2015 Homestead Life Goals

2014 was a crazy busy year. We had babies (ok, just one but it feels like 5…), renovated structures, opened businesses, & ate way too many zucchinis. Come the end of the year we were tired. December was a rough month with water problems (2 pipe bursts) and mouse issues out the wazoo. Yeah…those little dickens are so determined. They chewed through our pest block foam spray from last year. Just so they could laugh at us while they ate all our tasty crumbs…Sorry, not to gross you out. The house has been officially sanitized. It was like spring cleaning in the dead of winter. Fun!

Annnyways. 2015 is going to be different. It is going to be full of so much opportunity. So here’s a few things on the checklist.

Homestead Goals

  • Expand garden and spread out the woodchips that were delivered last year
  • Make a better garden plan
  • Plant 3 new fruit trees & 3 new fruit bushes
  • Transplant all trees that have been in the “spare” garden for a year
  • Prune apple trees
  • Build duck coop and enclosure
  • Gutters on the house (not accomplished in 2014)
  • Build insulated house for the well pump (not accomplished in 2014)
  • Landscape front of house near porch
  • Paint one room of the house (living room or our bedroom)

Personal Goals

  • Last year I had pledged to buy better meat. I was pretty successful in that endeavor, I am happy with where we are in our eating habits right now. However, I would still really like to make it a priority to grow the bulk of our vegetables and can/preserve them for winter.
  • Finish the two courses I am enrolled in at Vintage Remedies. Enroll in two additional classes by the end of the year.
  • Finish the book Aromatherapy for Health Professionals 
  • Finish the book The World Atlas of Coffee
  • Do more educating on this blog

Coffee Business Goals

  • Integrate more missions-minded aspects into the site
  • Integrate an artists shop on the site
  • Partner with local businesses
  • Attend a local vendor event
  • Set up coffee shop at community events, such as concerts
  • Plan business expansion, including larger roaster

We are intentionally trying to keep all of our projects reasonable this year…and not trying to do any major renovating, building or projects that take more than a couple of weekends to complete. The past two summers have been crazy and we would like to actually enjoy a few days of summer without back breaking, sweat-to-death kinda work. I am sure you are all nodding your head in approval. Who is ready for a 2nd annual Camden County’s Largest Slip-and-Slide party!? Don’t ask me why I am already dreaming about summer…maybe its because we had the “first snow” of the season. I call it “snow” because of course all schools were closed and my kids had to get dressed in head to to winter gear to go play in the snow dust. Alas, I am not a cold weathered gal. Except that I have an excuse to drink more coffee. In fact, I think I’ll go brew another pot now…

What’s on your agenda for 2015? Comment and let me know!

How to Break a Sweat: Summer Projects

Hey its me! Well, of course it is me…don’t know who else it would be. I suppose it could be my husband but he is a rare site on the blog. I told him the other day that we would probably get more readers if he posted on the blog. You know, because people like to read about manly things. Lol. Or at least some would appreciate his less than wordy and side-tracked posts like mine. You still love me though right?

Thought I’d catch you up to speed on how the Spring projects wrapped up and where we are headed for this summer! Lot’s of exciting things you certainly don’t want to miss now do you?

Looking back at my Spring projects list, I have managed to accomplish most of them. As you are aware, I did birth a child. Lol. Farm Buddy is almost 3 months old now. I got the garden in! We have been enjoying lots of stuff from it already! We upgraded the coffee roaster to be able to serve more folks some good coffee. We’re pursing the business aspect of the coffee roasting right now…more on that later. I did not manage to get my cold frames done, suppose that will be a fall project! Alex is almost done with the electricity to the garage but we are waiting for an inspection. We also ran a water line to the garden and put in fruit trees and lots of other trees! All in all, this spring was busy and successful!

So what’s the summer look like you ask? So glad you asked. Weekly mowing of our weeds, as you see, we don’t actually really have any grass. So saying that we have to mow the lawn is a bit of a fallacy. Nevertheless, that is an unending chore. So is pulling weeds from the garden.  Aside from that here’s a few things on the agenda.

  1. Put in vehicle gate to back yard (for mulch/sand/wood) deliveries. This task is complete.
  2. Build kids a playset and sandbox. This project is set to begin this weekend and finishing up the following weekend.
  3. Build the kids the “Ultimate Slip and Slide”. This project is set to be completed on July 12th. Right in time for Elyse’s birthday. Oh yah.
  4. Put gutters on the house (this might go on the fall list)
  5. Can LOTS of tomatoes (this is slight wishful thinking as I have bad luck growing tomato plants).
  6. Begin renovations to garage for coffee roasting business. This is pending a few things.

So yah. Totally do-able. So you want to know more about this coffee roasting business thing? Well the short of it is, we are trying to figure out if it is a possibility for us to start a “real” business out of the home. We have to meet certain requirements and are in the process of talking with inspectors. Its going to be a grueling processes, but we are excited for the possibility. And if not now, maybe in the future. But no worries, we can still hook friends and family up with some delish coffee. No worries on that 🙂

So you wanna check out what’s been goin on in the garden eh?

Baby Red Potatoes
Heirloom Beets!
Harvested Wheat (Awaiting threshing!)
Harvested Wheat (Awaiting threshing!)
Can you guess which of my plants bolted and made these pretty flowers?

Sadly, I have had two of my squash plants die. They just up and died. No explanation. Well, I am sure there is an explanation but I haven’t been able to discover it yet. I have quite a few more going strong and I planted some new ones just in case, ya know, in case we run out of squash. I have already frozen some!

That’s about it, I reckon. Anything you want to hear about?

Hope you have some awesome summer plans! Break a sweat.

Planting Trees

When we first drove by the piece of land that we now own, the one thing that majorly stood out to us was the amazing horizon that you could see in all directions. Literally, unhindered countryside. You could see the full sunrise and the full sunset over the acres of corn. It is beautiful and is what led us to really want this land. It was a clean slate of sorts, a big ol honking piece of property that contained a whole bunch of nothing on it. Well, actually it was covered in corn husks when we bought it. I am still finding corn cobs in the dirt. Lol. You see, we bought the property right after they harvested the corn, but right before they tilled for the next crop. It was a tad bit of a mess. Still is really.

All that to say, that after you live here for a while you quickly start to realize that you do, in fact, miss having some trees in your yard. For shade primarily. Full sun for tomatoes? No problem. I don’t even think my property qualifies as “full sun” but more “NO shade”. Literally. Anyways, I digress as usually with my nonsense. Alex actually told me the other day that he doesn’t really read my posts because I blab on too much. To which he just read that and disagreed. Sigh. Note to self, never sit next to husband while typing a blog post.

Ok, I’ll cut to the chase. WE NEED TREES! There I said my point. So we bought some trees. Here’s what we have growing so far.

  • Crepe myrtles along the side fence line and lining the driveway
  • Two Japanese cherry trees in the front near the porch (SO excited about these, they are my favorite)
  • Two pecan trees and two walnut trees
  • Sugar maples lining the other fence line
  • A couple of forsythia bushes on the front fence

We also bought our first fruit trees!

The thought of homegrown fruit is beyond exciting, although I am fully aware that it is going to take a while to get there and I am expecting to experience some failure along the way as we are attempting to grow them as organically as possible. Time to research is hard to come by these days (I wonder why?) but I have gathered some information and tucked it in the back of my brain. Here’s a few tips on growing apples, which is what we chose to start with.

  • Buy rootstock that is known for its disease resistance. A great reference for learning about rootstocks and choosing apple varieties that are bred for disease resistance check out OrangePippin.com
  • Natural fertilizers include compost tea and fish emulsion. While I have not tried making compost tea yet (its in the near future ya’ll) I have tried fish emulsion on my garden and it is working incredibly. If you were to buy some right now, I would recommend this liquid soil rescue. I am planning to get some very soon.
  • Natural insecticide and soil nourishment is 100% neem oil. This stuff looks good…I am also planning to try it on my lemon tree to get rid of some scale bugs. Little buggers.
  • Heavy mulching will help retain soil moisture as well as provide a very beneficial environment for goo soil bacterial and fungi to grow. Happy days since we already have a big ol pile of wood chips still hanging out.
  • Dwarf or semi-dwarf trees are much better suited to the home orchard as they stay a manageable size.
  • Be sure to buy at least two trees that will pollinate with each other. Apple trees are not self-fertile meaning they need another buddy to pollinate them. However, there are special “match made in heaven” varieties that really get along well together. Check the orange pippin site or the starkbros.com site for good pollinator buddies.

We got a “package deal” on 3 apple trees from starkbros.com. Here’s the varieties we got:

We also ordered three blueberry bushes from starkbros.com as well. We have not learned a whole lot about blueberries yet, but we do know they need acidic soil (we amended with peat moss), heavy mulching and protection from hungry birds once fruiting.

We’re still a few years out before we start seeing the real “fruit” of our labors. In the meantime, I will continue munching away on some books and resources to help understand better how to do all this. We pretty much started everything from scratch without a lick of sense in us. Haha. Ok maybe a lick. But just one. But surely not enough to know what to do with 5 acres. We’re just focusing on the “back yard” right now, which is about an acre if you include the side yard.

Anyyyywayys. Well, hopefully that wasn’t tooooo boring. I hope it was inspiring. Go. Buy. Plant! Try your hand at an apple tree or a blueberry bush! It’s easy! (Ok…maybe, maybe not).

If it gives you any hope…when we bought the apple trees they came in a box and looked like a bunch of twigs. Literally. One stick with some roots. No leaves, no branches. After only a few days the leaves started popping out and now, only about 3 weeks later this is what they look like. See? Told you it was easy! I have not even watered them one time (except for when we planted them).

Apple Tree

It’s so happy to see things growing. My heart is smiling. [Insert “awwww” cue]

Alright, I’ll let ya’ll go on yo business now. G’day to ya.

Erica

Time Again to Wait

I have so many exciting things to share with you, I could barely decide what I should start with! Maybe I’ll just give you the full-fanny here and wear your poor eyes out reading. Nah, it’s not that bad! It mostly all has to do with our Spring projects which are coming along quite nicely.

Firstly, I’ve GOT to tell you about the wheat! Oh, I am so uber (or is it oober?) excited about this! I don’t really even know how to describe my feelings entirely. Yes, I have feelings in respect to my wheat. I know, I am crazy. Mostly it is excitement. But there is another layer…a deeper layer. Excitement only scratches the surface. There is this awe that abounds in my heart when I see something that I planted from a tiny seed turn into something so beautiful. While it might be a bit of a far stretch, its kind of like watching a child grow. We oohh and ahh over their firsts. First crawl, first step, first smile. You get me, right? Well for me, watching a plant grow is like that. From the first sprout, to the first flower, to the first fruits. It is incredible. It is also as equally disappointed when it doesn’t work out. When you plant a seed and it doesn’t grow. Think about that. Deep man, deep. However, it appears so far that my wheat is doing ok. Seems to be growing happily, unbothered. The commercial fields around us also have wheat growing and while its definitely cool to watch, it’s nothing like watching your own. Well just the other day we were driving down our road and I commented to Alex that I wish my wheat was growing the little wheat heads like the wheat around us. He replied that MINE WAS! I hadn’t been out to look at it in a few days. Of course as soon as we got home, I rushed out to see it. Sure enough. Man, my heart was so full of joy. My little patch of wheat babies. I’ve also got some sort of pea plant growing in the wheat as well…not sure how it got there but its pretty! Now to wait…until the middle of Summer when harvest time will be here.

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We also got a small spring garden in. Unfortunately, either the weather has been bad or my soil is bojangled because stuff hasn’t exactly grown excepttoo much. Not much has actually died, its just not growing. Except the radishes. Apparently I can grow radishes. Not that they are entirely my favorite food…there is a lovely sweetness to a freshly picked radish. Not like the store-bought. I’ll continue to wait for the fruits of my labors. Here’s a lovely squash plant starting!

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In addition to the garden, Alex was able to run a PVC water line closer to the garden. Having a garden over 200ft away from the nearest hose spigot was proving to be a problem. So he dug a trench and ran a PVC line from the well pump out to the middle of the yard and put a hose connection on it. So now we can run another hose from the middle of the yard, and much closer to the garden. Oh, what a blessing this is! The trench for this was an extension of the trench he dug to get electricity to his garage. This was a huge undertaking, but we are nearly done with that project as well! The girls thoroughly enjoyed the small river we had in the backyard for a few days as the rain filled up the 20in deep trench! It will be so great to have electricity in the garage for a number of reasons! I’m excited for the wood working projects that will come out of the garage, esp in the winter months when homestead work is slower! We can finally have a space heater so we can work out there!

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On a final homestead related note…we finally were able to order some trees. We got crepe myrtles, Japanese cherries, red maples, pecan, walnut and a couple of forsythia bushes. We actually just finished planting all of those last night! Phew. 20 trees total! I really did help, I promise…I didn’t just take all the pictures. We also ordered some fruit trees! We got three apple trees and three blueberry bushes. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of those yet still. I am so thrilled that we are making some progress on our homestead dreams! Nevertheless, trees take a while to grow! The waiting game for apples, blueberries or nuts will be a long one! We will be sure to keep you updated on how those lovely little trees are coming along!

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In the meantime of all of this, we are happily enjoying our newest addition. In fact, even just last night when we were planting the trees I had the baby strapped to my front in a carrier and we were digging holes together. He is really a great baby and we are so blessed by that! The girls have finally adjusted (I think) and are very smitten by him.

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That’s it for now! If I could ever miraculously figure out how to get more than 5 minutes on the computer at any given time I would update more often. Alas, I suppose its the stage of life we are in eh? I am forced to choose between and shower or posting this update. At least I showered last night…

Spring Project List

No baby boy yet. Guess he’s just bulking up. Daddy doesn’t want no scrawny boy. //Kidding…//No it’s prob all this good food I’m feeding him. I wouldn’t want to leave somewhere that was feeding me such good food and making someone else gain weight. Who are we kidding here?

Anyways. Spring projects. Here’s my list.

1. Birth this child. While I love being pregnant and all the benefits (that do outweigh that difficulties) these last few weeks have been really hard. From a medical standpoint I am being treated as a sick patient, while not really exhibiting any signs of said “sickness.” So that has been challenging for me as it has meant a lot of invasive medical procedures that I would otherwise not sign up for. And while it would not have been my chosen path, I am thankful for all the support that my husband, family, friends and of course Jesus, have given me. Ya’ll are specials. 🙂

Me at 38.5 weeks!

2. Get power to Alex’s garage. This project has been on the back burner for a few months as we have been navigating through all this bojangled medical stuff. Nevertheless, we knew if we didn’t start soon it would get left on the back burner…and we know how those projects go don’t we? Like the time I left some vegetables lightly steaming on the back burner only to forget about them and return later to vegetable soup. Brilliant! Anyways. We picked up some materials for the project and Alex got working on it this past weekend. That boy is so dang smart. It amazes me all the various talents he has. My head is swimming between all the discussion of voltz, amps, circuits, sub panels, conduit, wires, overhead lights, GFCI outlets, fried chicken, direct bury, shop lighting, etc, etc, etc. (Ok, the fried chicken part was just to get your attention in case you fell asleep). Anyways, girl aint got a clue about this stuff and boy somehow figures these things out. He’s brilliant.

The man at work in his man-cave garage.
And of course no project is complete without the sweet tea!

3. Get garden in! Aye, this project is again intimidating me as I feel unprepared and uneducated as to what, when, where how you are suppose to actually grow a good garden. I tried my best to research and plan, yet I still come up with the same questions. I just really need to be able to plant seeds in the garden and have them grow. Is that too much to ask?! But alas, I shall persevere and keep trying again and again and again until something works! I did plant a few seeds this week, before this round of stupid-wont-go-away winter weather. We’ll see if anything survives.

Lemon Tree enjoying one of the spring days we had so far!

4. Build cold frames for seedlings. I REALLY need this as I have terrible luck growing seedlings in the house. I know all of my problems (inadequate lighting, leggy plants, not hardening off appropriately). My hopes is that the cold frames would really help these problems!! Luckily, I have some old windows from my dad’s garage so we just need to get some lumber and make some simple frames. Hopefully, this can get done before I need to get in some summer seeds for sprouting (which is probably like tomorrow…)

5. Get more worms for my vermicomposting bin. Did you miss my post about my new worm friends? They seem to be happy but I obviously have a lot more kitchen scraps than I have worms, so I need to get some more. Can’t overfeed the little dudes.

6. Secret project soon to be revealed. Stay tuned…you don’t want to miss this one 🙂

So that’s my plan for spring. Do-able. Affordable. We can do it!! I do kinda get this sinking feeling with the weather though that somehow we might just skip spring all together and go from this cold, wet winter to a blasted hot summer. I’ve been complaining far too much about the weather lately though. My apologies, I know we all feel the same way. I’ll stop talking about it. I just want more days in the sun so I can get my freckle tan on…don’t you think my feet are far too white?

You got any projects planned for the spring? Do share!!

Progress and Regress

Does it ever feel to anyone else that you take one step forward, only to be greeted with something that takes you a few steps backwards? Well, that’s life isn’t it?

It’s been a challenging few weeks around the MonroePost homestead.

After returning home from a funeral trip to Indiana we were greeted with a frozen well. The lessons you have to learn the hard way sometimes. After being without water for a day and a half, we finally got the water going again. We quickly insulated our wellhead and pipes to the well and went on our merry way. Until the following day when it happened again. Oops. Get out the hairdryer again and thaw the well. Whoops, we melted off all the insulation…re-insulate. Sigh. We’re good until the following weekend when we get a crazy snowapocalypse with 10in of show. We left the faucets running and everything, but apparently it wasn’t enough because we woke up yet again with no water. We had filled a bathtub with water “just in case” but we quickly learned that our bathtubs leaked and we didn’t have much left by the morning. Sigh again. Alex got a heat lamp and put that by the well. After about 8 hours of running the hair dryer and heat lamp on and off, miraculously we got water back. Thank the Lord! The moral of the story? Well, we are highly untrained country folk and have some serious learning to do. In the meantime, we keep the heat lamp on when temps drop below freezing and turn on multiple faucets. We are looking for a long term solution such as an insulated enclosure around the well, but we’re waiting for some warmer temps to do such project.

Want to see our snow!?!

Alas. We didn’t get power to Alex’s garage yet as that set us back a good bit with time and money!

On Baby Boy Monroe front, we determined that the only way possible to fit three car seats in my lovely Buick was to buy three new seats. After a week of researching, debating and measuring…we THINK we finally found the right seats. They are not here yet, but we are desperately praying they fit and work as we want. Cuz that was a crud ton of money dropped on them babies. My health is not fantastic, and while I won’t go into details about it all…we would love prayers for peace and wisdom as we navigate these last few weeks before lil man arrives!

So, to be honest with you, this has been a tough few months. Emotionally and financially. I am feeling a bit discouraged by it all since it means pushing off some of my “projects” for the year. Power to the garage and getting the ducks set up may take more time than we initially wanted. I am also not sure how I am going to manage to get a spring garden in as I have to be careful about how much stress I put on myself right now. So, that’s all feeling a little heavy on the plate right now.

On a happy note! I finished reading my first book on my “list”. Finished Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks! So now I am armed with knowledge, we have our coop and run plans pretty much set…now we just need a lumber fairy to drop some lumber off at our house. Haha!! 

We also were blessed to be able to trade Alex’s parents for a bigger freezer and free up some space in my utility room (we put the big freezer in the spare bedroom). So I can FINALLY get my worm composting bin set up-cuz it needed to go in the old freezer space! Hooray! I have my bins all ready, I am just on the lookout for some wigglies. I’ll do a post someday about my worm composting adventures.

So those are the exciting progresses, and I know that we will get through these tough times…as the Lord does always provide right when we need it. Thanks for letting me share my heart tonight. Sometimes it feels good just to get this stuff down on paper…err, screens. Or something like that.

Oh and hey by the way…we will be taking coffee orders soon, so if you got yourself the idea that you want some, let us know!!

Kitchen Updates and Critters

Not much has been going on around here, which is probably why the blog is quiet lately. Nothing entirely new going on around here. The past few weeks have been tiring for me as I am trying to keep up with the two littles running around like wild Indians most days and growing another person inside me. It’s a challenge. Sometimes I think I am crazy. No, actually most of the time I think I am crazy.

After such a busy spring and summer, it almost feels awkward not having much to do around the homestead. Not that there’s not a lot to do, but mostly we just don’t want to be out in the cold! Wimps I guess. We did start painting the house inside. We got the kitchen painted and fabric picked out for the new curtains in the kitchen. We also painted the kids/guest bathroom and are decorating that! It does feel so good to finally be in a house where I feel motivated to decorate, coordinate colors and care. Since we sold our first house, we have been in less than permanent spaces and didn’t feel like wasting energy or money in making things look just right! So, now I’m happy to be able to be home where I can build our life and beautiful things.

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In addition to painting, we received some new beautiful furniture hand crafted by Alex’s Dad! It’s beautiful and matches our colors nicely! He made me a pot-rack, two end tables for the living room and a entry way bench with baskets for taking off shoes. I feel like things are starting to come together!! My kitchen is officially my favorite place in the house, and I am SO glad we went with a home design that included a big kitchen. I would not trade that for anything. Not to mention my picture window to watch the sunrises while cooking up pancakes.

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Speaking of kitchens…we have had a big of a saga this past week and a half…the mice found another way in and have been rather active (to say the least). Thankfully we are catching them as soon as they come in, so we don’t have to deal with them scurrying around the house (for now at least!). We are debating ways to help control this mouse issue, but for now we have a nice new chore to add to our mornings and evenings-taking out the mouse traps! I had a bit of a meltdown the first week it was going on (as we caught over 30 in one week). Seems to have started to back down in numbers now and it is much more manageable. I know I was thoroughly warned about this problem, no one can really help you prepare for that. I guess I never thought it would be that bad. Well, now I know they aren’t kiddin.

Aside from the mouse problem, everything else is fine and dandy. Only thing growing the garden right now is lettuce and collards. Garlic shoots are huge now and the wheat is just chillin doing its thing. Alex is going to start hunting with a friend, and I am so blast darn excited. I am seriously praying he gets a deer this year as we are nearly out of bulk meat in our house and it would be a huge blessing to our budget if we could get some close-to-free meat. Come on babes! Never thought I would be a hunting mans wife, but alas, we are here and free meat is happy meat. I will be doing a very happy happy dance if he gets one.

Other than that its been all Fall around here! Bread baking, pumpkin carving, watching the lemon tree bloom again!

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photo 5Well, that’s probably enough of an update. I’ll try to have more exciting updates soon.

 

Fall Garden and Spring Planning

Alex and I have done some back-breaking, brow-sweating work these past couple of weekends trying to get the spring garden bed in place. We choose to create a new garden bed in a place more conveniently located behind the house. We got two loads of beautiful, black, compost which we laid on top of newspaper. We then covered the compost with our lovely woodchips, about 6 inches deep. We plan to get some manure and sprinkle that on top and let the bed rest until spring. Many have questioned our “No-Till” gardening method, and while I am very new to it all, I genuinely feel like this is how we are going to heal this land. There are some great articles online that talk about this no-till philosophy and permaculture.  Anyways, not to bore you. Someday, when I am more skilled I will post a more informative post on that!

In the meantime, we built an 18 x 30 ft garden bed, which ends up about 540 square feet. This is more than double what we did this year! So, I am excited about that. Obviously, in comparison to the land, this is still a very small bed but it took over 10 hours of work just to get that. Any bigger and we’re going to need some serious equipment. Not to mention all this while pregnant! I am pretty sure this baby is coming out with a pitchfork in hand! Lol!

photo 3 (22)Here’s the progress..as you can see the difference between compost and woodchips.

photo 5 (5)Elyse is checking out the new garden! Kids love this!

photo 2 (30)Good rich earth. Man, I love the smell of it! So excited for next spring!

In my current garden, I harvested all of the sweet potatoes last week. I am not sure exactly how many I got, but my guess is around 30-40 pounds. Not entirely sure. I’d say it was worth the 6 dollars I spent on the plant slips!

My tomato plants are still producing, but most of the tomatoes are only turning slightly orangish- not getting to red. If I put them on the counter they turn redder over the week. So, overall guess the tomatoes weren’t a total flop. I’ve got some lettuce planted and it is growing very nicely. I also have some collards, but they don’t seem to be taking off as much. Hmm. They’re not dead yet though! Let’s see what else. Oh! I have a couple of snap pea plants that are doing well. I am sad that I literally only have like 4 plants of those growing, but oh well. This weather has been very confusing for plants lately.

photo 4 (9)So overall, with this last years garden, I am not thrilled with the results but I am not entirely disappointed. I got some great harvests of some things, like my sweet potatoes and squash. The pest issue was pretty significant and I need to come up with some better ways to help with that. I plan to be much more intentional with companion planting and using herbs and flowers in the garden next year. Hopefully, that will help some.

So what’s next for the MonroePost homestead? I am not sure exactly what’s in the lineup next but here’s a few projects we’re eyeing and trying to budget for!

  • Power to Alex’s garage
  • Finish garage organization
  • Build chicken/duck coop
  • Build a more sophisticated compost pile
  • Start a vermicompost system
  • Prepare old garden bed area to become the small orchard in the spring

We will keep you posted!

The Fence is Done!

Huge accomplishment today! We finished the fence…it only took…oh like 3 months of Saturdays. There are some finishing touches we would like to add in time, like a few more gates for access to our back pasture. But for now…40 4×4 posts dug by hand (well with a post hold digger, but you get my drift) and concrete poured and 80 T-posts driven in. I am not sure of the exact numbers but I think we are at about 500 ft of wire fencing stretched. It makes it feel like a real homestead though. While the fence only encompasses a small fraction of our 5.5 acres, it is more than enough to get started living on! I cannot wait to get the big huge garden of my dreams…oh what a day. Next week we are starting tree planting and moving the garden bed.

Fall is coming and cool weather will mean a lot less sweat involved in all of this!

 

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Fence Started and a Garden Update

So much has been going on lately…guess that’s summertime for ya! We finally broke ground for the fence on Saturday. Alex and his Dad dug by hand a few (9) of the fence posts. They sunk each one in concrete. For the rest of the fence (between the 4×4) we have T-Posts. It’s coming together and it is so exciting to even have gotten this little bit done! We got the front section posts in (that’s the picture) then posts to about 96 feet back. In total we have 40 4×4’s to sink and about 80 T-Posts. It’s gonna be a while before this is done!! Nevertheless we are so blessed that we were able to do the fence, we were not sure we could afford it at first!

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The garden is coming along nicely. Still slower than I would have liked and hoped, but I got what I wanted…at least ONE thing out of it!! So far we have gotten three zucchini, lots of basil and one cucumber. I am immensely blessed! I probably walk out to the garden twice a day to admire it, pick off the bugs, swat at the mosquito’s and say “Thank You Lord!” I have full confidence that this garden will be much more successful next year as the soil is still trying to rebuild its nutrients from commercial farming. We desperately need some more compost for the garden and need to finish expanding it, even if we don’t plant in it right away. Hopefully some kind of vehicle with a trailer is in the near future soon so we can pick up these needed bulky items!

Tiny little pepper plant, but it’s goin for it!
Heirloom Cuke Plants!
Not real sure yet what this is…a saved seed from some kind of pumpkin from last year!
My wild pumpkin and squash plants!

As far as other news…let’s see…the garage is done! We got the final inspection but never actually heard if we passed or not…so we are assuming no news is good news!

Alex scored an awesome deal on Craigslist last week. We have been in desperate need of a gas powered (cuz no extension cord is going back 300 feet!) weed eater/whacker/trimmer…whatever its called . He saw this gas 4 cycle weed eater on craigslist and the guy said it wasn’t working. To make a long story short- Alex ends up picking the thing up from this guy and the guy lived literally next door to one of our close friends. He pays $25 for a what was once a $250 trimmer. Alex has fixed some small engine type carburetors thingys (ya see how much I know!) before in the past so he was going to chance it and see if he could fix it! So he gets it home and notices that there is no oil in the oil chamber and its bone-dry. Wondering if maybe this was the problem, he puts some oil in it, fills it with gas and miraculously it starts right up and runs great! Thank you LORD for providing this need! AND for only $25!!! This is a right miracle folks!

That’s it for now. Kids are a screamin, mama needs to get a cookin. Oh, BTW, I am loving, loving, all the fresh vegetables this year. This is the first year I have really strived to buy local and I have been hittin up the farmers markets like crazy! I even found a local source (down the street!) for eggs! Love summertime. Love it.

Ok, I’m done!

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