Homesteading is for Lovers

“Where there is love there is life.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Happy Valentines Day! It is 53˚here in NE Ohio and forecasted to be 65˚tomorrow. The unseasonable temperatures might tempt you into starting your seeds early and for some of you that would be ok. Depending on your growing zone you may need to wait it out a bit longer. Our growing zone is 6a with an estimated last frost date of April 30th and first frost October 20th giving us a growing season of 172 days. While these are estimated dates (we all know how unpredictable the weather can be) they are a good guideline for when to start seeds and transplant out to your garden.

To find your growing zone go to http://www.almanac.com and enter your zip code. There you will see loads of good information on frost dates specifically for your area.

As much as I am chomping at the bit to get our seeds sowed, I know it is best to wait a few more weeks. I jumped the gun last year and ended up with tomato plants that were two feet tall before being transplanted! In just a few short weeks we’ll be getting our hands in the soil again. We have the garden beds planned out (that plan will undoubtedly change as we go!) and seeds ready to grow. I am excited to grow some familiar varieties as well as trying new. New to the farm this season will be a large pumpkin patch and a three sisters garden. This will be an in-ground garden space where we will grow corn, squash and beans. When planted together, the Three Sisters work to help each other thrive and survive. The corn provides tall stalks for the beans to climb. The beans also provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil and give stability to the corn stalks in high winds. The large leaves of the squash provide shade to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds. Talk about a thriving community!

Three Sisters garden http://www.reddirtproductions.org

The coming of spring also means the to do lists are getting longer. We have plans to start amending our garden beds with our compost, building more raised beds and preparing for the arrival of our first round of meat chickens. At first thought of raising and processing our own birds, I was terrified! Todd and I have dove into all things chicken processing including books, videos, online courses and we were blessed last year to watch Joel Salatin process chickens at The Homestead Festival in Tennessee. Using Joel’s plans, Todd and Jackson have been working on getting our chicken tractor built. This is an enclosure that will house the birds on pasture once they have matured enough to be outside.

I recently had a conversation with a co-worker about the notion of living this lifestyle as being so “romantic.” The thought was absurd to him! As I explained my reasoning, I do not believe he was buying it! But for me, it’s the idea of creating from scratch something beautiful and lasting and the satisfaction of watching these things grow under our care, that’s what speaks to my heart. The self-sufficiency, the connection to nature and our land and the ability to live this life with my husband, our family and our community…for me, that’s a love affair for the ages!

The days are getting longer, friends. As the sun slowly rises in the sky, its light grows stronger as it climbs higher. The colors of the world are changing, growing more vibrant as the day starts. The birds are singing, the air is fresh and new, the world comes to life. We love what we do here on our homestead. We devote the vast majority of our time and attention to growing. As a family, as homesteaders, as a community. Growing food and foundations for our future.

What does your spring to do list look like? Leave a comment below! As always, thank you for being here!

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