Sustainable Living / Building a Homestead.. being more self sufficient. ALL of the above!

Hi Folks, welcome back! Hope you are having a great spring/start to summer. I know we sure are! I wanted to share kind of an update on what we have accomplished since moving out to the acreage with our focus on being more sustainable/ conscious of our use of daily items and tasks! I am feeling quite proud of what we are able to do here, but I KNOW there is lots more we can work on, and we will. I literally had no idea what to name this post as you can tell because it’s kind of a mix of everything LOL.

When it was official we were going to move into this property, I immediately knew there was things I would do drastically different here than I could in town, in a townhouse, with a shared backyard… etc etc… I started getting DEEP into the homesteading videos on youtube and became absolutely fascinated with them and the practices behind them. Devin and I were both definitely interested in the why and the how, both of which make sense to us and that we would like to work on, on our acreage. Here is what we have started with, while it may not look like much, it is. We are taking baby steps as to not get overwhelmed and just throw in the towel. Our current plan is just trying to add/expand what we have each year. Every year we spend here, the more we will learn and be able to do!

  1. The Garden (and food preservation)
  2. Composting
  3. Clothes Line Drying (reducing energy usage!)
  4. Chicken – Producing our own eggs (being more self sufficient)
  5. Recycle Center
  6. Reducing our single use products

The Garden

We have almost tripled the size of the garden this summer and planted it using the square foot gardening method (which I will do a separate post about soon!). This is big for us, we are able to produce WAY more fruit and vegetables for ourselves this year. One big thing, because of the increase in crop we will have, I have started getting myself prepared to can some of it at the end of the season. I will admit, I am not going to get into pressure canning this year because its highly intimidating to me and I want to do it with someone first. We also got some more perennial plants in the ground like rhubarb and rasberries, more of which we will add to next summer! We will work on a spot for more in ground garden items (think big stuff like rhubarb, viney guys like pumpkins etc .. that would take up a whole box if we did them up here!)

Ps. Add your coffee grounds and egg shells to your garden for extra soil nutrient!

Composting

This one has actually be fun, like a giant science project I would have done in grade school. I have a compost tumbler that I kept at the garden and then moved into the greenhouse for the winter, I actually have kept it in there because the nights are still getting low so I thought it might help it to stay inside there for a bit longer to have additional heat. I added all winter to it, and was told to just leave it, no turning, and I did. When things started to heat up this spring it was already looking so amazing! Once things thaw I did expect it to be quite wet, which it was, so when we did some yard clean up I added quite a bit of dry matter to it, to have the proper balance and its looking really good. I expect that by the end of the summer when I get the garden ready for fall it will be able to be added.

The Great thing about composing is I can usually add all our kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, toilet paper rolls etc.. to it and they will break down. Better than having it stink up your kitchen. PS… if you live in town you can even get mini counter top composter if you have a smaller garden you want to add compost too! For us, when the compost doesnt need anymore wet stuff, I feed kitchen scraps to the chicken so we have a win win situation. When the compost needs it, I split it between the two!

This is after adding to it all winter, it’s looking soo good! Ps. see the compostable fork from my friends bridal shower?! COOL!

Clothes Line

This one is kind of straight forward, drying your clothes out side = not using the dryer = less energy consumption during the summer. Its great all around. Ps. sunlight is really good for stains ESPECIALLY if you have a new/young baby and still dealing with blow outs… its basically magic! I have learned that I need a longer line though because I always end up doubling up like this which then doesn’t let me pull it to take the clothes off I empty the top then I can use the pulley system!

The Chickens!

We REALLY wanted chickens, laying hens specifically, so we could have our own fresh eggs. We have 12 in our coop that are inconsistently laying as of right now but we are hoping as we get to the end of their molting season that will increase for us. On top of the chickens, we have hopes to a) expand their coop for more and b) add additional animals to the acreage in the next couple summers! Ps. their straw when you clean out the coop is really good for the garden as well!

expanding the chicken to the right / adding room for more animals.

The “Recycle Centre”

We now have the space to expand what we can recycle because we have the ability to collect and store it until we can take it in. In these bins we collect all our plastic, paper, cans, cardboard etc… MOST of which in town went to the landfill, it made me cringe but it was just so hard when we were in the townhouse without making a trip 2-3x a week! I am thrilled about this because I am excited to teach Hal all about what goes in which recycling containers and why/how it all works!

It’s not glamorous but each bin collects everything and then I take them to the recycling center and sort them accordingly!

Reducing Single Use Products

We have taken FULL advantage of having a “refillery” in town and have gotten used to now refilling up most of our body care, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies and some food and spices (food and spices is taking us a bit longer to get used to just because we go through it much faster and cant always make it to town to refill in time!) If you have a local store that offers such a thing, take advantage of it! Essentially, you bring your own clean containers and refill them with items like laundry soap, shampoo, body wash etc… and you just keep doing that over and over IE… reducing HUGLEY the amount of containers you would be using if you kept buying them new!

That is the main things I wanted to share for now, its been a big year of learning for us, it will not stop. Thankfully we can always do better and we will. Some other things we hope to expand on like I said is more animals, more garden space, canning and preserving our own food from the garden and just simply teaching, sharing and including hal in this all so she can learn and lead as the next generation! Everyone of us starts somewhere, a year ago we didnt do half of this. If you are interested or wanting to start being mindful in your home just start with one thing! (for ex. if you dont have room for a clothes line get a rack to hang dry clothes, I used to do that in the townhouse!). I want to share some of the things I mentioned in this post, if you are wanting to start some of these things at your home, see below for all the links! Let me know what you do at your house that I can add to my routine!!

Water Canning Set
Compost Tumbler (similar to the one we use)
Counter top composter
Planter boxes for small spaces
Clothes Line Pulley (this is what we have!)

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