Our Homestead – The start of a new adventure!

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I have decided that I would not be returning to work after my maternity leave which ended June 28th. The main reason for me staying home is of course to spend more time with the kids. I must admit, when my daughter was born, I was not who I am today : We were living in an apartment in the city, I was a new mom with a vibrant social life, a career I liked, a lot of freedom and very few responsibilities. So needless to say, when my year off was done, I was ready to go back to work. Sending Little Miss to daycare was just what we were supposed to do and so we did.

Soon after though, many changes occurred : Staying home instead of going out was more interesting, hobbies became family oriented, late night dinners became early brunches and most importantly, we bought a home!

I think the last part is what really changed everything for us. We were very much into gardening (we had a little community garden plot) and really embraced the locavore movement, but to have a home where we could just finally step out the door and pick our own veggies and fruit was just the greatest feeling.

Long story short : gardening websites led us to homesteading websites. Then homesteading websites led us to permaculture websites. So last year, As I sat pregnant with my second child, I started dreaming of my own little permaculture/homestead heaven. We had a 10 year plan (having to do it all on the week-ends) and it was a grand one, but obviously not grand enough. Our 10 year plan became a 3 year plan and now here I am : Newly reoriented into a career as a stay-at-home-urban-permaculturist-homesteading mama!

Here is ground zero for OUR  Homestead

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Front of the house – Will we turned into a mostly perennial edible landscape. 

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Eastern border with our neighbor – Along the house, water catchment system and fencing with edible vine growing fruit to come!

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To the end of your property – Lots of potential here : Mostly added fruit trees, berry bushes and medicinal herb garden. We will be leaving the end of the yard for the kids since it’s mostly shades so play house, trampoline, etc.

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Western facing area – Most likely will become full beds and cold frames for winter plantings since closest to the house and where the sun is the most present 12 months out of the year.

For this summer, to the casual observer, we are living the gardening life we always have : Our 400 sq.ft, our herb garden and our slowly maturing fruit trees… But in the background, we are plotting and planning, reading and sketching, budgeting and reorganizing. We are a motor revving up for a great adventure!

What are a few of our first steps? Thought I would share them with you :

First of all, we have registered for the free online permaculture classes from the Open Permaculture School at the Regenerative Leadership Institute. They offer a series of insanely in depth lectures on everything from the ethics behind permaculture to design, water management, urban applications, alternative power sources, etc. They are fascinating and my husband and I have been enjoying sitting down, having a cup of tea and watching them together.

Click to find out more!

Second, we have started the observation process of our plot. We have 1/3 of an acre. Our home is less than 1000 sq.ft which means that most of that 1/3 of an acre is available. I’ve gone to the copy store with the survey plans of our property to have MANY copies made. Starting this week-end, we will be charting sun exposure and shade at various times of the day. Over the next few months we will keep a record of wind exposure as well. I’m in the process of finding a reliable source for soil testing. I want to bring multiple soil samples from around our property because I know that the soil composition is very different from one end of the plot to the other. We have also started to identify trees, wild plants, “weeds” (or “hard-working plants” as the gentle professor of our class calls them) and edible plants.

Third, my husband is head deep into Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens which we plan on starting next spring. Half of the backyard shed will be transformed into a coop (the other half being redesigned into a greenhouse) and we should be able to get our own fresh eggs. Plus, it will be a wonderful experience for the kids, to have their chickens to raise and care for.

Fourth, I’ve started an introductory class in herbal studies with the Herbal Academy of New England. I’m hoping by this to start learning more about how to use what is around me to take care of my family, make our own care products and hopefully become less reliant on conventional medicine. First Unit down and I’m loving it! I’ve been growing my first herbs this year and I’m planning on adding more to our gardens every year. I’m planning on doing their intermediate class next year to really dive into caring for the body and mind through herbs.

Online-Introductory-Herbal-Course

So there is our plan for now! We have also purchased a few books that have been helping us prepare for winter planting guidelines and preparations as well as seed saving.

So much to learn!

I hope you all will share your insight and experience with us. Anything I post here is open to criticism so please, give it to us!

Have a great day!

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About Yanic A.

Hello to all of you and thank you for stopping by! My name is Yanic. I'm a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother of 2 beautifully complex and unique children and a lover of all things inspiring. Having started a personal journey of self discovery when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago, I've since embraced a daily life of simpler pleasures and gratitude. As we get to know each other, you will know me as a quilter, a gardener, a Tao cultivator, a vegetarian foodie, a true believer in a healthy family life as being the secret to my happiness and hopefully as time goes on, a friend... I will try to share with you my days as they unfold, speaking of my happy successes without censoring my challenges, trying to make this blog a true portrait of the ever-changing path that I have chosen for myself. I'm hoping to find in these pages others to share with and learn from, bringing to light the absolute connection in all things and people, showing this world as being a true community.
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19 Responses to Our Homestead – The start of a new adventure!

  1. sophiezest says:

    How exciting! I am really looking forward to reading about your progress. So many of your ideas are things that we would like to do too: growing more food, permaculture principles, raising chickens… Good luck to you on this grand adventure!

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    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you! Do you think you may try when you head back home? From what I remember you saying, you already have land with mature fruit trees no? Could be so amazing!

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      • sophiezest says:

        We will certainly do SOMETHING when we get home. We have a large-ish garden (by UK standards), though nothing like as big as yours; it’s not really suitable for growing vegetables but there is scope for a few more fruit bushes perhaps. We have looked into renting an allotment nearby (not sure if that’s a term used in Canada. It’s land owned by the local authority and you can rent a plot for a nominal sum, around £80 per year, to grow vegetables) but the waiting list for our local allotment site is 25 years. We have also considered trying to buy some land locally, but there is hardly anything available, it’s very expensive, and we would really like to be able to walk out of our back door and be on ‘our’ land.
        Our preferred option would be to move into a house with a much bigger plot of land, if we can find such a thing. We live in a part of the UK with very high property prices and a lot of people with equestrian interests who buy paddocks for their horses! So it’s hard to find the right property. We’ll see what’s on the market when we get back, and try to balance our desire for a ‘homestead’ with proximity to a decent school for the children and to work for us. Fingers crossed…If we could, we would definitely try keeping chickens and possibly bees, and grow as much as we could. In my secret dreams I own some goats to make feta cheese, but that’s really not essential… 😉

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      • Yanic A. says:

        In my husband’s dreams, he owns goats as well… 🙂
        I’m not sure if we have similar arrangements for allotments. I would have to check that out! I know that a few homesteaders I know “rent” their homestead so maybe that is it.
        Lots of viable options there.
        You say the soil isn’t made for veggies, can I ask why?

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      • sophiezest says:

        It’s not so much the soil that isn’t suitable, as the layout of the garden. The back of the garden is shaded by a large tree (not ours, so we can’t prune it), and what isn’t shaded will be orchard (there are already 5 fruit trees there). The front is rather nicely landscaped (lawn, with borders) and constitutes the view from our kitchen window and conservatory. We could turn it into a vegetable patch but it would destroy the aesthetics (I’m not saying veg patches are ugly, but the garden is quite pleasing as it is). There is scope for putting some fruit bushes in the borders here and there, raspberry canes against the fence with the neighbours’ garden, etc. and doing a bit of veg planting in random parts of the garden, e.g. a runner bean teepee. We’ll have to see when we get back.

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      • Yanic A. says:

        Look forward to reading about it in your blog!

        Like

  2. Yay for making your homesteading dreams come true. So funny you mention the permaculture classes, I just signed up yesterday. Haven’t had time to actually log in yet, hoping to this weekend. Can’t wait!

    So glad you are enjoying your herbal studies, the plants around us are amazing, and knowing how to utilize them for your family awesome. I call all the wild plants and herbs we harvest for salve, tincture and tea making gifts from Mother Earth. Whenever Reece sees something on our nature walk that he recognizes he points it out and says with a smile “another gift from Mother Earth mom”. Makes my heart smile.

    And chickens, one of the best additions to our little homestead.

    Have fun planning!

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    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you so much! You’ll really enjoy the lectures. Sometimes, the questions from the group are hard to understand, but he kinda goes over the questions while answering them so works out. The first speaker (he does the first 5 or 6 lectures) is a very passionate man.

      Make sure and let me know how you like them!

      And Little Miss is starting to know her way around edible and medicinal wild plants as well. We have little songs going on about what to eat, what to not. She LOVES wood sorrel, I have to watch her to make sure she doesn’t eat too much. LOL!

      Can I pick your brain about chickens when the time comes? We are about the same climate.

      Have a great night!

      Like

  3. Lisa says:

    I wish I could do that. I like my job and all, but I wouldn’t mind being able to do all that kind of stuff all day. I told my husband that I wanted to stay home and home school our son (he’s now 8). However, I am the primary breadwinner in the family including the benefits and at this time, I don’t see that as changing. We all have our own paths to follow… So, a little jealous, but I do wish you good luck! 🙂 I look forward to reading about your journey.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I’m sorry about that. I understand it though… My husband and I are not equal (he makes more) but I was at least 40% of the revenue so we are taking QUITE a dip! We’ve been working hard the last year paying off debt, eliminating bills, “minimalizing” our entire existence to make it happen and still, we will be pretty poor. But it’s something we feel we HAVE to do. In a year. my daughter will be in kindergarten (I’m not homeschooling) and in 3 years, my son will go to preschool to slowly transition into kindergarten so all we have to do is make til then and we’ll be all set! I’ll be able to get a little part time job and still be home with the kiddos morning and late afternoons. But to make the homestead happen and have it be something that is in my childrens’ upbringing, we couldn’t do it over 10 years like we had already planned. *fingers crossed* I hope it works out. 😛 I guess we’ll see.

      Thank you for taking an interest and I will definitely be sharing in my ventures…

      And HEY! Maybe you could be a week-end homesteader??? Many people are.

      xo

      Like

  4. sally says:

    Sounds really exciting, looking forward to seeing it progress over the coming months.

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  5. appleshoe says:

    A wonderful journey you are on! We knew I would quit my job and start a new one as a stay at home Mum when our wee one came as well. But what really grabs my attention in this post is that you are in an actual neighborhood! You are like us!! Except our city wont let us have chickens… Still working on that. I’m excited to read and watch where you go with this. You echo so many of our yard/home wishes.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you for your interest and encouragement. To be honest, the city laws are very unclear about chickens here : They say that farm animals cannot be domestic animals, but they define a domestic animal as an animal that shares the primary residence… so what I understand from that is that if my chickens are in a small coop in the back of my yard, I should be fine. We were told by someone from the city that 3-4 chickens and no neighbor complaints is fine. We’ve talked to our neighbors and they are just excited about having our surpluses. LOL!

      I’ll keep you updated for sure! 🙂

      Like

  6. deserthomespun says:

    very exciting! can’t wait to see more!

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    • Yanic A. says:

      It is. My head is spinning with info and plans now… Looking forward to sitting down soon and writing about it. But for now, I think it is all so jumbled in my head that it wouldn’t make sense I think. LOL!

      Like

  7. Jane says:

    I totally recommend chickens… we have had them now for over 13 years and I would never want to be without them. They’re really low maintenance, pretty, productive and kind of addictive!

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    • Yanic A. says:

      We totally want them! We are thinking 3 the first year, then maybe add 2 more.We don’t want to have too many because in the city, the rules about backyard chickens are really dependent on neighbor complaints! We are excited… they have to be one of my daughter’s favorite animals!

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  8. Pingback: Polar vortex and staying warm | Family, Faith, Food and Fabric

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