The change of the seasons, is a busy time on the Black Homestead. I’m going to try a new series of weekly homesteading recaps.
A little backstory; my husband and I bought a 4 acre mostly wooded property last year, that we’re in the process of turning into our homestead. I’m not new to gardening as I’ve had a small hobby garden for many years. We are however new to having a much larger space for growing and raising our own food. My husband works quite a bit, so it’s mostly me running the homestead. And it’s not your traditional flat open spaced farmland. It’s woods, shade, slopes, hills and a little wetland.
Cleaning Away Winter
It is officially Spring! We’ve been busy cleaning up and saying goodbye to Winter. It feels so great! Spring cleaning has already begun, but I’m ready to open the windows and let in some fresh air(without freezing). Our place of 1500 sq ft easily gets cluttered, but it takes so much less time to clean. It’s a huge plus!
When do you typically spring clean?
For most of the week, it was spent outdoors. We’ve had a beautiful start to spring here in the PNW! And I just couldn’t take being cooped up any longer. It felt great, cleaning up winters mess. Cleaned up the porch and in front of the house, picked up around the yard, cleaned up all the perennial plants.
Plants Waking Up
The perennials around our property are starting to pop up for the season, and it makes me so happy. The above photo is one of the lemon balm plants popping up in the food forest. Can’t wait to eat fresh, the most local food out there. Some day I’ll write out a whole list of stuff that’s been planted on our property.
Latest Costco Finds
The other day when we were at Costco, I couldn’t pass up plants with great price tags. We had a few rhododendrons and hydrangeas at our old place, I loved them, they were so easy to maintain with beautiful flowers and pollinators loved them. And 9 lavender plants for $16, yes please. I’ve been trying to grow seeds for a few years now with no luck.
Digestion Issues Are No Joke
I’ve suffered with gut health issues for several years now, and usually I’ve been able to maintain it with avoiding dairy, eating fermented foods often, supplements, and my evening drink. The past couple months it’s been getting so much worse though. I’d have bad flare ups constantly. So, for the past two weeks I’ve been trying a low FODMAP diet, and it has been helping so much. It’s not easy though, there are so many foods that I used to eat daily, that now I have to avoid.
On Our Way To Living Off The Land
Someday, I’d love to be able to say we live off our land, or at least most of our land. I’d have a hard time butchering our own animals, and growing flour.
For now, I’ll enjoy growing some of our own food, and learning how to forage wild things on our land. I really never understood the joy of it until this past year. It’s a fun treasure hunt, that’s free. I’m slowly learning about so many incredible edible plants that mother nature has provided us with. But I’m also learning about toxic defiantly non-edible plants in our backyard. Like the poisonous hemlock, last year I spotted some toward our backyard that had already bloomed, so this year I wanted to catch it early and was able to remove a few this weekend that I spotted.
The picture above is a medicinal lichen that fell off some of our trees after a windstorm, called Usnea, and I just made a tincture out of it.
Our ladies are happy for the longer and warmer days. We are also preparing to add some new chicks to the flock this next month. Store bought eggs really do not compare to farm fresh eggs! And the chickens just bring me so much joy.
This past weekend we also started to redo this area for the ladies. I’ll miss them right off the back porch, but hopefully this area will be more predator proof from all angles. So, we won’t have to deal with chicken poo on the porch, and stress of something easily getting them.
Not only was it a busy week of cleaning up, I also worked hard on building garden spaces. I opted to experiment, and DIY my own soil for this raised bed(picture above), so we’ll see how well things grow.
I’ve got seeds started everywhere. In the greenhouse, soil, and the house at a sunny window. For the most part, we usually only grow things we will eat, with a few experimental plants. I’m in the PNW zone 8b, so we’ve got a pretty great growing climate.
We’ve started all the cool crops, tomatoes, peppers, squash, microgreens, herbs, and most flowers. I’m excited to expand my medicinal, and pollinator plants this year. To mostly add to my food forest, and maybe make a herb spiral. I’ve started echinacea, tarragon, anise hyssop, marjoram, larkspur, bergamot, bachelors button, borage, and wildflowers – all new to me.
Weekly Wildlife Report
The beautiful sounds of spring have begun; I love listening to the birds chirping, and frogs croaking. We see so much wildlife on our property; it’s both exciting, and nerve wrecking in regards to the predators.
One of our piles of compost, we found a wild duck egg the other day.
Well, that was our busy first week of spring! What did you accomplish on your homestead this week? Hope you’ll join me for next weeks recap of our homestead.
See ya next week…