Monday, July 25, 2016

3rd Vlog : The 5 most important traits of a successful homesteader!

July happenings and my 3rd Vlog : The 5 most important traits of a homesteader!

For many people July is their vacation month. But as a homesteader, July is an all out , beat the heat and ramp up your gardens and (for those who raise their own meat birds) A BUTCHERING MONTH.
It is fast paced mornings, to get the chores done before the heat sets in, and you have to take your siesta in the mid day, then get back to it in the late afternoon and evening.
That's how we do it here. I am sure that's how it's done everywhere there is no AC. 
We have been experiencing an abnormally hot and dry spring and summer here in Maine. Between keeping all the garden beds and animals and newly planted orchard watered, there really isn't time for much else.

We had my mom visit with a truck load of stuff she brought us all the way from VA. Things she can't use and want's us to have, here on the homestead.

While she was here we had Melissa of Frost Hill Farms and her family over for a BBQ. It is so nice to have Homesteading friends near.

We got a few things out of the garden, like Greens, radishes, snow peas(we planted them late), squash and zucchini, herbs, an early onion, a few strawberries and I got my first yellow carrot when I was thinning them out. It was so good and sweet.

Did you know that you can eat the carrot greens too?  I just learned that. They go well in soups and stews too! I just love learning new things.
Our outdoor shower is in use!
I can not tell you how much I enjoy this. 
I will do a video on it soon, I promise. but for now I will say it is a solar heated hot water shower, and I am in love!!!

I am happy to say that this month brought us many wonderful things, and that we got some more rain!
Bring on August, and if you want to come for a camping visit on your vacation, we would more than love that!!!

My newest Vlog #3 : The 5 most important traits of a homesteader!

1. Patience
This journey is not a race to the finish line. Nothing about homesteading goes to plan. When you think you have something figured out, or your project almost done, something almost always happens to change it in some way.
Be patient and able to go with the flow. Eventually things come together and work out in the end.
2. Compassion
For yourself, your spouse, your family and all the life on your farm.
Indeed you have to have some compassion to be married or a parent or a farmer. Compassion is the ability to sympathize, have pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
without this trait you are not going to care about the treatment or handling of others. The conditions your animals live in, how they live and survive. How to care for them when they are sick. this includes yourself. You have to be able to care for yourself when you are sick, tired or worn out. 
3. Empathy.
the definition of this is :
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Sounds similar to Compassion, but it is very different.
Since I was little I was always very aware of the pain or sadness of others. I would often become depressed because of a death of people I didn't even know.  It was very hard for me to be around people in pain or suffering in some way. I would feel it so deeply.
I eventually learned to control my empathic nature. 
As an adult I am able to manage my depressions and the stress and anxiety that can come from major disasters. 9/11, Katrina, Sandy hook, Superstorm Sandy, and most recently the Night club shooting.
The reason that I mention all of these events is that in farm life as well as life in a community, and as a citizen of this country, we are often bombarded by media. In a small town it might just be the plight of a neighbor. In your community it may be the church you belong to that has a member in need or is sick or suffering. As a citizen of the United States it comes in the form of a major disaster.
All of these events and situations can and should cause you to feel empathy. 
On your farm you should feel empathy toward your animals and the life they are giving for you to eat. It should cause you to feel.
You should know what the cost is. It is a life.
4. Perseverance
Even the best laid plans change. No matter how prepared or how much planning you have done, there will be times when things fail or fall through. That's okay! It happens. You have to just keep at it.
Gardening, music, art and even building your dream cabin, all need you to persevere.  Push through the heat( don't kill yourself) push through the ups and downs. Push through the doubts and fears. 
You have to remind yourself why you are doing this. This is not for the weak or the lazy. This is for those who persevere and believe they can do it.
5. Self Forgiveness
Most importantly you must be able to forgive yourself when you are just not able to get it all done in a day.
Maybe the weather won't allow you to do what needs to be done in the garden. Maybe the car broke down and you can't get to the feed store like you planned. Maybe you are sick and things are just not done to your standards. It's all okay. You are only able to do what you can do. Physically, mentally and even emotionally. You are human. You are only one person. Forgive yourself.

Bonus Trait #6
Asking for and receiving help!
That's right, you will need to be able to ask for and receive help. Like when you are sick or any of the many things that come up on a day to day basis on your homestead.
Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.
I am running very late planting in the garden because I just could not get all the compost we needed to get our garden beds built. I went to all the stores in town that sold compost and most of them could not get the quantity we needed, or it was very cost prohibitive.  
So after a good week of searching, I asked our dairy farmer if he could spare some of his composted cow manure and he was more than happy to help us with that. Help is there if you are willing to ask for it, and accept it.

 I know that most of this is common sense, but you would be surprised how many people I have met or watched online that seem to be the antithesis of all of these traits.
They should not be telling other people how to go about homesteading or animal husbandry.
I hope that I am able to show you all what it is we do here. That we do it with all of these traits and that you may want to homestead in a similar manner. 
Beyond that I hope that you just want to be a decent human being to others and to yourself.

With love from the Homestead, Victoria


Monday, July 18, 2016

A day on the Homestead in Pictures

This summer has been very hot here (in Maine terms) reaching into the high 90's according to our digital thermometer.  It may not be recording accurately, but it sure does feel like it is.
We have worked in the mornings till about noon time, then it is too hot to stay out there for long. We retire to our much cooler apartment, (Inside is about 12 to 15 degrees cooler than outside) , for the heat of the afternoon. At about 5PM we head back out to the gardens, animals and chores, until it gets dark.
Some nights we have a bonfire. Some nights we just sit and watch the chickens and their silly antics.

Today we are having strange weather. One minute it is bright and sunny and the next it is windy and cloudy and threatening rain and storms.
But we managed to get some good stuff done.
A couple of garden beds filled and ready to plant.
I took lots of pictures of the flowers in bloom and the gardens.
I also made one of the best meals I think I have ever made.
Please enjoy the pictures and the recipe for the fabulous BBQ ribs I made.

Flower bed

My favorite colors of Lilies

More Beautiful Asiatic Lilies 

Orange Lilies
 Double Petunias
 Day Lilies
 Yellow Dinner Plate Dahlia
Dahlias by the coop run

Bee Balm flower


My first herb bed. Planting another tomorrow!

Garlic bed

Snow peas.

Sweet Potatoes

Yellow summer squash

Three sisters bed

Corn and Zucchini 

Garden beds

Tomatoes are so behind, but at least I have some coming on!

Watermelon and Cantaloupe 


Cabbage , Greek Basil, Broccoli and red onions.

Asparagus bed with radishes and carrots 

Lots of radishes.

Strawberry bed companion planted with yellow onions.

Meat birds.

Potato bugs and larval stage.

Harvesting Radishes for our stir fry. The greens go to the chickens!

Radish, eaten by something, goes to the chickens now!

BBQ Ribs

I made my own Brown sugar substitute. 1 Tbsp Molasses mixed well with 1/8 cup Pyure

Now mix the spices together with the "brown sugar"

Use the best ribs you can find!

Slather with your dry rub all over.

Get all the nooks and crannies.

Sear the meat on your grill, about 3 to 5 min. per side.

Love those grill marks....

Once it is seared on both sides, move to your top rack or an indirectly heated area of your grill. Make sure there is something under the meat to catch all the drips.

Once the meat is almost done, slather the meaty side with your BBQ sauce of choice, cover and grill for about 5 min. more.

I also cooked sweet potatoes and red skinned potatoes on the grill.
We made a veggie stir fry as well.

This is the recipe that I adapted for my ribs. You can also do them in the oven.
I hope if you give it a try you'll comment below and let us know how it turned out for you.

With love from the homestead, Victoria