How to Homestead: Year 3 at The Green Acre Homestead
I’m not going to tell you one big secret that will crack all your “How to Homestead” questions. What I will tell you is how my third year went on the homestead and what you can maybe expect throughout the years. If you’re still on your first or second year of homesteading, check out my “First Year on the Homestead” and “Second Year on the Homestead” summaries! February 14, 2019, marked the end of my third year on the homestead and beginning of the 4th! I’m so excited to keep moving forward with this lifestyle. I’ve linked other articles to some of my accomplishments and failures if you’d like to read more about them! Let’s get started.
How to Homestead on Year 3 for 2018 – A List of my Year
- Learned to Bake Bread
- Sewed my first outfit
- Started a BLOG!
- Raised my first flock of meat chickens…just to lose them to coyotes at butcher weight
- Started butchering chickens and ducks all by myself
- Got a pig!
- Reduced and maintained the ever-growing rodent population on the homestead
- Eliminated stick-tight fleas!!!! BIG VICTORY!
- Grew my first ever luffas, harvested them, and are still enjoying them to this day
- Grew some awesome carrots, garlic, and cabbage
- Got my soil tested
- Added 6 fruit trees!
- Received our first decent blueberry harvest
- Discovered the Simply Earth Essential Oil RECIPE Subscription Box and started “detoxing” my home! Use the code
TGAHFREEif you’d like to see why I LOVE this company and the subcriptionbox!
- Decluttered the house (still a small work in progress)
- Slowed Down and started LIVING INTENTIONALLY
A Closer Look
Now, this is obviously not all the things that happened on my homestea in 2018. They’re just the things that stick out immediately. Year 3 on the homestead was really a mile marker for me because I feel like something clicked. A light turned on, so to speak. In all the how to homestead tutorials I have ever read one of the top things was to bake bread, and I successfully did it multiple times. You can find the first recipe I ever used here and try it for yourself! This is how mine turned out:
I sewed my first ever outfit which, even though I still have yet to wear, is a huge accomplishment and also a goal of mine! One of the best things to happen is this blog and I can’t thank you all enough for being here and learning, growing, failing, and rejoicing victories with me.
Hindsight is 20/20
When we finish out a year on the homestead, there are always those things that make us think “how did I let that happen”? My best example is when I started seeing rodents in the hen house. Well, I just left them alone because it was only one or two late at night. I started noticing stick-tight fleas on my chickens. Eventually, I wasn’t only seeing rodents at night in the hen house! They were running from behind the compost bin and I was seeing them in my rabbits’ hutch. IN THE DAY TIME!
If you’re seeing rodents in the day time, you have an infestation or very close to it. I kicked myself for not realizing that one, the stick-tight fleas were from the rats and two, I should’ve dealt with this a long time ago. I tried everything I could: snap traps, the cornstarch mix trick, the bucket trap, etc. Pinterest was my best and worst friend. Eventually, I realized the rodent population was out of control, growing rapidly and extreme measures were required. I used poison on the homestead. BEFORE YOU LEAVE because you’re upset with this, please read more about my experience here. If you have rodents on the homestead, act now not tomorrow. The rats were eating my baby rabbits, Y’all. Yes, the fuzzy, cute, harmless little baby rabbits were being tortured by these wild rodents.
Animal Husbandry: Victories and Accomplishments on the Homestead
Even after the terrible things that happened on the homestead, there were still wonderful things to come. For example, I lost my 14 chicken Dixie Rainbow meat flock to a pack of coyotes the same week I was planning to send them to freezer camp. OUCH in so many ways! The hindsight there? ALWAYS lock your animals up at night, no matter what the track record is on your homestead with predators. Chelsea: 0. Coyotes: 1…or 14. *insert crying face here*
As for the victories and accomplishments, I culled my first chickens and ducks all by myself in 2018. Although terrifying, I was so proud of myself. We’re finally to the point on our homestead where we have the option to not buy meat from the supermarket! HOW EXCITING IS THAT?!? Are you there yet? When did you make it? Let me know in the comments below! As for my Dixie Rainbows, I’m happy to announce that I order another 20 chicks and have successfully raised them to mature, egg-laying machines! We’ve eaten 4 of them and they’re a great dual purpose chicken. I highly recommended the breed.
Last up for the 2018 accomplishments, outside of eliminating rodents on the homestead and successfully raising baby bunnies, is we got a pig. I’ll be writing about this again soon but, man, has it been a roller coaster ride! I’m not sure how I feel about raising a pig yet, because we haven’t sent her to freezer camp yet. You can read here and here about my experiences thus far.
Gardening: Victories and Accomplishments on the Homestead
If you read here often, you know that gardening is quite the struggle for me. My husband is great at it but I really have to put in the work to get it! In 2018, I sent off our soil for a complete test. Honestly, I still don’t totally understand the result so I’ll be calling my local county extension office for an explanation. Never-the-less, something I should’ve done the first year we grew plants, I finally accomplished it 3 years in. What I successfully grew last year was:
- Carrots (and lots of them!)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cabbage (still waiting to harvest)
- Garlic (still waiting to harvest)
- Lettuce, collards, kale, arugula, spinach (FOR THE FIRST TIME!)
- Luffa Sponges (read more about growing here, harvesting here, and using them here)
- I’m sure other things I just can not remember right now
We added fruit trees to our collection and they were a pear, peach, nectarine, plum, tangerine, and fig tree. That gives us a total of 17 fruit trees! We’re expecting a spectacular mulberry harvest this 2019 season, a nice loquat harvest, and hopefully our first ever peaches! My husband loves fruit so he’s even more excited about this. Here are a few pictures!
The Home: Victories and Accomplishments on the Homestead
The last thing I want to go over with you is the accomplishments inside the home. Baking bread and sewing were goals of mine from the very beginning. What wasn’t an immediate goal or expectation of mine was a slower
Sometimes it’s still hard to slow down. I find myself rushing, dropping things, becoming frustrated because I’m not being patient with myself, etc. Eventually, I stop and breathe and remind myself that there’s time. In the past I had the mindset that time is the only thing you can’t get back so we have to use it wisely. I’m not saying I’ve left that mindset behind, but I guess I now prioritize what is worth my time in a different way. At one time in my life I would’ve said that stopping to smell the blooming orange trees or listening to the leaves dance with the wind was completely useless. Now, it’s something I do everyday. What a beautiful way to live.
Year 3 Conclusion
This year was so wonderful. I learned more than I thought was possible and I’ve persevered through all trials and tribulations. I’ve met some really spectacular folks through blogging, put completely homegrown meals on the table for my family, and started appreciating the little things in life. I can’t wait to see what year 4 on the homestead brings me.