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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