Adventures in Homesteading: Part 1 

  


It has been said that a person will not recover from an autoimmune disease unless they can learn to manage stress and find sources of joy in their life.
 On a quest to recover and put mine into remission, I’ve started dabbling in some newer interests that bring me so much joy and stress relief.   Everyone has their own things that bring about stress relief and happiness and I encourage you to find what it is that works for you because it’s the best supplement you can take for your health.  These are some things that work for me…

We got 20 chickens back in March.  One sadly died a tragic death of being dropped at a few weeks old and another was eaten by a predator a few days ago. So we’re down to 18.  I’ve earned the nickname “crazy chicken lady”.   I love these girls!  They’re so fun to watch and I’m beyond excited for them to start laying eggs!  I talk to them like I do our dog and get made fun of for it but I don’t really care.  They’re pets to me and one of Gods creatures nonetheless.   They’re so easy to care for and my girls absolutely love to help feed them and play with them.  I’ll do a separate more detailed post on them in the future.  

The chicks in the brooder with their “guardian” keeping watch over them.

 

I bought this incredibly dorky garden hat that blocks the sun from my face and neck and makes a HUGE difference for me.  Having adrenal fatigue my eyes are extremely sensitive to sunlight and I get very weak and shaky from being in direct sun too long.  This really ugly hat allows me to work away outside without any of those issues.  Which leads me to a big part of this post…gardening. 

My super cool gardening hat

Growing up we had a very large garden. It encompassed anywhere from 1-3 acres depending on how busy my dad was during planting season.  Him and I would work side by side planting seeds, hoeing up weeds, and harvesting our crops.  I so vividly remember my mom giving us a basket to go pick some green beans for dinner.  She’d also can them and we’d enjoy them all year around.  My little Italian grandmother would come out when we had an abundance of tomatoes and we’d all make “sauce”, as most Italians call marinara sauce.  Needless to say gardening and the yearning deep in my soul to harvest and preserve food I cultivated with my very own hands, runs deep in my blood.  

My husband and I have dabbled in gardening a few times but in very small patches of our yard.  We’ve moved three times, having built the home we live in now ourselves and it has around two acres of land to enjoy.  Our land has swale running through the back yard. At first we wanted to relocate it to gain a bigger yard space. Then I started looking up info on Swales and immediately rethought our plans. We are now going to leave it, cherish it and put it to good use!  These man-made ditches are perfect for watering our garden in the hottest summer months when rain is scarce and the sun is showing its power.  My hubs has a good plan for how to use this unplanned swale blessing.  

 

Our Swale on one side of the culvert

 
The swale made a perfect natural divider for our yard and our garden and chicken coop area.  We (ok my hubs) built our chicken coop a few weeks ago and the chicks are totally loving the new space and room to grow.  We still have to build their run.  Very necessary where we live because we get a lot of predator birds and other wildlife that would enjoy these babies for dinner.  During the day I have been letting them out to run around and free range with their guard dog and myself keeping watch.  

my hubs building our coop. The open spaces are the nesting boxes and where a shed will be built.

Off to the side of the coop is our new garden. The ground was hard packed but the soil is very rich and virgin ground, without anything touching it for over 15 years or more.  Which to me, makes it organic. Winning!  We took our skid steer and tilled up the ground the last few days.  It was also a fun challenge for me to learn how to operate it!  I love the motto “learn something new every day”. 

Me tilling up the garden and learning something new

We have a compost pile started to make good use of the space and avoid using anything artificial/chemical in the garden.  All those chicken droppings will be useful soon enough 😝.  The skid steer makes turning the compost pile easy work.  I’m all about making our life as green and crunchy as possible but sometimes you just need to use modern day help, like this very helpful little piece of equipment.  Especially with as big of a garden as we have.  It’s also making easier work for getting our yard ready for grass.  We moved in to our home in the summer last year and the weather is finally cooperating enough (along with finding time) to get our landscape and yard done. 

View from the garden of the back of my home.

We plugged away all weekend on yard work  and getting our garden in.  I’ve still got more seeds to get in the ground and some of it may not get in this year.  I had initially said to hubs we should start small and not get in over our heads with too much this first year.  Then we walked in to buy our seeds and that went right out the window because I pretty much wanted one of everything.  

We are avid produce eaters in this house and I’d love to know exactly where my food came from and save a little money too.  

We went to work and got it all tilled up and raked out from the sticks and rocks that were there.  Staked out the rows and had our girls plant the seeds. They loved every minute of it and had their own ways of dropping seeds. My oldest (mini me) found it useful to do it almost upside down and would hop along that way the entire length of the row.  My youngest (mini hubs) preferred to just drop handfuls of seeds and squat while doing it.  Then mini me would get exasperated and go behind her to fix it all. 

 

Mini me at work planting seed. Upside down because thats the cool way 😉

  

Mini-hubs at work dropping handfuls of seeds while working in a squat position.

  

Mini-me fixing Mini-hubs piles of seeds.


Hubs staking out the rows

 
We got a good amount planted and I’m so happy with how the garden and yard is coming together.  

View of the garden. Raised beds installed and waiting for seed.

View from my back patio of the chicken coop and swale.

All in all for being such a hard working three day weekend, it was so good for my health. I got in a good workout but didn’t overdo it. Found what we did to be incredibly restorative and relaxing too.  The peacefulness of our backyard isn’t something that’s easy to describe but it’s something I’ve longed for, for so long.  The colorful Adirondack chairs were Hubs idea and I’m so glad we bought them because I look forward to hanging out under those shade trees and reading a book or taking a little break while pulling weeds and harvesting crops this summer.  Stress relief is crucial to good health and this is a perfect way for me to destress. 

I’m off to plant more seeds and enjoy this day before it starts to rain.   

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