#1 Homesteading Difficulty – Having Patience

Are they sprouting?

Is there an egg?

How many more rows on this afghan?

Look at this property, you can quit your job and we will be fine right?

How much more do we need in our savings?

And the list goes on………

Being patient has been the ultimate hardest thing for me to deal with for the better part of my life. If it can’t happen right away I lose interest and move on.

 

It gets overwhelming and I lose patience with how long it will take us to save money for our acreage and how long it will take us to learn all the necessary skills and so on. I lose patience with how long the real things take like growing things or waiting for that first egg! I lose patience with how ridiculously easy it is to slip back into the mainstream consumerism mindset and buy everything with little thought.

I always come back to it though, which tells me how important and attainable it must be.  I also must lower the bar and not try to tackle a bunch of things at once but stretch it out and put quality effort into each project and plan. I need to be patient that we will find the perfect acreage but need to wait a couple years until the market is better. I need to remember that this way of life is forever and will constantly change and grow and to embrace where we are continue to move forward.

Current Goal: Get more consistent with this blog to continue to encourage and document everything.

How do you stay motivated and keep moving forward?

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Backyard Chickens

We are still sharpening our homesteading skills here in suburbia for the time being and our town passed a bill last year to allow 18 households to house their own backyard chickens and we applied just in time and received our permit to have laying hens.

We purchased our hens as chicks to ensure they grow up getting to know us, our kids and our dogs. Seeing as these chickens are basically pets we want them to be friendly, approachable and to live a pretty luxurious life for a chicken. We found a breeder in a town not far from us that was breeding Rhode Island Red cock with Barred Plymouth Rock hens which makes our hens hybrids. I have seen them by the name of Black Rocks or Black Sex Link, the chicks can apparently be sexed when they are first born as the males will have a distinct white patch on their head. We were looking for a good “beginner” chicken, that lay decent, have a more docile temperament and are nice to look at (as they are lovely lawn ornaments now). I’m not necessarily a beginner to chickens as my mother always bought a couple dozen pullets each spring and we always had fresh eggs, but these are the first of my own and the first time I have really taken time to research how to make these little breakfast poopers thrive.

If you are looking for a good book for all things chicken, I HIGHLY recommend Storey’s Guide to Chicken Raising by Gail Damerow. I think I am on my second or third time reading the book from front to back and it has really given me chicken fever!

We purchased our chicks about 7 weeks ago when they were only a few days old, and wow do they grow quick! On my parents farm we always just purchased new pullets as the other flock died off so I never knew how fast chickens really grow. I can understand why they are such a sustainable source of meat!

This photo is them at about 3 weeks

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Stay tuned, more to come about our backyard chickens!

 

Catch Up

Well how is 2016 more than half over already!?

I have been so preoccupied with the new baby and just enjoying being home with my kids this blog was kind of a last thought. But now that I have my 5 month old in somewhat of a routine and currently napping, 3 year old is happily playing with his toys, house chores are as caught up as I care for them to be, so how about some thought sharing.

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I have technically been off work for 6 months now and feel so free and grounded it is unbelievable. No more rush to get out the door, throw my kid at someone else to raise while I commute for a ridiculous amount of time to an unfulfilling job.

I make money on maternity leave here in Canada which is wonderful that I can be off for a full year with my wee ones and ironically I am receiving a little less than half of what I usually take home every month and yet we seem to have more money in our bank account. How does that work? Oh right….no cost of childcare, no cost of fuel for commuting, no cost of purchasing work clothes, no mindless spending at the grocery store, no cost of eating out at lunch because I was too busy to make myself something and the list goes on. I have really come to realize how much it costs you to work. Sure your wage might be decent but how much do you spend to keep the job? I’m not saying everyone should quit their jobs and become gypsies but I think if you are going to work (like many of us need to), make sure you do the math. Or find something you are ridiculously passionate about and are okay with spending the dough to make that dream a reality.

Now I need to do some soul searching and finding out what I am truly passionate about and what I would be okay with spending my days doing and ensuring I am fulfilled doing it.

Where to start?

 

Why You Should Raise Chickens for Eggs?

Can’t wait until we build our homestead and can have chickens of our own!

How to Provide

Eggs Eggs

Nutritionally Superior to Grocery Store Eggs

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
    •   1/4 less saturated fat
    •   2/3 more vitamin A
    •   2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
    •   3 times more vitamin E
    •   7 times more beta carotene

Benefits

  • Eggs from well-tended backyard chickens are healthier
  • Eggs from backyard chickens are tastier
  • Chicken droppings enrich your compost
  • Chickens provide natural insect control
  • Chickens scratching for bugs is good for the soil
  • Chicken are entertainment of the best kind
  • Chickens provide lessons for children about responsibility and where food comes from

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From Scratch – Perogies

A couple of friends and I got together to do a massive perogie batch. It is much nicer to do large batches of any type of cooking in the company of some of your favourite people. We laughed, they drank, shared stories and aspirations for the future, it was over all a great day. We started at around 10am (fillings already made) and finished around 3pm. Each one of us made a different filling to allow for more variety.

Of course perogies aren’t at the top of the healthy food guide but these are made from scratch, no preservatives or unidentifiable ingredients. These are a great, wholesome comfort food that I have no problem feeding to my family as I know where and how they were made. They are incredibly easy to make all you really need to invest is time.

Here is the dough recipe we used:

12 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup vegetable oil (you could easily substitute a healthier oil)

2 tbsp. vinegar

4 1/2 cups water

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Create a “creator” in the middle of the flour and add the vegetable oil and fold flour in. Then make another “creator” and fold in vinegar. Then slowly add water as need, you may need a bit more or a bit less depending on your elevation, house temperatures etc. We ended up adding a bit more water because I think it was too dry. Continue kneading until completely combined, the dough should stick together easily but not leave much behind on your hands. Once combined roll out portions of dough and cut out shapes, we just used a drinking glass to cut out the circles but I’m sure there are fancy perogie cutters out there too. Then scoop in a small amount of your filling (which is basically mash potatoes with whatever extras you want, bacon, cheddar, onions etc) and fold dough around pinching edges to close. I then used a fork to press down the edges for an extra secure closure.

This recipe yields a lot of perogies! We actually did a batch and half because we had a ridiculous amount of potato but we probably ended up with roughly 360 perogies so one batch of the dough would roughly yield 240 perogies if my math is correct.

We then put them in the freezer laid out on parchment until frozen then we divided them up into dinner size freezer bags.

To cook from frozen just boil for 2 or 3 minutes until they float and then fry until completely cooked and heated through. Dress with whatever you like, we enjoy bacon and sour cream.

This isn’t a greatly detailed recipe I am giving, I more or less just wanted to show everyone how easy it is to make these from scratch! I will try to do a more play by play next time we do a batch.

Happy Cooking 🙂

-N

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Sustain

I have been researching a lot lately on sustainable living, off grid practices and the overall homestead lifestyle and I must say that I have been inspired.

I have always been a victim of consumerism, and am guilty of being naive to the notion of sustainable living but something keeps pulling at me telling me to broaden my horizons. Perhaps it is the current economic downturn that has me searching for ways to save a buck or perhaps it is my constant unsteadiness with the day to day corporate/robot life.

My parents live on about 350 acres in Ontario and I have grown up loving the outdoors and enjoying the farm atmosphere. But I moved to Calgary as a money hungry adolescent and now almost 10 years later I still am not happy. I feel as if I am a robot, waking up every day and doing the exact same thing to make money to pay for stuff. I constantly have a sense that something is missing and that this is not the way that I am supposed to live my life, I want things to slow down. My husband and I have been toying with the idea of moving back to Ontario and building our own home on a section of my parents land (of our choice). They said the land would not cost us a penny just the building costs. How can we not pass that up?

Of course, jobs aren’t as plentiful in the middle of no where but luckily hubby is a red seal tradesman and shouldn’t have an issue finding work. I keep thinking how amazing life would be if I could stay home, have a large vegetable/fruit garden, chickens, turkeys etc. really try to live off the land as much as possible. I could probably do some photography on the side for some extra cash or some horse training if the need was there. But this idea keeps pulling at me more than any other has.

Unfortunately with this economic downturn, especially in Alberta, our over-inflated housing market is going down therefore we might need to wait it out a year or two before we can sell our house here and head east. But that will give us enough time to save and prepare for this journey. My goal for 2016 is to start a decent size vegetable garden, since I will be home next year with our new bundle of joy, I should have the time to invest in caring for the crop and learning along the way. I would also like to learn how to knit and crochet better and maybe learn how to make my own soaps and incorporate using essential oils. OH and I want to buy a sewing machine and learn how to make different household items (curtains, linens etc.)

I learned how to make bread while we were back east for the holidays and I tell you, its ridiculously easy and much better for you than buying store bought bread. I will post a recipe and step by step soon.

Here are some really interesting and inspiring homesteading blogs that I have been addicted to lately:

http://www.thesittingtree.net

http://www.theeasyhomestead.com

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com

There are many more out there too, have fun and let me know if you have any recommendations for homesteading books or gardening books for beginners (I kill plants more than I care to admit and it makes me sad).

Take Care,

-N

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