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The Digital-to-Dirt Path: Embracing Homesteading in Modern Times

The Digital-to-Dirt Path: Embracing Homesteading in Modern Times

Backroads Homestead Podcast
The Digital-to-Dirt Path: Embracing Homesteading in Modern Times
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Introduction

In a compelling narrative of transformation, John Overall shares his journey from being a seasoned WordPress professional to becoming a committed homesteader. This change wasn’t just a career shift but a lifestyle revolution. In the latest episode of the Backroads Homesteading Podcast, hosted by Ryan Harden, John dives deep into how he leveraged his tech skills to cultivate a sustainable living space and community-focused enterprise. This blog post explores key takeaways from John’s experience and practical advice for aspiring homesteaders.

Section 1: The Genesis of a Homesteader

John’s journey into homesteading began before the global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a background spanning over 25 years in the internet industry and 15 years in WordPress development, John found himself yearning for something more grounded. His opportunity came in the form of an unused backyard owned by his family. John envisioned this space not as a neglected patch of grass but as a potential oasis of productivity and peace.

John’s project, dubbed the Rose Oasis, transformed a 65×120 foot city lot into a thriving garden. This endeavor was not just about growing food; it was about growing a new way of life. He utilized his tech-savvy skills to document his progress, creating a digital footprint of his transition from the digital world to the soil.

Section 2: Embracing the Local Economy

One of the most compelling aspects of John’s homesteading journey is his integration into the local economy. Initially attending farmers’ markets to sell excess plants, John quickly adapted his strategy to include freeze-dried products—a hit among the locals. His foray into freeze-drying fruits and creating a line of unique hot sauces showcases the innovative spirit needed to succeed in modern homesteading.

Moreover, John’s approach reflects a deep understanding of community needs and market dynamics. His ability to pivot and adapt his product offerings based on customer feedback underscores the importance of community interaction and responsiveness in building a successful homestead-based business.

Section 3: Practical Tips for Aspiring Homesteaders

John’s narrative is rich with advice for those looking to embark on their own homesteading journey. Key among these is the concept of starting small. John emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s local microclimate and gradually expanding one’s gardening prowess. He advises new homesteaders to experiment with different plant placements, understand their land’s unique conditions, and adapt accordingly.

Another significant piece of advice is leveraging existing skills and integrating them into homesteading activities. John’s background in WordPress and internet technologies provided him with the tools to document his journey, reach a broader audience, and market his products effectively.

Section 4: Building Resilience in Uncertain Times

Homesteading is not just a return to agriculture; it’s a proactive approach to building resilience in uncertain times. John and Ryan discuss the broader implications of homesteading, especially as it pertains to food security and economic stability. They touch on the societal shifts towards self-reliance and the increasing importance of local supply chains amid global disruptions.

The podcast also delves into the role of community and cooperative efforts in enhancing food security. John’s experience with local markets and his collaboration with neighboring farmers highlights the potential of community-supported agriculture (CSA) and its impact on local food resilience.

Section 5: Future Outlook and Continuous Learning

John’s story is an ongoing one, with plans to further expand his homesteading activities and continue learning. His commitment to sharing his knowledge through digital channels and local interactions exemplifies the evolving nature of homesteading—a blend of traditional practices and modern technologies.

Aspiring homesteaders are encouraged to view John’s journey as a blueprint for integrating professional skills with sustainable living practices. By staying curious, continuously learning, and adapting, the journey from tech expert to seasoned homesteader can not only be possible but deeply fulfilling.

Conclusion

John Overall’s transition from a tech professional to a passionate homesteader offers a profound look at how diverse skills and past experiences can pave the way for successful and sustainable living. The Backroads Homesteading Podcast episode with John provides not only inspiration but also practical guidance for anyone looking to embark on a similar path. As we face increasing global challenges, the story of the Rose Oasis serves as a beacon of innovation, resilience, and community spirit in the modern homesteading movement.

Sustainable Living in Uncertain Times: Practical Tips for Modern Homesteaders S1 E6

Sustainable Living in Uncertain Times: Practical Tips for Modern Homesteaders S1 E6

Backroads Homestead Podcast
Sustainable Living in Uncertain Times: Practical Tips for Modern Homesteaders S1 E6
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Welcome to the Latest Episode of the Backroads Homesteading Podcast!

Greetings, fellow homesteaders and listeners! We’re excited to bring you the sixth episode of the Backroads Homesteading Podcast, where we dive deep into the ins and outs of sustainable living and homesteading in today’s challenging times. Here’s a breakdown of what we covered in this enlightening episode:

Episode Summary:

Hosts: Ryan (joined by Justin in discussion) Episode: Season 1, Episode 6 Main Focus: Homesteading Challenges, Agricultural Insights, and Preparing for Economic Shifts

What We Discussed:

  1. Homesteading Updates and Challenges:
    • We’ve been busy planting a variety of crops like core beans, peas, turmeric, and more. Despite some struggles with early frosts and pests, our efforts are in full swing, including innovative methods like planting under woodchips for better yield.
    • Our discussion also covered the logistical challenges of shifting plants to safeguard them from late frosts, utilizing spaces like our pole barn effectively.
  2. Animal Husbandry Insights:
    • Our experiences with starting with chickens and the learning curve involved have been enriching. We delve into why starting with rabbits might have been more advantageous due to their sustainability and low maintenance.
    • We share our hands-on experience in modifying a chicken coop into a tractor, enhancing our poultry care.
  3. Economic Considerations for Homesteaders:
    • With economic instability looming, we discussed the importance of preparing for inflation and potential depressions. Strategies like using goldbacks for trade among homesteaders and setting up sustainable business models are essential topics we touched on.
    • We also highlighted the crucial role of community networking and barter systems in maintaining a resilient homestead.
  4. Sustainable Practices and Preparedness:
    • The episode covers essential survival skills and preparedness, including first aid, the use of natural remedies, and the importance of community support systems.
    • We emphasize the value of communication through GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) for off-grid contact and the benefits of being well-versed in various communication methods.
  5. Spiritual and Mental Wellbeing:
    • Reflecting on the pressures of modern homesteading, we discuss the importance of mental health, maintaining positive relationships, and leveraging community support to handle stress and uncertainties.

Looking Ahead:

As we continue to navigate the complexities of homesteading and sustainable living, our podcast aims to be a resource for practical advice, heartfelt insights, and a supportive community platform. We encourage our listeners to engage with us through comments, share their experiences, and suggest topics for future discussions.

How to Listen:

Catch this episode and more by subscribing to our podcast on major platforms or directly from our website at BackroadsHomesteading.com/podcast. Stay connected, stay informed, and let’s thrive together in our homesteading journeys!


We hope this episode inspires you to explore new aspects of homesteading and strengthens your resolve to live sustainably. Thank you for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe for more insightful episodes from Backroads Homesteading!


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Mega Chicken Tractor, Barndominium Upgrades, Planting, Homestead Hacks! How To Homesteading Builds

Mega Chicken Tractor, Barndominium Upgrades, Planting, Homestead Hacks! How To Homesteading Builds

Welcome to another exciting journey on our homestead! Today, we’re diving into a variety of projects that keep our rural life vibrant and fulfilling. From upgrading our chicken tractor to enhancing our barndominium and planting seeds, we’re embracing the challenges and joys of homesteading.

Checking On Covered Plants: Navigating Frosty Mornings

One of the challenges of early spring gardening is dealing with fluctuating temperatures, especially those chilly mornings that bring unexpected frost. To protect our tender seedlings, we’ve been diligently covering our plants at night.

As the sun rises and the frost begins to melt, it’s a critical time to check on our covered plants. The first step is to assess the overnight impact. Even with protection, frost can sometimes sneak through, so we carefully inspect each plant for signs of frostbite or wilting. It’s a relief to see that, more often than not, our efforts pay off and the plants have made it through the night unscathed.

Next, we focus on the soil. It’s important to ensure that the soil hasn’t frozen, as this can hinder root growth and nutrient uptake. A gentle touch reveals that the soil is still soft and moist, a good sign that our plants are in a healthy environment.

As we uncover the plants, we’re greeted by the vibrant greens and budding leaves of our resilient seedlings. It’s a beautiful sight that reinforces the importance of our protective measures. We take this opportunity to check for any pests or diseases that might have taken advantage of the covered environment. Thankfully, all seems well.

This daily ritual of covering and uncovering plants is a testament to the care and attention required in gardening. It’s a reminder that, with a little extra effort, we can protect our plants from the unpredictable elements and help them thrive in the early stages of growth.

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Planting and Gardening

With spring in full swing, our focus has shifted to planting and gardening. We’ve started with tea seeds and watermelons, carefully potting them and monitoring their growth. We’re experimenting with different potting techniques to find the best method for healthy root development.

We’ve also introduced a new labeling system using a thermal printer. This allows us to include more detailed information on the plant tags, such as optimal pH levels and planting dates. It’s a small change, but it’s already proving to be a valuable tool in keeping our garden organized and efficient.

One of the most exciting developments has been the splitting of our worm bucket. This is part of our ongoing effort to improve our soil quality through vermicomposting. By increasing our worm population, we’re able to produce more nutrient-rich castings, which are then used to enrich our garden beds. It’s a sustainable cycle that not only benefits our plants but also reduces waste.

Using a Thermal Printer: Streamlining Garden Organization

In our continuous quest to improve efficiency and organization in our garden, we’ve recently incorporated a thermal printer into our labeling system. This small but mighty tool has revolutionized the way we keep track of our plants.

Traditionally, labeling plants involved writing on plastic or wooden tags with a marker, which can fade over time or become illegible due to weather conditions. With the thermal printer, we can now print clear, durable labels that withstand the elements and provide a wealth of information.

The beauty of using a thermal printer lies in its versatility. We can customize the labels to include not just the plant name, but also additional details such as optimal pH levels, planting dates, and care instructions. This level of detail is invaluable as our garden grows and we juggle the needs of various plants.

The process is simple and efficient. We design the labels on a computer or smartphone, and the printer quickly produces them on heat-sensitive paper. The labels are then easily attached to plant stakes or pots. The thermal printing technology means there’s no ink to smudge or fade, ensuring that the labels remain legible for the entire growing season.

Integrating a thermal printer into our gardening routine has been a game-changer. It’s a small investment that pays off in saved time and improved accuracy, allowing us to focus more on the joys of gardening and less on the administrative tasks.

Planting Tea Seeds: A Journey into Herbal Cultivation

Embarking on the cultivation of tea plants is a new and exciting endeavor for our homestead. Tea, with its myriad of health benefits and soothing properties, is a wonderful addition to our garden.

The process begins with selecting high-quality tea seeds. We chose varieties known for their robust flavor and adaptability to our climate. Before planting, we soaked the seeds in water, a crucial step that helps to soften the outer shell and encourage germination.

We carefully prepared planting cups, filling them with a mix of soil and perlite to ensure good drainage and aeration. The tea seeds were then gently placed on the surface of the soil, with just a light covering of soil on top. Tea seeds need light to germinate, so we made sure not to bury them too deeply.

Patience is key when growing tea from seed, as germination can take several weeks. We kept the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and placed the cups in a warm, bright spot to provide the ideal conditions for germination.

As the seeds sprout and grow, we’ll monitor their progress, ensuring they receive the right balance of light, water, and nutrients. Eventually, these seedlings will be transplanted into larger pots and, in time, into our garden where they can flourish and contribute to our sustainable lifestyle.

Planting tea seeds is more than just adding another crop to our garden; it’s an exploration of new flavors, traditions, and the art of tea-making. We’re excited to watch these plants grow and look forward to the day we can harvest our own leaves to brew a cup of homegrown tea.

Worm Farming: A Key Component of Our Homestead

One of the most rewarding aspects of our homesteading journey has been our foray into worm farming. Not only do worms play a crucial role in soil health, but they also provide a sustainable way to manage organic waste.

Our worm buckets have become an integral part of our gardening routine. By splitting the worm buckets, we’ve effectively doubled our worm population. This increase is vital for producing more worm castings, which are a fantastic organic fertilizer. The process is simple: we feed the worms kitchen scraps and other organic materials, and in return, they produce nutrient-rich castings that we can use to enrich our garden beds.

Observing the growth and reproduction of the worms has been fascinating. We’ve noticed a significant increase in baby worms, indicating a healthy and thriving environment. This is a good sign that we’re providing the right balance of food and habitat for our worm population to flourish.

We’re also experimenting with different methods to protect the worms and their habitat. In our first worm bucket, we used silicone to secure the screens, but found that it didn’t stick well to the plastic. So, we switched to using pop rivets, which seem to be a more effective solution for keeping flies and moths out while allowing air to circulate.

As we continue to expand our worm farming operation, we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our garden’s productivity. The worms are not only helping us reduce waste, but they’re also playing a crucial role in creating a more sustainable and self-sufficient homestead.

Sealing Roof Leaks: Ensuring the Integrity of Our Barndominium

Maintaining the integrity of our barndominium’s roof is crucial for protecting our home and possessions from water damage. Recently, we’ve encountered some challenges with roof leaks, particularly where the metal roofing panels overlap. To address this, we’ve embarked on a mission to seal these leaks and prevent future issues.

The first step in this process was to identify the source of the leaks. We noticed that water was wicking back under the overlapping metal panels during heavy rains. To combat this, we decided to install J-channel along the edges of the roof. The J-channel is designed to redirect water away from the seams and into the gutters, effectively preventing it from seeping underneath the panels.

In addition to the J-channel, we applied a high-quality sealant along the seams and edges of the roofing panels. This sealant forms a waterproof barrier that fills any gaps or cracks where water might penetrate. It’s important to choose a sealant that is compatible with the roofing material and can withstand the elements, ensuring a long-lasting solution.

We also made sure to inspect and clean the gutters and downspouts, as clogged gutters can contribute to roof leaks by causing water to back up and seep under the roofing material. Regular maintenance of the gutters is an essential part of preventing roof leaks.

Sealing roof leaks is a critical task that requires attention to detail and a proactive approach. By addressing these issues promptly, we can protect our barndominium from water damage and ensure its longevity. It’s a reminder that regular maintenance and vigilance are key to a well-functioning homestead.

Homestead Hacks and Tips

Homesteading is all about innovation and making the most of what you have. In that spirit, we’ve come up with a few hacks and tips that have made a big difference in our daily routines.

One of our recent projects was constructing a chicken run with raised beds. This dual-purpose setup not only provides our chickens with fresh grass and bugs to forage but also protects our vegetable beds from pests. It’s a win-win situation that enhances the productivity and health of our homestead.

We’ve also been experimenting with different planting methods. For example, we’ve tried soaking some of our seeds before planting to encourage faster germination. It’s been encouraging to see some of these seeds sprout and begin to develop their first taproot. These small experiments help us learn and adapt, ensuring that we’re always improving our gardening techniques.

Another tip we’ve found useful is using scrap materials to create functional homestead equipment. For example, we used scrap rebar to make an axle for the back of our chicken tractor. This simple addition has made it much easier to move the tractor around our property, demonstrating that you don’t always need to buy new materials to solve a problem.

Canoe Garden Fixes: Addressing Drainage Challenges

Our canoe garden, a unique and aesthetic addition to our homestead, recently faced some drainage challenges. After a series of torrential downpours, we noticed that the drainage holes in the canoe were clogged, causing water to accumulate and stress the plants.

To address this issue, we decided to add more drainage holes to the sides of the canoe. While we initially hesitated to make these modifications, the health of our plants took precedence. Using a drill, we carefully added new holes above the existing waterline, ensuring that any excess water could escape more effectively.

We also inspected the base of the canoe to assess the drainage situation. Despite having a layer of rocks at the bottom for this purpose, it became clear that the arrangement was insufficient for heavy rains. We realized that a more porous material or a better configuration might be needed to improve drainage.

The smell of the water was another concern. A foul odor can indicate anaerobic conditions, which are harmful to plant roots. Fortunately, we caught the issue in time and were able to aerate the water by adding more drainage holes, preventing further damage to the plants.

Fixing the drainage in our canoe garden was a learning experience. It reminded us of the importance of regular maintenance and the need to adapt our gardening strategies to the whims of the weather. With these fixes in place, we’re hopeful that our canoe garden will continue to thrive and bring beauty to our homestead.

Creating a Raised Bed Chicken Run: Innovation in Action

One of our recent projects has been the creation of a raised bed chicken run. This innovative setup serves multiple purposes, providing our chickens with a safe and enriching environment while also protecting our vegetable beds from pests.

The concept is simple yet effective. We constructed raised beds for our vegetable garden and then built a chicken run around them. The chickens have access to the area between the beds, where they can forage for insects and enjoy fresh grass. This not only keeps them happy and healthy but also helps control pests naturally.

The raised beds are designed to be high enough to prevent the chickens from jumping into them, protecting our vegetables from being pecked at or trampled. At the same time, the proximity of the chickens to the beds means they can still contribute to the garden’s ecosystem by providing natural fertilizer through their droppings.

Building the raised bed chicken run required some planning and effort, but the results have been incredibly rewarding. It’s a sustainable solution that aligns with our goals of creating a productive and harmonious homestead. The chickens enjoy their spacious run, and we enjoy the peace of mind knowing our garden is protected.

This project is a testament to the creativity and innovation that homesteading demands. It’s about finding solutions that benefit both us and our animals, creating a balanced and thriving environment for all.

Converting the Chicken Coop to a Chicken Tractor: A Mobile Solution

Our journey in enhancing the functionality of our homestead led us to convert an existing chicken coop into a mobile chicken tractor. This transformation was driven by the desire to provide our chickens with fresh foraging opportunities while naturally fertilizing different areas of our land.

Step 1: Assessing the Existing Structure

The first step in this conversion was to thoroughly assess the existing chicken coop. We evaluated its size, weight, and overall condition to determine if it was suitable for conversion. The coop needed to be sturdy enough to withstand movement but light enough to be easily transported.

Step 2: Adding Mobility

The key to converting the coop into a tractor was to add mobility. We decided to use scrap rebar to create an axle for the back of the coop. This axle would support solid rubber tires, chosen for their durability and ease of maintenance. The tires were positioned to provide enough clearance for the coop to move smoothly over uneven ground.

Step 3: Constructing a Bumper System

To ensure the stability of the axle and to protect the coop during movement, we constructed a bumper system. This involved attaching wooden beams to the back of the coop, which would hold the axle in place and act as a buffer in case of any collisions.

Step 4: Testing and Adjustments

With the mobility features in place, it was time to test the newly converted chicken tractor. We attached it to a three-point hitch on our tractor to see if it could be lifted and moved easily. The initial test revealed that while the coop was mobile, some adjustments were needed to ensure smooth movement and stability. We fine-tuned the positioning of the tires and reinforced the bumper system.

Step 5: Final Touches

The final step was to add some practical features to the chicken tractor. We installed a new latch door for easy access and built a perch-style walkway for the chickens to enjoy. We also planned to add a rainwater collection system to provide a sustainable water source for the chickens.

Conclusion

Converting our chicken coop into a tractor was a rewarding project that aligned with our goals of sustainability and efficiency. The mobile coop allows us to rotate the chickens’ grazing areas, reducing the need for commercial fertilizers and providing the chickens with a varied and natural diet. It’s a win-win situation that enhances the health of our land and our flock.

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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

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!