Prepping the homestead for a road trip.

As I sit here, sipping my coffee and avoiding the inevitable and lengthy list of to-dos that must be done before Wednesday, Im wondering why we agreed to this trip in the first place. I’m leaving my garden and my animals for two whole weeks. I’ve given my self a head cold from the stress of it, a talent I’ve had since I was an adolescent going on any family vacation. Like really Q, chill out. We. Will. All. Survive. Operation ‘Plant as much as I can before Wednesday’ is behind schedule. I’m not done packing.. for five people. And I’ve lost my favorite essential oil roller..

but baby this vacation and I need each other! The chance to show my growing family the place I love so much. See the inside of my grandparents house one last time. To fish all day, swim and lay in the sun. To spend 16 days and 16 nights with Spencer, no work all play? Done and done. Buh-bye homestead I love, I’ll be back for you..

Everyone needs a vacation right? To get away from their reality and live differently for a bit?

For a homesteader, a vacation is a scary adventure with unpredictable outcomes. Will the garden die? Or get swarmed by bugs? Will my chickens get slaughtered by the resident coyotes? Or will my goose finally succeed and I come home to fresh goslings? There’s are so many unknowns.. lucky for us we have some great best friends who’ve been there and done that with us on all things homestead. Without them, this trip would not be possible. I don’t say that lightly, they are literally the only people I trust with my babies, both plant and animal. They’ll be watering my gardens with love and shepherding my feathered flock. And for that I say, thank you thank you thank you & amen!

Because everyone needs a vacation guys, even a homebody homesteader mama like me.

It’s not easy either. I feel a little crazy, dragging our little family halfway across the country. And I’m sure Spencer will be tearing me from the garden kicking and screaming come Wednesday morning. Maybe it’s not the best call to head out in the middle of June? Major planning and timely execution got us to this point. From installing drip irrigation in one garden, in ground irrigation repairs in the other, building a new chicken run & treating the flock for mites, planting hundreds of starts & thousands of seeds, and a whole lot of mulching everything in sight I think we’re going to be ok.

Maybe the shelling peas will rippen before we leave, maybe it’ll be after. And it’s ok. That’s the best benny of house-sitting for a gardener, you get to reap the harvest while they’re gone. And of what plenty there will be. I might miss out on peas, spinach, and kale. When I get back the cucumbers, watermelons, and pumpkins will be vining around, maybe the raspberries will be ready, and I’m sure we will be rolling in salad greens and radishes. And all the while we’ll be teaching our kids to swim, eating fresh caught fish, soaking up family time, and recharging our souls for this life we love.

Here I sit still sipping coffee, writing this when I really need to get back to it. But I’ll definitely finish my coffee first. Then I’ll be logging as many hours in my happy gardens as I can before departure.

Peace and Love, Q

Dalton “Roadhouse” James

January 30th, 1990 – March 9th, 2017

I’ve been writing this for over a year… every time I open it, I struggle to find the words. The right words to send you off with. You’ve been gone a lap around the sun and then some, and I still feel like I’m just beginning to let you go. The right words to describe who you were. The words that would undeniably resonate your memory to anyone reading this. And I’m writing this standing in the bathroom still wet from the shower… What random timing from inspiration eh? I guess when it hits ya, it just hits.

As for the right words? Ill find none perfect. I really never thought I would be here.. And really, the perfect words would be yours. If anything I’m sure you’d have a whole lot to say about this whole ordeal. In truth I’d really like your opinion.. on just about everything really.. from my outfit choice (since you made me get spiffy just to go to our local watering hole) or what Im making for dinner tonight, even what we’ll name baby #4, the one Ill never get to call you up and tell you about. You always had an opinion, sometimes even an unwelcome or sarcastic opinion. From gmo debates in the kitchen to which restaurant we HAD to eat at on your most recent visit. As if I needed that when you were still alive. And now I desire it more than anything. One last pointless debate. One more strategic and sarcastic jab. It’s funny the things we miss or choose to specifically remember.

Like the kitchen.. I have so many memories of you in our kitchens. And so many others honestly. So random! Eating, drinking, or just talking. From making a couples dinner on a Valentine’s Day in a tiny apartment when we were young and dumb to pouring shots of your favorite while I roasted a homegrown bird that you helped us butcher. My mothers sink full to the brim with empty beer cans from a long pong tourney, and those parties we were never supposed to throw, that first night I saw you play and heard you sing. Holding a month old baby or rocking another through a teething fit, you have been there with us. Intertwined into every piece of the fabric of our lives. You, our dearest friend, are part of us. A piece never again to be filled.

Even after you left back to work. The first just as the third time. You were still everywhere. A bent up cowboy hat on the hook by the door, an empty bottle of pricey tequila from that one year of rodeo, a torn oilfield hoodie I found in the trunk of my Buick, a koozie hanging in line next to everyone else’s; you littered yourself all over and I could never be more grateful for that. Well now at least. I’d always give you guff for leaving your shit everywhere. And I am positive you’d give me shit for saying guff just now. I still laugh at things I know you’d think were funny. Or smile at a new song I know you’d love. You are everywhere. In a country song on the radio, air drumming like a mad man in the passenger seat. Singing every word to every song. I still have this lingering feeling that if I wanted to bad enough I could dial you up and I know you’d answer. Ever that reliable phone talker.

You’ve shown me more about how to live this last year than ever. I’m sorry I didn’t listen more when you were alive. Im sorry I didn’t relax a little more and take things a little less serious when you were here. I envied your ability to maintain a positive outlook even on your worst of days. How you’d never let life get you down. That old soul and excitedly happy outlook have taught me so much. I’m laughing more now. Stressing less now. Jumping at opportunities and working harder for my dreams. I’m not afraid anymore, well not as scared at least. I can see more clearer now. Thank you friend.

You buddy, were my best friend. I’m not saying that lightly or because I want to impress you.. or anyone. Lawd knows I wouldn’t dare make your head bigger than it already is. It’s just truth. But you brother were the Ted Mosby to our Marshall and Lilly (without all the whiny marital dream garb) and I know you’d laugh at that. But it’s so true. You love us so equally. I never felt like you weren’t my best friend just as much as Spencer’s. Never did we or will we have a friend like you. You’ve watched our relationship grow, blossom, wilt, and winter over to come back for a stronger season. And you never took sides, you never held anything against us, but were there so equally for us both. So encouraging and loving, so understanding and wise. I don’t know how you always did it. Too much info? Never. Nothing was ever TOO personal for you. You just loved us.

I can’t believe you’re gone… what a time to get this out there huh? But Sisters Rodeo.. it was your holiday bro.. and it will never be the same. I know everyone keeps saying that, but it really won’t. There will always be an empty chair where you should be sitting. I might be the only one not excited to celebrate but I’m working on it. My reason to put my boots on and cowgirl up, was all you bro. And now I guess it has to be you again. You wouldn’t want me to sit and mope, I know you’d have drug me up those damn bleachers anyway. What fate that I’m pregnant for rodeo… again! Last year you kept me present in my grief so I could watch over everyone and this year it’s fate. This mama is not meant for a rodeo party quite yet. Last year I had such a vivid memory, one that I wish so hard for but would never come true. I can just hear you saying, “GET UP, WE’RE GOING! (Whistle, yaw!) Put your boots on… ok wait… LEXI!!! Put QBs boots on since she can’t reach her feet! Now get up and come on! We gotta get that baby outta you somehow!!” And Miss Dublin was born not even a week after your party. It breaks my heart that you’ll never meet her, see how much she looks like her sisters, hold her for me while I make dinner like you always did with Murph. And now here I am again, one year later, pregnant with a new baby. God willing you’ve put in a word up there and it’s a little boy that can carry your name.

I miss you calling me from the road and talking for hours. I miss your loud voice. I miss your sweet singing voice. That shit eating grin. I miss how you always raced to ride shotgun like a kid. One thing I don’t miss is being shot in the toe by a BB gun, I’ll get you back one day! I miss being practically asphyxiated by your cologne before a night on the town or mostly the rodeo, sounds odd but you choked us with that smell bro. I miss your sometimes ridiculous music choices. Your laugh. I miss lessens on the oilfield, when you’d suddenly serious guy up and talk about your passion, you loved that roughneck life. I even miss your horrid sexist jokes.. and that’s saying something. That grin.

Man you left too soon. Thank you for being you. Never trying to be something you weren’t. For taking what life threw at you and throwing it back harder. Never selling yourself short. For always being there, a constant in our lives. For unconditional friendship and love. A warm hug. A good joke. Help when we needed it. Acceptance. Fun. Encouragement. Your commitment. A laugh when I really needed it. Thank you for the people you loved that you brought into my life, and now I love them, your family away from home and anyone who touched your life or said you spoke of us often. Most of all, for being a force of nature. For teaching us something about ourselves and about life. I promise we’ll not forget it, none of us. And don’t worry about us, we got this buddy.

To Dalton Ray James, a lighthearted soul and fiercely loyal friend. Forever a big deal, and truly always in our hearts. Now let’s do the damn thing!

Elderberry Syrup

This is straight up nature in a bottle guys. Only 5 super ingredients make up this immunity boosting syrup. Once a quite expensive remedy, elderberry syrup can now be made, by you, in your own home.

This time of year it’s all we can do to keep our families protected from not only the elements but the dreaded flu season. Is it just me or is there something going on with this glorified “flu” vaccine? Call me crazy but it’s not working. Since my oldest daughter was 2 I’ve taken my family on a journey of natural solutions. From DoTERRA essential oils to this sickness kicking syrup.

I source all my ingredients carefully making sure I find the best ingredients for my family. All of them can be found on Amazon and most can also be found at your local health food stores.

It takes only a short time to throw together and the aroma it puts off is strong and beautiful. It can be taken once daily as an immune supplement or every 2-3 hours when you’re sick. If you do take it as a daily supplement I suggest taking the weekends off as to let your immune system regulate itself. Best part is you can literally put this on your waffles at breakfast, ooOo or maybe crepes?

So here it is y’all enjoy!

  • 2/3 C dry whole elderberries
  • 3 1/2 C water
  • 2 TBS ginger root
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 C raw honey
  1. Add berries, water, and spices to saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover.
  3. Simmer 45-90 minutes or until cooked down by almost half. Remove from heat.
  4. Strain berries from liquid squishing the juice out of the berries as you go.
  5. When cool enough to handle, but not yet cold, add honey and stir until dissolved.
  6. Pour into glass jar/bottle and store in refrigerator.
  7. Dosage: children 1-2 tsp, adults 1-2 TBS

Pretty easy, eh? Let me know what you think about it. My kids love it, but some other don’t, even if it’s an acquired taste for you or your family, just know this stuff does only good for your body and works wonders on a stubborn cold. And it looks pretty dang cute in a jar like this in the fridge. I can’t tell you how many conversations have been started from this bottle of purple beauty.

Gotta get back to seed inventorying. Happy garden dreaming y’all!

Peace and Love,

Q

The National Ladies Homestead Gathering

Hi all! I wanted to jump on here and express my absolute happiness for the most recent development for my homestead. I was recently watching a Justin Rhodes vlog, you know.. my chicken hero? If you don’t, look that man up on YouTube immediately and your mind will be blown! So back to watching one of his vlogs. They met up with an amazing woman back east named Cindi Ball, the National President and founder of the Ladies Homestead Gathering! How did I not know about this before???

Long story short I found myself filling in the blanks of a questionnaire trying to learn more about the gathering and find my local chapter. Well surprise surprise there wasn’t one. Upon checking a box about the desire to start my own local chapter I didn’t think much of it. Until, I was contacted by the gathering and offered the opportunity to do just that! My own chapter? Really..? Could this be possible? The answer was yes. So after discussing this in length with my husband and with Cindi herself (by phone of course) I decided to take the leap!

Last Tuesday I hosted the interest meeting for the Ladies Homestead Gathering of Deschutes County as its chapter president. Elated with excitement and nerves I had a bit of a struggle starting out. Tripping over tongue and talking wayyy to fast, but after the ice was broken my passion was able to spill out over the conference room, I had found my tribe. Women who don’t glaze over when I ramble about chickens for the millionth time? Could this be real? Very yes! My cup is so full from this small amount of women and I can already see our chapter growing into an amazing community of like minded ladies.

For those of you unaware of ‘The Gathering’ here’s our mission statement:

The National Ladies Homestead Gathering exists to provide a welcoming environment, where women can share new ideas, celebrate victories, address challenges and cultivate community with like-minded women. All women are welcome who have a dream, calling or desire to be more self-sufficient. In the planning phase of a veteran homesteader – every women has something to contribute or gain from coming together.

Fantastic right? I never knew there could be so many women so near to me with the same mindset. For years I have found my camaraderie and mentorship through social media. Vlogs, tutorials, YouTube videos, and summits were always there for me, but I wanted more. I wanted something tangible. Something outside the social media world. I searched for an identity for myself in addition to wife and mother. I love my family life but mama needed something to pour myself into. How could I get so lucky to find this group I’ll never know. But I’m here now and so grateful for it.

For any interested Ladies out there, come join us. We’re dying to meet you and pour out our hearts to help you succeed. Join our tribe, you won’t regret it! We will be meeting regularly at the Redmond OR library every third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 pm. And if you’re too far to travel find your own local chapter, or, start your own!

Visit the Ladies Homestead Gathering website for more info. You can email me directly at quincy.burke91@gmail.com or find me on Facebook or Instagram for our local chapter info.

I hope to see you at our November meeting.

Peace and Love

And happy Homesteading!

Q

Simply Delicious Homemade Pesto.

Hi y’all! If you love pesto you’ll love this recipe, if you also love preserving your herb harvest this post is for you.

Before this summer I never how simple and fun making homemade pesto was. Even better if you have your own right outside your back door, am I right?

All you need is a food processor/blender and cute jar to stuff it in and you’re set.

Ingredients:

  • 3 C fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/4 C pine nuts
  • 1/2 C organic olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan (fresh if possible)

Directions:

  1. Clean off any bugs or dirt from basil and rinse under water if needed (pat dry)
  2. Add basil leaves, pine nuts, lemon zest & juice, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to food processor and blend until well incorporated.
  3. Drizzle in oil and let emulsify and blend in well.
  4. Voila! Pack your yummy pesto into a jar and store in your fridge.

Make this pesto with any and all varieties of basil you choose. So far I’ve done sweet, Thai, and cinnamon… lime and purple are next up. I even started more seeds and took a few cuttings for indoor winter basil. Add it pizza, pasta, toast or anything your heart desires.

Cheers y’all!

Peace and Love,

Q

Preserving Garden Herbs for Winter. 

Winter is coming. Anyone out there a Game of Throne-ers like us…? Yes? No? Well anyway…. winter is literally just round the corner here in the PNW, we'll not really since it's fire season here and fires are raging not far off. But with all these fresh herbs filling my house and garden I can't bear the idea of not having some around to lift up my stews and season our meals. Oh those long cold days. How wonderful that sounds right about now. So heres just a few ways I'm preserving my herbs:

  1. Drying
  2. Freezing in olive oil
  3. Infusing in olive oil & vinegar
  4. Pesto!
  5. Extracts and tinctures.

So most of you probably know how to dry herbs, but if not here's the short and sweet version. Bundle and tie herbs together and hang upside down, preferably somewhere away from dust and moisture. Once dry remove leaves from stems, crush or leave whole and store in an air tight container.

  • Currently hanging: Greek oregano, chives, lime and Thai basil. Today I plan to put up some pineapple sage to dry also.

  • Finished product: Greek oregano

Note: With all of the following recipes be sure to pick of any bugs and shake off any dirt hanging on so they/it won't end up in your finished product. I also rinsed all my herbs in cold water and patted them dry.

One of the best ways to preserve that fresh taste is to freeze an herb in olive oil. At the time I did this I had an over abundance of basil so that's what I did plus I love the flavor and olive oil is my chosen cooking oil other than the animals fats. So I simply cut up my basil with some herb shears, covered the bottom of my ice cube tray with the cut herbs and poured the oil over to cover.

  • After freezing overnight.

When it comes to infusing oils and vinegars it's as simple as stuffing a jar full of dried or fresh herbs and pouring the liquid over the top. Make sure all the plant matter is covered in the case of olive oil so as to avoid mold. I infused olive oil (any other oils work also; avocado, canola, etc.) with all kinds of basils and oregano. I infused vinegar with the basil also. These will both be used for salad dressings and cooking in the winter. Put them in a dark place to infuse for a couple months. If using fresh herbs you may encounter some cloudiness in your oils due to the water in the leaves. If so just leave off the lid for a day or so (if it's warm out) and the water particles will quickly evaporate. Below are a few of the infusions.

  • Vinegar left and olive oil right.

I don't know about you but I love pesto! And anyway I can get it cheaper than the store is right up my ally. Most of the ingredients are common stock for most kitchens, simply source yourself some pine nuts and you're on your way! I found a few great recipes on Pinterest.
Hint: fresh basil from the garden works best!

  • If you want this to last I suggest doing a double batch in order to freeze some and eat some fresh. As you can see mine is halfway gone… Can you say yum?!

Extracts and tinctures sound harder than they are and some recipes call for a little more measuring than I chose to do. I made it simple like Shaye from The Elliott Homestead with her echinacea tincture. I stuffed my jars full of these herbs and dumped vodka on them. My currents extractions and tinctures consist of echinacea tincture (recipe courtesy of The Elliott Homestead as I stated above) and chocolate mint extract. Very soon I'll be making my own homemade vanilla extract for which I might consult an actual recipe since it seems it needs to be a little more exact. As for the mint and echinacea I did as follows. Prepare clean jars. Clip fresh herbs. Leaves and stems (echinacea also the blossoms). Stuff in jars. Pour vodka completely over foliage so it is entirely submerged. Fasten with air tight lid. Boom.

  • Pow Wow Echinacea
  • Freshly stuffed jar of Echinacea.

  • After a few days the flowers will lose their bright color

  • Chocolate Mint extract

  • I highly suggest labeling everything you extract, tincturize, or infuse. Herbs lose their form and color slightly and it can be hard to tell what's what after a few days. Been there, done that. Labels are you friend!

Well there you have it! Many ways to save those fresh herbs. From freezing over night, drying for a weekish, or waiting those few months to use your yummy garden goodies you'll be set for winter. It's well worth it folks. Make sure you prune your herbs regularly so they stay around longer and don't bolt. Once they do save those seeds folks! Aaaaand don't forget to start more herbs for your fall garden, if you treat them right you may be able to keep them inside for the long haul!

Purple basil anyone?

Peace and Love,
Quincy

8 Free Seed-Starters

There’s no need to go break the bank on fancy seed trays. Up-cycle any of these for a quick and easy (and free) solution. Eventually I plan on buying a couple soil blockers in order to cut down on our waste and use of plastic, but until I can invest in that tool this is what we did this year. Check it out. 

  1. Milk cartons– these were empty epsom salt cartons we just cut the top off and filled with soil. 
  2. Toilet paper rolls– we save all our rolls for crafts or firestartes, and now see starters. Works great for peas since you can fill halfway and back fill as the sprouts grown taller. 
  3. Shallow boxes– this was my mother’s experiment and it worked amazing for sunflowers, and that’s just mulch from the chicken yard. 
  4. Shipping materials– fill with soil and plant. Boom. 
  5. Juice bottles– all did was cut off the top and added two drain holes. 
  6. Egg cartons— ever tried planting tomatoes in egg shells?And here’s a couple more options that I didn’t have the chance to try, though I have seen other folks find great success with also 
  7. Milk jugs– simply cut the jug in half and discard top half, poke some drain holes in the bottom and voila! 
  8. Coffee cans– coffee cans are great since they hold warmth quite well and can be reused many times. All you you need to do is take a hammer and a nail and add a few drain holes in the bottom. For an added effect only fill halfway with soil and cover it with plastic to retain temperature, sorta like a greenhouse.
  • One a side note: instead of buying more greenhouse seed trays I also started a great deal of our garden in paper cups and solo cups that we had lying around the house, saved a lot of money doing that folks!

As you can see, there’s no need to spend countless dollars year after year on expensive to buy cheaply made plastic seed trays. This is more sustainable and much more financially forgiving. Not to mention you will be cutting down on your household waste and reusing those paper/plastic/metal products. Most of the paper based ones can also be planted directly into the ground. Give it a try, what can you lose? And just keep planting seeds y’all!

Okra in the sunset.

Peace and Love

Q

    FORAGING FOR EDIBLE WEEDS. 

    I was asked recently by a follower for a basic lesson on how I forage for edible weeds. And to that I’ll say.. not very proficiently. I am no professional and I don’t do it enough to be called a ‘forager’. One day of course. But I’ve definitely foraged and eaten off the land, not nearly as much as I could however. At our previous property purslane and lambs quarter abounded and isn’t bad sautéed in butter. 

    By true definition a weed is only ‘a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth.’ Thank you Merriam-Webster for driving home my point. 

    Dandelion buds drying before infusion

    So here’s just a few tips that got me started:

    Do some research. Some of my favorite websites for foraging:

    • Edible Wild Food. They’re website lists tons of info on edible plants, flowers, and fungi.
    • Grow Forage Cook Ferment. This is where most my inspiration comes from whether it be foraging for eating or homemade body care products.
    • Forage and Harvest. They provide email dosages to keep you to date on info and provide all the info you need to reconnect with nature safely. 

    Start in your own yard/property or near by areas first. Check out your surrounds and see what’s available. You’d be suprised what growing right under your nose. 

    Check with your local Forest Service or community groups. Your local station may have printouts or advice to offer. Lots of outdoor hiking, foraging, gardening, homesteading groups have oodles of hands on experience to help you out. Im sure you can find one whether that be through Facebook or your city/county.

    Picking dandelions for mama

    Ask tons of questions. If you know anyone who has or does forage. Pick they’re brain! Ask they to take you out foraging sometime. 

    Find out what grows in your area. Each region is unique so I’m sure what is edible and grows where I live might not be what is edible and growing where you live. Around here we have tons of:

    • Purslane
    • Lambs quarter
    • Dandelion
    • Plantain

    I’m sure there are many more around but that’s what I seem to see the most of around our property. And up in the foothills this time of year there are thousands for morel mushrooms. 

    Ask for a second opinion if you’re not sure. If you kinda think that might be the right and plant but you’re not sure.. don’t eat it! Get someone to confirm for you before ingesting. 

    Don’t spray the edible weeds! Save your money the noxious weeds and let the edibles grow.. even if it’s in your yard 😉 Yes they may not grow exaclty where you chose, but edible weeds have a reason and purpose just as much as a lawn of grass or a garden of vegetables. 

    Got any chickens or rabbits? They love to eat weeds to even if you won’t. 

    There you have it! I’m sure there’s much more to be learned. And as I learn I’ll blog it all. 

    On the left olive oil, on the right grapeseed; both currently infusing.

    Right now I’m working on infusing olive and grape seed oils with dried dandelion buds so I can then make dandelion lotion bars. Post on that soon to come! Check out The Nerdy Farm Wife for all sorts of dandelion DIYs!

    Peace and Love,

    Q


    What’s in My Spring Garden?

    I had a few questions from friends about gardening these last month or so..

    Mostly it’s: 

    Where do I start?

    What do I plant?

    I’ve so been there. And I’m basically still a green horn at everything. There are way too many options out there. Here’s a bit from us so maybe y’all won’t have to go through the same trial and errors that we have. 

    Rhubarb making a comeback..

    We live in North Central Oregon (zone 6) so growing a plentiful garden can be a challenge. Since we don’t have the longest growing season, our last frost date being early to mid June, starting indoors is basically required if you want to be eating from your garden through spring and summer. Have a greenhouse? Perfect. You’re already a step ahead of me! We do have two 4’x 8′ hoop houses though, which will serve as a green house to our first transplants for our spring garden. Currently they’re housing 22 layer chicks, sorry, not sorry!

    (We plan to build a greenhouse in the near future in order to grow short season cold weather varieties through the winter)

    No greenhouse? Don’t fret. Seed starts do well with artificial light. Affordable growing lights can be acquired on the internet or at a local garden store. No money in the budget for garden purchases? That’s ok to. Lights are the best option to keep your seeds from becoming lanky but they’ll do fine with natural sun exposure also. Find a southern facing warm window in your house where you can set up a table for seed starting. 

    Now onto the good stuff. 

    Here’s a simple list of basic seed starting supplies:

    • Seed-starting soil mix (I reuse any soil from last years pots or planters before buying new) But I also really love those jiffy pellets! 
    • Seed starting trays- basic containers w/drainage holes and a tray (upcycle and get creative if you need to)
    • Grow lights
    • Seeds

    Choosing what to put in your garden up to you. I can tell you all day long what you should be planting, but in the end it’s all about what you and your family will eat and how much time you’re willing to spend tending your plants. No sense in wasting time and money on food you’ll likely not eat, and a garden does need regular tending whether it be mulching, weeding, or checking for (squishing) bugs. 

    Currently: seed starts and baby chicks.

    Here’s a list of what belongs in YOUR spring garden: (what I’m planting/ already planted = *)

    • Lettuce*
    • Cabbage*
    • Radish
    • Leeks
    • Peas*
    • Spinach*
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Potatoes
    • Parsley*
    • Endive
    • Swiss chard*
    • Kale*
    • Broccoli
    • Collards*
    • Mustard greens*
    • Celery
    • Beets*
    • Rutabaga
    • Cauliflower*
    • Green Onions*

    Since I’m a seed addict and have so many of these varieties already, choices were made based on what I have on hand right now. I still have to purchase things like radish and broccoli seed, we plant so much of these I never have left overs.  Our potatoes will be planted next month using the potato tower method, which I’ll definetly be making a post about as it happens. I’m also starting herbs I have now since they can easily be grown indoors full time anyway. 


    Let’s talk seeds! I love seeds, all seeds, free seeds, heirloom seeds, big or small. Seeds are the stuff of life. And I’m going to give you a peek at my favorite companies. 

    Mike the Gardner – Seeds of the Month club

    • 100% non-GMO
    • 8 packs your first month, 4 thereafter
    • Affordable heirloom seeds

    Territorial Seed Company

    • Local- Cottage Grove, OR
    • Family owned
    • Offers only untreated seed (non-GMO)

    Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

    • Nearly 2,000 varieties of heirloom seeds – largest selection in U.S. 
    • Family owned
    • Supplies free heirloom seeds to poor countries.

    Seed Savers Exchange 

    • USDA organic 
    • Heirloom seeds
    • Non-profit dedicated to preservation of heirloom seeds
    • Tax deductible membership


    I take whatever advice I can get, and have learned much from fellow homesteaders and some really amazing books. Most of what I know I can thank these three folks and their amazing families for the trial and error they’ve let us all watch over the years. 
    Shaye Elliott- The Elliott Homestead

    • Welcome to the Farm — How-to Wisdom from The Elliott Homestead

    Justin Rhodes- Abundant Permaculture

    • Permaculture Chickens DVD
    • YouTube vlog

    Jill Winger- The Prairie Homestead

    • Your Custom Homestead e-book

    These folks are my heroes and I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for these amazing homesteaders who inspired me and my family to get back to basics and grow a life of wholesome plenty. 

    A great morning ritual is full of coffee and a good book

    Over and out.

    Peace and Love,

    Quincy

    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