Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Today's Homestead

Aaaand then I took a five month break after one blog post. Go me. 

It's the pictures that slow me down really, but I'm over it. Pictures or no pictures, I always think about how I want to update this, so I'm gettin' down to business! 

Anyhoo! Last time I talked about the past, but it seems like having a bit of info on the present is a useful thing, so here I am. You may have gotten the impression from my last post that I did little until now except read farm books. I suppose in the grand scheme of things that's true, as I really haven't implemented most of my BIG goals, but I have done quite a few small things and one or two big ones.

The biggest would be buying a house. 

Yeah! My husband and I were lucky enough to be in that position almost two years ago and I really wanted to maximize the amount of land and farm dream potential I could get while still living in a safe area and have a decent commute for my husband. 

Because the farm thing? Yeah, that's all me. 

Anthony totally supports me, but this isn't his dream. He has his own, city-dependent dream of being a video game designer (which he already is) and one day starting his own company. So where to find a house that gave me some land and didn't result in a soul-sucking commute for him?

The answer is a little island one short ferry ride from Seattle, where we used to rent a home. I guess it's known in the Seattle area for being a quirky place. It's full of artists and tie dye has not lost its appeal (much to my dismay). It's only accessible by ferry, so the landscape has stayed rural and there are many small farms, though the vast majority of people commute to the city for work. Still, it's kinda normal (if hilarious) to see things like this on-island:

In case you can't tell, that's a dragon painted on the side breathing fire onto the front of the car. The hood ornament is a pegasus with flaming orange wings and on the other side is a pegasus blowing wind onto the back. License plate: CLSTIAL. Oh yeah!

Cracks me up every time I see it.


We were able to buy a house on 1.25 acres, which was amazing, especially considering we would be getting a pretty small place on a tiny lot in most other areas in and around Seattle. The house and property needs some fixing up, but it's mostly cosmetic, not structural, and they're fairly minor. Mostly, we just need to pretty up the place! 

Before we even moved in, last January, we took out 11 giant trees in two stands that bisected the property. It's still surrounded by trees, but it's so much better now. There is more light in the house and the whole property is open and useable.

Some of the trees coming down. See all that space past those trees? Totally unusable without removing the other trees.
Last spring, I built a garden with the mandatory deer fence. (Garden without a fence is just a deer salad bar). I intended to put 5 more beds in than I have, but morning sickness hit and it was all I could do to work up the energy to finish what I started. 

Once my energy returned, I started refinishing one of two large decks on our house. Both were badly in need and I finished one before summer's end. The other is part of the reason this blog didn't get updated all summer. Gah! That was a lot of work! Especially with a little kid and baby in tow.

Finally, this past spring my stepdad and mom built me a chicken coop (because baby + building = not happening) and we got 5 chicks. They are almost 8 months old and started laying in August. We've been getting a pretty decent supply of eggs for a while now, which has been great. 

Foraging in the yard
The last noteworthy thing is the general property upkeep. I spent so much time clearing weeds and pruning last year. I put in a lot of work and really made some progress, though there was plenty remaining. Unfortunately, I fear that it was all for nothing as I haven't been able to devote much time to it this year because my daughter, the Honeybee, is not a fan of the activity. Let me tell ya, it's pretty hard to quietly weed when you have a baby screaming in your face! 

There is so much left to do and it feels so hard to make progress right now since a lot of those activities are on hold while Honeybee is so young. It is often a frustrating feeling to look around and see things that need doing that I just can't keep up with, but I 'm trying to cultivate patience and just accept that things will happen at a slower pace now or may wait until next summer when Honeybee is walking. Of course, in the meantime I am trying to just enjoy my little one being little and forget those other things, but some days it feels harder to just let go. I'm working on it though! 

Next up: a real post about the plans I have in mind for my little farm dream!