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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

Upgrades, Fixes, Construction, Oh My! | Ice Damage, Leaks, Overcoming Struggles, & Radio Practice.

Upgrades, Fixes, Construction, Oh My! | Ice Damage, Leaks, Overcoming Struggles, & Radio Practice.

If you’ve been following our journey, you know it’s been a whirlwind of upgrades, fixes, and construction – oh my! This week was no different, but with a little help from our friends and some homestead ingenuity, we’re turning challenges into victories.

Significant progress was made in Link’s room, with assistance from Eric and Jenny from Wisconsin who helped in installing drywall, boards, insulation, and a vapor barrier.

First off, a huge shout-out to Eric and Jeni, our dynamic duo from Wisconsin, who swooped in like superheroes to help us hang drywall, install insulation, and put up vapor barriers in Link’s room. Their help was invaluable, and we made some serious progress.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Mother Nature decided to throw a curveball our way with a hefty dose of ice and snow. Despite the picturesque view, the melting ice sheets from the roof were more villainous than charming, threatening to damage our new roof. It’s moments like these that remind us that homesteading is as much about solving unexpected puzzles as it is about enjoying the tranquility of country life.

In the spirit of resilience, we adapted quickly. Armed with a broom handle attached to a painter’s pole, we tackled the snow and ice, ensuring our roof lived to see another day. And speaking of overcoming adversity, our radio practice sessions have been a beacon of connectivity, even in the face of solar flares and atmospheric interference. Thanks to our trusty Texan PL 990, we managed to stay in touch with our homestead network, proving that a little ingenuity goes a long way.

As we continue this journey, each challenge, each leak, and each unexpected weather twist is a reminder that homesteading is about more than just the land – it’s about community, perseverance, and the joy of building something with your own two hands. So, here’s to overcoming struggles, celebrating the small victories, and cherishing the support of friends and family.

Before I sign off, remember that your support means the world to us. We post videos on Tuesdays and Thursdays and live stream on Saturdays when we can. Until next time, keep homesteading and stay positive!

Bracing for Winter: Preparing Home and Garden for Arkansas’ First Polar Vortex

Bracing for Winter: Preparing Home and Garden for Arkansas’ First Polar Vortex

As you know, we’re always up for a challenge, and this time it’s Arkansas’ first-ever polar vortex. That’s right, our homestead is bracing for some icy temps, and I’m here to share our frosty adventures and how we’re keeping things snug and secure.

First off, this whole crawl space situation is new to us. We’re used to basements back in Wisconsin, so dealing with exposed plumbing is a bit of a curveball. We’re mitigating risks by turning off water where we can and letting faucets drip to prevent freezing. Homesteading tip: always stay one step ahead of the weather!

Now, let’s talk about our new colossal buddy – a 20-foot ladder, courtesy of Warner. This giant isn’t just any ladder; it’s a double-sided, 600 lb capacity beast that’s making our high-altitude tasks a breeze. And, as our homesteading pals wisely say, safety first! This ladder’s wide base is a game-changer for stability.

Despite the prep, we faced a deluge of rain and wind recently, really putting our homestead to the test. We found a few leaks around window seals and screws needing adjustments. But hey, it’s all part of the homesteading journey, right?

On a brighter note, I’ve been juggling indoor tasks like video editing and web design. Still, I’m sneaking in time to enjoy the outdoors and tend to our garden. Speaking of which, our wild chives are thriving, and I’m hustling to harvest them before the frost. Fun fact: the grass here in Arkansas doesn’t demand as much mowing as back in Wisconsin – talk about a gas saver!

Our Decora bamboo is facing its own chilly challenge. It’s cold-tolerant, but these upcoming zero temps are a real concern. We’re doing our best to insulate it with extra mulch and care. And about our hydroponic cacti experiment… well, let’s just say they prefer warmer weather.

We’re also reinforcing our orchard against the strong winds and cold. The good news is our berries and fruit trees are holding up well. Homesteading is all about adapting, and we’re learning to roll with nature’s punches.

As the vortex approaches, we’re sealing up the homestead, layering extra protection on our plants, and ensuring our bamboo’s root system is safeguarded from the freeze. It’s all hands on deck here, and we’re determined to protect our little slice of Arkansas heaven.

In our workshop, we’re prepping with plenty of wood for the furnace and strategizing to keep the warmth circulating. Homesteading isn’t just a lifestyle; it’s about resilience, innovation, and a whole lot of heart.

So, as we wrap up and brace for the cold, remember, this is just another chapter in our homesteading story. Stay tuned for more updates, and don’t forget to hit that subscribe button. Thanks for joining our frosty journey, and remember, Affiliate Links support our channel at no cost to you. Stay warm and see you in the next video!

New Holland Tractor Troubles :(

New Holland Tractor Troubles :(

So, we found ourselves back at the dealership because our New Holland decided to throw a bit of a tantrum. This time around, the hydraulics were acting up. It’s almost like it was put together on a Friday, if you know what I mean! We were in the midst of laying down some waterline when the tractor, used by our pal Jason, started misbehaving, leaking fluid from the top of the cylinder. Turns out, it was leaking right at the weld seam!

You might remember, this isn’t our first rodeo with the tractor’s quirks. Last time, we grappled with a pesky distribution block, and to this day, our front bucket has a mind of its own, tilting forward even when we’re just idling. But hey, that’s life on a homestead for you!

Despite these hiccups, the importance of a solid warranty can’t be overstated. We invested quite a bit into our sub-compact New Holland, the perfect fit for our 5-acre operation. And guess what? That investment is paying off. New Holland’s warranty is nothing to scoff at, and the local dealership here in the Ozarks has been fantastic – quick and reliable in getting us back on track.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Stuff happens, especially with farm equipment. The more you use it, the more you’ve got to be ready for those unexpected twists. Having a good stock of spare parts and a bit of know-how can make all the difference for a thriving homestead.

Do what you can, with what ya have, eh?

Ryan