Homestead Plan 2017

Holy cow where did last year go?
We accomplished a lot in 2016 and failed at even more. 

The onions I planted so the horses could trample them…
We’re learning to grow and live more seasonally and to appreciate what we have while we have it. 

Like all homesteaders this is a lesson that has been tough to learn. We wanted (and did) to dive right into the deep end. Some of our endeavors were successful and others a horrible tragedy. 

My little chicken helper
But not this year. We’re on a new property with a whole new lease on our homesteading dreams. 

We have learned so much the last two years and it’s it so lucky you can take all your trials and tribulations with you, isn’t it? I don’t know what I would do without all the hands on hours I’ve had of trying to make things work. 

But that’s just it, we can’t make things work in our favor all the time. Sometimes we just need to go with that flow. 

And I gotta say that all homesteaders have one flaw, the fact that we have to learn it on our own. Am I right? A fellow steader can tell you all their stories and give warning after warning but you’ll still need to learn it for yourself.  

Raised beds which grew so much food!
This is most ardently true of us Gardner’s. Were cheap (frugal) and we’re ok with a little hard work and good ole fashion elbow grease. 
So this year there’s lots to be done. 

Here’s a little of what we have in store:

  • Build Justin Rhodes’ Chickshaw
  • Put away 60 broilers in freezer camp
  • Establish our crop garden
  • Build more garden spaces and soil– put those chooks to work!
  • Build a greenhouse
  • Can and freeze our harvest for winter (basically I want to grow enough veggies to sustain us through winter)
  • Add 30 laying hens
  • Grow 10 turkeys- also for freezer camp 
  • Build a hog pen
  • Expand meat rabbit project – build pasture pens
  • Put up 5 tons of hay for winter
  • Fence in and seed front pasture – horse grazing

It’s a lot to get done and that’s just the big things… 

    we’ve got a lot of work ahead and I can’t way for this snow to melt so we can get started!

    Peace and Love…. and seed starts!

    Q

    A homestead school experiment for Ireland

    Don’t Throw Away That Carcass! 

    Here on the homestead one of our biggest missions is to use all we can from all we have. In the case of the thanksgiving turkey that means keeping the carcass. 

    All we do is throw the hole thing into a large stockpot, cover with water, and let it simmer on a low setting overnight. 

    In the morning simply sift through and pull out all the bones and skin you can find (this can be a rather long process sometimes), add whatever veggies and seasonings you’d like and voila! 


    I add the veggies and seasonings after the bones and skin are removed just to clarify, then I simmer for a few more hours on low heat. 

    This makes a great turkey soup base to be used immediately or frozen for future use. Another option is to strain the meat from the liquid and keep the juice as a bone stock/ broth. The meat can be used for whatever, even dog food if you have too much leftovers sitting around as it is… if your house is anything like my house you’ll have left overs for daayyyys anyway!


    This way the gift of the thanksgiving bird keeps on giving, over here at the Gardner home we’re thankful for that and birds life for the nourishment it provides our bodies. 

    Wishing you all full bellies and overflowing hearts this holiday season! 

    Peace and Love, Q

    Summer Snipets. And What I Learned About Me. 

    We’ve been a little blog MIA lately enjoying all the sunshine! Here’s a little photo story of what’s been going on here on and off the Gardner Homestead. 

    Our hen Margox hatched our first ever batch of   homegrown chicks. All 7 chicks are growing up fast. 

    First time seeing those tiny feet!

    Spencer and I lucked out on some KID-FREE time and went to see Smash Mouth. Save to say I was wayyy more excited than my hubs. 

    Our little Murphy girl is a walking, running, babbling adorable toddler now. How did it happen so fast?!?

    Oh Ireland, my Ireland. Please stop growing up so darn fast! Love, Mom

    If we harvest nothing else, there’s always onions.

    Thank you to whichever previous tenant planted the beauties. This our third summer here, is the first year they’ve had a full bloom. 

    See that cute spud? Yeah he and his siblings froze to death in Mid-June. They’ve finally bounced back…

    Happy 4th of July from these Gardner girls. 

    What’s a homestead without a messy backyard full of chickens?

    This baby is chore partner, she’s always by my side (or on my back!)

    Kato’s first time packing. Deaf dogs need jobs to right?

    Getting lost in my hop jungle, our third season with these Willamette Hops is sure to be a big producer.  Can you say home brewed IPA? 

    Exploring the Metolius River trails with my tribe of toddlers and dogs. 

    My little Irish earthlings

    Symbiotic hiking partner, she’s a versatile baby. She gets a free ride, while providing never ending cuteness, drooly kisses, and keeps me in shape!

    Some of that 4th madness! Shhhh…

    I can’t survive a summer without these, my favorites!

    Exploring our natural world close at hand.

    Planting beans for nitrogen to feed the corn
    1/2 Farm girl 1/2 daddy’s little princess
    Giving some summer lovin’ to my favorites
    Ireland saw her first play, The Little Mermaid

    The peas, oh these lovely purple peas. 

    Weekly harvests are almost over.
    Ladder rack rabbit tractor? Oh, yeah!

    One thing I’ll never do again is plant the hops so close to the house. They’re a harbor for bugs and insects, some good and some bad, but all of them right at my back door 🙁


    Like I said, I knew there would be onions. So far we’ve harvested radishes, onions, lettuce, kale, zucchini, and shelling peas. 

    That’s just a little of what’s happened this summer. Trust me there’s more but I won’t bore you with it here. Head on over to IG to see our full homestead photo diary @thegardnerhome. 

    Oh yeah, and if I know anything about me it’s that I love summer, case and point for this short update. I’m spending more time with family, less time with technology, and that’s OK. Keep an eye out for some of our new projects and plans… YouTube Vlog? 

    No spoilers yet!

    What have you been up to on or off your homestead this season? 

    Peace and Love,

    Quincy

    Hello world!

    I began this blog over a year ago in the hopes of changing my families life for the better. To get us back to basics. To learn those homesteader skills,  those do-it-yourself hacks, and farming strategies our grandparents and great-grandparents had passed down them. That was normal for them, their everyday life. It was their usual, and now it is ours.

    Over the course of the last year my family raised or own meat (pork, chicken, rabbit), grew our own vegetables (no matter the catastrophe it was), began to eat an all organic diet, we’ve decluttered our lives with much more to go, we’ve preserved food, we even bought a vehicle in cash; it may be rusty, but we own it, and it hauls my wild pack of kids and dogs fantastically, we have learned to grow fodder to supplement the animals diets, learned to grow and breed meat rabbits, and learned to raise and butcher broiler chickens. To top it all off the farm stud and I finally tied the not in 2016, it has been a year full of changes and new experiences.

    This is only the beginning for us. We’re learning to be self sufficient one day at a time. One project at a time. One deep breathe in at a time. I can’t wait to see what we will learn in this year. Want to join the journey with us? Follow us here at our blog! www.thehomessteadgardeners.com

    Find us on Instagram @thegardnerhome

    Or on Tumblr @homesteadgardner