Urban Homesteading

It was rainy, cold, and miserable today. My farmer just asked me stay long enough to do a walkabout with her and harvest some goodies for myself. I took a little extra time to clean up the coolers and packing shed and weed the little patch of cutting lettuce while I was snipping some for myself.

Back home, the peaches are popping, and I have some pretty knocked up looking apple blossoms. I’m waiting for it to dry out to finish getting the potatoes, carrots, and squash in…then I’m all done planting.

Mostly though, my evenings have been looking like this now that Soil Science has started. I picked chamomile and lemon balm for the tea, and cut flowers from my little lilac bush to make studying a little more enjoyable.

Around the Homestead

I missed my shift at the farm this week due to being sick again. I actually broke down and found a doctor of integrative medicine to discuss all the issues I’ve been having due to stress. She gave me a bunch of prescription and over the counter meds to take that really confused me and which I’m not going to pick up. But she also suggested an anti-inflammatory herbal supplement and recommended a massage/acupuncture place so I’m going to start there. She ordered a bunch of bloodwork which I think will be helpful. But I feel like one of us misunderstands the definition of integrative medicine.

I finished Pastured Poultry with a 96.33% keeping my 4.0. The first summer semester started today, which means Soil Science and Management for me. I’m a little nervous taking something so heavy during a very busy and very short 6 week summer semester, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’ve got most of the yard planted now. I added this cute little Cherry Bush 🍒 to the front yard after hearing about them from The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener. I now have cherries, apples, peaches, elderberries, hardy kiwi, rhubarb, lovage, chives, and a few flowers out front as perennials. There’s some Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes planted below.

I’m almost done out back. This is one of the main beds with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, paprika peppers, and a mild jalapeno. The really long bed in the background is planted with onions, green beans, watermelon, and cucumber. My potatoes should get here today so I’ll be able to finish the last bed this week. It’ll have celery, carrots, and beets in there as well.

The thin beds that run the length of my lot are all planted as well. They have cantaloupe, a variety of lettuces, peas, radishes, chamomile, mint, oregano, dill, parsley, basil, delicata squash, and I’m establishing a new area for a mix of perennial wildflowers for a little cutting garden. My goji is in this area as well and is looking great…it just lost a few of it’s lower branches to rabbits this winter.

And I brought the trusty old dehydrator out for scallions! I should be able to do a batch of lemon balm this weekend…we’ll see how quickly the other herbs get up to speed.

Around the Homestead

I skipped a week at the farm to go on a mother/daughter trip to a water park. We had so much fun we are planning to make it an annual trip. We did all the raft rides, relaxed on the lazy river, enjoyed the wave pool, did a lot of hot tubbing, played basketball in the water, and did some bowling.

This weeks workershare shift was weeding. It was a glorious morning and these lettuces glowing in the light caught my eye. I also made an inquiry about a possibility for next years workershare. There’s a grassfarm down the road from my parents house that does lamb, beef, pork, chicken, and a few veggies for their farmstand. They are interested in expanding their veggie production and hopefully starting a CSA, which I may be able to help with. And I’d get some experience with animals, which would be cool. We’ll see where that goes!

Back home, I’ve finished prepping the beds and planting has begun! Today I dug out the old grape stump and put in some table grapes! I also planted an elderberry bush, parsley, oregano, basil, kohlrabi, and an assortment t of lettuces. Of course, after I was done they updated the frost warning to include my county, so I just finished covering the half of the lettuce I put out.

And this week my homesteading friend replaced the cow she had lost in the barn fire. On the way back from our vacation, we stopped to meet Sunshine and I picked up the first of the milk, cream, and butter. I’m really excited about getting raw milk again and made a whole gallon of yogurt when I got home. I have some jams from a little amish store to flavor it with…so yum.

Nourishing Traditions Breakfast Porridge

The suggestion is 1/4 cup steel-cut oats is 1 serving, but I didn’t find that filling and Bob’s Red Mill gives 1/2 cup as the serving suggestion so that’s what I’ve used below.

1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup water
1 TBSP acid (I used milk kefir, but whey, yogurt, buttermilk, or ACV will work)

Let sit overnight. Drain and add a fresh cup of water and sprinkle of sea salt. Simmer about 10 minutes or until tender. I served with raw cream, rapadura, and cinnamon.

Around the Homestead

Last week I started my workershare season. I spent my shift picking and washing spinach. This week I hoed the rows and paths in one of the greenhouses. Now that I’ve spent more time working with her diamond hoe, it’s moved to the top of my wishlist. It’s great!

That means the balancing act between farm, home, homesteading, work, and school has begun. I’ve got 5 weeks left of spring semester, then things get really crazy for the two short summer semesters. At home, I’m doing a better job in the kitchen. I’ve been keeping a flour sourdough starter and using it with fresh milled einkorn when I bake. But I’ve decided to start keeping a little einkorn flour on hand for daily feedings so I can convert my starter over.

On the homesteading front, my starts are big enough to start getting their big boy leaves. I hauled home some peat and will start amending the beds this month so they are ready for planing come Mother’s Day.

Work has been crazy. I’m currently fully booked into December and there’s more work and projects coming that somehow need to be done before then. I’m taking leadership training and working on reading some books to help with my professional development.

Around the Homestead

It’s still very early in the season here, but the green onions are juuuuust big enough to start harvesting…so I celebrated with a special treat. It may just be becoming a tradition now that I’m thinking about it.

The first little seedlings for broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and a few early bird basil and tomatoes. Outside, the strawberries, comfrey, rhubarb, and chamomile are also greening up.

And I’ve got my kombucha factory up and running! I did chopped strawberries in my first bottles. This batch I’m trying pureed blueberries.

5 Ingredient Soup

This is a soup I make almost entirely from my canning pantry, with some fresh refried beans.

2 cups/15 oz can refried beans
1 pint/15 oz can broth
1 pint/15 oz can corn
1 pint/15 oz can black beans
1 pint/15 oz can diced tomatoes (original recipe calls for rotel)

Mix refried beans and broth until combined. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20+ minutes.

Around the Homestead

I suffer from SAD, so things really slow down around here in the winter. But now that the sun is back out and we’re getting some warm days, I have my energy back. I’m cooking more and am doing lots of fermenting. This is what I currently have going: milk kefir, apple chutney, kombucha, sourdough, ginger carrots, and piima.

I’ve got my seed starting schedule written up and setup my seed starting table today. I’ll be able to start next weekend 🙂 Outside the green onions, strawberries, and rhubarb are sprouting! The rabbit is about as excited as I am about spring, now that I’m finding the first of the greens for him. (

First dandelion of the season//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I already took advantage of a bit of warm weather to hoe and mulch the asparagus bed. We’ve got some freezes and snow in the forecast now though, so it’ll be a while before I can make any more progress.

We’ve been assigned 26 chapters in the next 2 weeks, so this will be my view most of the time. I’m really glad our main text is Joel Salatin’s book though. I like his writing style and methods, so the reading goes faster.

Year 7!

This will be my 7th year as an urban homesteader! My most exciting news for the year ahead, is that I’ll be spending my vacation in August with Jackie Clay!!!!!

I’m also working on my Sustainable Food and Farming certificate and should be done in December. I’m currently about halfway through my Pastured Poultry class.

Things are shaping up for this season. I’ve already got all the seeds I need for the garden, and will be starting them soon. On April 1st, I’ll start my 3rd season as a workershare.

On the local food scene, I’m really happy with all of the options I have now. Our grassfed butcher just hit it’s one year anniversary. I’m still a member of their CSA, and it sounds like they are re-designing it soon to allow for more variety, so I’m excited to see what they have in store.

I’ll miss the Winter Farmers Market when it closes…there is such an amazing variety! This is what I picked up this morning 🙂

Last week, I picked up cheese, apples, garlic, raw honey, a stewing hen and Lion’s Mane mushrooms 🙂