Waitin’ Out Winter

Being that I’ve just begun seriously attempting to homestead, here in town – I’ve been doing a lot of thinking as to just exactly what I’m supposed to do now that it’s cold, there’s snow everywhere, and I can’t garden.

I don’t have the space for indoor gardening, whatsoever – and I have no livestock.

So besides reading and learning, and reading some more…what am I supposed to do until the snow melts and I can get a spade in the ground?  It’s not even technically winter yet, and I’m already a little sad that I have so long to wait to really get my hands dirty.

So here’s a rudimentary list of some of the things I’m hoping will make the time pass this Winter, and will (fingers crossed) help keep the cabin fever at bay!

Garden Planning:

I want to sketch out (to scale) my yard, and plan out my garden beds.  Do I want to plant right in the ground, or do I want to do raised beds?  Do I want it all together in one spot, or do I want to break it up in different parts of the yard based on sun/shade/grade?  Will I have some in pots as well?  What herbs will I grow? What vegetables do I want to grow?  How much of them do I want to grow?  How am I going to preserve and store them for next Winter?  How am I going to incorporate flower gardens into the mix?  I want everything I plant, flowers included, to have multiple purposes.  …Oh, and find the best source for organic seeds, and start ordering!!

54eaed3542afe_-_garden-illustration-ultimate-kitchen-garden-0412-q8lyr5-xln

Scope Out My Surroundings:

Okay, I know that probably involves at least SOME outdoor time, but I’m going to save it for the milder days.  I want to scope out the wilder areas of town – trails, wooded parks, etc. – where foraging might be possible.  Find out where the right kind of pines grow to get the big pine nuts and save thousands (okay, not thousands because honestly I’ve only ever bought pine nuts once, they’re so fricken expensive!)…learn to harvest my own.  Find out what other wild things grow around here that I can forage for and cook up for the fam!

joe-foraging_basket

Explore My Town:

So I’ve been living in this area for over 4 years, but never really explored this specific town since I only really worked here before.  I would drive here, put in a day’s work, maybe do some banking, go home.  Other than the immediate areas around where I’m working, I haven’t really explored all of the good things this town has to offer.  I want to know what my resources are – small towns are great for little shops, and these little shops usually have little treasures if you’re willing to take a peak inside!  Google is my best friend, and while browsing the other day, I found out we’ve got this little health/natural food/products place right near where I live – and they just so happen to carry things like cocoa butter and Shea butter…both things I’m going to need for some of the homemade natural products I want to try and make…skipping ahead…

foodstuffs

Make My Own Products:

Although I want to eventually be able to make all of the products my family uses, I’m going to take baby steps in this direction and try to really master one or two things before I attempt new ones.  One thing I love, is Blistex medicated lip balm…I don’t love that I don’t know all that’s in it.  I want to make my own using natural products like beeswax, coconut oil, and essential oils.  I also want to learn how to make a basic liquid castille soap base because it seems to be the main ingredient in a lot of homemade products, such as laundry and dish detergents, shampoo, and body wash.  I’d like to go one step further and MAKE my own castille bars to start it with.  …I’ll start with the lip balm I think.

4078a370c3f3a6de5ac12be04af13525

Learn To Scratch:

I know, that one sounds a little funny.  But I’ve truly got an itch… to learn to do a lot more scratch cooking!  I know how to make bread, but I never make it (laziness)…that needs to change.  I don’t use mixes for cakes and pastries, but I barely bake anymore (not really good for us anyway!)…but I want to learn the bigger stuff.  Like making my own pasta, and churning my own butter, and making my own cheese, and steeping my own vanilla (and possibly extras for gifts!) and other extracts.  My next purchases (if Santa doesn’t bring them first) are going to be a manual pasta machine, and a mason jar butter churner. (I really should set up an affiliate account with Amazon before attaching links, but this is just to show what I want to get!)

9dc0911a3b2c1fd20e5eefc38d581994

Go Paper Free:

Just in the kitchen for now… stop buying paper towels (the hard part will be weaning off Hubby) and start using cloth napkins, towels, and rags instead.  Save the trees man!!  I know, they can go in the compost (but do you really want the bleach and chemicals in there?) – but the amount of water and energy needed to make just one roll is insane!  (Same with toilet paper, but that’s for another post!)  …my first stop will be Hubby’s t-shirt drawer for all his old stained work shirts – they’ll make the perfect rags.  Next stop will the the thrift stores – find the biggest bath towels I can find and cut them up in small hand towel sized pieces, sew up the frayed edges and voila…paper-free-towels and napkins.  Our place is too small to host dinner parties, so more formal cloth napkins are wasted on us.

paper-towels

Start Getting Healthy:

I know that’s not really “homestead related” in the broad sense, but I stop and think about it, it actually is!  If I’m going be a land owner – if I’m going to tend to acres of gardens and animals, I need to be in my best possible form.  I can’t be bent over gasping for breath if a goat gets loose and I have to chase it around the yard, or if I have to make multiple trips back and forth for a multitude of reasons.  I can’t be worrying about my health when I have so many other things to think about.  So right now, BEFORE the land and the animals, is when that needs to happen.  And that’s the part of my life where I procrastinate the most.  Letting myself go is the worst thing I’ve ever done for myself, and for my family.  And I need to remedy that while I’m still young enough to.

time-to-get-healthy

I’ll probably think of a million other things I want to do, but in the spirit of my new-found will to be organized, I’m going to try my best to just stick to the list above…and to master it all, perfect it all…and best myself at every turn.

Here goes….bring on the snow!

gty_stormprep_jrl_160122_12x5_1600

Show & Tell – Do What You Love

Ever since the idea came to me, that I wanted to be a homesteader, I knew I would have a lot of changes to make in my life.  To be the type of homesteader I want to be – the kind who doesn’t only make a LIFE, but also makes a LIVING, on their homestead.

I love my job, and I love the company I work for.  Do I want to be in the 9 to 5 forever?  Of course not.  It doesn’t mesh very well with the lifestyle I’m chasing.  So I need to find ways to still have income, without having an actual J.O.B.  Many do it – so why not me?

So I’ve been in an almost perpetual state of brain storm for over a year now (longer, if I’m honest).  Dreaming up different ways to create this income.  There are so many ideas flooding the internet, and there isn’t a wrong one.  What I like, is that I can do multiple things.  My income doesn’t have to come from one single avenue.  This also creates security, because if the one thing you’re doing stops working…then what??  If you’re doing a variety of things, the rest will keep you afloat.

Over the past few days I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and Pinterest-ing.  Found a lot of the same, tried and true, homestead money-makers.  Tree farming – egg selling – day old chick selling – wool – meat – milk – cheese – bartering – blogs with affiliate programs.  These are all AMAZING ideas, many of which I want to attempt!  But sitting here tonight, putting the finishing touches on a baby gift I made for a co-worker, a new idea dawned on me.

“Do what you love.  Do what you’re good at.”

Let me rewind a little bit, and in the process, introduce another little part of me I haven’t really delved into yet.

A few months ago, while browsing Facebook, the idea came to me that I wanted to make Blessing Bags for the homeless this winter.  Well, after speaking with a good friend about it, that idea grew like wild fire, and before we knew it, H.H.U.G.S. was born.  H.H.U.G.S. is a non-profit organization (still unregistered because we’ve been too busy spending the dollars on the bags instead of the application), that aims to help the homeless and less-fortunate population of Ontario.  It stands for Helping Hands Unite & Give Support.  (check us out on Facebook, @hhugsteam).

Well, this friend that I partnered up with starting making hats to put in these bags, and to donate to multiple shelters.  I wanted to help.  I can’t really knit, and a crochet hook looks like a torture device.  So armed with a 50% off coupon, off to Michael’s I went and got myself a pack of looms!  …long story short, I found out I’m actually good at it, but more importantly, I LOVE LOOMING!  Yeah yeah, you can say knitting is an old-lady sport.  I’ll be old one day so I might as well learn now! haha

So… fast-forwarding back to right now  –  at the moment, almost every piece I make is either for the bags, or to sell for profit to go towards the organization.  BUT!  After we’re registered, and we can legally accept monetary donations, I’m thinking and hoping, that we will do really well and be able to help a lot of people…without our own hats.  Which brings me to tonight.

This gift I was putting the finishing touches on, is a newborn baby beanie, booties, and baby cocoon.  I also made one for my boss and his wife who are expecting a baby in March.  I loved making these things, they didn’t take an eternity to make, and without sounding cocky, I think I’m pretty good at it!

15494097_10157939293310717_1201040479_n

So I looked them up on Etsy, and my eyes grew big at the prices they’re going for (and most of them without the booties or the beanie!)…and that, dear friends, got my gears turning.  When HHUGS no longer needs my hats, I can turn this newfound talent and hobby into a money-making venture, that I can do at home, in the evenings, when all the farm chores are done, while sitting in front of the fireplace, and bring in a pretty.decent.income.

cocoon-blue

I’d like to take a poll, and please don’t cheat!!!  No using Google and looking on Etsy or any other website.  How much do you (yes, you!) think I should be selling this for?

 

What are your talents and hobbies?  Do you think you could use them to make money?  What methods to you use to make money on your homestead if you don’t hold a traditional job?  I would really love and appreciate all of your thoughts and ideas!!!!

Method & Madness ~Two~

In this second installment (a tad long, sorry), I’m going to delve more into the how and the why – who knows, I might get all of that out of the way so we can get to the fun stuff!!

So you probably recall thinking how crazy we are to have jumped on this opportunity so quickly, especially with the first impression it gave us.  So I’m going to show you here, WHY we’re not as crazy as one might think.

Homesteading to me is a way to get back to the basics.  So our MAIN goal right now, is to become 100% debt free, and save as much as we possibly can so that in a few years, we’re financially able to achieve our dream.  In order to do that, we need to lessen our expenses considerably.  While we both have full time work – mine being an office job, and hubby being a self-employed contractor – we’re always finding that there’s more month left at the end of the money.  Frankly, we’re tired of it.  It’s time (way overdue if I’m honest) to get our shit together.  If we don’t, the dream will always stay a dream.

And that’s why this house.

The house we were renting was great – an old, 2000 square foot century farm house on 34 acres of land.  It was 10 to 15 minutes drive from town in every direction, and hooked up to propane for heat, and a well for water.  Lots of pros, and also some cons.  The main con being that our rent was $1450 per month, plus utilities.  Our only year-round utility was hydro, but in the cold months (and I mean, we do live in Canada so we’re talking October-ish to sometimes May), we also had to fill the propane tank.  Big house = lots of propane.  We ended up spending about $500 every 3 weeks on average.  That ends up being a LOT of money, and no savings.

We thought that by getting back to civilization for a little while, we could at least eliminate the propane cost, as well as some of the back-and-forth commuting which was getting quite tiresome.  We weren’t off grid or self-sufficient by any means, so driving to town was a must on a daily basis, usually multiple times.

This house – as pitiful as it was, seemed the answer to our prayers.

A development company bought this house in the Spring, in hopes of tearing it down and building condos or town homes on the lot, and the neighboring vacant lot which they also purchased.  Those types of permits can sometimes take a long time (we’re hoping for at least 3 to 5 years).  The lot is quite large, I’m thinking about 1/4 acre which is pretty big for town living, so it has a lot of potential for perfecting the craft of homesteading.

It also comes at a monthly price tag of only $900 (that’s a $550 savings right off the top!!). And calculating the monthly utilities, it still comes to less per year than we would have paid on propane alone at the other house.  We’re also 3 minutes (literally) from our house to my work, the grocery store, the gas station – and my daughter is taking public transit to school (which the station is DIRECTLY behind our house), so there’s a lot less driving overall.  $$$ SAVINGS $$$

We also managed so score FOUR MONTHS rent free!!!  Yep, you read that right!!

Because the house was so…..um…..we’ll use the word ‘dated’ to be nice…they agreed to give us a few months free, in exchange for updating it ourselves.  The electrical also needed to be updated throughout.  You’re probably seeing dollar signs now, but don’t fret!

Because hubby is in the construction industry, he pretty much does all of it himself – and for those things he’s not qualified for, he’s got contacts oozing from his pores!  The reason the landlords wouldn’t spring for renovations is simple – they’re tearing it down, so they aren’t going to sing any money in fixing it up.  What we were able to do, with Hubby’s handiness and my talent for finding things on the cheap – is fix up this house for about the same amount it would have cost us to live at the other house for a month.  Maybe even a little less.  In the grand scheme of things, I’d say that’s pretty darn good!

Now, it’s still a bit of a work in progress.  We’ve made it livable, if not perfect just yet.  But I have to say, it is already unrecognizable from where we started.

And that, my friends, is HOW this place is going to help us achieve our dreams.  By saving so much money per month, we’re going to be able to chip away at the debts that hound us, as well as put away for a down payment on our own place, or our own land, a few years down the road!  The great part is that everything we’ve brought into this house, materialistically speaking, we’ll be able to bring with us when we leave.  (I’m also going to ask the landlords if we can take other materials from the home when we leave, since they’ll be tearing it down…such as windows, pipes, lumber, etc) so that if we find vacant land, we’ll have a really good start on building our own home, for pretty much nothing!

So I’ve been dying to share a little bit of “before and after” with you guys, and ultimately I wanted to wait until a space was 100% completed, but as I’ve mentioned so many times already, I have no patience.  So I’m going to share anyway!  Here  you’ll see the “BEFORE” pictures of what the kitchen used to look like.  How anyone could function in such a place is completely beyond me.

15451005_10157909582610717_642514335_n

And in this next picture, you’ll see an after picture – I actually call it my ALMOST after because it’s not completely finished.  What is left to do in this room, is the trim around the window, doors, quarter round along the ceiling, as well as a back splash, and a real table.  This bistro set is doing the job for the time being.

So the kicker here, is that we did this entire kitchen for approximately $600, and we get to take all of it with us when we leave.  So it’s not a lost investment, it’s something that we’ll be able to use, and add to, when we build our own place.  Even without all the finishes, as it stands now, the difference is astounding!  What do you think? My favorite parts are the flooring which we got for $80 at the ReStore – I love the rustic driftwood look – as well as the little cubby shelves Hubby built me in dead space, which gives me so much extra storage (which, in a house this size, every big of storage we can find is like gold).

15356146_10157909582595717_638439153_n

A lot of things we have, or had, we’re having to get rid of.  We do have a small amount of storage space in the garage and basement, but it’s not enough space to keep all of the things we own.

This downsizing is time intensive yes, but at the same time will also help us save a little extra money from the sale of these items.  The idea now is to have only what we NEED, but at the same time, make sure that those things are quality items that can last for a really really long time.

Anyway folks, that’s it for this post – sorry it’s been a little long.  Sometimes when my fingers start going I have a hard time stopping them!  Stay tuned for the next installment, and I can’t wait to read all of your comments and suggestions!

Pine-ing

Oh, the whether outside is frightful, but the fire’s so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go……..

Well…not really.  I mean yeah, it’s a little “fresh” out there,to say the least…but there’s no fire, unfortunately.  (How I long for a wood burning fireplace!!)  And I’m trying and trying, but that Christmas Spirit is still being frustratingly elusive…

We picked up our Christmas tree the other day.  From the grocery store.  Not very festive.  It was a spur of the moment, ‘oh we should get it now’, purchase after we walked out with the grocery cart, but still I thought it would help in changing my mood.  Now it’s sitting in our living room, naked as a jaybird.  It’s looking a little forlorn and needs a little bling, a-sap!

pine

But still, something about the smell of pine just adds a bit of that proverbial holiday warmth to the room.  This weekend, it’ll get a little color!  A little twinkle.  Maybe that’ll help…

I also planned on having done some holiday baking already, but a few days ago my oven decided to stop working.  Joy.  So much for the smells of brown sugar and cinnamon and vanilla filling the house (grumble grumble grumble)…  But lo and behold, a friend and co-worker is selling one for only $70!  So this weekend, I will also have a new-to-me stove, and hopefully get a batch or two of cookies and few loaves in there!! 🙂   I’ve got some bananas not-so-patiently waiting in the freezer, and I’m thinking maybe an apple-raspberry loaf…YUM!!  Some orange-cranberry muffins maybe??  Oh… and can’t forget the DELISH-looking loaded baked potato soup recipe from The Comfortable Coop that I’m going to attempt this weekend!!! 🙂  I can just smell the house already!!!

All is not lost… there’s still 17 sleeps before Christmas… still a little time to find that Christmas Spirit I’ve so been pining for!!!!!     …Let it snow let it snow let it snow!!

Leftovers

I’ve been spending the last few days trying to decide what my next project is going to be on the homestead.  And as I’ve yet to start the rest of the yard clean-up, I need to get a move on that!

I have bits and pieces of pallets left over from the compost bin project, so I’m going to try and create something from them instead of just tossing it into the burn pile.  There isn’t much of it, so maybe a simple planter for an herb garden on the back patio?   Or maybe a planter and frame for climbing beans or peas…

Either way, I get to use the drill again!!  Maybe I’ll try to use some of the bigger pieces of fallen branches along with it and see what kind of creative look I can come up with!   …post and pictures to come! 🙂

What kind of fun things have you made from old scraps?  I’d love to get your thoughts and ideas!!!

It’s In The Bin – Part Deux!

A touch of pride, and some achy feet and stiff muscles.  Okay, more than just a touch of pride.  I’m pretty much beaming to have not only dreamed up the idea, but then executed it and completed the project in the time frame I told myself I would.  Is this the beginning of a new, non-procrastinator lifestyle?  Could it be??  It’s definitely the beginning of producing less waste and sending less to the landfill!

When I decided I wanted to build a pallet compost bin, my biggest obstacle was not having any pallets!  And from following this couple** from the time they bought their land, I want to do this homesteading thing with as little money as possible.  So how to get my materials, without breaking the bank?  Social media is a wonderful thing.

I posted on one of the local Tell & Sell pages I’m part of on Facebook, and within 12 hours I had a bunch of people messaging me.  Some were pretty much offering me piles of rubbish, just so they could get it off their hands.  Thanks, but no thanks.  And so I opted to choose the offers from those I know and trust.  And within just a few days, I had 8 perfectly good wooden pallets delivered to my home, free of charge!  Thank goodness for amazing friends, and my daughter’s boyfriend’s mother!  I’m beginning to see that having connections in this lifestyle is a huge advantage!  I’m going to have to find a way to repay the favor to both of them!

15228004_10157846101750717_246902799_n

Mother Nature was on my side today, allowing me a whole afternoon of dry, mild weather…of which I took full advantage of!  Started with a quick trip to our local junk store.  I call it that because it’s not your typical thrift store – it’s literally a glorified indoor junk sale.  You’ve got to dig and hunt for what you’re looking for, and often come out with dirty hands and craving a shower.  But it’s also a treasure trove if you know what you’re looking for!  And I did!  I found everything I needed for about $2.50.  Amazing!  Brackets, hinges, and some chicken wire.

The next step was to find the perfect spot in the yard to build it.  My backyard is quite slanted in most places, and the place where I wanted to build it was on too much of a slope.  The other side of the yard is more level, but also has more trees.  This exercise also brought home the fact that his yard has been grossly neglected for many years, and it’s grand time someone did something about it.  Just look at this mess!

I found the spot I needed, and as luck was shining on me today – it was JUST big enough, but barely!  Clean it up a little and voila!

15209265_10157846101335717_1530883279_n

So my plan from the start, was to build this by myself.  If I’m going to be a woman living on a homestead – eventually not an urban one – I need to be able to do things on my own.  Hubby may not always be in a position to help, and I need to learn to use all of the tools required to build and repair things.  So this was my first (of many) project.

Tucker did a great job as site foreman, examining the merchandise for safety!!  First lesson learned today, pallets are flippin’ heavy!!  After dragging them from the front of the house, up the “hill” to the backyard, I’d already had a hell of a workout.  I’ve concluded that being a homesteader eliminates any need for gym memberships!  My rubber legs after 8 trips up the yard with a pallet behind me are all the evidence I need on that!

As I was getting ready to start, one of our neighbors came and introduced himself.  Gus.  Gus seems like a very nice man.  A very set in his ways nice man.  After a quick introduction and idle chit chat, he went back to the house and I started arranging my pallets.  A moment later, he was back asking me to make sure nothing is leaning on the fence.  No Gus, it won’t be leaning on your fence.  What am I building?  A compost bin, I’m trying to live a greener life!  No Gus, I’m not going to put it all the way over there, because my flower garden is going to go there.  No Gus, it won’t smell, don’t worry.  Buy Gus!  (Insert heavy sigh and internal eye roll.  Nice guy Gus, really.)

Not wanting any conflict with any of our neighbors, I made sure to put some chicken wire in the back of the bin to stop any compost from spilling out and possibly ending up on his side of the fence.  A great feat on its own since he’s already got about a foot to a foot and a half

worth of leaves and natural compost built up behind a stack of covered lumber I’m sure has been there for years (as you can see behind my bin in the image below).  There you go Gus, chicken wire for you.

15228072_10157846100790717_1684590138_n

Now, as much as I hate to admit defeat, I’m not a stupid woman.  Admitting when you need help can not only save you a lot of unnecessary wasted time, it can also be a tool to help you learn.  And I admit, the doors had me stumped.  As much as I wanted hubby to just show me how to use the skill saw, I know that for now it was much better to let him help me instead of just teach me.  I value my fingers, and every other part of me.  He’s a contractor by trade and a whiz with all of these power tools that skill intimidate me to no end (also I mastered the impact drill today, and I’m very proud of myself!)

So with hubby to the rescue, we made quick work of the doors.  He also used some 2×4’s he had on hand to give my bins a little more support.  The mostly level, but not quite flat ground made it so that my bins were a little unsteady, and in order for the doors to swing properly, we needed to make sure they stayed square and sturdy.  He cut, I drilled!  Hinges screwed on, doors hung, and done!

15207873_10157846100770717_1103493301_n

I managed to clean up a few of the leaves around the bins before darkness started setting in, and just as we were putting the tools away, the rain started.  Talk about perfect timing!  Now I’ve got my bins, built mostly by yours truly, and my very first project is complete!  I’m one happy little homesteader!!!  What’s next??

 

 

(** “this couple” is Jesse and Alyssa of Pure Living For Life.  These two are absolutely my inspiration, my muse, my homesteading idol!  Click the link above and follow them, you won’t be sorry!!!)

 

Mother Nature Willing

Our weather here in Southern Ontario has been a little wonky to say the least.  It’s late November now, and I just experienced my first snow yesterday.  It didn’t stay, which I’m completely okay with.  I’m not a big fan of Winter, to be truthful.  I grew up in Northern Ontario, where it wasn’t unheard of to have consistent -30 & -40 Celsius weather.

 

Nobody bats an eye, it’s just considered the norm.  A 5 hours drive South, and it’s not QUITE as cold and QUITE as consistent, but we do still get those days once in a while.  You would think growing up with those temperatures, I would be used to it.  Nope.  I should have been born in warm climate – I could really do with no cold or snow or ice… *shudder*.  But then again, I’m not a fan of those pesky mosquitoes and black flies either… and spiders…don’t even get me started!!  So if having winter is what keeps them at a bearable minimum (barely!)… then I guess I’ll choose the lesser of evils, and deal with the frigid air.  Sigh.

579152_10153772894335717_1291457080_n579152_10153772894330717_1261690330_n

579152_10153772894320717_69964375_n
Our Rotti – Sherman – LOVES the snow and could spend hours playing in it!

Contrary to many beliefs, we Canadians do not live in igloos and have regular polar bear hunts.  Sorry to disappoint! haha

549177_10152531880015717_910821068_n
Gotta love those drifts!

So with all of this wonky weather Mother Nature has been plying us with, I’m really hoping for some decent weather this weekend.  The plan is to get my compost bins built and my hard cleaned up – and as good as my intentions are, it’s not exactly a rain-or-shine activity.  So I’m hoping for dry-ish, mild-ish weather.  I’ve been so excitedly looking forward to it however, that I may just end up doing it even in the rain (no promises, I change my main like I change my socks!)

So fingers crossed that I’ll have a great post on Monday morning, with pictures of my proudly finished bins and clean yard!!  Have a great Friday everyone!!

(All images above were taken last year at our old place in the country)

Slow & Steady?

Hello, my name is Edie, and I’m an addict.  A Pinterest addict.  I just can’t stop, and I don’t want an intervention!

It’s seriously the best thing since Google – have you ever tried to find something on there and failed?  I doubt it.  It’s like every single idea has been tested and tried and mastered!

And it’s a budding homesteader’s dream.  My problem now, is that I want do it all, right now.  I want to harvest seeds – I want to grow new things – I want to build things – I want to learn to can, and blanch, and dehydrate – I want to learn scratch cooking (or more of it).  And I want to do all of that today!  Yep…I confess.  I have a real problem with patience, or rather, my lack thereof!  I have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will my homestead!

So…itty bitty baby steps it is.  With a couple of projects on the go, I need to learn the art of slowing down.  The skill of pacing myself.  So friends, I offer a most sincere apology right now, from the start – if my scatter brain makes you dizzy from moving from one thing to another and another still…maybe it’s a touch of un-diagnosed OCD, or maybe it’s just a bad case of excitement.  Either way, I don’t think there’s a cure….at least, I hope there isn’t!

Starting Line

Fair warning…this first post is sort of an introduction…and it’s a little long-winded (sorry!! I promise the others won’t be so novel-ish), so grab a cuppa (or something stronger, I won’t tell!) and get comfy!!

Okay… this isn’t really my starting line.  It’s my RE-starting line.

Those who know me well, know that I’ve got a bad habit (one of many) of starting things, and never really finishing them.  This isn’t my first blog on the subject of homesteading, but the last one sort of got side tracked a little.  Okay, a lot.  So I figured…new house, new start!

Homesteading has been a growing dream of mine for the past few years, and although I’ve taken sporadic steps in that general direction, my utter lack of commitment and consistency mean I haven’t achieved nearly as much as I’d like to by now.  So I’m dusting off my apron, hiking up my britches, and starting again!  And the inspiration I get on an almost daily basis from watching these guys build their dream, gives me the confidence I need, to know I can build mine!  (Check them out, they’re amazing!!)

We’ve just recently moved to town – from a 34 acre farm that wasn’t ours, and that I didn’t take advantage of as I should have.  This little house on the hill isn’t ours either, but it’s giving us an opportunity we just couldn’t turn down.

We know it’s a temporary  thing, so we’ve got to take full advantage of it while we can.  So here’s the deal…

Some development company bought this house, in hopes of tearing it down (which honestly, it should be!), to build condos or town houses (ick!..not a fan).  I’m not sure if this neighborhood is ready for that type of development, and I’m thinking (or rather, hoping!) the town will take it’s sweet time to approve their permits!  What we’re hoping for, is to have at least 3 to 5 years in this house.  The rent alone is putting $550 back into our pockets, and I’ve eliminated my entire commute to work.  For real.  It takes me 3 minutes to drive to work now!  Bonus!!  So the plan is to pay down all of our debts, repair our credit, and save every penny we possibly can between now, and the time they tell us to hit the road.

So we’re taking the proverbial bull by the horns, and giving this ‘practice run’ everything we’ve got!  When we looked at this place, it was a disaster.  Picture: 70’s porn set.  I’m not even kidding.  Between the wood paneling, and the lime green and orange carpets; it was like the 70’s threw up.  Sorry for the visual.  Now because they’re going to tear in down in a few years, whatever cosmetic upgrade we want is coming out of our own pockets.  (Hence the 4 months free rent they gave us!)  I will share some before and after photos in coming posts, for your ooh-ing and ahh-ing pleasure!

I digress.  “Practice Run” is exactly what this is, in every sense.  From the construction (I got lucky here – hubby is a contractor by trade, so many dollars saved!!), to gardening, to food preservation…and every detail in between!  We’ve still got quite a large lot here, and have been given virtually free run of the place to do with what we please while we’re here.  I plan on taking every iota of advantage I possibly can, and learn as much as possible.  Now is when I can afford to make mistakes, so that I can avoid the entire (or mostly) trial and error ordeal once we’re on our land and trying to make our homestead from scratch work!

So cheers to a brand new start, and hooray to chasing dreams.  Watch out world…here I come!!!

starting-line