I haven’t written in what feels like an eternity! A lot has been going on here at our little homestead and a few projects are in full swing. I’m pretty much the only one who does most of our homesteading and among daily research, I’m always adding to the “to do” list. Needless to say, Babydoll has been a trooper! Did I mention that I work a 9-5 job too?? Amidst all of the chaos, Fall is here! I love everything about Fall and even though Texas doesn’t have the beautifully colored leaves or the crisp, fireplace aroma in the air, I’ve come to enjoy the little things. From the seasonal food, the Yankee Candles I have an addiction too, down to the way the air smells. Being born and raised in New England, I love the smallest things about the season and it just makes me happy. It also makes the perfect season for projects!
So much has changed over the past month or two. Babydoll changed jobs and went back into the oilfield. After all, we have a future homestead to save for! With this decision, some big projects were left on hold. I don’t think I will ever get used to him being away for weeks on end, but that is the life we chose. For the first time in our lives, we have goals. Those goals are at the forefront of our minds in everything we set out to do and or purchase. Having that common ground is what makes a homestead successful. Many times you hear about families that homestead where it is very one-sided. We have been blessed with a common mindset and it makes things much easier. With more free time on my part lately, many projects are able to get started nonetheless.
The Garden: The garden needed some attention such as harvesting, getting plants to grow, weeding, and transitioning from Summer to Fall plantings. The garden was coming along perfect when all of a sudden, we had no more fruit! It was as if “POOF!” they were gone. With a fenced in backyard, I couldn’t figure out what was eating them. It ended up being squirrels and baby rabbits. We came up with a quick remedy of stapling chicken wire around the perimeter of the raised bed and covering the top with a bird cover mesh. This did the trick nicely although made it tricky to harvest and weed. After tackling this twice, it finally worked and we now have fruit! Now if only the butterflies would leave my brussel sprouts alone.
Raised Bed Garden
Green Bell Peppers
Harvest: Our harvest was much smaller than anticipated, but when compared to all of our mistakes in the past, we finally have more of a grasp on it. Jalapenos and green bell peppers were what we got the most of. Our tomato plants were falling over and really big, however didn’t produce much because by the time we caged the bed, it was already September. Besides cooking with our harvest and the fact that it was small, we also made flavored vinegar’s, as well as used other techniques such as pickling, fermenting and dehydrating.
Greenhouse: We desperately needed a greenhouse not only for seed starting, but to grow plants over the winter in an effort to grow year round. In Texas, summers are hot and winters are cold, but they are still doable. In researching greenhouses, we definitely have one in mind for our future homestead, but for now we’ve decided to opt for a smaller one in the meantime. It wasn’t that expensive at around $30 shipped, so it was affordable because we are still learning. We then needed to create a space for seed starting and growing winter plants. To do this, we reused what we already had. This is the best kind of shopping and saves a ton of money. Reusing things such as tables and bins, made it easy to create a potting table and an old bin now used for amending soil. Our seed order has been placed from Baker Creek and now we wait. I apologize for the dark pictures. They were taken inside of a garage, but you get the idea.
Compost: Our compost that was started late last year and is just about broken down. We used grass clippings, shredded paper from our shredder, and kitchen scraps such as food, coffee grounds, egg shells, and tea bags. It is such a beautiful dark brown color. This will help get seeds get started for spring. A new bin has been started and will take another year to break down. We just don’t have the space to create the compost pile we are hoping for, but this does the trick.
Cooking: Food storage has been on the agenda most of this year. Buying in bulk, growing what we can, and saving what we can , further enabled us to grow our canned food stock. This year, we added fermented food like Kombucha, sour dough starter, vinegar, carrots, pickles, and sauerkraut. We are still not where we need to be, but next year will be even more than this year.
It has been quite a busy start to the season and so much more to accomplish with the holidays coming. It feel like an endless process, but it is so very rewarding.
What goals and projects have you set for Fall? I’d love to hear about what you have going. Inspire me! and who knows, you may inspire someone else!