Monday, August 13, 2012

My Tiny Homestead

Well, I call it a homestead but we are still in town and we are far from self sufficient. We are in the planning stages to move and that is always so exciting. Anyway, as for right now we grow some of our food.

I started grapes when I first bought the house and raspberries that turned out to be mismarked and were blackberries. My husband has hacked those poor blackberries to death. I understand why, they have thorns and scratch you when ever you walk by and sprout up everywhere in the lawn. We had a huge harvest on just the two grape plants this year. I estimate around maybe 45lbs or more.
 I started to dehydrate them and they're a little sweet tart and a lot smaller than what you get at the store but, they're homegrown and organic. We also have an apple tree that had an underwhelming harvest. The birds were terrible and pecked at most if not all of the survivors. But one of the largest apples was 5 inches wide and 4 inches tall.  We have a lovely peach tree that is drooping all the way to the ground.

I had removed a ton of the blossoms to get a larger yield but we still have a ton. One of the branches finally cracked under the pressure so I went around the tree and removed about 20lbs but it doesn't even seem like I harvested any. I want to let them get a little more ripe and soft. They're brightly colored but once picked they'll get soft but not sweeter. There has to be around 100lbs or more on the tree. I'm planning to weigh everything out as we pick to keep track of the yield. We also have rhubarb but I made the mistake of planting my yellow zucchini to close and it took over the whole area, so the rhubarb stopped growing. I may cut the zucchini back a little later so I can get a fall harvest from the plant. The only other perennial edibles are mint, lavender and lemon balm. I'll go into the garden on another post.

Our only animals are three shih tzu's right now. We have a male Frasier and female Ashley that are about 11 years old and another female Madison that is 7. We always used to talk about having a Shih Tzu farm (in jest). When we move we're thinking about chickens. Layers and broilers and maybe a cow for milking but we're not sure on the cow. I was thinking about goats for milking and cheese but my husband doesn't like the cheese and doesn't think he'll like the milk. I grew up on goat cheese and love it. But, it may be easier to just get the milk through a share program.

Homestead tip:  
Plant trees and edible perennials when you first move into your homestead. It takes a while to reap what you sow. I love going out and eating from the garden and seeing my harvest all stored up.

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