OUR NEW VINTAGE TRACTOR

Sometimes it’s the little things, and sometimes it’s an awesome vintage tractor for a great deal! 

It does not take much to please me but if you’re trying, just throw anything old at me. No joke, I love vintage. I love items with history, with a story. I love anything with a little rust on it, I promise, just check out my daily driver. 

Just think about all the work this tractor has done? And how many projects it completed in its time… How cool is that?!?

It came from Lake Creek Lodge, the homestead husbands place of employment. LCL has been around since the early 1920s so it has a great deal of history. Some of which this ole ford machine played a big role in. Spencer says this tractor performed all the major work up there for over 40 years!


Ireland was ecstatic at her first site of it. She can’t stop “driving” it. Seriously, if she’s missing just check the tractor. 

As for the hubby and I? We couldn’t be more grateful. And darn lucky that were actually able to buy it, for great price to. 

  
I love everything about this new addition. It has personality and history. And even more to be made. We have lots of plans that will be made easier with this valuable piece of machinery. 

This stellar find is just one example of how we cut costs and do with what we can within our means.

You don’t have to be rich to be a homesteader. But you must be open minded. 

Peace and Love

Quincy 

OUR NEW PREMIER1 Poultry Fencing

Ever since our arrival to the property we rent, especially when I got my first batch of chicks… I have hated our coop. It was here when we moved in. Shelves along the western facing wall of our garage under a small eve; that’s all we had to work with. I’m grateful there was anything at all and it was a great place to start. 

We learned so much. That’s why I’m here to show you the new digs and how I’m spoiling my flock in 2016. 

  
Don’t get me wrong, we made due for the two years we used the old coop. Sometime around our wedding this last December I learned a great deal about raising chickens and about my specific chickens.

I knew we needed change. None of my 12 hens were laying, for maybe 5 months this lagged on. And that was a serious problem. 

Remember when I moved the older half of the hens to the garden? 

 

Moving the hens and changing their environment jump started their laying and it was the best thing I could have done.  

Well folks, I am happy to say that all the girls and the Roos are in their new digs! 

I was tired of them being drenched by the rain, chilled by the wind, and cooked by the sun, season in and season out, everyday. 

  
The old coop (pictured above) was always soupy, no joke, winter made it into shavings and poop soup. And I am so glad I’m done with that phase of chicken farming. Doing with only what you have, no allowance for change, well peeps, no longer! My birds work hard so our family may eat,  they deserve no less than we hard from us in return. This time in the form of a brand new coop and run. 

I took the advice of the one and only Jusrin Rhodes of abundantpermaculture.com 

You can follow Justin and his family on their YouTube channel for awesome vlogs, Instagram for daily inspiration and photographs, and even Periscope from time to time!

He suggests Premier1 and I jumped at a new challenge. But it’s just the opposite. This fencing is so awesome and easy to use ta boot!

  
 (This is not an advertisement, this is just the fencing we chose for our homestead flock.)

This way the ground will be able to breathe and there will be zero accumulation of water. The flock has so much space to roam, scratch, poop… And that’s ok with me. It’s as if they are free range and not all at once. Plus there’s no poo on the porch so we’re happy homesteaders!

   
   
The best part is we were able to reuse the coop from my mothers house, so the only expense was the mobile poultry net. Want a tour of the new coop? 

   
    

  
   
One day in the future when we hopefully move onto our own spread we can mobilize this coop to make it that much easier to rotate our flock, permaculture style baby! For now they will rotate back forth around the coop, being the fixed point, situated roughly in the southern corner of the mobile run. 

This will enable them to eat whilst tilling and fertilizing, spreading compost for me, and after I grow a crop they will be moved over it to eat or till it back into the ground. How cool is that? 

Ok ok maybe I’m a bit of a permaculture newbie nerd, but I’m so excited I could pee. Quite literally… Alright alright, Ahem…

Even the ducks are stoked, they muddied the water tub to show their approval. And now we’re getting two eggs from this waddling girls, now that I can find the eggs everyday that is.  

Peace and Love

Quincy

GETTING STARTED WITH MEAT RABBITS

When it comes to homesteading it seems most of my friends and family think you must have property. That is the biggest misconception out there about us modern day homesteaders.

Not all of us own or even live on a piece of property.

And yes, I say this as I sip coffee on my back porch watching 5 horses graze the 5 acres we rent. Key word, RENT. Let me just preface this by saying that homesteading is about a sustainable mindset and lifestyle choices… not about your physical location.

Property is helpful, yes, but it is also lots of back breaking work. And folks you don’t even need 1 acre to be a homesteader.

So, in the spirit of spring and micro-homesteading possibilites, I thought I would provide some info on one friendly creature who can produce meat for your family, fertilizer for your gardens, gorgeous furs and practically eat for free! Give them a shot and I’m sure they will help you down the road to self sufficiency all within a relatively small space like a garage or shed.   

Yes I’m talking meat rabbits. As far as homesteading goes rabbits go hand in hand with sustainable permaculture ideas. They produce a lot of babies very quickly and the meat is fantastic. They eat weeds or grass (Wanna see how in spring/summer I feed my rabbits for FREE?) and can live either in or outdoors. If you’re a lover of small cuddly things and can’t bear the thought of eating them….. then maybe raising rabbits is not for you.


(How can you resist this face ^^^)

But if you’re someone who needs a small scale meat project, this is right up your ally. You’ll learn something new and be able to stock up on another white meat. The best part is that startup and infrastructure for a rabbitry is minimal. You won’t need big corrals or an extensive pasture. Well, and they’re cute as heck.


Here’s a few tips to get you started on your own homestead rabbitry.

1. Water bottles- You’ll need to chose how you want to distribute water to your rabbits, especially does pregnant or nursing. They drink a lot during this day so this is very important. We currently use these water bottles until we can implement nipple watering system. I purchased mine on Amazon here (affiliate link). With these water bottles I summits have to fill them twice a day, in summer, and they more than likely almost always freeze in winter months. This is just something good to keep in mind, no calling in sick for farmers ya know?


2. Feeders (optional)- I keep these galvanized slow feeders on our cages at all times in case I need to supplement with pellet feeds. But if you’re choosing not to feed by pellet these may not be necessary. I bought mine from a local feed store, but there are also available at a competitive price on Amazon. I have two sizes small and large (affiliate links).
3. Foot rest mat- If you have a cage like mine or many other breeders then your rabbits have a wire floor, and will have the need for a foot rest. If you chose not to go with a foot rest it is imperative that you give proper bedding for your rabbits to rest on. The reason being that rabbits can develop a condition called ‘sore hocks’ in which large nodule like sores appear all over the back feet from continual resting on their back haunches. No bueno. It can be treated but the more fluffies shouldn’t have to suffer. Ours were like $4 a piece on Amazon (affiliate link) so spend the little extra for quality of life for your bunnies.


4. Shade- rabbits don’t do very well in high heat nor direct sunlight. If they have adequate water they have a better chance but rabbits can succumb to heat stroke faster than most animals. Providing them ample shade and hydration in the heat of summer is huge. It’s definitely a time commitment, at times in summer I’ll have to fill the water bottles 2-3 times a day, hence my yearning for an ever flow/nipple water system.


5. Nest boxes- if you plan to breed you’ll need a nest box or two. Each kindling(expectant) doe will need a box from about a week before she kindles to about 4 weeks postpartum so make sure you enough. They also come in a couple different sizes for various sized breeds. There are even some great DIY patterns for them on Pinterest.

Rabbits don’t need the Four Seasons to produce happily raised and healthy fully grazed meat for you, just know that. Aside from the fact that these little guys are an amazing sustainable meat source they can also make great pets. My breeding stock are calm and one of my girls even LIKES to be held, so it doesn’t have to be sad when butchering day comes. These beauties serve a divine purpose here on our homestead, and our gratitude for their sacrifice is a happy, healthy, and cozy life free of stress.

Were currently monitoring a doe for labor so I’ll keep y’all updated, gotta get back out there!

Peace and Love

Quincy

 

CHEAP NEST BOXES FOR YOUR LAYING HENS

So I moved my ole ladies out to the garden a couple weeks ago. Low and behold they started laying again! And in full force.

The shelter within the garden is a simple three sided pallet house with some aspen branches for perches, in know, glamorous huh?

But heck it works for us and the hens are happy as ever, or since they were when they were last let to free range… they’ve been mad at me since their confinement.

Since there is no space within this make-shift coop I took it upon myself to solve that issue. I didn’t have any extra funds at the time to go buy anything nor did I want to take the time to build something….Let’s face it, with two kids under 4 and dozens of animals… theres just not extra time for extra building projects.

Even as I type I am being stalked by a curious crawling, not yet walking infant who must have my laptop at all costs! So musical chairs we play…

ha ha, ahem.

This is what I came up with, and I must give thanks to many other bloggers, Pinterest, and our cluttered garage we are in the midst of deep cleaning for this simple yet awesome diy best box. 

  
What do yo need?

1 storage tote with lid (free, found in garage)

1 x-acto knife (who doesn’t have one??)

4″-6″ nest box bedding (straw, shavings, hay)

  
All you need to do is cut roughly a 12″x 12″ square out of one of the longer sides of the tote (depending on the size of your hens). Yes the lid stays on, this is to prevent girls from hopping up and pooping on the goods.

As you can see from the picture one hole is centered the other off-set, I think off-set works better, just for the fact that it creates a warmer quieter place for the hens. These totes also work great if you plan to hatch eggs, move often, and clean out the box regularly to replace bedding.

Within two hours of placing the boxes in the garden I had eggs, the girls were so happy they kicked all the shavings out… such is chicken life, and it’s a good one to.

BROODING BABY CHICKS IN THE TUB

Ok ya’ll it’s that time a year again! If any of you readers know me, then you well know that I have zero self control in the baby farm animal department. Be it bunnies, or any form of poultry or water fowl, don’t even get me started on kittens.

So three weeks ago roughly we came home with these little buggers. 2 Anconas and 4 Cuckoo Marans later the bathroom is all a chirp.

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(DIY Tisse box nest ^^^ adds extra warmth as the hatchlings huddle)

For anyone who has never started chicks and wants to:

DO IT!

Chickens are low cost, low maintenance, and such hard workers. They will till your garden, disinfect your orchard, fertilize your vegetable plants, and even eliminate whole food scraps that you would otherwise throw away. Even better? They will love doing all these on a daily basis. For free!

Win, win right? Definitely.

But how do I? Where do I?

You know I’ll never leave you guessing!

Here’s a few basic tips for the chicken beginners out there.

  1. Make a brooder – this can be as simple as a storage tote like mine. Then just brood them in the bathroom, yeah you gotta move em in and out of the shower… but hey, around here that’s bonding time!
  2. Shavings or Shredded Newspaper – bricks of shavings are cheap, especially since chicks don’t take much — especially if you elevate the food and water 😉
  3. Heat Lamp — we’re keeping the littles in the bathroom in our house since it stays not just warm but very comfortable (once they are outside full time, next week, I will have a lamp for them)
  4. Feeder/Waterer (find something to raise both up off the shavings an inch or two, you will save time and money not wasting shavings or food from spills – chickens will stand in their water and dirty it fast! Get it off the ground.. We used a couple red brick pavers that were broken into small pieces.)
  5. Find a breeder! You’ll be better off in the long rn finding a local breeder, not only to know where your eggs or meat are coming from, but in case you ever encounter questions. Your breeder will be the best choice for any questions on the birds they hatched.

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You’re all set to get some chickens!

Happy farming!

The Lady Gardner

PURGING THE HOME

Ever feel like you just want to get rid of everything and start over?

Me to.

So this week that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Purging the homestead. With new items and furniture coming from moms, the hubs and I are finally ditching the shabby furnishings we’ve had since before we started dating.

When we began this homseteading journey we wanted nothing more than a return to simplicity. To go back to basics. Cut out the stuff we really just don’t need.

It feels great.

Anybody need a couch, an entertainment center, dishes, DVD players…? They’re yours.

I even have an old N64 that wants to find a new forever home.

Microwave anyone???

And y’all know how much I love to barter, you got something I want for something I got? Head on over. Let’s barter baby.

We just don’t use these things or we just have too many. Or I’m just plum over it.

I used to be the one who held onto things for just in case scenarios…

But that’s not the homestead way, that’s not even the way of simplicity. And once I had children that became ever more apparent.

We do not need any more clutter.

The chitlins are clutter-full enough for all of us.  And I purge their room on the regular as it is.

I feel rejuvenated, maybe it just feels great to throw/ donate things away.

If you’re interested in purging your home or even the whole homestead here’s a few things to keep in mind. Before you haul a load to the good will or straight to the dump. Think first.

1. When was the last time you used the item?

Chances are if you can’t even remember the last time you used it, then you won’t miss it. Let it go…

2. Can you repurpose something instead of throwing it away or donating it?

We reused cardboard to cover future garden beds to smother grass. Free.

3. If you can use it, do you know someone else who could?

We’ve received countless useful homestead tools and items from friends purging for a move. We’ve also rehomed useful tools and farm animals if either we don’t need them, or we see a friend who really does

4. Can you sell items to reinvest capital back into the homestead?

We’ve sold scrap metal and steel we’ve found on our property and reinvested it back into our meat animal feed budget. We also sell eggs for our small property savings fund.

5. Can you barter with any of these items?

Trade! Hey I need some manual labor help, will you take a chainsaw or a power drill? And yes sometimes we have multiple that we use to barter with.

6. Could I turn this problem (clutter) item into a solution?

We have a tiny kitchen space. By downsizing our kitchen and dining wares, we have significantly more space in the kitchen. Who needs 2 or 3 of everything anyway?

7. Does it bring you joy?

This one is easy… If it doesn’t bring you joy on the daily, then you probably don’t need it.

Spring cleaning. And I can breath again!

What can you purge in your life?

Peace and Love

Quincy 

HOME GROWN GARDEN TILLER CHICKENS

Putting our birds to work in the garden is our first step into permaculture; making a solution out of the problem. I am about to tell you what steps I took to prepare my garden and my birds for their living transition.

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It all started last week when I finally decided something’s gotta give. We have hens who are no longer laying, have gone broody, or are causing detriment to the flock. I happened to have one of each and then some. All of which are my oldest hens and to my knowledge had stopped laying, well it didn’t end there. An Australorp gal decided she liked the taste of her fellow layers’ eggs and one of my Orpintons went broody and made the other girls miserable.

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So, these girls had to go. I originally planned on culling, or butchering, the ole gals, but permaculture kept blinking in my mind. Is there something these ole girls can do around the homestead?

Yes there is.. and way more than just one option!

I decided the girls would be best suited to find a new home in our vegetable garden. Its hardened over form winter and needed a face lift. Luckily I deep cleaned the main coop about 6 weeks ago. So all the pine shaving, deep bedding goodness has had a little time to air out. This will make a great mulch for the garden.

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So, I caught all my older gals and transferred them from the coop, outside to my fenced garden. In my terms, I ghetto rigged the fence to make it a bit taller (I have no deer problems so I have no use of high fences) And with the help of a friend, clipped all the birds’ wings in order to possibility prevent fly outs.

Whew… got my cardio in for the day!

All the girls have since been busy busy at work tilling, spreading, and shallow aerated. Even Big Papa (our main rooster) has found a home with the girls (he spent the winter on his own outside the coop), so its safe to say he is in good company now, with 5 hens and 3 ducks all to himself.

To my surprise all 5 of the girls started laying again just two days later, I haven’t seen broody behavior, nor any evidence of egg eating.

Maybe they disliked the younger hens, maybe two roos on 12 girls was just WAY too much for my ladies, or maybe they just miss their free-er range days…

It’s ok girl friends I understand, if the mama hens aren’t happy, aint no chicken happy!

They are now free to wander as they please within the confines of the garden fence. If any of ya’ll didn’t tune in for my chicken hating neighbor stories, you haven’t missed much, but maybe now you get why my dinos lost their free-range privileges…

Let’s just say chickens are terrible landscapers…. te he he… ahem.

I am just so happy that my girls are happy again, whatever it was. And my garden is happy to.

Dreaming of a luscious garden,

QG

(BTW..Anyone who is interested in having chickens or already does and may have questions, seek out none other than Justin Rhodes, his vlog on YouTube has transformed my view of chicken farming and I hope he can do the same for you. Thank You Justin at Abundant Permaculture for your wealth of knowledge!)

LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

Homesteading isn’t easy, the decision to live this way, however, it was the easiest choice we have ever made.

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I get asked all the time if it wouldn’t just be easier to scrap the whole idea and move back into town. And yeah, I bet it would be easier. There are days we want to quit, and there are always going to be days when we’re even asking ourselves why the hell we are doing this?!?

But isn’t that the point? To constantly reassess your life and how your dreams and aspirations fit into that life. To reach your goals and then set higher ones. To never stop asking the hard questions.

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Do I really want to do this?

Do I really want to keep doing this?

I am really happy with this?

How can I do this better?

Taking time to reflect on oneself and reconnecting with ones earthly desires is suddenly so paramount in my life. (FYI yoga is a great time for personal reflection!) Allotting time of reflection is something I have lacked  in recent years. But as my family stands at a crossroad of decisions, let us just say I am reflecting all over. And sometimes not so gracefully…

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Maybe its the changes in my life over the last year, or maybe its this deep burning inside me to pack up my family and rough it. To really go off-grid for real. Modern advancements make this much easier and accessible, but in all honesty I was totally born in the wrong generation.

I feel that, sometimes on a daily basis. Maybe I am an old soul or maybe its something bigger. I wish for simplicity and wide open space. I don’t dream of an augmenting bank account or a fancy car, and though vacationing all over the world sounds great, where do I sign… I don’t need travel to be happy. I dream of a piece of land to call my own… now that I am a wife, OUR OWN. I want to leave something tangible and meaningful for my children. Not just money and of course never debt.

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But of something more real than that. Something hard work gave us and they watched their parents build. I want them to be proud of our growth as humans and as homesteaders.

I dream of a family homestead. Of raising and teaching my children to live off the land. Planting respect for the earth and mother nature’s presence inside their hearts. Growing and learning with them. Working the ground side my side with them as they emerge into their own people. Releasing them into the world with the trust and belief that they are prepared for whatever may come. And one day we hope to see our children doing the same with their babies.

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Homesteading is not a fad or a phase for us. And believe me, we have had our share of skeptics and their opinions of our life. Folks are just scared of what they don’t know, although in my mind, growing organically from home should be something everyone knows proficiently.

This is our mission, to teach our kids, and hopefully some of you folks reading.

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Continually learning and being open minded to possibilities has fueled our homestead and our desire to now teach others. It feels good to learn new things, especially skills and trades valuable to this lifestyle.

Spencer and I want to leave something for future generations. A place our loved ones can come back and visit. And see where they came from.

So, whenever I ask myself why the hell am I doing this, the argument with my conscience is short. My heart and my mind know why we live this life. Why we pour our blood sweat and tears into our animals. Why we have to leave social events early to feed said animals, just to wake up even earlier to feed them again. And why we don’t vacation often (know a farm sitter…??) And now you know why we do it to.

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Some look at this life as full of complications, we see it as a privilege we are so lucky to have. I wouldn’t trade our crazy farm for anything… All 15 chickens, 4 ducks, 3 horses, 3 dogs, and 1 cat of it!!! This is my family, my life, my passion and I’m sticking to it.

Peace and Love.

Q

NO KNEAD PEASANT BREAD

If there’s one thing I love more than butter, it is bread. And this my friends, take the cake this week in our farm house. This soft, buttery crusted bread is sure to sweep any diner party or family meal off their feet.

It may sound odd calling it peasant bread, this is simply due to its short ingrident list and prep time.

Lets jump right in.

First let me be specific about my Pyrex bowls.

Ingridients:

  • 4 cups bread flour (all-purpose works to)
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 teaspoons organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons organic butter
  • 2 oven-safe glass bowls (I love my Pyrex)

Directions:
   
 

  • In large Pyrex measuring cup; dissolve sugar in lukewarm water.
  • Sprinkle yeast over water.
  • Set aside 15 minutes or until bubbly/foamy.
  • In separate bowl wish together flour and salt.
  • Once yeast is ready slowly pour over flour mixture, folding in thoroughly.  I usually use a fork for this, I pour in a little and mix until its absorbed, then pour a little more over, and fold it in, and so on, and so forth.
  • Once flour is entirely absorbed and mixed into your gooey dough ball, cover with tea towel or kitchen towel and set in a warm safe location to rise.

  
(Depending on how warm your house or kitchen is, your rise time may vary. It could be shorter or longer. I always say the long the better. Just keep in mind that what is best my kitchen may not be in yours. I have a drafty cold house.)

  • In any case I usually let my dough rise from an hour to two hours in the warmest location possible.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once risen, punch dough down with a fork, really makes are to punch it down thoroughly, sort of turning it in on itself if you will, as it will be very stick and caked to whatever bowl it rose in.
  • From here it can either rise again for a bit, or move onto the next step.
  • with two forks, punch down and split the ball down the center, creating two equally sized new dough balls.
  • You will have already used your desired amount of butter to liberally grease the two pyrex baking bowls.
  • Place a ball into each bowl and leave 15-20 more minutes to rise or until the balls have risen within an inch of the bowls rim.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
  • Turn oven down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake 15 more minutes.
  • Remove promptly, turn loaves out onto cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.

And there you have it! This bread goes great with anything from chili to meatloaf and we just love it! And we hope you do as well 

Peace and Love 

QG