Tag Archives: homesteading

Reassessing priorities 

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Reassessing priorities 

Have you ever had a clear picture of where your life was going? But then in taking the steps to get there you realize that the journey took so long that you now have new interests?! Lol Or that the place you moved to, opened up a whole new world you never knew you could have? !

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. We moved to a small community and things are going well. I’m involved in a few things around town including my new craft business. But as we build a chicken coop and possibly a rabbit hutch, I can’t help but think about the other things I’d rather put my attention on.

We essentially live at the lake. So things like canoeing and camping are very real attainable things for us right now. I’m starting to feel like I should be fitting into my surrounding environment more. At least more than I had really expected to. I came in here with certain goals. But now reality is showing me something a little different. Different good.


I wrote in an earlier post about how generous people here have been. I have a list as long as my arm of the fruit and produce that we were given. I was so busy canning and chopping and freezing! I’m now realizing that this alleviates some of the pressure to produce ALL things for our selves. Maybe I can befriend someone who has eggs and we can barter.


**I really need to perfect my pie making skills so I have something to offer in return.**

Don’t forget I have a store to run!  I am planning to do craft classes for kids and putting together a bake sale table once a week. And I already have 2 part time jobs. So it’s been heavy on my mind that I may actually have little time and quite fankly, little interest in dealing with animals this summer.  This comes with some guilt but ultimately its a tiny piece of the puzzle.  We are also starting on our house as soon as the weather clears. Trees need to come down.  Not just for the house but for an orchard! We need to build a few garden beds and organize the yard and maybe start a fence. 

Making garden beds, creating an orchard, building a house, enjoying some summer…. these are the building blocks to creating a future in our new home. Some day there will be animals! This year may only produce kittens 🙂 and I’m fine with that! Our girls have never experienced the wonder of life. So I’m really excited for that.


I’m learning to go with the flow and take things as they come.  I’ve truly been living day to day this winter and rolling with the punches. The quickest way to be disappointed is to have high expectations. I am learning to be here and present for and with my family. Things happen when it’s time.

It’s not time for chickens of our own. We looked into it and did all the math.  It’s just not worth the trouble right now. Someday it’ll be worth the experience! And we will cherish every moment… when it’s time.

The season of goats

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It’s that deleted post!

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Look what I found in the archives… It’s that post that I deleted; about the land we bought! I wrote this 3 years ago but deleted it out of frustration, among other things. I wrote more about that in a recent homesteading post. You can find it here.

Well summer has come and gone. Life got a little crazy for us as we traveled across the country to see the land we purchase. We had made a bold decision to buy land site unseen. An even bolder decision? To go live on it! 18 acres of untouched bush and trees on the east coast. Close to the highway and to town. Sounded do-able… Maybe I could have a market garden and all the animals I could handle. Too many big dreams…

Which came crashing down the minute we turned off the highway. Although beautiful and quaint, hillbilly would be the word that first come to mind. Then came the sight of our sloping land that we were unsure of how to even get onto. Renting a skid-steer seemed the quickest way to make a dent. I was excited to break ground and ‘smell’ our land. (out west I am accustomed to that rich, deep earthy scent that invades your whole head) Well that didn’t happen here… the moist black organic matter that I expected to see from the tree roots and plant mass that had decomposed year after year turned out to be dry red soil that didn’t smell like anything but a bad investment.

Having cleared a path and a ‘yard’ space; we bounced our camper into place and hunkered down…. for the weekend ;p

The deer flies were so bad, that I just knew I couldn’t raise my babies here. We were all covered in deep itchy bites.

So between the bad soil, the bad kind of neighbors, bad bugs, and a general bad feeling about the whole thing….

We met with the Realtor first thing Monday morning.

We didn’t want to have driven all that way for nothing and thought we should give it a solid go. So we looked into renting a place in town (which we had come to love). People were renting out pieces of their house for far too much and there were no jobs to speak of. One guy told my husband “there are lots of jobs, there were 8 last week!” Ha.. not quite what we were used to.

So after much thought and discussion we realized that where we left actually felt like home after all. That was a great realization. Because where we grew up no longer felt like home. And feeling lost as adults and unsure of where to put down roots for your family is very unsettling. So we are back to the exact place we left in spring and it feels right. -for now 😉

Editors note: That place was great for a while but we still ached to have something of our own. And after researching many areas, we finally moved back to our home province….where the dirt is black. 🙂

What makes a homestead? Who made the rules?

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Whoever said you needed a farm to be homesteader kinda messed me up! I fell into that trap and got hurt.

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When we sold our house, there were bigger dreams involved. After years of “practicing” (complete with goats) on our large lot on the edge of town, it was time to move on in hopes of saving for a bigger venture in a new community. We sold everything and set out in an RV. It wasn’t a year later and we bought an 18 acre piece of land. Just one problem… it was on the other end of the country. If you are following my blog you may have read about that trip. I deleted that post. We didn’t stay out there long, before realizing it was just too far away from friends and family. That was a very unnerving feeling for us. It would have been a daunting task trying to create a yard and build a home from scratch in a place with no jobs to speak of. We moved back to get jobs and continue our search.

 

 

I deleted that post… Perhaps out of embarrassment and a bruised ego. Maybe because I thought I would never have a homestead and it was all starting to feel like a lie. How could I consider myself a homesteader without any land. How could I continue cooking and preserving foods they way I had been, while living in a camper. We were so ready to jump in but terrified of failing. I suppose we chose to eat, so to speak. There were after all, kids to feed. So…

We settled into a four season campground, put the kids on the school bus and both worked. I no longer had the time or energy to bake cookies or bread. And there was no more bulk produce that needed canning. It felt like failure and the death of dream. I remember mourning that death. I was a fraud for blogging about things I used to do and sharing about a dream that would never come to be.

So, fast forward a few years… We are on our third camper and I am following some homesteading pages on Facebook. There is still hope. Everyone is in a different place in their journey. Some people are in apartments doing what they can for now and preparing for their next step toward further self sufficiency. This makes me feel all that more confident in who I am and in the steps I am able to take at this point in the journey, even if it is in a camper.

We have made some changes recently in the right direction. We moved, closer to family, and bought a property this summer. Once again its on the edge of a village. The same size as our old piece but very close to a lake. There are plenty of walking trails through the woods and to the lake. I have been canning more than ever before! This is huge. I’ve been given many boxes of apples, plums, raspberries, squash, tomatoes, and much much more. This community is so inviting and giving.  We’ve certainly been blessed.


We took a leap of faith moving here. We truly didn’t even know if we’d like being in the country but living in town was a strange idea. So we came with open minds and stumbled upon this wooded lot that they almost didn’t even show us. So far… no neighbors! And those trails…right down the street 2 lots over. Mr. Evolving and I have spent some time clearing an old overgrown path and there are more to uncover.  I can hear the boats on the lake from my yard and the kids rode their bikes down for swimming lessons.   I’d say it has worked out wonderfully, so far. I am back on track with the homesteading ways and couldn’t be happier. It’s been a ton of work as this was an untouched lot. Overgrown with trees and uneven ground, we’ve cleared a spot for our camper and gotten in the power(included in the lot fee), internet and septic. We still have to drill a well but hauling water hasn’t been too bad. We brought in some beautiful elk manure/soil and made raised garden beds; mostly in old tires. We worked hard as a family and watched many projects come together.  We even have the opportunity to home school after wanting to for so long. Best thing we’ve ever done, btw!

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Life can certainly take over at times and make you feel like there’s no way of changing things. I was upset with myself for giving up on the person I knew myself to be. I think the biggest struggle of all is agreeing, as a couple, on… well, everything! How many sacrifices and which ones? There are so many levels of this way of life. I’ve seen couples seperate because of the city vs country life debate. I suppose this unserviced wooded lot is our compromise. There are many things to consider when putting yourself in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors or services or having a true feeling of safety. We feel better informed and more mature when it comes to our decision making now. haha For now, I have resigned myself to the fact that there may never be another goat in my life. Time will tell though. A chunk of land may very well  be in our future. But for now this is Perfect!

We’ve been plotting our secret plans already… I hear Quail are quite interesting to watch!  And eggs would just be an edible byproduct;  right? !  lol For now I will wait while my sauerkraut ferments and the oats soak for morning poridge. I will crochet a new pattern by the wood stove and dream of house plans. I will continue to be grateful for where we are. And learn to appreciate the journey… however long it may have seemed and take pleasure in knowing it isn’t over.

Pioneering Recipe Books

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My love affair with old cook books started many years ago. We had bought an older but well taken care of, very clean truck camper. While checking through the cupboards I found this…

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Each new chapter explains the history of the pioneers and the diverse ethnic groups that were homesteading in Saskatchewan Canada.

My favorite has to be the Pioneer chapter. They touch on and explain in detail the process of preparing tradition things such as a sourdough starter and recipes for baking with it, curing a ham and making head cheese…. “Have a pig’s head well cleaned, brains, ears, eyes removed and the head cut into four pieces. When cutting up the meat be sure to skin the tongue and only use a small amount of the cheek part. Put in a large kettle…..”
It also includes this bannock recipe that I have been using a lot lately because it cooks up in the fry pan quickly, rather than heating the house to make biscuits.

BANNOCK

This primitive sort of bread was introduced into the west by the Selkirk settlers. It has become a favorite of northern fur trappers.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup shortening (I use butter)

3/4 cup water

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course bread crumbs. Add water and mix quickly to a soft dough. Turn out on floored board, kneed lightly for 30 seconds and pat into a 10 inch round. Cook in lightly greased frypan over medium heat till brown. (about 15 minutes per side) Serve warm. Yeild: 1  10-inch bannock.

Note: I never mess up my counter… just knead quickly in bowl and flatten into pan or make smaller ‘patties’ in your hands for quicker cooking and individual servings.

DSCN5160 I came across these other books at different garage sales. I love that I found a book compiled by the ‘Women’s Auxiliary of the Western Development Museum’. This museum is located in my hometown city in Saskatchewan and is an absolute favorite family outing. We were always sure to go at least once a year and never missed going during the holidays when they have their famous vintage toy display and Christmas trees with homemade old fashioned ornaments. So I was shocked and so excited to have found this treasure, randomly in Alberta.

Boomtown's First Edition Cookbook.

My next favorite is called ‘Buckskin Cookery, the pioneer section. A souvenir cookbook of pioneer recipes donated by old timers and natives of B.C.”  First printing in 1957 from Williams Lake, B.C.

It’s full of recipes and homestead hints.  Here’s a short hint for Clothes Pegs… “Soak the clothes pegs in a strong salt water solution and they will not freeze to the clothes on the line in winter.” And what do you suppose they did before you could buy sterilized potting soil?  “Flower Seeds.  When flower seeds must be started in the house, bake the earth thoroughly in the oven to kill all worms, insect eggs, and weed seeds.” Here’s a cute one… “Love Charm. Carefully dig up any female plant. Talk to it. Call it by name of girl. Dig up male of same plant. Talk to it, and name for man. Plant together. If plants live, couple will fall in love, if plants die, no good.” 🙂

Homestead hints, medicines, Witch doctor....

Homestead hints, medicines, Witch doctor….

This is the best, most interesting and amusing piece of history I’ve ever come across. This will be cherished forever in my home and put to good use as we set up our own homestead.