Feeling Nostalgic-First Year in the Country

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HilltopDaisy, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,891
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    Homesteading is everything I dreamed it would be.

    We have several inches of snow here, still fresh and clean, and the sun is shining, temperatures are in the mid-20's. It truly is a glorious day.

    I'm thnking of all the planning and daydreaming that went into my place, my massive five acre sanctuary from the rest of the insanity. I spent five years reading and getty ready.

    I set up my chicken yard and coop so I can see it from my desk. I love watching them pick through the hay I put down for them. I made them a special soup last night, with veggies past their prime, and some whole wheat pasta and rice. I warmed it a bit before I took them a bowl this morning, and of course they were thrilled. Crazy, huh? I bought these birds from a man who lives not far from here. A dollar each, and he threw in the rooster for free. The man runs a small bed and breakfast. His customers pay big money to sit and watch his birds scratch around, and listen to the roosters crow. I'm a vegetarian, and so is the owner of the B&B, so our birds are for eggs and entertainment. I love having chickens, much more than I thought I would.

    My garden stunk this year. Nothing had ever been grown there besides hay, and I doubt that it had been hayed in years. It was badly neglected. The soil is full of stones and clay, and we had a record amount of rain. It never warmed up 'til late June. All my plants were stunted. I went to a lot of effort to start my plants from seed. If I remember correctly, I had 8 different kinds of tomato seedlings. I may have gotten a half-dozen tomatoes altogether. I planted corn three times, and beans even more, and got next to nothing. The seeds rotted where I planted. Next year will be better. I added a lot of compost from our county landfill, and I toted home countless bags of leaves from the city curbs. I made a compost bin, and a mountain of compost. I built three raised beds, 4' X 8', and attached PVC hoops for use as cold frames. It's fun thinking about the plants I'll put in them, and what will go in the big beds. I pulled out my seeds last night, and tried to decide what I would like to order for 2004's garden. No matter how poor my garden was this year, I remind myself that it's enormous compared to all my previous city spots. It holds such promise for growing lots of food, as do all the fruit trees I planted. I'll be more ready next spring.

    When I lived in the city, I hung clothes out to dry, I baked bread, I grew and canned food, I made soap, I sewed; I lived pretty much like I do now. But this is SOOO much better. I guess I wanted to write this for anyone reading who hasn't made it to their land yet. I was encouraged by a lot of folks who took the time to tell about themselves, their families and animals. (One example- I read about people who's power was out for a week at a time, and that helped me prepare myself for the inevitable). I've learned so much from you all, everyone who shares the details of your lives. You've helped me more than you can ever know, and I thank you. This homesteading is better than I could have hoped for. You folks in the planning/dreaming phase, just hang in there. It will all be worth it. Daisy in NY
     
  2. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    NW TN
    Thank you for your post Hilltop....I'm sure as others have inspired you, you will inspire others with your post.
    Heather
     

  3. earthship

    earthship Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    Good comments for future country folks. We are just beginning our third year on a country homestead. We home school our 13 year old; raise chickens for eggs only (yikes we are vegetarians too); we sold dried gourds this year and did well with that; we built a garden shed/guest quarters; groomed an old road for better access to the bottom area of our 80 acres; and just plain had a good year. The water situation was better than the first year and looks good for next. Colorado has clean air, terrific views and wonderful people to share the experience with...life is good (in the country ;-)
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hilltop,
    I'm following in your footsteps. I just became a member of this group and I love it. I just bought 14 acres in South Central Colorado Mountains and plan to build a homestead there. I have a lot of learning to do. Its so exciting! I can't wait to sit and watch the chickens!
    I was reading your comments about the poor garden performance. I'm a raised box gardener and it seems from what you say that you may have drainage problems. After I built my boxes (6 4x20) I had years of substandard performance. I finally diagnosed the plants problems using a textbook and found that too much water was the culprit. I ended up digging a trench through all the boxes and out of the yard. Ever since, the garden has been much better. It sure would have been easier to install the drainage before the boxes were built, but .....
    Good luck. Post some pictures for all of to admire.
    Gary
     
  5. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

    Messages:
    569
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Floyd County, VA
    I also just moved into my 4.5 acres and love it. Sometimes the amount to be done is overwhelming, but I keep pushing forward. My place has been long neglected also - an 80 year old barn that was abandoned at least a dozen years ago with blackberries covering the barnyard.

    Every weekend a little bit more gets cleared. This week I got my first livestock - Harry the goose and his two hen mallard friends. They are having a great time in the 3 season pond behind the barn. I am not a vegetarian, but don't know if any of my animals will be more than pets. I look forward to getting chickens this spring - the henhouses in the barn are now cleaned out and ready for occupancy.

    I am also glad I found this site to share ideas and experiences with others and I look forward to learning much more from everyone as I go along. I may have the same issues as I put in a garden so will take drainage into consideration.

    Happy Holidays everyone,

    Debbie
     
  6. Wilhelm

    Wilhelm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    91
    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Location:
    SW Nebraska
    Daisy, you might try my gramma's tried and true method for keeping those hens laying in winter. Since you are vegetarian, you should have a lot peels and other vegetable matter left over. Take all these and cook them on the stove adding a good helping of cracked red pepper. Then feed the mash to them hot, and they will gobble it up. This is passed on to me from my mom who got to be the chicken waitress on the old homestead.lol They used this method to keep those girls laying regular. Since egg and cream money was sometimes their only income, it was taken very seriously.Give it a try and tell us how it works.