Are you ready for homesteading?
Rising before the crack of dawn to milk cows or head off to work on the tractor are often the first things people assume if you say you have a homestead. But suburban or urban homesteading usually doesn’t include milking animals (unless you have goats or rattlesnakes) or tilling with a tractor. For many, if not most people, creating a homestead is a secondary job or a hobby. For others they’ve grown it over time (as I hope to do) into a income-generating venture. So if you’re wondering about time involved or if can you really start a homestead in your little backyard, then today’s blog is just for you. I’ve pulled together things that must be done most year-round and added in some season specific items to the current spring and summer season. And I’ve shared about my basic life in general to help show the various aspects of a Havensteader.
So if you’ve haven’t checked out my website and I hope you will—www.havensteader.com—you’ll find the things that I’m passionate about. But why not create it and share it in a “nutshell” picture? This picture says a lot about who I am as a homesteader—lifelong reader and learner, recycler and upcycler (those bottles used to hold salad dressing), herb grower and tincture/salve maker. The list goes on and I should have included some bee stuff but you get the general picture. Do you have a nutshell picture of your life now? Even more fun, how about creating one that helps you envision what you want for your life? You can even make one for work, one for life, one for partner, family, the list is endless! That’s another big part of my day as a Havensteader—daydreaming about what’s next!
1. WAKE UP NATURALLY. Okay, here you may be saying “What?!” But it’s true. I spent too many years tied to an alarm clock. Now the only time I use an alarm is so I don’t oversleep and miss a flight or appointment. The way you start your day is extremely important. I used to sleep very late, then a bit earlier and now my sleep cycle has me asleep around 11 and waking naturally at 7. So if you have to get up due to kiddos, work, etc. what can you do to ensure that you have gotten the sleep you need? This is the most important thing you need to start your day off right to create the havenstead you desire.
2. LET THE CHICKENS OUT. If the hubs hasn’t let out the chickens, I head out to open the door which is on a pulley. There are those who prefer an electronic door but the more that you remove yourself from your havenstead in the name of efficiency, the more you miss out in the “observe” principle of permaculture. Same goes for watering plants. Take the time to interact with the world you are creating. Check on your beehive/s even though they don’t need it. You need to be “let out” so do it!
3. CHECK WATER. We have two chicken waterers. In the summer, they go through water quickly. It can also get warm/hot. So in the afternoon I’ll often top it off again with cool water. Also, as the temps heat up, I provide my chickens with cool “water-filled” treats: melons are their favorites. You can also freeze fruit, herbs like mint and drop into their water. As the day heats up, the ice melts and they have a nice afternoon cool treat. I also give them ACV (apple cider vinegar) in a non-metallic waterer. Start with a capful to about a gallon of water. It’s good for you too so try it! Too sour? Add some raw honey or agave. I also check the water level in the two birdbaths. While birds do use them, our front birdbath has rocks in it and it’s the watering hole for our bees. Our back birdbath is for birds and butterflies or other pollinators. It has marbles and small rocks in it for places to land.
4. FEED CHICKENS. Our chickens have a shady area under their coop, a small run (protected overhead) a larger open run (no overhead protection) and up until the growing season starts, the run of our front garden area in our backyard. So they find a lot of their own food in bugs, worms, weeds greens, etc. Chickens aren’t vegetarians! They are omnivores. So remember that if you buy eggs from the store that say vegetarian fed. That means the eggs aren’t going to be totally nutritious. We also provide organic feed and oyster shell.
5. FEED ME. In order to ensure I get the best nutrition I can to start the day I make a green protein drink that includes barleygrass, beets, carrots, veggies and pea protein powder. It’s filling, loaded with nutrients and vitamins and keeps my energy up for the day. If you want to know more about it, you can go to http://myaimstore.com/healthyhaven. As they say, garbage in, garbage out. So make sure you feed your animals and yourself with high quality ingredients.
6. OFF TO WORK. Okay so it’s really up the stairs and down the hall, but yes, I work. I have a job. My husband has a job. We aren’t full time farmers or growers or producers. As such, we still have to pay the bills just like you do. Part of my goal is to be able to teach others about starting their own havenstead. So I’ve created a website and a blog. I’m available to speak and as a certified permaculture designer, I’m also able to consult on projects. So if you have need for any products noted on my website, please order them through the site. This is the way that bloggers are able to support themselves. I don’t do ads that aren’t pertinent to Havensteader readers or that I don’t/wouldn’t support by purchasing items myself. So if you enjoy a blogger’s post, please like, share and support by purchasing any needed items through their affiliate sources.
6. COLLECT EGGS. During school my daughter’s chore is to gather the eggs around 4 p.m. In the summer we get about a dozen eggs a day that we sell. It doesn’t make us rich by any means but it helps pay for feed and other things for the chickens or havenstead.
7. WATER, WEED OR PLANT. I designed my front yard around a combo of Xeriscape and Permaculture principles so my watering is limited. At this time of the year, most of the watering involves seeds or seedlings or tender sprouts/plants stretching their leaves to the sun. I let any weeds get pretty big before I pull. I go out with my basket and grab them up for feeding to the girls who eat what they want and compost the rest by tilling any leftovers in the ground as they scratch. Okay, on the planting part–I’ve procrastinated. So I’m just now getting some more food plants into the ground. This actually worked well this year as we had a horrible hail storm that destroyed many havensteads. But most days will find me through the season planting or gathering up until late fall or winter hits.
8. CLOSE UP THE CHICKENS. Nighty night. Our girls go into the coop on their own so we just shut them in for the night so they’re protected. In the summer, we may shut the outer run door and leave the coop door open so that they have cooler temps inside the coop. Then it’s off to post to my Havensteader site on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/havensteader?focus_composer=true or Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/havensteader
So that’s a typical day. Some days are none-stop working in the gardens, planting crops, cleaning out the coop, or inspecting the bee hives. But on most days, a properly created havenstead takes little time out of your day but adds so much to it. Ready to get chickens or bees or start planting? Go for it. Your day will never be the same.