Time flies when life is fun… or when working on a homestead? Two months have passed since I made the life-changing decision to move here!
Although it doesn’t feel like it yet, I've made significant improvements to this old farmhouse and the surrounding land, like the garden for example. I’m still learning how to manage my homestead, but these beginner projects have taught me a lot!
What is it like homesteading?
How do you homestead?
What is it like living on a farm?
What do homesteaders do?
Let me answer these questions and catch you up on my progress:
1) My first project was to STOP THE BUGS!
Initially, they had no boundaries—they scurried between this old farmhouse and their yard turf with blissful abandon. The grass grew right up to the concrete foundation, so the critters waltzed merrily to and from the structure.
Every day was a battle with grass bugs—they invaded my house, skittering around the walls, across the ceilings, and over the floors. I wasn’t comfortable living that close to nature, so I took decisive action: I sealed every crack leading into my house; I deep-cleaned the walls with Pinesol, and the windowsills, and any area that had bug signs.
These tactics worked! After sealing and sanitizing, I watched the infestation subside. Check out the in-depth process (plus pictures) here Stop Bugs by Sealing Cracks.
2) My homestead came with a beautiful garden setup—four raised planters and a small greenhouse.
But the garden beds were overgrown with weeds, the fruit trees had never been pruned, and the greenhouse was filled with refuse! I cleaned the beds so I wouldn’t have to do that in spring.
I vlogged the cleaning, showing each step I took to refurbish the overgrown raised beds, and it was a difficult process! I had the flu so I struggled to maintain my composure. Not only did I gut my garden beds, but I also prepared them for winter by covering them with mulch and manure!
This was the first time that I sheet-composted garden beds! The manure breaks down, adding nutrients to the soil. Instead of driving to a store and purchasing manure, this time I had direct access, so I took it right from the field!
I gathered cow manure from the pasture in a wheel barrow and hauled it over to the gardens beds to dress the surface. Because it was autumn, leaves were scattered around the property, so I blanketed the beds with those. Check out all my garden prep vlogs here.
3) I planted garlic for the first time in my life!
I love garlic, so I use it in almost every recipe! Garlic should be planted in the fall, so I did just that. Watch me plant garlic cloves here. I can’t wait for spring to see what these cloves yield.
4) The first week in the homestead was FREEZING!
I didn’t know how to operate the wood stove, and my HVAC system was dysfunctional. I wrapped myself in layers of warm clothing to fight off the cold. I had to get my heating system operational—and fast, so I learned to chop wood and manage a woodpile!
The previous owner left large piles of sawed logs (waiting for the axe), so I covered those with tarps. Watch me cover my woodpile on the windiest day of the year here.
Earlier this year, I purchased an axe as an emergency tool but it quickly came in handy at the woodpile. I’ve since ordered a wood splitting maul, but it has not arrived. I now chop wood like a pro—watch me chop here.
Along with being a profession axe-woman, my farmhouse is staying warm with my well-fed woodstove heater! Check out how my homestead heating system operates here.
5) Food prep!
Living remote and away from grocery stores, I’ve been honing in on how to prep food for survival off grid. I buy in bulk quantities, I double recipes and freeze half for later, and I rework my food storage daily.
Every week, I make multiple batches of sourdough English muffins for breakfast and snack options throughout the week. I stockpile them in my freezer and rotate through as I bake more.
I bake and cook large quantities so I can preserve some for later. I also order groceries in bulk and am slowly increasing my stored food quantities. I want to have what I need on hand to bake or cook whatever I want.
Running to a grocery store on a whim is not a simple venture. As my supplies run low, I order more to refill dwindling food items. Check out my pantry tour here.
Only two months into my homestead journey, and I feel as though I've learned a lot! I’m grateful for this opportunity to develop and utilize different skill sets.