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Meet our Homestead
I’m not even sure we can qualify this as an acreage. Afterall, we have just an acre. But I want an acreage, so this will have to do for now!
This is our first spring on the acreage, which means we haven’t had the opportunity to see how things work. We don’t know where water tends to pool in the yard, without a riding lawn mower it takes about 7 hours to mow the yard, and it’s difficult to balance all this work with a newborn and a dad on hospice in our home.
Our desire to homestead was born through our mutual love for nature and the land. Kirk was an Eagle Scout, and I was a Girl Scout and Sea Scout (obviously not around Iowa–but in Oregon!). He was a NANBF certified bodybuilder, and I had lost 123lbs. He likes to eat a ridiculous amount of clean food, and the best way we found to do that was to have a huge garden.
We decided on a relatively flat area of the yard to start the garden in. It seemed to get the most sun, and looked as though a garden had been there previously. We started by mowing it very short, then using a shovel to loosen up the grass and dirt. We (and by “we” I mean I nursed baby Christian in the shade while Kirk did what I said!) then used a hand tiller to aerate and turn the dirt. We made rows, making sure to label each one. Our tomato plants got cages. I might have the girls make scare crows to keep the birds out, and we’re putting up a fence to keep bunnies out. You wouldn’t believe how many live around here…
In our garden we planted:
- Bok Choy
Depending on how long we stay here, I might consider adding some fruit trees. Just before we moved in they had torn down an apple tree in the back yard. It’d be nice to have apples since I make the best homemade apple sauce, according to Colletta. I often bribe her with it in exchange for her homemade goodies.
The girls went fishing in the creek that runs through our property using worms they dug up. The creek routinely floods when it rains–which means lots of great worm hunting once the water recedes. They didn’t catch anything, but when Kirk and I were out back we counted 8 fish–they looked like trout! [counted 21 sucker fish May 28, 2014] I saw a few bass, too. We haven’t got our fishing licenses yet, but the girls don’t need any since they’re so young. They’ll be excited to fish once they get back from their dad’s house. Then we’ll really know if it’s trout! The creek also has a lot of Giant Floater mussels.
My oldest daughter, Kahri, is in 4-H. We really wanted to raise chickens this year for her County Fair project, but discovered we are just within residential zoning instead of agricultural so that means no livestock. Which is absolutely crazy considering this is Iowa, and we’re in a farming community…and don’t they know my plans to have a huge, bountiful homestead?!
We may be able to do meat rabbits, which I’m a little torn about. I’ve never eaten rabbit, and would in a survival situation…but I’m not sure I could butcher a rabbit I’ve loved and cared for? I don’t have a problem disassociating when they’re all butchered and in my frying pan. My sister and her family are coming to visit this summer from Oregon, and she used to raise Fryer Rabbits. I may have to get some pointers from her if that’s what we decide to do!
Black Walnut trees must be in our yard, too…because I see those large green balls that turn black over time all over the yard. I just haven’t looked up what they actually look like to tell for sure which tree is which. I know we have several lilac bushes, too.
We also have several silver maple trees in our yard that will provide for some delicious maple syrup–these are best to tap in February/March. We didn’t do it this year as I was due with Christian in early March and didn’t want to worry about anything else. Good thing, too–our pipes froze at the service line in February and we were very busy with that for almost three weeks. We had to boil snow for water! Good thing there was an abundance of it.
Next on our goal list:
Start a compost 5/30/14 Get a riding lawn mower 6/11/14
Save enough money to buy an acreage in the country
Have a greenhouse
Have a stocked pond