Our first year of homesteading – end of winter

The snow has almost melted and it’s finally warm out!

Our first year to try to be more sustainable and actually lay claim to the title homesteading and this Coronacation happens. This is good and bad for us at this stage. On the one hand, I’m working from home, I don’t have to worry about crazy kid sports schedules, and we area ll stuck home so I have help. On the flip side, we can’t go anywhere for a break or to buy some of the supplies, and the year I was hoping to start selling our crafted and grown items, all the craft fairs and farmer’s markets are closed. 

What we have

So we do have a small garden, a grow light, potting soil, trays, and seeds.  

We have 28 chickens (& 1 duck), and space for more. We should be receiving 6 turkey chicks tomorrow. We have plenty of eggs for ourselves, plus we sell some. We sold enough before this lockdown to buy our feed and coop shavings, plus we were able to get extra compost for the girls.

Our farm fresh eggs

Another advantage of this Coronacation is that many places are offering free online classes. I am in the middle of four through Cornell University including starting up a homestead, soil health, bee keeping, and marketing your farmstead. I’m not sure I learned a lot from the first course on starting a homestead, but I’m glad there wasn’t a huge idea that we had missed.

Soon, it will be warm enough to forage. This week we hope to go out looking for fiddleheads. In another month or so there will be wild strawberries then raspberries.

What we do now

So I am continuing to craft, because as long as I can store items, I can get a decent supply up. I have items listed on GoImagine, Etsy, Amazon, and our Facebook page. I have been sewing reusable market tote bags made from recycled feed bags. I have crocheted hats for years, now I am working on crocheting coasters, yoga socks, pot holders, and other things. I have a pattern for bibs from the feedbags also, and intend to make snack bags soon.

I bought a mini greenhouse.

 The greenhouse is being set up in my basement to plant some veggie and herb starts in. The trick will be to keep them warm enough in my basement which is warmer than outside, but not terribly warm AND keep the cats out of it. I am hoping that the greenhouse will help with this, not just moisture content. Someday I hope to have a real greenhouse.

I didn’t get as far as harvesting the horseradish last year, so that is on the docket this week also. At the same time I dig that up, I plan to grab two soil samples to get the nutrient testing in the garden. Once the horseradish is harvested and the soil is completely thawed, then we can till the garden.

The kids and I are on Spring Break, so we need to have some fun, too.

What we need to do next

Turkey chicks will be living in my basement until they lose their downy fluff and get their “real” feathers. Then we’ll know they can survive being outside with the chickens.

Planting and continuing to care for the garden starts will continue and is a bit weather dependent.

There is talk of starting a CSA or farmstand with friends of ours (extended family, really). We need to decide if we really are or not. In which case we need to also start creating and canning things  like the maple mustard to sell.

Soon we’ll start canning some things as they come into season. I really hope to do some with dandelions this year, especially jelly and wine.

As our herbs grow, we’ll explore with making some teas as well as drying them for our own use. If we do have the CSA or Farmstand, we hope to sell bunches of herbs fresh (whatever might not sell, we can dry)

What is on your end of winter To Do List?

12 Comments

  1. One duck? Does he not get lonely? It sounds like coronacation is just the interesting finish to an interesting year – sorry it derailed your market plans! I will have to send you my basil ice cream recipe for your herbs and eggs. I imagine it would go wonderfully with the wold strawberries!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We had 4 ducks, but two were killed by predators and one had an injured leg and we put it down. Mr. Mocha grew up right with the chickens and turkeys, so he might be having an identity crisis, but he’s content. The chickens don’t swim in his pool with him though, they just drink out of it.

      Like

  2. I’ve always been fascinated by homesteading. My fiance, not so much. I really want to play with the chicks, make compost, and grow my own food.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Self sufficiency is a lot of work. I hope the farmers markets open soon, so you can sell and trade a little easier. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Farm-fresh eggs are glorious, and I find the yolks are a deeper yellow then the ones you buy at the supermarket. I love that you have a greenhouse! It is wonderful for getting seedlings to grow without needing a light.

    Liked by 3 people

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