Homestead Inspiration

Inspiration for the small homestead

Homestead inspiration in the suburbs

What is your homestead inspiration? Nutrition? Sustainability? Independence? Simple living?

With homesteading dreams, but practical constraints, it can be hard to focus on living a less consumerist life in the here and now.

Let’s live within our means.

Let’s produce more of our own food and keep our homes from being filled with a bunch of “stuff” without function or lasting value.

Finally, let’s cultivate free time, and spend it doing more than just watching TV. Yes, I love a good movie night, but I want to keep up skills and learn new skills.

red leaf on book
Photo by Davyd Bortnik

Homestead vs. practicality

Not everyone can up and move to the country, as many of us are still dependent on our jobs.

Country living homesteading (in the sense of having land and livestock) is a daily, time-consuming commitment that can take up a lot of time, effort, and resources.

It is worth counting the cost and making sure you want to do the work.

Living less wastefully

We live in a highly consumeristic, materialistic society. All too frequently, we buy things new and then send them to the landfill a short time later.

Planned obsolescence defines the lifespan of too many products.

Still, many items can be bought used (cell phones) or repaired (laptops) and a modern way of life enjoyed without fully buying into the production stream.

Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.

American proverb from the Great Depression era

Homestead inspiration for the small garden

Start small! You can do it. This is all supposed to be fun.

I believe that with life, homemaking, gardening, and even working, it is supposed to be fun. Without fun, something is not right.

I believe that in family life there is supposed to be fun in our day-to-day lives and interactions. Without fun, our relationships are out of balance.

orange fruit near pinecone gift wrap and maple leaves
Photo by Caroline Feelgood

Currently, I live in a suburb with a front yard and a backyard garden.

In our neighborhood, we get more wildlife than you might expect, which has been the primary barrier to food production.

There are also a lot of trees, which are beautiful and stately. They provide a lot of shade. Placement of plantings has to be very strategic to work around all that shade.

Now a few years into this, we are getting a few more berries, a few more squash and tomatoes, a lot more hickory nuts and just a couple of hazelnuts.

It is exciting to see our novice efforts at permaculture gardening starting to bear fruit, literally.

Here are a few of my sources of inspiration

  1. Tenth Acre Farm – Permaculture for the Suburbs
  2. Mother Earth News – 1-Acre Dreamin’
  3. Homestead.org – Permaculture Principles
  4. Atitalan Organics – Mapping Zones on Your Property
  5. Tenth Acre Farm – How to Develop the Permaculture Homestead in Phases
  6. Mother Earth News – 9 Permaculture Practices
  7. Food Tank – 16 Successful Projects Highlighting Permaculture Use

Whatever else is going on out there, when we’re on the homestead…

Let’s keep it cozy.

Topics for Fall 2021

Fresh topics for fall 2021

After the big hiatus in 2021, I hope you are excited for some fresh topics in fall 2021.

I am so ready to get back into it here.

These are some of the things on my mind and in the garden as the growing season draws to a close. Let me know what you think, and if you have other topics you’d like to see!

Here are the topics already in the works.

In the garden

  • Apple trees: what, where, how they are doing, and more general thoughts on selecting fruit trees and maximizing yield with intensive planting
  • Pear trees: in the works, with elaboration on some of the strategies we are using to protect them
  • Plum trees: CAN IT BE DONE? I really don’t know, yet.
  • Blackberries: mainly an update on how fabulously hardy they are, and how much kids and adults like eating them straight off the branched-out second year canes, also tips for keep away from deer, squirrels, birds, and bugs.
blue berries close up photography

On the homesteading front more generally

  • Quail: how amazing they are for urban homesteading, how cool their tiny eggs are, garden benefits, but also some of the drawbacks and difficulties along the way
  • Home-making: another year in pursuing being both frugal and green (sustainable) while also making home improvements, working, participating in society, parenting, living, and learning by trial and error along the way
  • Resilience: My take on the myth of self-sufficiency. I love this myth. I’ve also come to love the reality that we are inherently social creatures. Interacting with our wonderful neighbors, being able to do church online, and keeping in touch with friends and family made all the difference in our pandemic/ 2020/ quarantine experience. Having a network of people you can count on is absolutely vital to weathering crises.
brown leaves photo
Photo by Lina Kivaka

Request topics for Fall 2021

I am so excited for this season, partly because it is still pretty warm and pretty humid. Just can’t wait for the crisp, cool weather. Partly because I am planning to plant some pear trees in October, and you know how excited I get about things like that. Partly because the deer demolished my summer garden and it hasn’t been a very productive season.

Hopefully, fall and winter 2021 will be great for everybody. Realistically, these are likely to be tough seasons for a lot of people. Working in healthcare, I am concerned about the evolving pandemic situation. All the more reason to find fun and positive things to plan and pursue.

What topics would you like to see here? Does anyone have good tips for perennials for herbal teas that work in zones 4-5? (Yes, we have peppermint and echinaceae already. LOVE those indestructible perennials.)

Let’s keep it cozy.

sliced apple on clear glass saucer
Photo by Polina Kovaleva

Green Green Green is the Thing

Green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Today we celebrate all things green, with all the green pictures from last year’s garden! Once again, it is time for March Madness, grow lights, and starting seedlings indoors in zones 4-6 or so.

Whether you enjoy green beer or not, let’s use this week as a reason to celebrate! Celebrate spring. Celebrate a new year. Celebrate health, if you are blessed with it. Celebrate a hot cup of coffee. Celebrate the first baby seedlings poking their heads up out of the potting mix.

I lost all my stored garden seeds.

I am actually behind on my spring planting this year. My shoebox of garden seeds was THROWN AWAY to my great sadness. It used to live in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. Then, we got a new fridge.

Maybe you can see where this is going.

The new fridge turned out not to work, but we had already put a few things into it. We called and were able to have another new fridge delivered the next day. The replacement fridge worked just fine, and is still going strong…

You can see where this is going.

We took out the few things we had put into the original replacement refrigerator–except for the onions and the box of garden seeds in the bottom drawer. Also, I failed to realize this. Until a few weeks later when I was ready to start planting. So, now it will be a little while longer.

Anyone who keeps a stash of garden seeds will appreciate how crestfallen I was to realize that probably $40 worth of seeds including, marigolds, a variety of heirloom tomato and pepper seeds, and various annuals that we grow every year. I am not going to be able to replace all of the varieties in one go since that would be pretty wasteful.

The garden will be just fine, though.

Happy Spring!

green plant clover close up photography
Photo by Elias Tigiser on Pexels.com

How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination – Deep Green Permaculture

How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure. Shared post from Deep Green Permaculture.

Over the last decade, there have been increasing reports from gardeners that their vegetables and flowers have been damaged or killed after adding manure or compost to their gardens, or when they’ve planted into new soil they had delivered. In fact, the problems of contaminated composts adversely affecting horticultural crops first surfaced in 1999. […]

How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure — Deep Green Permaculture