Good grief! I can’t believe I haven’t written a blog post since August! That’s shameful! I simply must do better about posting. Writing seems to be the best therapy there is. I tend to have so many thoughts tumbling around in my head,and really need to be better about channeling them.
We made it through the holidays and are still struggling with the rain. If it were just cold weather, well I’m sure we could put on enough layers to stay reasonably comfortable, especially once we get moving about. But rain, that’s a whole different story. You certainly can’t build structures out in the rain, nor can you set about shoveling and expanding the garden, etc. And then when it does actually stop raining, everything is too mucky to work in. Blah!
Nonetheless, I’ve been doing a few garden “experiments” for the upcoming year. I’ve expanded my garden plot somewhat, have dismantled all the raised beds we’ve had in the past, and have 3 compost piles going. Each pile is being worked differently, so I can see which method will give the best result.
One compost pile is actually part of the new plot expansion. I laid down cardboard over the grass area and moved the soil from the last raised bed on top of it. It’s no wonder I didn’t have anything grow well in this raised bed last year. The soil was absolutely dead. No worms at all. Too much store bought hummus and potting soil mixed in with red clay and topsoil. So I had this crazy idea of trying to bring it back to life. For the past few months, I’ve been layering kitchen scraps, paper, paper bags, egg shells – normal compost stuff – with leaves from around the yard. My hope is that come spring, I will have rejuvenated it a bit. I still plan on mixing in some growing mix that I’ll obtain from the local landscape supply and some more seasoned compost from another pile. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Work all but stopped at our future homestead property over the fall due to finances and, you guessed it, RAIN! But, that’s ok. Part of this whole homesteading adventure is learning patience. And realizing that any small bit of progress is still progress forward. We did have a break in the rain and an actual nice day yesterday. We went to the property just for the day and managed to clear out some downed trees and brush and dispose of them. Some of it was burned, some was sorted for cutting down for firewood. If it was already starting to rot, turning into dirt, we either left it where it was or moved it to a couple of areas we’re planning as hugelkultur beds.
Anyways, I think we appreciate it all the more having to do it a little at a time. How boring would it be to just run out to the building supply superstore and run through with wild, reckless abandon loading up the truck with all the building materials we could haul? And then to be able to take a solid couple weeks off of work to just go play in the woods and build structures and organize the place- boooorinnng! Lol! It has been quite fun scoping out free pallets, scouring the thrift stores for hinges and paint and other materials. It’s always an adventure picking up something at the thrift store or “rescuing” something from a dumpster, discussing how we might be able to re-purpose it and incorporate it into the building scheme. More than one way to skin a cat, right? We’ve even managed to barter for some wood with a neighbor at the property. He has a huge pile of oak 2″ x 6″, 2″ x 4″, planks and 1″ x 6″, that he said we could have whatever we needed in exchange for building a a new roof for his well house. How cool is that?!
While we’re on the subject of free building materials, allow me to share this valuable piece of knowledge. Keep your eyes out on Craigslist or Freecycle for folks getting rid of playsets in their backyards. You know, the ones that are made out of “logs” with the slide and swingset attached. There’s almost always someone looking to get rid of one because their children have outgrown it, or some other reason. Anyway, they don’t want to fool with taking it apart and trying to dispose of it. So, if you’re willing to spend a couple of hours dismantling it and hauling all of it away, it’s yours! (Ok, the men folk were willing to dismantle and load, but us women folk were very proud and happy of them!) Our partners and ourselves have managed to score 2 of these and there is a TON of materials taht can be re-purposed! Absolutely for FREE! Not to mention, we’ve acquired a couple of cool slides, swing seats, a ships wheel and a steering wheel. They’ve made for quirky decorations, and I’m sure at some point we’ll all incorporate them into a playset for future grandchildren. Or for the future goats.
You never know what else you might get either. At one of the playset tear downs, the homeowner asked the guys if they needed a grill or empty propane tanks – they were free too if they hauled them off. So they brought them home, and one of them has been re-purposed into a little rocket mass heather for our cabin! It’s adorable! I’ll post pics in my next entry. My whole point is, the old saying “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” has an especially important meaning to us. Working with such a small budget really makes us use our noggin to get the job done, and forces us to be resourceful. And it really does make us appreciate it all the more. Kind of raises the level of pride that we feel.
Our goal is to have the cabin at the homestead completed by spring time. Our thinking is that we will be much more productive when it’s not taking a couple of hours to set up camp once we drive to the property. It’s a 2 hour drive there, and by the time we get the tent set up and everything off loaded, half the day is gone. (As is our energy.) It really does become more like a camping trip rather than a work weekend. And then we have to allow time for tearing everything down and packing up and the drive home. It’ll be very nice to have someplace with actual walls and already stocked with cooking items and such, so all we’re bringing with us is food and a change of clothes.
Till my next post (which I’m sure will be sooner than 5 months from now – lol!), take care! Here’s a link if you’d like to read more about hugelkultur. i can’t WAIT to get that experiment going! 🙂