, functional. Now we wait for our mamas to wean, and then we can bring them home and start milking!!! I’m both tremendously excited and nervous about that responsibility. But- it will be worth it for quality dairy on our homestead.

We had a few trees fall in a windstorm so we’ll get to break out the ol’ (or brand new) wood chipper! I’m stoked for that because we have been needing a fresh supply of woodchips for our back to Eden gardening, and for expanding that method to other gardens so it will be awesome to supply our own from some of the fallen trees and brush we have on site, and without all the extra garbage that comes in the truckloads from the power line trimmers.

This is an exciting time in the gardens, and I don’t mean to seem callus to what other people are facing in the world today, but it seems to me that now is as good a time as any to realize that city living suffers when the economic infrastructure begins to crack. I’m increasingly thankful that we have the homestead to fall back on and that God has so richly blessed our efforts and guided us to this lifestyle. We have been blessed to not really have been affected by anything going on and life continues here as normal- home-educating, growing our food, preserving our harvests, saving our seeds, maintaining our tools…

I will say that worshipping at home, while it may be necessary and should be regular anyway, is NOT the same as corporate worship and I dearly miss gathering with my brothers and sisters in Christ. That has been the hardest part of this whole virus thing for me; I miss people.

But- God has given me a larger than average family, so I’m enjoying their company while many others are feeling isolated and lonely, and trying not to go insane while child training, home educating, and disciplining, and disciple-ing them. THAT is also hard. If you were wondering, 4 children in as many years is a BIG chunk of responsibility that I never imagined myself taking on. Again- to God be the glory for providing so many resources and sources of encouragement to me in those areas.

So my goal for this blog and certainly during this time of social distancing and economic weirdness is to be not another voice insisting that everyone be aware of how terrible and scary the world is- though it is that- but to be instead a voice of encouragement, hope, and perhaps even escape from the negativity and fear people are experiencing. Fear is toxic. It literally poisons the body with stress hormones.

So remember that nobody makes it out of this world alive, and then take a look at my gardens, and breathe.

Star of Bethlehem
3 Kiddos sitting under honey suckle and daylilies

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