Planting Roots: New Path / New Homesteader! #HomeacreHop#79

 Happy to take part in the #Homeacre Hop #79!

Every morning I wake up & give thanks.

My adventurous & winding path in life has led me to where I am now. Every experience, adventure, and crazy event has led me to a place I am happy to lay roots for awhile. Every morning I hear birds cawing instead of car doors beeping, I am grateful. Every night that I write accompanied by the sounds of crickets or peepers, or simply the wind in the trees, I am ecstatic.

Funny how after three decades of a fairly nomadic life I ended up not far from where I started. I have willingly camped, lived, explored, and moved all over the Northeast, California, Oregon, Nova Scotia, and everywhere in between. I have less willingly moved from a couple places (Southern California & Gloucester), but I always knew to follow my path wherever it took me. I had faith that by trusting my instincts, things would turn out fine. They always did. I laid roots in many places, yet none of those places would be my long term home. Until now.

I am not that far away from the big city of my birth, yet far enough away to breathe. I am happy to lay roots in the tree covered country hills  of New England.

(Grateful to see this every night)

                                                       (Local Artist/ Craft Festival)

My homesteading partner & I are creating a haven that not only fills our cupboards and stomachs (friends & family too), it fills our hearts with joy.We share a deep connection to this planet & explore it together. We both have time to  immerse ourselves in our individual  passions, and share the mutual work maintaining our homestead.

I believe that if  we had met any sooner, we wouldn't have been ready for this journey together. As with planting seeds, timing is everything. My homesteading partner is my best friend. He makes all of the hard work fun.

                                                                    (First tulip this spring)

This is my first year nurturing baby poultry, and although I've done container gardening, and volunteered in community gardens, this is my first time digging in a really big garden that's mine. Four gardens to be exact. My list of what I wanted to grow kept, well, growing. My partner, being the adaptable country boy he is, obliged without a blink. He had the tiller out anyway, what was another plot? Or two, or three? He did cut me off at 4.

I am SO grateful for my partner's country know how. All of this was easier because of him. He has built all of the structures, rigged up a water collection system, did all the heavy digging, and pretty much sets things up in a way to make my daily jobs SO much easier. A perfectionist, craftsman, hard worker, and complex thinker: He is amazing in many ways.  He can read my mind too. Evident in the new clothesline & clothespins he recently brought home. I was so excited you would have thought I won the lottery.

It is only our first year  gardening, and it's only early summer, but we've  already been enjoying (and storing) kale, peas, lettuce, new potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, radish, and some carrots (I pulled them up out of curiosity), and tons of herbs I freeze or dry.  The rest of the garden is doing great. Now that I know what the mystery plants are.Mystery plants you ask?

            (Chicken in the Sunflowers. Which are growing around the pump thingy. Or is it a well thingy?)

Mmhm,you see, when I first planted everything way back in early spring,( a 20 x 30 plot, a 10 x 20 plot , herb garden, and a wildflower bed the length of the house) , I kind of got the maps & seed packs mixed up. Then kind of mislabeled the garden stakes. I guess I was a bit over zealous to just plant (long winter and all) and should have been a bit more methodical. So yeah, tomatoes ended up in the gourd garden.and monstrous zucchini plants ended up with the lettuce bed. But why are corn stalks growing under the hummingbird feeder? I swear I din't do that.

Anyway, everything has been sorted out, and I no longer have to hear him chuckling at what is growing where. No matter how much I insist I had SOME method to my madness, I'm sure he still envisions me skipping through the gardens flinging seeds everywhere (okay I did that a little). Although  it was kind of fun, next year I am going to label EVERY seed planted or patch of seeds. I learned from that.

As for animals, at this point we have the girls (6 Golden Comet hens) and was blessed with our first egg earlier  this week! Their mommy was SO proud that she gave them extra meal worms all day. And the next. Lots of meal worms. So many meal worms that they followed me everywhere, frantically looking for more. They were like addicts.They're small but I was clearly outnumbered.  It was kind of Alfred Hitchcock Psycho-ish at times.I had to keep them kenneled up for a good day to calm them. Today they are much better. I learned from that too.

We also have a bunch of meat turkey chicks . I try not to spend too much time with them other than care & feeding because well, I bond easily. I have to remember that in a few months they will our meat source for a year at least.

Earlier I said animals we have "at this point' because who knows what we'll add to the homestead. While he's thinking meat rabbits, I'm thinking a goat to hike with. Sounds funny but there's a woman who hikes our nearby mountain with 2 goats. I also have thoughts of a pet pig. You know, to keep me company when it's just me on the homestead. Which is a lot, due to my solitary writers lifestyle and all.

Right now what keeps me company when alone (besides characters in my books and the chickens) are the birds. There are so many in this area that I decided to attract as many as possible. I make my suet cakes (after some comical melting & crumbling fiascoes I found a good recipe) maintain several feeders and a hummingbird feeder (homemade nectar). The array of birds that visit is exciting. Even some of the more elusive birds have made appearances. People who have lived here their entire lives commented on never seeing them until I put up my special blend suet cakes.

                                                  (Healthiesh-Carob, flax, soy, almond milk...)

While on the feeding subject, I do a lot more of that. Feeding us that is (friends & family too of course). I've always  loved to cook, but having the luxury of time to explore cooking & baking has been a blast. When not writing you can either find me outside or in the kitchen. Canning jams, grinding herbs, baking cakes that sag in the middle (still haven't perfected that!I just cover em with frosting), smoking meats, creating weird recipes, and crock potting my heart away.Nothing is sacred when it comes to my cooking.  If you're in the fridge, or in the cupboards, you will end up in my pan or pot. People may chuckle at some of the concoctions, but they taste good & are usually healthy so that's what counts right?

As for my struggles with baking, that is a post all in itself. Comedy post. Despite my partner's reminders that we are only 1200 ft, above sea level, I'm certain many of my problems are due to elevation. Ingredients seriously do not act the same here . He insists that I need to follow the recipes, stop adapting, omitting, and replacing. Cooking is creative though. You can't always follow instructions. Anyway, I still think maybe I should get an Alps cookbook or something.

                                                             (Jello cake-Not healthy)

We're so new at this but this self sustainable life feels like the most natural fit.I hope anyone contemplating homesteading gives it a whirl. Could I ask for anything more? Maybe living in a place without snow. But that isn't in the cards right now so I do my best to make peace with the bitter winters.

In regards to homesteading, one piece of advice is this:  Expect mess. I used to blame the kids for mess, mud, and disarray but I can't do that anymore. All of those muddy boot prints? Ours. All of the fingerprints on the fridge? Ours. Leaves & twigs in the shower? Ours. All of the pureed carrot stains on the ceiling? Mine. (A long story)

A warning is this: Start small but expect one thing to lead to another. Once you get back to the land (for most people) it just feels right. A few chickens or small garden patch can lead to bigger and better. Add on in bits and pieces,each season. My motto has always been less lawn, more life. Less busy sidewalks, more solitude. Now I can fully live that way.

The future of this planet is unknown, as well as the future of the human race. I believe that living as close to the earth as possible may be the key to saving both.

For me, homesteading is not really about laying claim to a piece of land & never budging. I may very well move again, but I do know (with the proper tools) I can create a self sustainable homestead wherever I go. Homesteading is about utilizing your surroundings in order to be as self-sufficient as possible. it's about making your home, whether in the city or country, as full of life, beauty, peace, and greenery as you can. For me, it's about coming home to YOU.

Peace, May

                                                                 (Our woods)

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