Wednesday, March 15, 2017

To Be? We are.....

I'm always thinking I'm going to be a homesteader, farmer, whatever this lifestyle is I'm striving for, but never stop to think where I am in this journey.  Today I am a homesteader, farmer, whatever!  I had to really think about what that means to me.  This isn't the dream that I have had about the old white farmhouse, wrap around porch with a swing on it.  It isn't perfect by any means, but it's mine.  I'm further now than I was a few weeks ago, few months ago, few years ago.

This year I have canned food from my garden, and from what we have foraged.  I have raised chickens and added goats.  Our trio of ladies is providing more milk than I know what to do with some days.  With that I've learned to make yogurt (sort of), cheese, and soap.  I've had to start with a new flock of chickens, so eventually we will have eggs again.

Coming into spring I'm excited to think about the growth that has taken place and what will be taking place.  Not just with animals or gardening but with me in skills and moving forward towards my dream.  I will be able to make bread without really thinking about it, same for biscuits.  (That is a huge deal to me my biscuits never wanted to rise....and I've found a recipe that works for me.) I will be more thrifty, frugal, cheapskate, recycler, whatever you want to call me....I am learning more and more every day and I want to do better. 

It's been over a year since I've been on here and there has been many changes.  The biggest one has been me and my mindset.  My little homestead has grown to 4 dogs, 2 cats, 1 parakeet, 1 guinea pig, 1 rabbit, 1 bearded dragon, goldfish, 2 toggenberg goats, 10 hens, 1 turkey, and a new son in law! (saved the best for last) 

On top of growing my skills as a homesteader I am adventuring into a craft business to help supplement the needs of a growing farm.  Learning all of the thrifty, frugal ways will help as well as learning to create an income as well.

Hopefully I will be more consistent in checking in.  The sun is out longer and the days are getting warmer.  Spring is in a few days buried under snow.  I'm anxious for it to get here to see all of the new things sprout.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spring Fever

My "pet" as the hubby is calling it.  This is one of our 16 baby peepers.  He/She has had a rough few days.   It's fellow hatchlings had decided to pick it's tail feathers off.  I'm thankful that I found it before it was in real bad shape.  So it has made it's home in our hair, on our shoulder, curled up under our chins and wherever else it wants to snuggle for the past few days.

I made a separate box for it.  Not it's favorite place to be.  We will place him in there and he hops right back out onto our shirts.  Since he is healing nicely I brought up a friend for him so that has helped a lot.

I have another set of chicks that are supposed to be hatching tomorrow.  I went together and bought eggs with a couple of fellow chicken ladies.  I'm hoping that they will hatch.  They are my Icelandics.  If not then I will have to try again.  I'm also thinking I want to get more leghorns.  If I get all of the birds I want I will have coops lined up down the pasture, instead of a barn and pasture.

We've been having a heat wave.  It's been in the upper 30s low 40s for the past week.  My kiddos have been outside on their swings daily.  It's like spring around here.  We have snow spots instead of grass spots.  This is crazy being Alaska.

This is my newest project.  I'm surprised that hubby hasn't banned me from Pinterest.  I am sanding our boards for our new flooring.  Spring fever is definitely in full force around here.  Fresh paint in the living room and stairway, ripped up carpet that was way past due, building a brooder for baby chicks, having baby chicks peeping in the house, it's all just a part of it.  I may write about this project a bit later, give the before, during and afters.  As of now I've sanded 10 of maybe 80-100 boards.  I have a long way to go but am excited about the finished floor.  So check back from time to time and see how far I've made it.  Until then be blessed!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Blessed Minute

Every once in a while I get a blessed minute of quiet. Today I had a small break from the noise and the daily grind. It was warm (a whoppin' 41) We have all been stir crazy lately, so the older girls took the younger girls outside for a while. It was much needed for all of us. We have been so busy just doing that we haven't taken any time to just be. We've got 16 new baby chicks in a brooder in the living room. We have 8 more expected in March from an order. I've got my living room tore apart because we are going to put down new flooring. (A project now on hold until we can relocate the peepers.) My hall and stairway is multi colored, a paint project in progress....and the rest of life. Sometimes things just get put aside and forgotten, other times they stare you in the face day after day screaming for attention. Our flooring is going to be a plywood floor. Gotta love Pinterest for all of the ideas it can give one to try. Hopefully with the warm spell this weekend we can get it down. I still haven't figured out the timing on how to stain it, and put the protective coating on it 3 coats with a minimum of 4 hours between applications....with 6 kids, 4 dogs, a cat and life happening all around. As for the multi colored hallway and stairs, that will get finished when I just start finishing it.

As for crafting I have an order of wedding invitations that I will have finished by Saturday. That has taken a chunk of my time lately as well. I will be thankful when those are finished. I have been talking with a lady about buying my jewelry for her store, that would be a blessing as well. I may figure out how to start my crafting as a side business one of these days. I enjoy it and would love to be able to sell it....I just am not a salesperson.

On the homeschooling side of the house it is still like pulling teeth. With me being home full time again it has been different. They aren't liking the more of a daily routine rather than a sit down and do it all at once because Mom is going to check it. I've decided for Little Miss that in order for her to be able to do anything minecraft she is going to have to earn it. That is all her mind is on most days....what she wants to build. I have found some worksheets with minecraft themes which has been wonderful. She doesn't even think it's school. My Littlest Miss is trying to do everything that Little Miss is doing. She is going to catch her if the other doesn't get motivated to learn.

My homestead, mini farm, whatever you want to call it, dreams are alive and well. We have been rebuilding since I was working full time. I'm up to at the moment 31 chickens (including the peepers). That isn't counting the 8 on order. The 8 on order are Icelandic birds. I read about them a few years ago and have been wanting them every since. I am so excited to be getting them. Our turkeys are getting bigger and bigger. I am hoping to be able to hatch some of their eggs in the summer, unless one wants to do it for me. We haven't planned on adding anything else yet. We've been talking about goats, but we are waiting to see if they pass these new Propositions for regulations on them. I would love to have them on the homestead again. I will when it is the right time. So my quiet time is over.

My littles are back and filleting salmon (playdough and imagination) at my table. They are growing up Alaskan. (and I'm loving it!) Have a great day and hopefully you will find a blessed minute of your own.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Half way to Spring

We are right in the middle of winter. It has been a very mild winter again this year. We have had very little snow. What snow we had turned to a layer of ice all over the homestead. This morning it is in the mid 30s and windy. I keep hoping for snow, but the clouds just keep sailing by. If we don't get enough snow we will miss the Iditarod start again. It's crazy to think that the East coast has had more snow than us here in Alaska. Just a quick up to date with the homestead, it isn't much further along than it was last year. We have added turkeys, which has been a lot of fun. We have a tom and three hens. The kiddo's have named them Fred, Ginger, Peanut and Pocahantas. They have grown a lot since last spring. We also added a mini coop as I call it. It really isn't that small. It is meant to be able to separate the new chicks from the older ones once they are big enough to be outside. Until then we will be using it to separate breeds so that we can have some buckeyes, orpingtons, or leghorns that aren't crossed. We increased our garden beds this year as well. As for this spring the plan is to enclose the garden area so that we can get some fruit trees, and hopefully keep the moose out. We are also going to finish getting the pasture area cleared so that we can start fencing it in. The next livestock animal we want to acquire is goats. I also want to get bees. Those are the short term goals for this coming year. As for schooling we have been moving along. I have one that graduates this year, always a sense of accomplishment and pride for their hard work. We have been working on so many different things. Thankfully having them at home they have been able to learn all types of things, not just from books. We have just started a pioneering unit this month. We are reading the Farmer Boy at the moment. I also have them learning life skills from baking bread, making cookies, mixing homemade cleaners, to gardening. I want them to be ready for all aspects of life when they are ready to leave home. Some days we spend the majority of the day in the kitchen and if someone walked in they wouldn't see it as "education" but I know that they are learning. Other days aren't as fun and we really do concentrate on getting the book work done. I am so thankful to be home with them again. We are making up for some lost time, spending more time together, and doing more together. We are relearning how to do things as a family not just individuals. I think that has to go right along with where homesteading has been steering us. My blog is Farm to is on it's way slowly. I have named it BBB (Blessed Beyond Belief). I am working on my skills on a daily basis as well as building my children's skills. As a family we are on a journey to be homesteaders. I have to remind myself that it is a daily thing, small steps, will get us to where we are headed. Do I have all of the livestock, barns, and routines that I think makes a homestead? No. We do have a start. Am I jumping in without planning and thinking things through this time? No. It was too heartbreaking last time. I'm reminding myself daily that it is a constant journey. I have to take joy in the small steps. Today we are making sourdough bread. I've collected 6 eggs, 3 warm enough to keep for the incubator (that we will start tomorrow). My turkeys are happy and gobbling, my chickens are all running in their run. My littles will be helping me plant seeds later today, and then doing a sheet in their gardening notebook. My preschooler may just color a tomato and pepper, my 2nd grader will maybe draw a plant starting from the seed....or even do a seed with a date, and then draw a sprout once it sprouts with a date and so forth. I'm very thankful that I have stepped back away from working outside the home. It isn't easy, but every minute is worth it. I'm looking forward to this year. It has just started and already have so many things unfolding. Maybe now I will be able to keep up just a little better.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March Madness

Hello all. It's March can you believe it???? Things are starting to get a little on the crazy side around here. Well not really crazy but more like my sense of normal. We have been having a very mild the extent that I put my plastic greenhouse up already to melt what little snow we have. We spent the last day of Feb. walking the beach of Seward looking at the "wild" life....hermit crabs, muscles, starfish, my kids. It was a very enjoyable and much needed trip. I was a bit stressed over the weekend. I was offered my job back, at a higher pay. I was also offered to stay at a local store instead of the hour commute. I was flattered that they would actually come and ask me. I spent the weekend going back and forth between taking it or not. I finally decided on the not. If I was at a different point in my life I probably would have jumped at the chance. Right now I've realized that I am needed at home more than I am needing to help bring in a paycheck. We as hubby and wife want a farm/homestead....we want a family environment that we were building before I went to work. It is a different lifestyle and one that I truly crave. We have been very blessed to be where we are at right now and I am thankful for that. My progress towards my Farm to Be has been very slow. Most of the progress is in plans not actual work yet...still winter. We have started our garden. The two little ones love to help me plant. What kid doesn't like playing in the dirt though. We expanded our raised beds last year before the end of the season so that they would be ready for this spring. We have planned out our garden fence....along with room for an additional 4 beds and adding 2 cherry and 2 apple trees to the area. I'm excited about that. I have been researching square foot gardening and companion planting so that I can make most of the space. The beds aren't huge 4x8, but they will hold a lot of food. We want to start our bees this year. That one we still haven't made the leap into and it's time to order them. I don't want to miss it, but if so then plan b is a turkey coop. We are also adding a second chicken coop to split the hens and roosters so that we can hatch some pure buckeye chickens and pure blue orpington chickens. It will take some time to get back to actual livestock. I'm excited about a summer of gardening though. I even bought flower seeds so that I can have some color around the house. So as we move forward with the farm to be...the kids are moving forward with school. Hubby is moving forward towards his Master's degree...and me I'm starting my jog towards my homestead reality. I look forward to the day that I change my name from Farm to we name our farm. Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


There is nothing like being warm. Being a southern gal living in Alaska I don't feel this way all that often. The past few weeks have been cold but I've had a wonderful spot in front of the wood burning stove. I love the heat on my face as I watch the flames dance. Most mornings I have the company of 2 dogs with me. The mornings that I can sit there with my pups and take in the quiet or read makes a long winter bearable. At the moment I'm sitting here sipping my hot chocolate preparing to go out there..... to a cold car... and my thoughts are on my warm spot on the floor. If I could figure it put I would have another woodstove upstairs so that I could glance at the flames throughout the day. Don't get me wrong I am loving Alaska, I would just like to thaw out for a while. The snow covered landscape is beautiful, especially when the moon hits it. Hot chocolate seems to be consumed a little more often and the oven continues to be used longer than when I lived in Virginia. So where is to a warm fire, a mug of hot chocolate and dreams of ocean breezes..... have a wonderful night and keep warm.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Back to my Basics

I can't believe how long I have been away. I've been working off the farm to be the past 2 1/2 years. My farm to be regressed to a home with chickens. I've not given up on my farm/homestead dreams we just needed to step back and re evaluate. So here is an update of the past few years. I went back to work part time at first in order to help cover expenses on the homestead and to get us caught up after my hubby's surgery. I ended up going more than full time. During this time I was still homeschooling thanks to online programs but it was a huge struggle. We ended up getting rid of our sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens. I can tell you this place isn't the same without the animals. I tried to garden but for some reason it wants time and attention that I didn't have. About a year ago some friends of ours were moving out of state and we inherited their chickens. The start of my farm to be again. I left work at the end of August this past year. It was too late to salvage my garden attempt so I started going to farmers markets and a local u pick farm for fresh produce. My hubby and I started canning. It was a first for us.... potatoes were great, pickles not so great. Hubby and I attended an all day bee class to learn about the ins and outs of beekeeping. So that is about where I am at. This year we are looking to expand our garden, add a few apple and cherry trees and fence it all in. (I'm also toying with a cottage garden in my head with a combination of edible plants). We are also looking at building a permanent greenhouse instead of my little tent one. As for livestock we have talked about turkeys and goats. We will hatch our own eggs once we get back into the 30s on a regular basis. So those are our summer plans to revive my farm. While waiting on spring I've been busy crocheting, teaching my 17yr old how to sew clothing, we are learning to make natural cleaners for home and for body. I've been learning about and using essential oils in place of harmful chemicals, and to top it all off still homeschooling on a daily basis. The latter is the best choice I have ever made. So that is a quick catch up. I'm looking forward to adding regularly again.