Backroads Homesteading: Navigating Cold Snaps, Leaky Roofs, and Chicken Escapades!

Backroads Homesteading: Navigating Cold Snaps, Leaky Roofs, and Chicken Escapades!

Welcome back to our homesteading journey here at Backroads Homesteading! I’m Ryan, and I’m thrilled to share with you the latest happenings on our little slice of heaven. From our adventurous chickens to some unexpected weather challenges and even some monumental document signings, we’ve had our hands full. So, grab a warm drink, and let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of rural living.

Chickens on the Wire: A Balancing Act

Our feathered friends have been providing us with endless entertainment lately. They’ve taken to perching atop their chicken wire enclosure, displaying an impressive sense of balance. It’s fascinating to watch them navigate the flimsy wire, each with their unique approach. One of our hens, in particular, stands out. She loves being up high and is always the first to approach when called. Her bravery and leadership qualities shine through, as she fearlessly runs toward danger while the others scatter. It’s these small moments of joy and amusement that make homesteading so rewarding.

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The Frosty Surprise: Protecting Our Plants

Just when we thought we were clear of the cold, Mother Nature threw us a curveball. With a sudden drop in temperature, we found ourselves scrambling to protect our plants from the impending frost. It’s a stark reminder of the unpredictability of the weather and the importance of being prepared. We covered our plants with blankets, hoping to shield them from the cold. It’s a temporary solution, but sometimes that’s all you need to get through a tough night.

Soil Struggles: The Transplanting Process

We’ve encountered some challenges with our watermelons, cucumbers, and squash. Poor aeration and soil quality were taking a toll on their health. We decided to switch them over to a Pro Mix, and the difference in their happiness is noticeable. It’s a clear example of how crucial it is to monitor your plants and respond to their needs. Observing color changes, smelling for any unusual odors, and checking for wilting are all part of the daily routine here. It’s the little details that make a big difference in the long run.

Tea Time: Experimenting with Tea Leaves

I’ve taken a new interest in growing tea leaves. Currently, I’m experimenting with SOI black tea and small leaf varieties. The key is to ensure they don’t dry out, which can be a bit of a balancing act. But it’s an exciting venture, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop. In addition to tea, I’m also working on growing Goji berries. I’ve learned that having two different types for cross-pollination leads to a higher yield, so I’ll be sourcing some new varieties soon.

Leaky Roofs and Roofing Woes

Our homestead hasn’t been without its structural challenges. We’ve been dealing with some leaking issues in our lean-to. Despite resealing and rescrewing the roof, water seems to be wicking back underneath the metal. We’re exploring different solutions to prevent further leaks and damage. It’s a frustrating issue, but we’re determined to find a fix. We can’t finish the lean-tos until we resolve this, as even a small leak can lead to bigger problems down the line.

Gardening Challenges: Peas and Corn

Our peas and corn have faced some setbacks with the recent cold snap. We’ve had to use makeshift solutions like beach towels and blankets to protect them from frost. While the peas seem to have fared okay, the corn took a hit. We’re optimistic about replanting and experimenting with early planting to be first to market. It’s all part of the learning process, and we’re embracing each challenge as an opportunity to grow.

Dealing with Deer: A Homesteader’s Dilemma

One of the ongoing challenges we face is managing the deer population on our property. They’re beautiful creatures, but they can wreak havoc on our crops. We’re considering various methods to deter them, including fencing, letting our dogs roam freely, and even using rotten eggs as a natural repellent. It’s a delicate balance between respecting wildlife and protecting our livelihood.

Tree Removal: A Tough Decision

We’ve had to make some tough decisions regarding tree removal for the safety of our structures. One particular tree, planted too close to our pole barn, poses a threat as it matures. While we hate to remove trees, sometimes it’s necessary to prevent potential damage. It’s all part of maintaining the health and safety of our homestead.

Equipment Maintenance: Prepping for Work

Proper equipment maintenance is crucial on the homestead. I’ve been mixing up new premix for our chainsaws and gearing up with safety equipment for some upcoming work on the fence and clearing the back pasture. It’s important to have reliable tools and equipment, especially when you’re working in a rural setting.

Composting and Future Garden Plans

I’ve been experimenting with composting, using a mixture of greens and browns to create nutrient-rich soil for our garden. We’re excited about our gardening plans and the potential for a bountiful harvest. We’re also considering setting up a farm stand in the future to sell our produce and support our local community.

Join Our Journey

Thank you for joining us on this adventure. Homesteading is a journey filled with ups and downs, but it’s incredibly rewarding. We invite you to join our free e-newsletter at backroadhomesteading.com to stay updated on our journey and become part of the family. We’re looking forward to sharing more of our experiences with you.

As we wrap up this post, I’m reminded of the resilience and determination that homesteading requires. It’s a lifestyle that demands patience, hard work, and a deep connection to the land. But it’s also a lifestyle that brings immense joy, fulfillment, and a sense of accomplishment. Here at Backroads Homesteading, we’re embracing each challenge and celebrating each victory, no matter how small. We hope you’ll continue to follow along as we navigate the backroads of homesteading.

Until next time, happy homesteading!

Ryan

Cold Hard Truths

Cold Hard Truths

It’s been a busy time filled with various projects, from setting up a new chicken coop to smoking our first ham and tackling some home improvement tasks. Let’s dive into the details of our week and share some insights and experiences from our homesteading journey.

Setting Up the Chicken Coop

Our week started with getting the chicken coop ready for our feathered friends. We moved the coop inside and set up the chickens temporarily to get them acclimated to their new surroundings. Em has been diligently checking on them to ensure they’re comfortable and adjusting well. It’s always a joy to see them exploring their new home and settling in.

Smoking Our First Ham

One of the highlights of the week was smoking our first ham. Although we didn’t raise the pig entirely on our homestead, we were involved in most of the process, making it a special experience. We used the East Oak smoker, a budget-friendly option we found on Amazon, which worked surprisingly well for our first attempt.

The marinade for the ham was a simple yet delicious combination of brown sugar, molasses from Roy’s place, and some honey mustard dipping sauce. The result was a tasty ham that, while not perfect, was certainly enjoyable. There’s room for improvement, but for a first attempt, we were pretty pleased with the outcome.

Preparing for Spring Planting

With the threat of freezing temperatures seemingly behind us, we’ve moved our produce out of the pole barn. This week, we also invested in some cattle panels to set up a trellis system for our beans, peas, and tomatoes. However, we mistakenly got the more expensive horse panels, which put us over budget. Despite this, we’re excited to see how the trellis system will support our plants as they grow.

Maintenance Work on the Pole Barn

Maintaining our pole barn was another task on our list this week. We’re replacing the roof screws on the main building and the original lean-to. Over time, the sun and weather can degrade the rubber washers on the screws, leading to leaks and deterioration. It’s important to replace these every few years to keep the roof in good condition.

Home Improvement: Spraying Knockdown Texture

We also tackled a home improvement project by spraying knockdown texture on the walls. It’s been a while since we’ve done this, so it was a bit of a learning curve to get the right consistency and technique. The knockdown texture adds a nice finish to the walls, covering up any inconsistencies between drywall pieces. We’re pleased with how it’s turning out and can’t wait to see the finished result.

Spending Time with Friends

One of the joys of homesteading is the community of like-minded individuals we get to interact with. This week, we spent some time with friends on the ridge, helping them build something for their homestead. It’s always great to share stories, enjoy good food, and support each other in our homesteading endeavors.

Looking Ahead

As we wrap up this week, we’re excited about the projects and challenges that lie ahead. Homesteading is a journey filled with learning, growth, and the satisfaction of building something with our own hands. We’re grateful for the support of our community, both online and offline, and look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you.

Thank you to everyone who has liked, shared, and subscribed to our channel. Your support means the world to us. Don’t forget to check out our newsletter on BackroadsHomesteading.com and follow us on Facebook and X for more updates on our homesteading journey. Until next time, happy homesteading!

Weathering the Freeze: Spring Updates from Backroads Homesteading

Weathering the Freeze: Spring Updates from Backroads Homesteading

Spring is a time of renewal and growth, but it’s not without its challenges. As homesteaders, we’re always at the mercy of the weather, and this spring was no exception. We faced an unexpected freeze that put our plants at risk and tested our resilience. However, with some quick thinking and adaptation, we managed to protect our crops and move forward with our plans.

The Low Tunnel Solution

One of our major projects this spring was the construction of a low tunnel. This simple structure, made from galvanized electrical conduit and covered with plastic, provided a much-needed shelter for our plants during the cold snap. It’s a cost-effective solution that we’ll continue to use in the future to extend our growing season and protect our crops from frost.

New Additions to the Flock

Spring also brought new life to our homestead in the form of a flock of laying hens. We chose a mix of breeds, including Onyx Californians and Rhode Island Reds, to ensure a good variety of eggs. We’re also expecting some Cornish Crosses soon, which we’ll raise for meat. Building the chicken tractors for these birds has been a fun project, and we’re looking forward to modifying our coop to accommodate our growing flock.

Socializing Chicks and Dogs

Introducing our dog, Maddie, to the chicks was an important step in ensuring harmony on the homestead. It’s essential that our animals get along and understand their roles. We’re pleased to report that Maddie has taken to her new friends well, and we’re confident that she’ll be a great protector of the flock as they grow.

Preparing the Coop

The coop that was on the property when we purchased it needed some work, but it’s proving to be a solid foundation for our laying hens. We have plans to add tractor tires to the base and build out a full cage for a run, complete with an automatic door. This will allow us to move the coop easily and give the hens fresh ground to forage on each day.

Building and Organizing

Sustainability is a core value of ours, and we’ve been focused on reusing and repurposing materials wherever possible. We’ve been organizing our building materials and planning for future projects, such as our greenhouses and planting areas. It’s a continuous process of improvement and adaptation, but it’s one that brings us closer to our goal of a self-sufficient homestead.

Embracing New Technology

I’ve been working on improving my recording skills with a GoPro to share our journey more effectively on our YouTube channel. It’s a different experience from using professional cameras, but I’m excited about the opportunity to connect with our audience in a new way.

Planting Progress

Despite the challenges posed by the weather, our planting is progressing well. Our potatoes seem to have survived the freeze, and our low tunnels have provided valuable protection for our corn. We’ve learned a lot from this experience, and we’ll be better prepared for future weather events.

Expanding Our Homestead

We have big plans for the future, including setting up an apiary and building soil with wood chips. We’re also starting our orchard with elderberries, blueberries, and apple trees. These projects will not only provide us with food and resources but also contribute to the biodiversity of our homestead.

Looking Forward

As we look ahead, we’re excited about the possibilities. We’re planning to add bees to our homestead, set up camping sites for friends and family, and continue developing our land. There’s always something to do on the homestead, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Spring is a time of hard work and new beginnings, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to share our journey with you. Whether you’re a seasoned homesteader or just starting out, we hope our experiences inspire you to pursue your own homesteading dreams. Thank you for joining us on this adventure, and we look forward to sharing more updates in the future!

Early Season Gardening: Navigating Freeze Dangers & Planting Crops | Homestead Chronicles

Early Season Gardening: Navigating Freeze Dangers & Planting Crops | Homestead Chronicles

Hello, fellow homesteaders and gardening enthusiasts! It’s Ryan here from Backroads Homesteading. In today’s episode, I’m excited to take you through the early stages of planting on our homestead. With the risk of freezing temperatures looming, it’s a bit of a gamble, but I’m hopeful that our early crops will pull through.

Planting Day on the Homestead: Corn, Potatoes, and More! Freeze Risk! Planting Early Crops – Will They Survive? | Making Rows #planting #homestead #garden Join us on Backroads Homesteading as we dive into a busy planting day on our homestead! From wiring up the tractor with tech to planting corn and potatoes, we’re covering it all. Watch as we share our methods, trials, and the beautiful results of a day’s hard work in the field.

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The day kicks off with me getting our trusty tractor ready for the task at hand. I’ve equipped it with a GMRS radio for communication, a boom box for some tunes, and a 360 camera to capture all the action. I’ve also mounted my phone on one side for easy access. It’s important to note that when working in dusty conditions, it’s crucial to protect your electronic devices. Dust can wreak havoc on your connections in no time, so be sure to cover them up if you’re kicking up a lot of dirt.

Our main focus today is planting corn. I’ve got several trials of corn seeds that I’m eager to test out. But, in a bit of a spontaneous decision, I’ve also decided to plant some wheatgrass. Originally, I intended to juice it, but since it’s past its prime for juicing, I figured, why not plant it as hard winter wheat for the summer? If it doesn’t work out, it can always serve as a treat for our chickens.

As we move out into the field, I show you how we planted the corn last night. We created raised rows, planted the seeds, and then covered them with wood chips. The wood chips will act as mulch, helping with weed suppression and moisture retention. For the corn, I’ve kept the rows shallow, as corn typically doesn’t require deep rows. I just wanted to add a bit of extra drainage if possible.

Fast forward to the next day, and it’s all about potatoes. I’m adopting a “Back to Eden” style of planting, where we cover the potatoes with wood chips after planting them in the soil. We’re planting a variety of potatoes, including Georges whites, reds, and Yukon Golds. I must admit, I’ve never planted this many potatoes in one go before. My previous garden was a fraction of this size, so it’s quite the undertaking for one person.

One of the key messages I want to share with you all is the importance of just starting your planting, even if your soil isn’t perfect. Too often, we get caught up in analysis paralysis, worrying that our conditions aren’t ideal. But the truth is, it’s better to start and learn from the experience, even if your yield is a bit lower. With all the uncertainties that 2024 is bringing, it’s crucial to be self-sufficient in some way, whether it’s through planting food, securing water sources, or having a means of communication.

As the sun sets, I reflect on the day’s work. We’ve got four rows of potatoes in, and it’s been a long process with our small tractor. But there’s something incredibly satisfying about working the land and watching your crops grow. It’s a beautiful evening, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this journey with all of you.

Before I sign off, I want to invite you to join our online community at BackroadsHomesteading.com and subscribe to our free e-newsletter. Your support means the world to us, so don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe to our channel. Until next time, happy homesteading!

Unlocking the Natural Power of Oregano Oil: A Closer Look at Its Remarkable Benefits

Unlocking the Natural Power of Oregano Oil: A Closer Look at Its Remarkable Benefits

Oregano oil, derived from the leaves and flowers of the oregano plant (Origanum vulgare), has been a staple in natural medicine for centuries. Known for its potent medicinal properties, oregano oil is a versatile remedy with a multitude of health benefits. In this blog post, we’ll dig into the benefits of oregano oil, supported by scientific research and insights (links provided).

  1. Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties: Oregano oil is renowned for its ability to fight off harmful bacteria and fungi, thanks to its high content of carvacrol and thymol. These compounds have been shown to stop the growth of several types of bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and E. coli, which are common causes of infections. Sources – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471180/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23484421/
  2. Lowering Cholesterol: Studies suggest that the polyphenols in oregano oil, such as carvacrol and thymol, may help lower cholesterol levels. Animal studies support this claim, indicating that compounds in oregano oil can have cholesterol-lowering effects . Source – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17469764/
  3. Powerful Antioxidant: Oregano oil is packed with antioxidants, which protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. It has a higher concentration of antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables, gram per gram, making it a potent source of these protective compounds. Source – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11714298/
  4. Treating Yeast Infections: Oregano oil has been found to be effective against Candida infections, a common form of yeast that can cause issues in the mouth, genitals, blood, and internal organs. Source – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33915040/
  5. Improving Gut Health: The anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antibacterial properties of oregano oil may benefit gut health. It has been shown to help treat small intestine bacterial overgrowth and prevent harmful bacteria overgrowth. Source – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030608/
  6. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Oregano oil and its components, such as carvacrol, may help reduce inflammation. Although more research is needed, animal studies suggest that oregano oil has anti-inflammatory effects. Sources – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801825/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6152729/
  7. Relieving Pain: Oregano oil has potential applications in pain management. Animal studies suggest that carvacrol, a compound in oregano oil, may have pain-relieving properties when used in conjunction with other medications. Sources – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8977206/ and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25557507/
  8. Cancer-Fighting Properties: Preliminary studies indicate that carvacrol, the most abundant compound in oregano oil, may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and cause cell death in lung, liver, and breast cancer cells. Sources – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6152729/ and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29277784/
  9. Weight Loss: Oregano oil may aid in weight loss through the action of carvacrol. While more research is needed, it could be a beneficial addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle for those looking to lose weight. Source – https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/21/11832

How to Use Oregano Oil:

  • Topical Application: Dilute oregano essential oil with a carrier oil and apply it topically for skin conditions or muscle and joint pain.
  • Oral Consumption: Oregano oil extract is available in capsules or tablets and can be taken as a supplement. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

Precautions: While oregano oil is generally safe for most people, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and interactions. Pregnant or breastfeeding women, individuals with allergies to the mint family, and those on certain medications should consult with a healthcare provider before using oregano oil.

Oregano oil is a powerful natural remedy with a wide range of health benefits. From its antibacterial and antioxidant properties to its potential in cancer treatment and weight loss, oregano oil is a versatile addition to any health and wellness regimen. As with any supplement, it’s important to use oregano oil responsibly and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s appropriate for your individual needs.