Taking Down A Big Tree

Big Cherry Tree

Our big cherry tree

Taking down a big tree near a house is a very critical job. I do not recommend doing it yourself unless you are experienced in cutting trees down. A tree can go down in any direction, even the opposite direction of where you want it to fall. Our big cherry tree was very close to our house. The roots were growing underneath our house for many years now. We had already done work on the foundation of the house, which was a lot of hard work for my husband. He decided that it would be best to get the tree out of there, before it caused more trouble for our house and maybe even our well. So after our apple tree had fallen down, he started on this tree as well. I was nervous about it, since it right near the house and because it was so heavy. I am always afraid of a big tree falling on him as he falls the trees. 

Thick Tree Trunks

Thick trunks!

I know many people will wonder about us taking a big tree like this down because of the shade it would give us in the summer. To tell you the truth, as big as it was, it did not provide much shade. When we sat outside, we usually sat under the old apple tree for shade. With that being gone already, we didn’t even consider this tree a source of shade. This made us think about how taking this tree and some others down would improve our garden. So we went outside to put this plan into action. My husband studied this tree and the area around it. To see what it might hit or if he could direct it in a particular direction. He is very careful when doing this type of work.  

 

Notched tree

Notched the tree

He made a notch on the tree that is essential in the way a big tree will go down. Then he worked from there. It took a long time to cut through this thick tree. I was off in the distance with my camera and our cat. I kept her distracted so she wouldn’t run in the area of the tree falling. 

First Half of Tree

First Half of Tree Down!

Standing off in the distance, I heard the familiar crack – then the tree falls over in slow motion. Then crash! It was down. Of course this was just half of this big tree. We decided to wait till this half is cut up and out of the way before doing the other half of it. 

Tree Down!

Tree Down!

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Gasoline Powered Motors

Truck Loaded with Hay

Truck Needed on Homestead


Gasoline powered motors are on their way out on our homestead. We do not really want to use them. Just forced to at the present time. Not too long ago on a homesteading forum I belong to, when I mentioned hating gasoline powered vehicles, I had another member say to me that with proper maintenance those vehicles will work perfectly. Well, I know plenty about gasoline powered motors and vehicles. My father was an automobile mechanic and he loved to work on gasoline motors. Always fixing. Other people would give him their old motors that they had to replace and my father would of course, fix them up and use them. But it was an ongoing thing. Always fixing them. Our vehicles are properly maintained. Very well so, I might add! Always trouble with them no matter how well you take care of them.

2011 Nissan Titan

Our truck is needed!


Our 2011 Nissan Titan pick up truck is a perfect example. With only 36,000 miles it is a big sour lemon! Nissan doesn’t back up their warranties and makes sure they have an out on whatever goes wrong with it. Seems to me that if Nissan really built their vehicles well, they would gladly fix the ones that had issues without worrying about the details in the warranties. Just fix the hunk of junk! We can’t wait to get rid of this one. Even though it is a pretty truck, never will I consider a Nissan vehicle again. For the present time though, we are stuck with gasoline vehicles, I just hope that in the future, we will be driving and charging our own electric vehicles.

Driveway

Our Driveway


Winter time isn’t usually thought of as a really productive time of the year. After all, you are doing those winter chores that most people dread. Snow shoveling being one of them. Plowing a driveway is another one. We do not have a plow on our truck or any other type of equipment that would have a plow. Our driveway is hand shoveled by my husband. With all the winter time work he has to do, he wanted to make the snow removal easier. Why not buy a snowblower? Fuel. We have been challenging ourselves to eliminate fuels as much as possible. Not meaning to leave out the fact that gasoline powered motors of any kind, vehicles, lawnmowers. chainsaws, generators, rototillers and snowblowers, are well known for not starting or being broke down when you need to use them. That is why they are always being replaced and so many end up in the local junkyard. Another important fact that makes us not want to use gasoline powered machines and equipment is the fumes and smell. Why put yourself through the agony of breathing in those toxic fumes if you don’t have to? 

Snow Wolf

Clearing Snow!

In order to make the snow removal job easier this year, we purchased a new type of snow shovel called the Snow Wolf. It out performs snowblowers without the fumes or repairs that are always part of owning and using gasoline powered motors. My husband had to assemble it as it comes in a box. He used it on our driveway and on the paths we have to various areas of our homestead. It worked great and he likes it so far. Easier for him then regular snow shoveling, plus no fumes to breathe, fuel or parts to buy, as with a snowblower. We are very happy with it. It is easier on his back and maybe will not tire him out so bad as shoveling does. I believe it used to be called the “Wovel” and it has a new name and possibly the design might be different. I do not know if it was the exact same snow shovel or not. It has 447 reviews on Amazon and for the most part, it seems like everyone loves it. Time will tell. 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Increasing Your Food Supply

Growing Food

Growing Food

Increasing your food supply is not impossible. The very first thing to do is to make a list of the foods your family eats regularly. These are foods you will begin with. Since I grow a lot of vegetables, that is where I start. I grow only what we like to eat. If I try something new, I only grow one plant to see if we like it and if we eat it. Then the next year, I grow more. I like to eat many vegetables that my husband will not touch. It doesn’t seem fair to me that I can’t eat them because he won’t. So I grow enough for me. If I have enough stored the next year, I can skip growing them that year. 

Alternative Energy System

Our Alternative Energy System


Living with our own alternative energy system means I do not freeze foods. Right now we do not have a freezer But even when we do have one, I will not be doing that. I want to use it for certain foods that do not can well, like berries, steaks, roasts, ice cream, etc. We do not raise any animals for food. We have found that animals increase your expenses and work load. For us, this is the best choice. As I always says, “there are no rules to modern homesteading.” You can do as you please, whatever works for you. Increasing your food supply simply means you should have enough stored for the future, regardless of how you do it. Instead of freezing foods, I can them. I buy produce that I do not grow or that did not do well in my garden that year. I buy it locally and bring it home to can it immediately. As I have gotten older, I only buy enough to fill two pressure canners. It has become too much work for me to do more than that in one day. When I was younger, I canned nonstop, staying up quite late at night. Not now.

Home Canned Meat

My Canned Meat

Meat is easily bought locally from farmers. In recent years, organic meat has become quite easy to locate. Google “pasture raised organic meat in your city or county.” I still buy meat in the grocery stores if I can get a good deal on it. I can mine cooked, as I find it has a better flavor and texture that way. You can do it either way, raw or cooked. The recipes are in any canning book, I use the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I pour the leftover juice and fat from the pan it was cooked in, into the water that I am boiling the chunks of meat to can in. It gives it more flavor. After canning the meat, any leftover water that I did not use in the jars of meat, I now can as a rich broth. This broth can be used for gravy or soups. 

Food In Cupboard

Some of my food supply

I realize it sounds expensive to be increasing your food supply, but it really isn’t. I use some of the produce and some of the meat for two nights of meals and can the rest. By doing this weekly or monthly, or however often you can afford, it is a good way to stock up your home canned food. Future meals that are fast to prepare. After I have stocked my shelves with meats, broths, vegetables and fruits, I start canning soups, stews, chili and sauces. Those are easy to do and I make a big double batch and keep out enough for two nights of meals and can the rest. Fast food that is really good! 

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Fall In Upstate New York

Homesteading on the Internet

Forest Across the Road


Fall is here in upstate New York! It is a beautiful time of year. For some people, me especially, the cooler temperatures are a welcome relief. No matter how much I try, I just don’t care for hot weather. Hard to believe I lived in Florida and loved it back then. Of course, air conditioning was constant the years I lived there as an adult. Now that I am older, I definitely cannot take the heat. There will be no “snowbirding” or retiring to a warmer climate for me! I plan to stay right here in New York state, and quite happily.

wheel_1000
Fall for me usually is a time of gardening and canning. This year the garden didn’t do so well, so not much work to speak of. I didn’t go the local produce market either, which I usually do. Not enough time this year. I will get back to canning, besides I’d rather get some meat to can and that is something I do all year long. Especially during the winter. This year I am planning on making a variety of fast meals in a jar that are low carbs only. No potatoes, rice or pasta! After the potatoes I have in my pantry are gone, I won’t be buying any more. My husband can eat the last of them as I am not touching them.

Purple flowers

Purple Flowers!


Finding fresh greens outside for a our pet house rabbit, “Rabbit” is almost over with. He has been loving the big variety we find for him every morning and evening. I am hoping to find a source of organic carrot tops for him. They are one of his favorite foods and we had a huge amount growing all summer. He gobbled them up heartily. In the future, we plan to rebuild our deck into a sun room and can hopefully, grow greens all winter for all of us. I will miss the cucumbers too. We do not buy cucumbers in the store very often. We just give them up when the garden is done. This year I didn’t start them inside, which is probably why our garden wasn’t as good as usual. Lesson learned!

Planter

Empty now!


This bed in the picture has our guy wires from the wind turbine inside. These beds were finished early this fall. I have two of these beds and I have written about them in a previous post or two. This one had cucumbers and cilantro growing in it. They did very well. I have considered planting some cold weather greens in these beds and covering them with some heavy plastic. One year we had kale in the garden and left it over the winter. I dug down under the deep snow to harvest some and it was good. Not ruined at all. So I believe I could do that again. If you dig down deep in the snow it is warmer than you think. One year when I was cleaning the outhouse roof off, my feet were deep down in the snow and they were hot. If you walk out into the forest behind us in the cold winter months, you will find little deer beds all over the place. They just scrunch down into the snow and sleep, the mothers with their tiny fawn beds right next to them. Loved seeing that! 

Fall in NY state

Beautiful Fall Days!

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Preparing For Winter

Peaceful Forest

Peaceful Forest


Preparing for winter is always on a homesteader’s mind. Summer is officially over for me on the Labor Day holiday. It already felt like fall here in upstate New York anyway. The trees surrounding our homestead have been steadily falling and turning color. Fall always means a time to set goals and get to work. Must be my brain associates it with the back to school time period from my youth. Normally, I’d be canning up a storm right now, but our garden didn’t produce as much as it normally does. The weather was the culprit, not I! Does that mean I do not have much food in my pantry this year? No! It doesn’t. Every year, I can as much as I possibly can. The years my garden has produced a lot of vegetables, I did not give them away or throw them out. I canned them. Even when I had summer squash coming out of my ears. I saw it in my sleep……I swear, I did. 

Preparing for Winter

Home Canned Pantry

If you took a look at my cupboard of home canned vegetables, you would see quite a variety. Right now the one thing I am low on is meat and fruit. Soon I will be at my local markets to pick up some to can and that will round out our food supply in no time. Fall is the best time for those delicious NY apples, grapes and pears. Fall is also the best time to purchase local meat from farmers. This is the time they send livestock to market so they don’t have to feed it over the winter. Having a cupboard full of fast food, which is what I call it, makes winter easier, so when preparing for winter, keep that in mind. Especially if you have power outages where you live. I am fortunate not to have any, but that is another story.

Gathering Kindling

Gathering Kindling

My list for preparing for winter this year includes:

  • Firewood – a good size pile to start with. We get more all winter.
  • Kindling – we still have a supply of that, but will get more anyway.
  • Wood Stove – cleaning out the wood stove, if it needs it and the chimney. The chimney my husband cleans all winter long as needed.
  • Gasoline – for our generator and chainsaw. 
  • Fuel Mix & Extra Chains – for chainsaw. 
  • Windows – they are not energy efficient, still have wavy glass. Cover them with clear plastic for extra protection.
  • Wood Cook Stove – take the whole stove apart, piece by piece and thoroughly clean it. The chimney on this stove never needs cleaning.
  • Vehicles – they have been worked on a lot this summer, so should be good to go, unless something else happens to them.
  • Horses – no worry there! Winter is their season………..they live for it!
  • Food & Supplies – always adding more and replenishing what we have used. Lots of home canned foods.
  • Griswold Bolo Oven – Bring it downstairs near the wood stove. We will be baking and roasting in it all winter.
  • Warm Clothing – this is what we need this year. Both of us are lacking in the shoe department. So new boots, shoes, slippers (for me), gloves, jacket and socks and jeans for my husband.

This is about it for us. Preparing for winter gets easier the more years you have done it. It seems to be easier for homesteaders living off the grid. Whatever you do, plan for it and work on it during the summer. Winter will arrive no matter what. In NY, winter is hard so we do what we must.

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

 


Being Thankful

Peaceful Forest Backyard

Peaceful Forest Backyard

Being thankful for something each day is something I have been trying to do for a few months now. Sometimes it is not that easy. Especially when projects and chores I used to do with much enthusiasm, are now much harder. I don’t feel that old. Not mentally at least. It is when I go to do something that I was looking forward to doing, now I find it difficult to do by myself. Take for instance carrying water into the house. For the most part, my husband brings water in and refills pots of it on the stoves if it is needed. When I am cleaning, doing laundry or canning, I use a lot of it. I do not like to keep asking for him to bring it in for me, even though I know he won’t complain about doing it. I try to use less if he has to bring it in special for me. In winter, I use as little as possible. Now that it is spring, the pump does not have to be thawed to use and there is no ice around the pump. So I can get all I need. The thing I am most thankful for, is that we have plenty of good water and the pump is just outside our front door. 

Trees in backyard

VERY Peaceful!

I have bad knees. That is what causes me trouble in doing my various projects and chores. Being thankful that I am able to walk on my own every day. Sometimes with a cane, but I can still walk out into the forest or work in my garden. I can even walk down my road and take pictures. I just can’t walk as far as I used to. At least out here I can sit on a log or something and give my legs a rest, then start walking again. I will never be racewalking again, which is something I used to do for exercise in the past. I will never be running up and down the stadium bleachers at the local school, as I used to do. BUT, I can walk out to my garden, sit on the bench, then get up and start digging in the soil to plant something. I can walk out into my horses’ paddock and start brushing one of my horses. I can go to the grocery stores, thrift stores or to my son’s apartment. In light of what happened to my niece, Amy, being able to walk and do things for myself is a very big thing to be thankful for. 

New Office Chair

My New Chair!


Being thankful for my husband, Larry, is something that occurs to me many times through out my day. He does so many jobs around here and makes our home nice and happy. Many of my jobs, like I mentioned above, have become harder for me, so he has taken on some of my chores. We used to feed our horses every morning together. I miss that so much! It is not that I couldn’t do it now, but I am too slow for him and he wants to just get done out there and on to something else. He took over changing our cats’ litter box due to winter time being difficult for me to walk outside and he just kept doing it after that. I do our house rabbit, Rabbit’s litter box and will not give that job up, no matter what. Just last week, Larry surprised me by buying a brand new office chair for me! He knew I needed one desperately and I kept putting it off, not wanting to spend the money on myself. Yes, I am very lucky to have him for my husband and best friend. 

Backyard

Our Backyard!

So how does being thankful for something every day, figure into a post about homesteading? Well, aging is part of the process of life. For modern homesteaders, chores and projects entail a lot of hard work. Most of us cannot just pay someone to do these chores for us. We live a frugal, self-sufficient lifestyle. If you find there is a job you can’t do, you must find a way around the way you do it now, so that you can do it. The desire is there, so there must be a way to do it that will accommodate whatever disability you are working with. Whatever you do, don’t give up! That’s my motto. I just keep plugging away, as my father always used to say, “What are you going to do? It needs to be done.”

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

 


Snow is Everywhere

backyard in snow

Our backyard

Snow is everywhere this winter. The cold weather and snow of winter is hard to handle here on our homestead. We don’t use snow blowers or tractors. Not yet anyway! Their time is coming. I see in the future we really need a tractor here to clean up the snow. As we get older, those jobs are harder. It will free my husband up from a job that takes him hours to complete. Then it snows again! Every winter we say this is the worst winter we have had. That is not true though. Winter is always cold and snowy. Always. The only thing to do is to find easier ways to deal with it. Paying someone fifty bucks to come to our house to plow is crazy. The next day the snow would be back. We’d go broke in a month!

Solar Panels and snow

Cleared Solar Panels

Snow has to be removed from the solar panels so the sun will hit them. Snow has to be shoveled from the driveway to be able to use the car or the truck. They have to be cleared off too. If you want to go somewhere, you don’t want to clean them off then. Keeping the snow cleared from the driveway and the vehicles makes life a lot easier. We have paths to our compost pile, so after the barn is cleaned the dirty bedding can be taken there in a wheelbarrow. The area around the well needs to be clear so we can use the pump for our water and the horses’ water (of which, they drink a lot in the winter). The path to the generator has to be cleared so that can be used too. It is used often at this time of year. The path to our satellite dish must be cleared in case the snow accumulates on it. Not to mention the path to the firewood. That must be cleared and kept cleared. We go through a lot of wood with two wood stoves going, one for cooking and one for heating. 

Paths Shoveled

Path shoveled to generator

A long time ago, in my previous life, living in cities was so very different than living in the country. Winter meant worrying about being able to get to work on bad roads. I could always take a cab if I had to, so it wasn’t that big of a worry. When I lived in apartments, the landlords took care of the sidewalks and driveways. Then when I lived in a house, I didn’t live right downtown, so our house didn’t have sidewalks on our street. I believe we paid someone to plow or shovel the driveway back then. It was cheap or sometimes it was a high school student who shoveled it for a few bucks.Times have changed since then. 

Driveway Shoveled Out

Driveway shoveled out

My husband has kept our driveway and paths cleared. It is  hard work, but he pushes himself to do it. He does a wonderful job. I hope we can get that tractor to make it easier soon! 

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole


Homestead Planning is the Key

Georgie Girl

Georgie Girl

Homestead planning is the key!  As our year comes to a close, I wonder what things we can accomplish in the coming new year. Every year, we do more and more and our home becomes easier to manage. Some years in the past, we have not gotten nearly as much done as we would have liked. This past year was very productive for us in many ways. I would have to say the last two years were a success. We have made changes in our homestead that has made our life much easier in many ways. As we get older that is a good thing. I know when you are young, you think you will never get old. If you are lucky, you will.

Our raised beds

Some of our raised beds

This is the first year that I have had to buy more canning jars, since I filled up all the ones I had. That means part of my homesteading planning always takes place in the garden and the kitchen. Our garden was very successful and that makes me want to make it even better next summer. We have plans for planting some fruit trees and berry bushes. Fruit is something we are sadly lacking. The seed catalogs have been coming in very quickly this year. I have picked out the varieties I want to plant. We are really excited about the next gardening season! I am going to take the bull by the horn, so to speak, and take a chance on planting tomatoes once again. I am armed with information now, on how to fight the Late Blight. We shall see. I have to try.

Inside the rood cellar

Inside the root cellar

Our root cellar will be usable by next year. Actually it is usable this year, but I haven’t cleaned it out and organized it yet. That will be one of the first things I will do as part of my homestead planning in the spring. All our canned foods, hopefully, will be able to go downstairs. In the kitchen canning cupboard, I keep a number of each kind of food that I canned. When I use it up, I will go downstairs and replenish it. That way it is convenient for me when I am in the process of fixing a meal. Right now, all those jars are in Rubbermaid containers upstairs. 

House

House

All spring, summer and fall, firewood work is a major part of our homestead planning. Gathering kindling and stacking it for the next winter. Cutting and splitting firewood. This year, hopefully, we will be changing the chimney on our wood stove in the living room from 6″ to 8″. Changing the elbow upstairs to no elbow and fixing the rain cap and putting on a new roof on that portion of the house. The hearth too, will be improved and designed for efficiency. It will be much better and will use less wood. It will improve our homestead’s efficiency and keep our house even warmer. Making a plan for your homestead will always increase the improvements you make to it. Write it down! Pay attention to it. Then when spring rolls around, start to work on it! Good luck!

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Making Your Own Shampoo

Statue

Photo Source: Jon Sullivan


Making your own shampoo? Well, yes! Of course homesteaders are known for making their own products. We love making soap, candles, cleaning supplies, laundry soap and anything else we can reinvent. It stands to reason that we would be making our own shampoo too. It is not that hard to do. Making your own shampoo is really based on your own hair condition and color. I have dark auburn hair, which tends to be dry, especially as I have gotten older. So this is the kind of shampoo I am making, and it comes from Rosemary Gladstar’s book, Herbs for Natural Beauty.

Herbs for Natural Beauty

Rosemary Gladstar’s Book


This is an easy make your own shampoo recipe. There are tons of them on the internet though, so if this one does not suit you, search for more.

8 oz. strong herbal infusion
(dried calendula flowers, marsh mallow root and nettle leaf; equal parts of each one)
3 oz. liquid castile soap
1/4 tsp. Jojoba oil
20-30 drops peppermint essential oil (or you can buy Dr. Bronner’s castile soap with the peppermint already in it)

Simmer 1 oz of herb in 8 oz. of water over low heat for 20 minutes. Strain. Cool. Slowly add the castille soap, then mix in the Jojoba oil and essential oil. Store in a bottle. Shake before use. I store it in glass bottles, as I do not use plastic if I can help it.

Dr. Bronner's Organic Castile Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Soap

When you decide to make your own shampoo, you need to research what is good for your type of hair. Peppermint promotes hair growth. I have very thick hair, but because of my age, I want to keep the hair growth coming. The herbs here are for “dry” hair. If your hair is oily, use rosemary oil instead. All of these products can be ordered from health food stores online or even on Amazon. Surprisingly, it is not expensive at all.

Another tip from Rosemary Gladstar’s book, is that you should never wash your hair more than once or twice a week! More washing is not good for it. The silky clean feeling we all love is because the natural protective oils have been stripped from it with the frequent washing.  Not only that, but  hair shampoo that contains detergents are also stripping those oils from your hair. Brushing is VERY good for it!  Be sure to clean your brush whenever you wash your hair.

While I was learning about making my own shampoo, I started thinking about the other hair products I buy often. As for conditioner, I have used one all of my life. Now I finally have learned what some of those ingredients really do! They coat your hair and it feels incredibly silky, shiny, beautiful and glorious! But what it is really doing, is………..keeping the natural oils from your scalp and from actually getting into your hair! If you are stripping your hair with shampoo, and then coating your hair with conditioner, over and over…….then your hair is getting drier and drier.  It may not matter so much if you are younger, but just wait till you get in your fifties. That is when I really noticed changes in my skin and hair. What do I do for conditioner now? I massage a nickel sized amount of light extra virgin olive oil into my hair. It won’t make it oily, just soaks in. Then you just comb it out. I love to make my own products! What about you?

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole, unless stated otherwise

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


The Backyard On Our Homestead

Homestead Backyard

The center of our homestead!

The backyard has become the center of our homestead. We spend a lot of time out there. Not only working, but hanging out and enjoying the forest that surrounds us. It is also an area to work on projects. My husband spends most of his day outside. He mows the lawn and works on the raised beds. I do most of the gardening, such as the planting, weeding and harvesting, though many times he ends up doing that too. He does the hard part……….building the raised beds, hauling compost to fill them and plowing them up with the wheel hoe. That is not all he does in the backyard though. He works on his motorcycle, the lawnmowers, the solar system’s various parts and components, etc. Whatever he needs to do, in the summer, he does it in the backyard.

Stumps are gone

Two stumps that are now just dirt spots.

After taking down another tree, there were three tree stumps in the backyard. My husband had to dig down to the roots to remove them. They were good sized stumps. Now they are in the fire pit for a fire one of these nights. He worked hard on them, as it is not easy work. He didn’t use any type of equipment, except his strength and some manual tools. That was his work-out and he has the muscles to prove it! He likes it to be cleared of stumps so he can mow easily with the lawnmower. It is clear and smooth now, covered with fresh dirt. Soon no one will even know those trees existed.

Fire Pit

Our fire pit

Some people like swimming pools, hot tubs or jungle gyms, but our priority in our backyard is our garden. Raised beds is what I love to look out the window and see. Full of green, healthy plants that will be harvested in a few months and canned or stored fresh for winter meals. Once your garden is in, you can just enjoy the time spent out in it. I do. When I am weeding, I am thinking or sometimes praying. Listening to the birds as they sing and follow me around the garden. The robins are all over the yard all day. I can get pretty close to them, but not too close.

Snake Bed

Snake Bed, not because of snakes, but due to its shape.

I keep telling my husband we need to charge admission and call our backyard a park. It is better than going to one. Especially since we don’t have to drive anywhere. Okay, it would be nice to have a stream or a creek. A pond is nice too. I know that if you have water, you usually have more bugs. I don’t want any more bugs in our backyard than what we already have. That is what the toads are for. They eat bugs. We have more than a few of them, as well as snakes. Though I know for a fact that the snakes will eat the frogs. I had to save one that was being eaten by a snake. I had to take it out of the snake’s mouth. He didn’t appreciate that very much, but the frog certainly did. He hopped away as fast as possible! 

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole