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We have big dreams for our homestead and although we still have a long way to go, I think we have made excellent progress in a little over two months. Here’s some of the projects that we have completed ourselves, done with the help of family, or hired out.
- Remodeled bathroom
- Remodeled kitchen
- Removed vinyl flooring
- Installed hardwoods
- Painted upstairs flooring
- Painted living room
- Decorated majority of downstairs
- Fixed washing machine
- Fixed oven
- Installed garbage disposal, faucet, and dishwasher
- Organized work space
- Moved in a piano
- Got belongings from a storage unit in KC
- Cleared brush. SO. MUCH. BRUSH.
- Added 4 garden beds
- Planted one cottage garden
- Mulched trees and brush
- Took out a fence
- Mowed down waist-high grass
- Removed debris and junk
- Set up playset
- Added outdoor furniture
- Survived poison ivy… multiple times!
- Patched the fence
- Cleared chicken coop
I think there might be a few other things that we have conquered so far, but so much of it is a blur right now!
We have some upcoming goals for both our house and our land. Here’s a few things that we will be working on and prepping for in the coming months.
- Convert upstairs bedroom into bathroom with a clawfoot tub/shower
- Convert loft into a very small third bedroom/office space
- Wallpaper, beadboard, baseboards
- Paint. EVERYTHING.
- Mold remediation in cellar
- Clean air ducts
- Find affordable solution for temp control upstairs. It gets soooo hot, and we often end up sleeping in the living room! We are assuming it will be equally as cold in the winter.
- Create reading corner/secret hideout under the stairs for Linc
- Make laundry room a little more finished
- Hang ALL of the shelves
- Prep cellar for food storage… price out canning materials, shelves, deep freezer, cold room, etc.
- Build a fire pit
- Plant some shade plants in the other flower beds
- Research, plan, and prep for a garden
- Prep chicken coop for chicken’s in the spring
- Possibly prep for goats… fix small barn, build fence
- Clear trees from fence line. Eventually repair fence from suspected tornado damage
- Add outside outlets for string lights
- Organize our very messy garage
- Research about beekeeping
- Remove root system of volunteer trees
- Fix gutters
- Research costs, permits, and how to fix outbuilding for possible office space or rental
Because we know very little about gardening, farming, caring for chickens, canning, and pretty much any homesteading skill, I decided to invest in some different books to learn. I’ve been flipping through these books and have already learned so much in preparation for next spring. What I love about these books is that they discuss how you can make homesteading work for your family on either a small or large scale–whether you live on a quarter acre or 100.
- Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from The Elliott Homestead by Shaye Elliott
- I discovered the Elliott family a few months ago when I was googling things like homesteading on 2.5 acres. The Elliott family currently runs a self-sufficient homestead on just 2.5 acres–the same size as our own lot. This book will teach you the basics of everything from raising chickens to gardening through the seasons to canning your own crops . If you haven’t watched Shaye’s Youtube channel, go check it out now! Her beautiful flower gardens are like something out of a dream, which inspires me because she started from scratch just a few years ago.
- Seasons at the Farm: Year-Round Celebrations at the Elliott Homestead by Shaye Elliott
- This book, also written by Shaye, was intriguing to me because of the emphasis on the seasons. I’ve always enjoyed the four seasons for various reasons; however, I had never considered the beauty of their purpose and design in regard to sustainable living. Shaye walks you through an entire year on her farm with ideas for gardening, meals, decorating, and home projects that coincide with each of the four seasons.
- The Homesteader’s Natural Chicken Keeping Handbook: Raising a Healthy Flock from Start to Finish by Amy K. Fewell
- I think this title is pretty self explanatory! We are planning on getting chickens in the spring and would like to raise them naturally. This book walks you through how to purchase chickens, hatch chicks, set up your coop, use herbal remedies, create an egg business, and cook recipes with your farm-fresh eggs! Even if you don’t live on acreage, many cities allow backyard chickens. So, if you are looking for a way to start homesteading with limited space–you could consider some backyard chickens!
- The Creative Family Manifesto: Encouraging Imagination and Nurturing Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule
- This is more of a lifestyle book than homesteading book; however, I purchased it with the hope to implement some of Amanda’s ideas into our daily rhythms and routines. According to the book’s listing description, “The Creative Family Manifesto is a guide to using the simple tools around you—your imagination, basic art supplies, household objects, and natural materials—to relax, play, and grow together as a family. When you learn to awaken your family’s creativity, wonderful things will happen: you’ll make meaningful connections with your children, your children’s imaginations will flourish, and you’ll learn to express love and gratitude for each other. This book is just what you need to get started.”
Taking it Season by Season
When I think about everything we have to learn and do over the next few months, I get a little overwhelmed. But then, I remember how far we have come in just a little over two months. The days have been long and the work has been tiring, but the time outside, together as a family has been so restorative for us after an incredibly stressful year with so much uncertainty.
I’ve been incredibly thankful for the seasons recently. I used to dislike winter because we were cooped up inside for months at a time and everything felt dark and dreary, but now I view this season as a time to rest. A time to prepare. A time to plan for the coming months of work in the garden. A time when the weeds will stop growing and the yard won’t need mowing and the blistering winds will beckon us indoors for a cup of creamy hot cocoa and a good book or family movie night.
I have high expectations and lofty goals but am trying to embrace the fact that good things take time. We probably won’t accomplish all of these things in the next year, but sustainable lifestyle changes are a culmination of little decisions that we make day by day not all at once.