Well I can't quite say I am an Urban Homesteader living in the country as I do, so for today I will have the (non) put in front of the term while I use it. Today is "Urban homesteader Day of Action" and us here at Wolf Woods wish to participate.
So for those of you who have not been following us fully welcome to our (Non) Urban homestead!
We started this off technically years ago for both me and Silver with just an idea (even before we met each other), we both felt the need to grow our own and live in the quiet of the country and take care of ourselves. As much as we possibly can. Over the years I have read countless information on Urban Homesteading, trying to get ideas to apply to my hopeful future "on the farm".
Oddly enough most ways of farming that Urban Homesteaders use can be applied to a small scale farm in the country, and this we are going to try on our 5.29 acres. The big thing here is our ground is a very thin layer of dirt and lots of clay under it, so we need to do raised bed gardening. The best place to find the most info on raised bed gardening is through Urban Homesteaders.
Now as you might be able to see here you can grown in the soil here, even with little added to it. These are my hot peppers from last year, and boy did the plants grow; granted the sweet peppers grew taller. They only had my lovely goat manure/bedding mulched over them, and they did not produce as much as I would have liked, but dang they grew!
I have my own ideas for setting up a raised bed but it takes a year to prepare it, and here I shall give it to all Urban Homesteader and (non) urban homesteader alike:
First you need to build your raised bed it has to be wide enough to fit a bale of straw in it while that bale is still bound. After you have made this raised bed if you used wood you probably want to line the sides (btw have the bottom open). Next place a whole straw bale in it, then cut the bindings -DO NOT LOOSEN IT!-(as in leave it intact after removing the binding). Now over that add a layer of peat moss, then a layer of manure (make sure there is no chemicals in it), and then on top of that a layer of soil. Continue layering till almost to the top of the raised bed, then take another straw bale and unbind it and spread a thick layer of straw over it. During the course of the year make sure you pull anything growing in it out, and in the late fall rototill the bed (yes rototill); then again add more straw. When the next spring rolls around rototill again add a little peat,soil, manure if you need more substance in the bed and plant away!
Now the reason for leaving the bottom open is that this way you are amending the soil underneath, just doing it a space at a time, and somewhere down the line the ground will have wonderful soil. However you can just keep using the raised bed, infact when I get to build mine they will be permanent.
Back to my little history of us:
When me and Silver first met we both discovered we both liked the idea of growing our own food, and both of us wanted to own some land so that we could do this. After about 2 years of looking at one website that offered us land with no down-payment and no credit check (the drawback is the cost, but hey my credit sucks!), we spent that 2 years looking at the same property as well. An opportunity (as we see it anyway) popped up for us to take and buy and leave where we lived so we did.
We moved here to Wolf Woods, with no house, and no working well.
We spent most of our first year here in this tent, that "blue pile" was our "stuff" we brought with us. Camping out is tons of fun... however camping out for 6 months with 3 kids is not fun! Also cats seem to like to climb on tents and we we had to "spot fix" the tent a lot or we'd get wet when it rained.
We also started off with a dug well that had a pump in it, but as we were not sure if the pump worked we waited 4-5? months before we even tried hooking up the well to the electric.
We were so happy when the water started flowing that we even called our friend 10 miles away to let them know the wire they picked up for us worked! The best part was, we didn't have to ask our neighbor's for water anymore, and that for us was a big relief. Also made taking baths much easier as we could do it every day now not just ever couple of days when we'd get water.
Our next "big moment" here was when we got our "Winter home" as I'm calling it now though our "offical name" for this building is "The bunk house".
Our pretty blue/green shed 12x24 in space and 5 people live in it, we put in a sawdust toilet, which I wonder if there is a way for an Urban Homesteader to try to use one as that would lower your water usage greatly. I have also come to love the sawdust toilet a lot more than a flush one, and when our house is done being built we are going to just keep using sawdust toilets in it.
During our winter months we finally finalized our ideas for our house building which for us is what we really need to accomplish next. We are going to use the ideas on this website as the base of our ferrous concrete geodesic domed house:
We are even considering using this idea for our chicken coop (I'd free range, but... last time I did our garden got eaten; and my lab just loved chasing them!), we are also going to build our animal barn this way. Now on the subject of animals while Urban Homesteaders have done amazing things in their cities with raising livestock (where they can), as we are planning on a cow (2 prob) we need ideas from somewhere else. I found the methods from PolyFace Farms the best:
The man who owns this farm uses techniques that mimic the animals "wild" ancestry, for instance giving the cattle pasturing that mimics what buffalo would have done. The animals are kept close in small pastures and are moved daily to another one. The plan here is to take 1-2 of our acres and divide it into 1/4 acre plots all connected half saved for "field hay" for winter food of course and the others for the few animals we will have. so with that plan every 4 days they are back on the first one, we will see how it works, we might have to increase the amount of plots or shrink the pasture size.
Right now we are trying to set up what growing we will do this year, and cleaning up the space where the house will go; also seeing if our chainsaw will start. It died last fall guess we just over worked the poor thing...
Anywho like I said, I love Urban Homesteading, but as I am rual I'n a (non) Urban Homesteader!
Be Well and Blessed Be...