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
Front of the house – Will we turned into a mostly perennial edible landscape.
Eastern border with our neighbor – Along the house, water catchment system and fencing with edible vine growing fruit to come!
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.
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.
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.
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!