It’s getting real on the homestead

The holidays have come and gone, the relaxing season is officially over! Time to get down to business and start getting our hands dirty. Here is a quick update and what is to come. We started our year with a very much needed deep cleanse of our home!

We have a full house. Kids, animals and A LOT of stuff. Children come with loads of clothing and toy and dogs tend to create a mess no matter what. Two weeks ago, I was cleaning up after the children went to bed and got very frustrated. It seems that all of our spare time (Paul’s and mine) is spent on “tidying up”. I feel like all we do is clean and the kicker is, our house is still messy (70% of the time). I do realize that having three kids and their toys scattered is my new norm, but things are getting out of hand here.

Usually, before Santa makes his yearly trip over to our homestead, we go through old toys and get rid of as many unused/useless things as we can. Now that the kids are getting older, the task is more difficult as both are hesitant to let anything go. This year, we all got sick before and during the holidays–this task got placed on hold and I haven’t been able to tackle it. So in lieu of such events, I decided to simplify our living and do a deep cleanse of our stuff. I have been going through small baby clothing and baby gear that is no longer of use; toys, dishes, adult clothing and whatever else has not been touched in six months–gifting most of it away on a Buy Nothing groups on Facebook or trying to sell a few things to make a little extra cash. The goal is to get rid of 100 items in one week.

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The experiment started on Sunday with a productive 20 items on the list.  I got rid of  a few things right away and sorted the others into appropriate boxes: Donation, for Sale, garbage, recycle and boxes of small kids clothing that will be given to friends.  By Tuesday, I only added six additional items.  So it was time to hustle.  I went through kids toys, clothing, kitchen gadgets, arts and crafts stuff and whatever else happened to be in my sight.  I did this the remainder of the week and by Sunday evening, I still had 16 items to go.  With a little help from Paul, by 11:46, I was done.  100 items given away (or on their way out).  I still have a few things that are pending pick up and drop off but they are on the list and will be gone this weekend.

This was a fun challenge.  Rewarding in the sense of getting rid of useless junk, gifting items to people who actually need them and decluttering our lives–a house cleanse if you may!  I highly encourage everyone to participate.  People who came to pick up their items were inspired to do the same, I wonder if any of them will follow through?  I wish I could say that my house is looking less cluttered but it is still work in progress. We will surely get there soon.

Last spring, on his way home from his second to last day of a permaculture design course, Paul picked up 22 blueberry bushes from a guy with a home nursery we found on Craigslist. We bought them with all the excitement of spring behind us, planning to plant them “as soon as we got the chance.” We are happy to say that, almost a year later, they are in the ground. We kept them in the shade, and watered through the hot days summer, and have been bringing them in to the garage during the, thankfully, few freezes we have had this winter. The weekend before last, Paul finally was able to dig a new bed and get these poor plants in the ground. We have had such a mild winter that some of the varieties are already putting on new leaves, even though they have been in the dark of our garage. And last weekend he started moving some of the huge pile of woodchips we have in our driveway to make paths in between the raspberry and new blueberry beds. We plan to mulch the tops of these beds with chicken litter/manure to help keep the weeds down and provide fertility for our new plants. We never got around to this last year, and it turned into a huge bed of beautiful, lush weeds.


A few months prior to the holidays, we moved our chicken girls into their new run–they seem to enjoy it and appreciate the new territory to scratch and forage.  They are depleting their resources fast, so I  have been getting vegetable trimmings from a local grocery store and will potentially start collecting vegetable scraps from work to supplement them.

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In an attempt to organize our efforts for the year, we came up with a spreadsheet, with the help of one of Paul’s favorite podcasts. The idea is that by rating the projects by categories, we can tackle the ones that are either cheap/free and low effort or the ones that need to get done sooner, first, and then systematically tackle projects as we have time. We will see how it works. The list seems very reasonable now, but from prior experience, it will be a major victory if we get everything on this list accomplished by the end of the year.

Homestead Projects List

Wish us luck and thanks for reading.



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