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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!