While the first, second and third months on our property were event-filled, winter was much slower and we didn’t do all that much. After the last of the snow melted, we got straight to work tidying up the property and focusing on small projects. We thought we’d take a moment to catch you up to speed on what months four to seven looked like for us!
Officially Survived Our First Winter
Word has it that we had a fairly mild winter. In all honesty, this is what we were hoping for as our winterization strategy wouldn’t have held up in a severe winter. Come mid February, all the snow was melted and the sun was shining more often than not. This may mean that we’ll have an unpleasantly dry, fiery summer, but it is what it is.
Although it’s only March and we could have another cold snap, we like to think that we’ve officially survived our first winter! If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out this post on our best winter living tips. We learned a lot, and we hope to pass a long that knowledge to anyone who finds themselves in the same situation as we were in.
Finding Balance Between Working and Homesteading
Now that it’s warming up, we find ourselves wanting to work on the property most days. While that was okay for the first few months of this journey, going forward we will have to balance working on our business and developing our homestead.
While we are working to build passive streams of revenue and doing an excellent job at it, the reality is that we still need to work a bit to get our business off the ground.
Part of our admittance to ourselves recently was that we needed to slow down. This year, we are having an “optimization year” where we try to tie up loose ends on the property, with our business, and even in our personal lives.
Cleaned Up Property
After the snow was gone, we didn’t know if it would return and therefor, didn’t want to get involved in hefty projects. The first warm days of the year were spent doing basic property cleanup such as picking up trees that had fallen down in windstorms over winter.
We made a video on what property cleanup entails for us here. Cleaning up as we go is importance to us because living off the grid while developing a property, it’s all to easy to let our property look like a pile of garbage! We are tidy people and thrive when things are in their place!
Assembled & Tried Out our Granberg Chainsaw Mill
When winter hit us, we were in the middle of milling lumber. We were using a homemade chainsaw mill but decided to upgrade to a Granberg.
We have made a small series of videos so far around the Granberg chainsaw mill including the unboxing, assembly (it’s easy!) and even making our first cut. In a nutshell, we are loving this chainsaw mill and the upgrade from our DIY version was worth every penny.
Finished Decking for Hot Tub Deck
We haven’t talked much about our hot tub deck on our blog (don’t worry, we will!) but we finally finished up the decking! Last fall, we fell a pine tree but due to complications with our ATV, we were unable to mill it up before winter arrived.
We’ve finally gotten into the swing of things with winching our logs into position, making our own lumber, and have all of our boards secured on the deck. Because we know you will ask, yes they are green, and we hope to do an elaborate video on the subject as we have time.
Started Amending Our Soil
Because we made a joint decision to slow down a little on the property, we decided that we might try to start a garden this year after all, even if it’s small. Whether we do or don’t, we thought it would be a great idea to start amending our soil.
Started a Compost Pile
In addition to amending our soil, we also decided to start a compost pile. This took just an hour of our time and we can add to it over the year. Our hopes is that it will compost into a beautiful black gold that we can use to strengthen our soil.
This is why we love this lifestyle by the way, especially out in the country. We love not producing waste or if we do, we’re at least able to turn it into something desirable on our property. If you don’t have space on your property, composting is still something you can do with a device like this.
Picked Up Barrels for Rain Collection
Maybe we are getting in over our heads already with projects, despite trying to “slow down”, but we’re also hoping to start collecting rain water soon! We know we’re heading into summer, but we just want to start thinking about how we can go about this.
We picked up eight 55-gallon food-grade barrels for $15 each. In theory, these should be able to fill up completely during a wet month just from the roof of our 16×16 foot hot tub deck. In theory, these should be able to supply the garden with water and give us water for non-potable needs.
Bought a Pressure Canner at Goodwill
We also really want to be prepared to be able to take advantage of great deals when it comes to food, whether it’s stocking up on $1 bags of 10lbs of potatoes, grabbing end-of-season produce in bulk for pennies, or even picking up legal road kill (there are actually laws when it comes to this fyi… look them up based on your state).
We are willing to splurge on the right pressure canner, but we found this Presto pressure canner at Goodwill for $15. We had no idea if it was in working condition or not but bought it anyways. We took it to our local extension office where they test gauges for free (Did you know this? I didn’t either!) and it works great! We bought a new seal and the canner should be good to go.
I also splurged on the Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving (the bible for canning I believe) and am really excited to test our recipes. I read through the book cover to cover and it was interesting to learn the science behind canning and why recipes are the way they are.
Headed Into Spring and Summer
As I write this blog post, it’s officially the first week of spring and we couldn’t be more excited! We are loving the warm weather and we aren’t sure what the warm months of the year will have in store for us, but one way or another we know we will continue to work on our goals of developing a self sustainable off grid homestead.
We’re doing a lot of research on the building of our timber frame barn, so it’s likely we will at least start that, even if we don’t get it dried in by winter.
Stay tuned for more updates on our homestead and if you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook where we share almost daily, real-time updates!
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