Shopping Online For Your Homestead

Mail Boxes

Our Mail Boxes

 

Shopping online is the norm for a good share of the population now. I grew up addicted to mail order much to the annoyance of my mother. She would say, “You could get it faster shopping at the store in town.”I did not let that deter me. We would have have to go to the bank or post office for a money order. Then send the order out with the money order. The first item I remember purchasing through the mail was a doll that was on the back of the cereal box. She was three dollars and I saved up that money myself. My father gave me a quarter every morning for my school lunch and I would get a nickel back. I saved those nickels for that doll. That must have been around 1959 and I still have that doll. Back then mail order companies charged shipping based on the amount of your order. Made no sense to me since a small diamond ring would cost less to ship but the price could be extremely high if you bought a good one. Some included a handling charge as well. I’d wait patiently for my order. Often it took a good two months before it would arrive. It didn’t matter, I was hooked on shopping that way and I have always shopped from catalogs my whole life. So transitioning to shopping online was automatic for me.

Alice Boxes

Shopping at Alice

Now shopping online is much faster that it was to order from a catalog. I still shop from catalogs that come in the mail, but after finding what I want I go to their website to order. I like the fact that I can find the size, color or variety of whatever I am looking for. If you can’t find it on one site, you can “Google it” and instantly find another that carries it. Once I embraced online shopping I never looked back. The website, Alice, is the site I first used for household items. I don’t think they sold groceries. I bought pet foods, personal care and household cleaning products there. I loved it! I thought Alice was too good to be true though. They had free shipping no matter how much you bought. So if you bought one little item for less than five bucks, it shipped free. I knew they had to be losing money on those sales. Later on they changed to free shipping on fifty dollar orders. Eventually they charged a nominal fee on all orders. The next time after that, their site was gone. I was disappointed to say the least. I really liked them, but I have heard that they went bankrupt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the shipping is what did them in.

Delivery Truck

Refrigerator Delivery

Amazon enticed me constantly offering deals for signing up to their Prime program. Finally I succumbed to their ads and emails. I am very pleased I did. Now I would not want to be without it. My husband has his own Amazon account and I was able to connect my Prime account to his. He buys a lot of tools, hardware, parts and components for our alternative energy system. We even bought our refrigerator there. Most anything we are looking for is available on Amazon and ships free and comes quickly…..IF they are available through Prime. If not, it might not ship as quickly. That is not saying that I won’t buy a product I want if it is not Prime. Sometimes I do pay for shipping from a seller other than Amazon, but shopping online is easy using Prime. I usually check the questions asked about the product on the listing. Many times someone has asked a question about exactly what I want to know about it. If you have have a question that has not been asked, you can ask it before you buy. That way you will know if you want to buy it or not. Buying food there is the best because you can just put in the search box what you are looking for. Such as organic, Non-GMO, sugar-free, low-carb, gluten-free or whatever. I have bought many foods that I cannot find in my local stores. If you do not want to buy imported products Amazon gives you that information in the listing. If it is not there, usually in the questions section, that will have been asked by someone.

MP3 Player

My MP3 Player

The reviews are not as reliable, they should not be trusted one hundred percent. When I study the reviews, many one star reviews are written by a buyer who has a complaint with the seller, not the product. Or their item arrived damaged in shipping and they blame the product. Instead of returning it for a replacement they cry and whine about it. Return it and get a replacement! Often a review is rated one star due to the seller not shipping it fast enough. Again that is a seller issue and you can leave that feedback on the seller’s page. That is not the fault of the product or manufacturer. Another type of one star review is when a buyer purchases an item and does not understand or know how to use it. Many times I have purchased items, including books, that have one star reviews and have been very happy with them. I wonder what were those reviewers talking about? Recently I purchased an AGPTEK MP3 player. After putting in a number of my albums on it and using it almost nightly, I really loved it. One night I turned it on and was disappointed to find it wouldn’t work. It was all messed up and I couldn’t even turn it off. Instead of a bad review, I contacted the seller and received a reply almost right away. She told me what to do and it fixed it. If it happens again, I know what to do now. Good sellers make shopping online so much nicer!

Green Mountain Gringo

One of the products I buy from Netrition

Grocery shopping online is such a time saver for me. I can’t get around like I used to so shopping from my computer really helps. I shop online for almost everything we use except for fresh produce and meat. Netrition is one of my favorite places to shop. I have been shopping there since 2009. Basically it is a health food store, carrying a large variety of organic foods and supplements. I discovered many brands that I had never heard of before. Their shipping charges are $6.99 for orders under $99.00 and free if over $99.00. My orders are normally pretty heavy since most organic foods still come in glass jars and bottles. Glass? Yes, glass is rare these days and I prefer it. Don’t worry about the shipping though. Netrition’s shipping department is the best there is. Every item is securely wrapped, making it a bubble wrap pillow or envelope around the product. Each item is packaged separately so they do not bang against each other in shipping. If I order early enough in the day, my order will be here the next day or the day after.

Damaged Walmart Order

Damaged in shipping! From Walmart!

The last couple of years I have started ordering from Walmart. too. Now their prices are great as usual……BUT their shipping department needs some work. Well actually a lot of work. So far it has been the worst I have ever dealt with. My first order came quickly and nothing damaged, but that was just plain luck. They packed the products all together in a box with no protection at all. The second time I ordered from them, I had a large order of over a hundred dollars and I waited and waited for it to arrive. Finally I sent them a message about it and they replied back that it was damaged in shipping so UPS sent it back to them. They refunded my credit card and that was that. They never sent me a message to tell me that had happened or that they were refunding my card. They just canceled my order and forgot to let me know. Now I did not like that one bit, but I let it pass.

Keystone Pork

Keystone Pork was damaged!

My last order must have had the jar of sun-dried tomatoes break because it was not in the box and the tea bags were all damp and smelled like the tomatoes. The cans of food were all dented and beat up. The main reason I started shopping there was for the Keystone meats since they always have them and at a good price. They are not available in my local Walmart or any store in my area. If they were, probably not at the price I get them from Walmart. I called them and they were very nice and replaced everything that was damaged and told me not to send them back. They were still usable, but they could not sell them to another customer. So I got extra for my trouble. I got my jar of sun-dried tomatoes too! I will keep shopping there as it is very convenient for me. I am sure that Walmart will improve their shipping department over time. They have to if they want to compete online. One other thing I wanted to mention about Walmart is that their disclaimer on their site says they can’t verify where each product originated from since they have so many distributors and manufacturers. I can understand that too. They have been offering various discounts on shipping so that can change at any time, including free 2 day shipping and a discount if you order online and pick it up at your local store. So more to come from them!

Damaged in shipping Tea Bags

My tea bags arrive damp and beat up!

A couple of months ago, I experimented with shopping at Rite Aid. Big mistake on my part, not their’s. I thought the products I purchased were normal sizes and they were almost all travel sizes! Too much spent on items I can buy locally at cheaper prices for full sizes. I have bought at other sites over the years but these are my main shopping sites for now. Be careful on sizes of items so not to be disappointed like I was on the Rite Aid order. Shop around a bit too. I often buy items on eBay and have certain sellers I go back to time and again. If I have a good experience with them I follow them and when I shop on eBay go directly to their store or listings. For the most part I am happy with shopping online and it does save me a lot of time and money. Yes, money too! I don’t buy extras I see on the way out of the grocery store. Buying electronics, automotive parts and components for our solar and wind system has worked great for us too.

 

katlupe

Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2017 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.


Driving Through The Woods

Through the Woods

Through the Woods

Driving through the woods to my house, many people are under the impression that we are really “out there.” I only wish! In 1999 when we purchased our house, we had the plan to get rid of our car and use a horse and buggy for transportation. The key to that was that our house is ideally located for someone wanting to do that. I would imagine that past residents of our home, did just that and most likely walked to and back from town. Since this house was built in 1850, that is highly probable. Our location is central to several small towns and one small city. Well, things didn’t quite work out that way for us. Though we did live for over nine months without a motor vehicle. The only reason we could not do this was due to our elderly parents, who resisted us living like this constantly. And of course, our grown kids. Everybody seemed to “need” us for something.

Ludlow Creek

Ludlow Creek

I must admit, I was very impressed with the location the first day of driving through the woods to find it. It was a snow covered road going through the beautiful forest.  It was so peaceful! The snow insulates the sound, so you don’t hear anything except the occasional sound of a chickadee or blue jay. As we drove through the seasonal road, that had a sign posted to drive at your own risk, I had to get my courage up. Once we got half way through the forest, it was so breathtaking that I forgot about being nervous. At the end of that road, we were still in the woods and it was impressive. The trees were huge and grew thickly. In the middle of it all was a small creek that was flowing steadily in the middle of the winter. I fell in love with the little one lane bridge as soon as I saw it.

One Lane Bridge Sign

One Lane Bridge Sign

As the years have gone by, the feeling of being secluded or “out there” has all but disappeared. More people have moved into hunting camps in the area and made full time homes out of them. Our little road, which rarely had more than two vehicles go by in one day, now has much more than that. Still it is not like the Long Island Expressway, but the traffic has increased. If you find a homestead on a dirt road, or in the middle of a forest,  it doesn’t necessarily mean it will stay that way indefinitely. All the forests around us, mostly state forest land, have been logged and it is constantly going on. The little dirt roads are not designed for this and end up hard to drive at times due to the equipment and logging trucks. They log all year round so I just had to get used to it. Then there are the hunters of course. And their litter!

High Bridge

High Bridge

For the most part though, it lives up to the name we gave it, Peaceful Forest. I chose that name before we even found it. I knew what I was looking for and as soon as we saw it, we exclaimed to each other, “It IS Peaceful Forest!” It didn’t have as much acreage as we were originally looking for but being in the forest compensated for that. Thousands of acres surround us here and that is enough for us.

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Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 201
7 Kathleen G. Lupole


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

 


Dual Purpose Planters

2014 Butternut Plant

2014 Butternut Plant

Dual purpose planters are all around my forest homestead. Many containers I end up planting in serve another purpose or did at another time. My husband built two planters with rock that he mortared together. These are really meant to keep the guy wires attached to our wind turbine safe. Nobody can accidentally back into them unless they hit the planters. These planters are a good size. Last year I had planted butternut squash in them and it gave us a good harvest. 

Boothby Blonde Seedling

Boothby blonde Seedling

This year, I have planted cucumbers in these dual purpose planters that are deep and warm. Filled with our own compost that has set a number of years to become a rich black dirt. Our plants do well in this dirt.  My idea is to get the plant to attach itself to the wires that go to the turbine. So far the planter out back is doing the best. The one out front seems to be growing in the wrong direction, away from the guy wire. I will have to force that one a bit. 

Mortared bed out back

Mortared bed out back


The type of cucumber I planted in this bed is the heirloom, Boothby Blonde, that I purchase from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds every year. I also buy their Lemon Cuke Cucumber and we like that quite a bit too. They are both good producers. So much so, that we usually eat them for a snack freshly picked from the vines. 

Cucumber plant climbing the wire

Cucumber plant climbing the wire


Every time I checked it, I tried to steer it toward the wires from the turbine which are cemented down deep in this bed.I left the clover growing in here for feeding to our pet house rabbit. A bed like this would be good for a root crop as well. 

Still climbing attached to wire

Still climbing attached to wire

As you can see in this photo the plant attached to the wire and was climbing up the wire. All I did was to check it daily and if was not attached yet, I’d push it closer to the wire and cable. Pretty soon it had attached to the wire. This is not a big cucumber at all and neither is the Lemon Cuke. So when they start growing, they should hang off the plant. If they are hidden on the ground, they rot or are missed when we are picking them. Now if I can keep it doing this! 

Cucumber on Turbine wire.

Cucumber on Turbine wire.

 

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


Wild Edible Plants On Our Homestead

Outdoor Fire Place

Outdoor Fire Place


Wild edible plants surround our Peaceful Forest Homestead! That fact amazes me every year. There are so many plants growing in the forest around us that I couldn’t begin to know them all. I carry my worn copy of  A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides) with me, when I want to learn about a plant I have seen. I usually bring back one of the plants, the stalk, the flower or berry and some leaves. I will go online and check more than one website that has actual photographs of this plant. I study it carefully, before I decide to indulge in a taste. One taste of a poisonous plant could be your last! I am NOT kidding!

Wild Grape Vines

Wild Grape Vines


That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sample the wild edible plants growing near you. I like the fact that I can pick them fresh all season, and not have to dry or can them. When the season is done, we go on to other food. These plants will be back in our diet next year. Eating food in that way means that we never get tired of them. We can eat dandelion greens all spring and summer, and then when they are gone, I can dream about eating them again next spring. Berries are abundant in the forests of NY. I think this must be the way early settlers got a supply of fruit for their families. Not only do we have berries to harvest, but plenty of wild apple trees and grapes. 

Wild Berries

Wild Berries


When we first moved here, I didn’t know the first thing about wild edible plants. I learned fast. Our house had the woods growing right up to the back door. What was growing in that area? Wild edible plants of course! Mainly blackberries. Everywhere you could see around our house was blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, Hawthorne berries, choke cherries, raspberries and at least a dozen, old heirloom apple trees. I have the idea that whoever first built this house in 1850, may have planted those old apple trees. He built a wood bin in the root cellar that is attached to the ceiling with no legs to the floor. I think they stored the apples that they harvested from the trees here in that bin. It is one of my favorite things about this house. I made so many berry cobblers and apple crisps and applesauce those first few  years. Eventually we had to clear those areas for the garden and yard.  Then the area to build our barn and paddock had to be cleared too. It didn’t matter, we still have enough.

Wild Edible Plants

Wild Edible Plants


If you plan right, you can make use of the wild edible plants while they are at their peak. I admit to canning and drying many of them, though I don’t really have to. Making juice from the fruits is something I have done and still do quite often. One year you might get a huge harvest and the next two, hardly anything. I have to fight the birds and bees every year for the berries and grapes. They feed off the sweet fruits and they harvest them before they are ready. That is why they usually beat me to it. It is a good way to add to your food supply, since these foods are free, except for the work of picking and cleaning them (maybe fighting the bees too). Do you have any edible wild foods on your homestead? What do you do with them?

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


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

 


Homestead Projects In the Springtime

Wood raised beds

Wood beds on side of house.

Homestead projects for the springtime are being worked on and some, even finished. I transplanted my seedlings into the garden the past couple of weeks. We have been having a tough time around our homestead these last couple of months. I was so excited that I could finally plant my garden, but there have been other things raining on my parade, so to speak. For one thing our electric lawn mower broke and it appears it needs replacing. I think my husband wore it out. He mows a lot of lawn here and most people use these for a small area. I keep telling him I can add more raised beds…………the more the better!

Tomato Plants in containers

Tomato Plants in containers.

Another homestead project is how I can grow tomatoes this year to produce. We need them! I planted my tomatoes in containers last year, but didn’t use deep enough containers. They need to be really deep. As deep as you can get. I am using the ones you see here. If I had access to 50 gallon drums, I’d use them. These will do, I hope. Ever since we started getting the Late Blight, I have not grown any tomatoes except for cherry ones. I used to grow two or three rows of tomatoes in the wood beds along the side of the house. I remember having bushels of them. We even brought in the last of them in the fall, before a hard frost was coming, and packed them in two big bushel baskets covered up with newspapers. I always had jars of home canned tomatoes and sauce. Now I haven’t had my own home grown tomato in a few years. What happened? Is this a result of GMO spores in the air? Seems fishy to me.

Bush Beans

Bush Beans

My hubby worked hard last fall taking down two trees that shaded this area of our backyard. Now the raised beds he rebuilt back there look awesome. I love it and hopefully, our garden will take off soon. It is really nice to have more room to plant in. The raised beds weren’t producing as well due to the trees’ roots in the beds, and the shading, of course. We still have shade back there, but not over the bed. I have moved the bush beans to this area to give the other beds a rest from beans this year. It is not good to plant the same plants over and over in the same area or raised bed.

Transplants

Ready to plant in the garden!

How is your garden doing this year? Hopefully, everyone can get a garden in. Not only is the food in the stores expensive, but now it is all GMO  and not safe to live on. Kind of scary times we live in. My list of homestead projects never gets shorter though, the more I do, the more I think of do. What about you? How are your homestead projects coming along? 

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


Building A Homestead Barn

Homestead Barn

Building our barn!


When we moved here in 1999, there was no barn. And no yard and basically, just a house and an outhouse. So we had a lot of work to do to make this place our home. We did not really mind that we had no electric coming to it. And it was very quiet here at that time. We had both been influenced by Backwoods Home Magazine and some other homesteading magazines. None of that really bothered us as we were not using a computer at that time. We had one, but it was packed away for the time being.

Building The Second Floor

Building the second floor


How can you have a homestead if you do not have a barn? My husband had been piecing it together one little bit at a time. Once we had the horses here, then he knew he had to get started for sure. My horse, Georgie Girl badly wanted a barn. So he built our lean-to which is right next to the spot he wanted to put the  barn. Soon that was built and they were using it, but the barn was just a basic frame of what he wanted. The biggest problem was that there was no place to put the hay or the tack. 

Barn Stairs

Nikita’s favorite spot!


Our horses took interest in the barn going up. As did our dog, Nikita, who was jealous of the cats who went up on top of the frame of the roof. It was a happy day indeed, for Nikita, when my husband came in to get her to see the new stairs he had built while she was in the house sleeping. She was so excited! I can still see that day in my mind, now, long after she is gone. After the stairs were up, she could go up on the second floor and help with the building. She always felt she was needed up there with my  husband.

Building the second floor!

Building the second floor!


Soon it was up and the animals were all happy. I think they were happier than we were. Having a good dry place to store the hay was pretty nice. Up until then we had been storing it in our old Ford van. It worked, but made the yard look ugly. I was happy to see it hauled out of here. Now our horses have been used to having a barn that they can go in and out of whenever they choose. Changes around here always improve our life.

Cat on Top of Barn

Hobo liked being on top!

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole


Summer Projects Are Being Completed Every Day

Our House

Our House

Summer Projects are being completed! This summer we have started working hard on various projects that were on hold. Last year at this time, my father was in the hospital and then in August he passed away. After that my husband and I spent months cleaning out his house. No one helped us except my cousin. My son helped by lending me money to pay for dumpsters and some other expenses, and by staying at our house with Nikita. At that time, she was elderly and summer was rough on her. She had gotten to the point where you had to let her out when she had to go, or else. So he did his part by us.

Max

Max

This summer so far, has been time spent on our own projects. My son moved into his own apartment and is now happy with his own space. Not easy to live with other people when you are all grown up. Everyone needs their own home. As you can see from this picture, my husband got our wind turbine up and installed. It was spinning today when we came home! July isn’t a real windy month, but around September we should start seeing some action.

Peaceful Forest Barn

“The heart of the homestead is the barn.” ~ Larry Lupole

Our horses never even noticed the turbine going up or after it was up. They never look up! Not even when a helicopter flies overhead. Must be it doesn’t occur to be important to them. I was waiting to see some reaction from them when it started spinning. None. Oh well, maybe that is a good thing.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

I will be getting a lot of canning down in the next weeks. So expect to see lots of photos of my various projects. Canning is my favorite part of homesteading! I must have inherited that from my grandmother. She canned every year and my mother said she canned every day when she came home from work. I bought the newest Ball book just to have the latest directions. They are always updating. 

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole