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!

Backroads Homesteading Live: Challenges, Updates, and Community Networking.

Backroads Homesteading Live: Challenges, Updates, and Community Networking.

In the latest episode of our Backroads Homesteading series, we decided to take our Friday coffee chat outdoors, sharing the serene backdrop of our homestead with our viewers. As the sun peeked over the hills and the cows grazed peacefully in the background, we dove into a candid discussion about the recent happenings on our homestead, the challenges we’ve faced, and the joys of rural living.

One of the highlights of our outdoor setup was the integration of dual microphones and a bigger camera, allowing us to capture the beauty of our surroundings while ensuring clear audio. It’s been a year of tweaking and adjusting, but we’re finally getting the hang of live streaming with this enhanced setup.

Our chat covered a range of topics, from the mundane to the more pressing issues we’ve encountered. We discussed the recent barbecue adventures, the struggle with construction challenges like leaks and gutter issues, and the ongoing projects that keep us busy. The transition from city life to homesteading has been a journey filled with learning curves, but it’s one that we’ve embraced wholeheartedly.

Community networking has been a vital part of our homesteading experience. We’ve connected with fellow homesteaders, shared knowledge on gardening, and even coordinated activities like incubating chickens. These connections have not only enriched our lives but also provided a support system that is invaluable in this lifestyle.

Our garden has been a major focus, with plans to create a sustainable food source that can support our family and potentially others in our community. We’ve experimented with various crops, learned from our mistakes, and celebrated our successes. The goal is to be self-sufficient, and every day brings us one step closer to that reality.

Pest control, wildlife management, and the balance between nature and cultivation are ongoing challenges. We’ve had to find ways to protect our crops from pests while ensuring that we maintain a healthy ecosystem on our homestead.

As we continue to build and grow, the importance of soundproofing and creating private spaces has become apparent. Our son, Link, has been a trooper through it all, understanding the constraints of time and money as we work towards completing his room and other projects.

Looking ahead, we’re focused on expanding our income streams, improving our homestead infrastructure, and continuing to build a life that is sustainable, fulfilling, and connected to the land. The journey is not without its hurdles, but the rewards of homesteading are immeasurable.

As we wrapped up our outdoor coffee chat, we reflected on the progress we’ve made and the future we’re building. The homestead life is a journey of constant learning, adaptation, and growth. It’s a life we’ve chosen, and one that we’re grateful for every day.

Join us on this journey as we continue to share our experiences, challenges, and triumphs in the world of homesteading. Whether you’re a seasoned homesteader or just starting to explore this lifestyle, there’s always something new to learn and discover on the backroads.

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Soil Testing And Boat Troubles

Soil Testing And Boat Troubles

Boat Issues and Soil Testing | Building The Homestead Series

Hello, friends! Ryan here from Backroads Homesteading. Today, I want to share some updates on our homestead journey, focusing on soil testing for our garden beds and our boat repair adventures.

Rumble Version – https://rumble.com/v4hmyo5-homestead-life-boat-issues-and-soil-testing.html
X Version – https://twitter.com/bkrdhomstd/status/1765448065907900603
Facebook Version – https://fb.watch/qEsLbBffsV/
Instagram Version – https://www.instagram.com/p/C4Lr5eIgwdy/

Soil Testing: Laying the Foundation for a Productive Garden

On the homestead front, we’ve been busy preparing our garden beds. We received some mulch from a new friend, which we initially planned to use for walkways. However, upon closer inspection, we realized it contained a mix of dirt, leaves, and other composting materials. We’ve decided to use this mulch in the bottom of our raised beds for a hugelkultur approach, which will help improve soil structure and fertility.

We also tilled some of the composting material into our clay-based soil to prevent compaction and improve nutrient availability. Our neighbor kindly brought over a tractor to help us work on the fence line, and we took the opportunity to finish collecting soil samples from our North Field.

After mixing the samples and removing any large organic matter, we’re sending them off for analysis. This will help us understand what amendments our soil needs to support a healthy, productive garden. We’re also making some adjustments to our raised beds, reducing their height from three layers to two to conserve wood and create more beds.

As we wait for the soil test results, we’re excited to start planning our garden layout and choosing the best crops for our soil conditions. It’s all about creating a sustainable, productive homestead that can support our family and community.

Boat Repairs: A Surprising Challenge

We recently noticed some issues with our boat, specifically in the battery chamber. Upon inspection, we found a significant amount of corrosion, likely caused by open-cell batteries leaking acid as the boat moved through the water. This was a surprising challenge, but we’re tackling it head-on.

To address this, we removed the tops of the batteries and cleaned out most of the corrosion. We’re now running baking soda through the chamber to neutralize any remaining acid. Thankfully, we haven’t found any holes yet, but we’ll continue to inspect and ensure it’s safe before reinstalling closed-cell batteries. This experience has taught us the importance of regular maintenance and checks, especially when it comes to safety on the water.

Stay tuned for more updates on our homesteading journey, and feel free to share your own experiences and tips in the comments. Until next time, happy homesteading!

Protecting Our Furry Friend

Protecting Our Furry Friend

Seresto’s Flea & Tick Collar

Hey there, Ryan here from Backroads Homesteading! Today, I’m excited to share our recent experience with a product that’s made a big difference for our beloved dog, Maddie. We’re talking about the Seresto Large Dog Vet-Recommended Flea & Tick Treatment & Prevention Collar for Dogs Over 18 lbs. With 8 months of protection, this collar has been a game-changer in keeping Maddie safe from those pesky fleas and ticks.

As many of you know, Maddie is not just a pet; she’s a part of our family. We love taking her on adventures in the great outdoors, but with that comes the risk of fleas and ticks. That’s why we decided to try out the Seresto collar, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

In our latest video, we demonstrate how easy it is to open the product and put it on Maddie. The collar is designed for dogs over 18 lbs and provides 8 months of continuous protection against fleas and ticks. It’s vet-recommended, which gave us peace of mind knowing we were using a trusted product.

We do what we can to keep our property free of ticks and bugs by managing habitat and keeping the grass low, but fleas, ticks, and other insects are just part of life out here. We will not spray chemical treatments on our homestead so It’s such a relief to know she’s protected, especially during our outdoor adventures. The collar is also water-resistant, so Maddie can still enjoy her swims without any worries.

If you’re looking for a reliable flea and tick treatment for your furry friend, we highly recommend the Seresto collar. It’s easy to use, long-lasting, and most importantly, effective.

As always, we value transparency with our community. We want to disclose that we are part of the Amazon Associates Program, and this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you decide to purchase the Seresto collar through our link, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It’s a great way to support our channel and help us continue to bring you valuable content.

Thanks for tuning in, and if you have any questions or experiences with the Seresto collar, feel free to share them in the comments below. Don’t forget to check out our video to see how easy it is to protect your furry friend from fleas and ticks!

Until next time, keep homesteading and keep growing!

Ryan