Man it sure has been a while since I posted, but I'm hoping to get back into it now after a few rocky years. Well I finally did it, we bought an acreage with a trailer on it, which we are in the middle of renovating at the moment. We have a total of 5 acres and our nearest neighbour is a mile away, which is pretty great, can't see or hear them. We are surrounded by bush and field, and slews, so it's always beautiful out here. We are right in the middle of getting ready for winter, as we are about 2 miles off of the highway, the gravel doesn't get plowed much and the possibility of getting stuck in for a few days is real, especially since the road leading to our house dead ends at our house! So we're cutting wood, making sure the vehicles are up to date on maintenance, getting the house buttoned up, getting the snowmobiles ready and pretty soon we will be putting the plow on the truck (got our first dusting of snow here this morning!). I supposed I will make a list below of a few things I've learned on my 6 month journey as a real homesteader.
- Make a list: There are tons of things that have to get done, and tons of things you want to get done, and they are all flying around in your head, right it down and start crossing things off!
- Slow cookers are your friend: With all the stuff you have to get done, make supper, lunch and breakfast easier just by using the slow cooker, there are thousands of recipes out there for these things, and you can freeze leftovers. I bet you can probably make jam in there, haven't tried it yet though, and I've heard it said that you can make bread in there, which I am going to try this weekend.
- Don't go overboard on fruit trees and a giant garden the second you have room for them: The place that we bought had so many fruit trees, I was so excited to make jams, jellys, pie fillings etc. I had apples, crab apples, plums, choke cherrys, black currents, raspberrys and two other fruits that I haven't identified yet (one matured too fast, I almost didn't see them, next time I went out they were all gone, and the other seemed like it never ripened, but it was a really dry year here) Needless to say I was consistently checking them throughout the summer, all ready to go with my canning set, but when the time came, they all came at once, and man do those things ever take a long time to harvest!!! I ended up only making a black current raspberry jam and apple crisp because I just didn't have the time! But I am also working full time, and I have no kids to help, I did manage to get my boyfriend out there a few times, but he was more interested in the final product haha! Not to mention since it was such a dry year here my garden did nothing, only weeds grew (but lets be honest, the weeds were over 6ft high there before I decided that would be a perfect spot for the garden since the grass was already broken, and I never sprayed it with anything so they ALL CAME BACK!! terrible.
- Buying used items isn't always best: Apparently around where I live you have to be careful buying used items now because so many people are selling junk. We have bought 3 used stoves in 6 months and they all died! So now I've suspicious of all good deals, which sucks because I love a good deal. So don't just take peoples word for it, test it out, and if they make a huge deal about it, then there is probably something wrong with it.
- There is no such thing as a small reno: at least not at our house, I swear every time we take something down/apart to fix something, ten more problems show up. Example 1: Part of the drywall was crumbling on one wall, so we decided to cut 4 feet up and replace that section, we got the drywall off and the insulation was full of mouse droppings, and was moldy (fun!!!), took that all out to replace it, and found a hole in the exterior of the house, rotten 2x4's that were structural and so an afternoon project turned into at least a 3 day project. Example 2: There was a really nice set up for a wood stove at the house when we moved in (one of the selling features for us) but someone had put down laminate on top, well we decided we will just take that off, replace the osb with plywood and put some bricks on top. But no, they had previously cut holes in the outside of the house (in addition, under the trailer so we couldn't see them) with a cup saw (perfect circles), and then proceeded to cut holes in the wood structure of the thing so literally tons of mice got in there, there was an entire nest, it was so nasty
Well that's all my wisdom for now, hopefully will get another post up on Monday after the weekend here, hoping to get lots done, I'm enlisting my siblings help!