Tuesday, October 13, 2015


So here I am, starting over again. Autumn has always been a time for starting over for me.

Having the baby back in April put me behind. No gardening got done. I'm just now getting back into a routine and having a clean home. We're prepping for next year's garden.

Last fall our log splitter broke, and it hasn't been fixed, so we have hardly any wood for this winter. It's going to be tough. We have gas heating, but it isn't the same and it costs so much more than free wood does.

Our wood stove needs repaired. There is a hole in the elbow of the vent. The chimney needs cleaned. We need to get both of those taken care of ASAP. We can probably do the repair ourselves, but I want to get it checked out to make sure there isn't anything else wrong. We don't need a house fire.

In that mindset, I also plan on taking pictures of everything and documenting for insurance sake..

Blah blah blah.

This weekend we're planting garlic. I had intended on getting it in the ground last weekend, but didn't get things prepared properly to get it done.

There is a lot that needs fixed up around here. Hopefully we can get it done. Going to write up some goals for next year soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


This upcoming weekend, we are having a gathering at our house for Ostara. Being an introvert, I have mixed feelings about this. While I love getting the growing Iowa Heathen community together, it means I have to open my home to people I don't know very well, and many more of them than I would like at one time.

I love our gatherings. The last time we had one was Yule, so it's definitely time for another.

I have mixed feelings about Ostara though. Within Asatru, Germanic Reconstruction, Heathenism, or whatever you want to call it, I haven't found many accurate accounts for a spring celebration akin to the way Ostara is celebrated. Bunnies, and eggs, fertility, and dawn. Or whatever they want to put it as.

While I certainly feel like the Equinox should be celebrated, I don't think I quite like the way that it has been done lately. Now, I also don't know how to fix it. I haven't had nearly enough time to read through lore, and historical accounts. I think maybe focus on the spinning of the wheel, sure some sort of fertility can go in there. But leave out the bunnies, and the references to Eostre. I think Frigg would be an acceptable Goddess to honor. Freya, maybe to a lesser extent. She is more of a sexual warrior type of personality, that I don't think quite fits in with Spring. Frigg nurtures, the way that spring is nurturing the earth after the long winter, making way for summer.

This all sounds very hippy of me, in my opinion. I started on a pagan path through Wicca, and have since moved on from the very mystical side of things. They're still there, but my main focus is on the tangible, and making the best life for myself, my kin, and community.

I can't seem to get my thoughts straight lately, and lean towards rambling more often than not.

Monday, March 16, 2015

More Seedlings Started

Just started more seedlings. These ones are actually for outside.

My previous plants were mostly herbs that I intend to keep in containers. Not sure if I'll be putting them outside at some point, or if I'll keep them as indoor plants.

Started a bunch of peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli/cauliflower/brussels sprouts/cabbage.  I've heard mixed reviews about how the broccoli and whatnot transplant, so we'll see how that works out.

Most of the stuff that is supposed to be planted directly outside is supposed to go in right when I am expecting baby to come. So I'll have to get a bunch of help with that from my partner. Cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, radishes, peas.  Then a couple weeks later, for spinach, kale, zucchini/summer squash. Seedlings are supposed to be transplanted too.

Our garden bed still isn't ready.

I was thinking of doing a mix of a square foot garden and a back to eden, or return to eden, whatever it's called method of gardening. So I'm outlining where I want the beds with brick. There is currently a bunch of sticks and weeds, and some kind of woody vine thing going on there. I don't want to purchase any extra soil to fill in a proper square foot container, so I was planning on planting into the ground and mulching on top of it once things start growing. Adding compost and grass clippings as they come. We should be able to get some wood chips at some point this summer/fall. And once stuff is done growing, I'll put that on there.

While planning the garden, it seemed like it would be a lot bigger than I'm realising that it is. I think I may want to add some size to it. I have (2) 3'x24' beds planned, and one 2'x24' bed planned. I think I want to extend each by another 10'. Not sure what I'll add to the planting. Maybe more zucchini, onions. And I need a place for potatoes (sweet and probably russet). I can probably add that in there. I am not entirely sure how I want to grow potatoes, since I don't fancy digging them up with my back issues. I like the idea of the vertical planters for those, but I'm probably just going to plant them in the ground this year, at least.

I'm thinking of doing a summer/fall crop for onions. And planting radishes every couple of weeks so we aren't flooded with them all at once. Those I'll mostly be planting for my partner, anyways. I'm not a big fan. Same with lettuce and kale. Carrots?

This has been a major ramble, so if you actually read it, thanks. I was mostly just hoping to get it all out of my head.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cats are Evil

Let me preface this with: I love my cats. Really, I do. They just suck.

I had my seeds all starting and being nice and growing. Celery was growing, lettuce. And my cats ruined half of that. They knocked empty pots onto my seedlings, breaking a few of them. The celery got knocked into the water it was resting in and got all mushy. Just after it was finally getting roots, too.

They knocked over my sons little pig that was growing grass, and broke that.

They knock over everything on my desk. Which annoys me because I actually need to get work done, not just clean up my desk every day.

And I have no idea how to keep them off of the window sills, tables, and desks.

Bah, humbug.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Yesterday I posted about planting my seeds...

Well, truth is, I took pictures meaning to put them into a post later that day... Or the next day. That didn't happen until I actually had something sprouting. I finally got excited enough to post.

I am so sick of winter. I'm ready to be warmer than I'd like. I've definitely come down with a case of cabin fever, and want nothing more to get outside.

My marigold and some of my leaf lettuce have sprouted though. I'm excited by the little bit of green that brings to my day.

Green onions seem to be doing well. Previously, I have only grown them in cups of water on the windowsill, so I'm glad they're growing well after putting them directly into soil. 

I'm not sure how the celery is doing. I read that it can take a while to start growing. It looks like it is making some progress, at least. We don't eat much celery, so I think this will be the only plant we'll have. I can always add another if it turns out we eat celery quicker than it grows. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Starting Seeds

A week and a half ago, I went and bought most of the seeds I would need for the garden. There were a few things I wanted to try to plant that weren't available, so I guess I'll have to find those later on.

A few days later, I got itchy and figured I could plant a few things inside. I mostly did plants that I intend to keep in containers. Marigold to see what it's like. Leaf lettuce to maybe get some fresh greens soon. Herbs. And some old strawberry seeds I had hanging around, that I'm not sure if they'll sprout. And some cherry tomatoes I'll transplant eventually, most likely after re-potting.

Seed Starting Tray
Left to Right
Parsley, Chives, Cilantro, Dill (from a blue packet),
Dill (Burpee brand, accidentally grabbed one of each),
Catnip, Marigold, Basil, Leaf Lettuce, Strawberry
I got some seed starting trays, but I don't know how long the plants will last in there.

I also potted some green onions that I will keep in a pot in the kitchen, or just outside. I put the base of a head of celery into a cup of water to sprout.
Transition pots. Will go into more proper containers once I find them. 

I think it's a bit chilly over in that part of the house. It has been incredibly cold lately, and there's no active heat in that part of the house. There's a big window, and heat transfers from the rest of the house, but it's still fairly cool in there.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Homesteading Goals

1.  Get Started
Duh. Definitely getting started. Currently in the planning stages

2. Store up enough firewood for next winter, x2. Approx 6 cords total. 
Continue this practice for 4 years to have a stockpile. Then continue cutting just what we use. If things get bad, and we can't cut wood it won't be a problem. If we need to use more wood than expected, there won't be a worry of running out. The wood will season properly between cutting and burning. We will have enough to use in the fire pit in the summer. If we need a bit of cash we can sell a truckload on craigslist or whatever for that.

3. Plant a garden. 
Already have the first years plan for this.

4. Plan for expansion of the garden and other places to plant food-bearing plants on the property. 
Including apple trees, plum trees?, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.  Look into tapping the walnut trees for syrup.

5. Seal up the crawl space under the house. 
There are a lot of open areas to get under the house. The Grease Monkey will take his house building experience and seal those up, as well as insulate them better.

6. Insulate the ceiling/attic hatch. 
Insulation wasn't the first priority of whoever built this home. We need at least a few more inches of insulation in the ceiling, as well as some sort of pillow thing to cover the ladder to the attic. This and the crawl space should make it a lot easier to keep the house warm. Hopefully, it'll even reduce wood consumption.

7. Seal up the bathroom vanity. 
The kick board is missing under the bathroom vanity. This allows kitties out or in. We don't need more kittens. (Getting them spayed is on the list, we know.)

8. Prepare a coop for chickens next year. (Also look into chicken care, etc.)
I have a spot planned out for the chickens, we just need to build a shelter, and open up the fenced in area a bit. Also need to verify that it'll be secure.

9. Turn the breakfast nook into a pantry/storage area. 
The breakfast nook is currently the only proper dining space in this house. It's terribly planned, and with our family size, completely impractical. We're dining Japanese style in the living room until we move or can build an addition to the house. Might as well make the area useful and store more stuff there.

10. Finish the master bedroom. 
The master bedroom is currently nothing more than a glorified porch. Walls aren't complete, and we want to fix that.

11. Get insulating curtains for the bedrooms and living room. 
Goes along the lines of the rest of the house repairs. Does this even count as homesteading? Oh well, y'all can deal with it. Or not.

12. Start working towards zero waste. 
Reusable grocery bags, quit buying disposable anything. Get more towels for use around the house.

13. Fix the garage. 
Our (detached) garage doesn't like fire apparently. So we need to repair one of the walls, and the roof.

14. Turn the shop into a studio apartment. Rent it. 
This one is possibly unobtainable this year. But I can hope.

Long Term Goals
Chickens, Goats, Sheep, Rabbits, Bees.  100% of food from the land. Larger plot of land. Build a house.

I'm not sure if or when we can obtain the long term goals. But they're there, hopefully we can get there.