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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
Theresa (your sis) says
I love what you did with the yard. Everything you’re going through right now you make the time to build a garden. It’s funny you’re the younger sister and I look up to you more. You are a very hard worker and still make time to do things. We all have our ups and downs but you always look on the brighter side of things.
Kathy Haan says
Thanks, Theresa:) Keeping busy keeps me sane. Ha!
Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids says
Hi! I’m visiting from the Iowa Blogger group and it sounds like you have done lots of work to your place and have lots of goals for the future! Explain to me how you define a “Homestead”. I grew up and live on a farm today and so several things you are talking about are things that I have fond memories of doing as a kid and hope and plan to make into memories for my kids.
Kathy Haan says
You probably are a homesteader then, too:) Basically, a homesteader uses their available resources first and creates a life of sustainability. Some people dabble in it, others are full-fledged homesteaders who are completely living off the land. Most are somewhere in-between. Thank you for stopping by!
Wow!!! That is an awesome set-up you have there. I would LOVE to homestead, just need to find a place in which to do so. Thankfully, Indiana has an abundance of land. I’ll have to hit ya up for pointers once we get some land 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!
Kathy Haan says
Thank you, Kimberly! It’s a work in progress:) I drove through Indiana a few summers ago…first toll road I’ve ever had to drive through by myself. I panicked as I pulled up, unsure what to do. haha. Thanks for stopping by!
i love your homestead! Such a great way to raise your kids too! i wish i had been in 4H when I was a kid but I grew up in the city. Ah well, I am learning it all now!
I look forward to seeing how your garden turns out! Such an awesome selection of plants. i wish I had a creek I could fish in but luckily I live close enough to the lake. New fan and follower here 🙂
I think my readers will love your blog and homestead so I added it to my Homestead Hop. I hope you dont mind. I was just so excited to share a new Homesteading blog with them.
Kathy Haan says
Thank you so much for stopping by! I, too, wish I had been in 4H as a kid. I lived in a rural community, but as a transplant from the city, I thought you had to live on a farm to participate! 🙂
I thought so too! My (hypothetical future) kids will be in 4H for sure! And Girl Scouts too of course! I just read about your weight loss and wow! What an inspiration! You look fantastic. Way to stick to it!
Kathy Haan says
Thank you so much! It was definitely hard getting pregnant after such a huge weight loss for fear of gaining it all back. I didn’t gain as much as I had in previous pregnancies, thankfully. I’m 12 weeks post-partum and I’m doing pretty well so far!
My oldest is in Girl Scouts, and my youngest daughter will be in the fall. My husband was an Eagle Scout so naturally, our boys will be in the scouts, too!