What’s in a name

Since starting this adventure, I have been curious as to what to name my homestead. I have thought of, and discarded, several different options. I think I have come up with the perfect name for my little homestead!

Pleasant Garden Homestead!

I think I like this one even better than what I was thinking of, “Pleasant City Garden.” The one I picked just sound better to me. Hopefully I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes that might have already chosen this name.

So, Welcome to Pleasant Garden Homestead!

Adventures in freeze drying

Well, the homesteading journey continues!

I recently bought a medium sized Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, like a week ago, and to say that nothing went smoothly would be an understatement. My boyfriend picked it up for me, as it was to big to fit into my car. We decided on a place to put it and soon realized how extremely noisy it was.

After finally getting it set up, I loaded the trays and started it up. Needless to say, there were some minor hiccups in the drying process of this first batch but I was eventually able to get it dry.

What a mess!

The berries, both blueberries and raspberries, dried very well and are really good and sweet. The figs weren’t my favorite as they turned out fairly hard. The Asian pears would have been better if I had peeled them first but have a good flavor. Dill pickle slices just melted in the mouth. The funniest was the different candy I tried to freeze dry. Let’s just say, probably won’t be freeze drying much candy in the future, at least nothing chocolate.

The gummy worms exploded to 4 times their normal size. They looked like something from an alien movie. The fun sized snickers and milkyway bars puffed up about the size of golf balls. M&Ms melted. So did the recees’e peanut butter cups. Twix just became this melted chocolate mess.

We’ll see what this second batch turns out like. This one should be better as it is all fruit.

Here’s to learning new things!

The Journey Continues

If you remember, I mentioned in my last post that I thought I had 3 of my chickens were, indeed, roosters. They are which is unfortunate because I can’t have a rooster where I live. I’m now in the process of trying to locate a new home for them. I am also still waiting for the other 5 chickens to start laying. I’m hoping that will happen soon. I’m so excited to see what color of eggs I will be getting.

I also have my garden I’m waiting to see what produces. I have 6 19-foot long beds that have been planted. Some seeds were sown on Aug. 9th/10th. Those include zucchini and yellow squash, watermelon, cucumbers, carrots, okra and beans, which have sprouted and are a couple inches long, except the carrots which haven’t sprouted at all yet.

On the 18th and 20th of August, I planted radishes of two different varieties, turnips, beets, peas, tomatoes (2 types), cucamelon, sweet peppers, pumpkin, and a mini watermelon. So far, the only things to have sprouted are the radished, beets, pumpkin, peas, and the mini watermelon. I’m really hoping the cucamelon produces as I’m super excited for that one.

Honestly, I would like everything to produce but that would be a tremendous amount of food that would have to be processed. I would have to see what I could give away due to the fact that, right now, I am also attending online classes as well as working 30 hours a week so I know I won’t have a lot of time to be able to dedicate for canning/drying/freezing everything that is produced.

Luckily, or maybe not so lucky, the time of harvest (for most of the garden) won’t be until around the middle of November when my area is supposed to see the first frost of the season. I do realize that there is going to be some things that will be ready to harvest before then but, in general, I am looking around November.

That is also only a couple weeks before finals are scheduled and as I’m set to graduate then, I know I am going to be extremely busy at that time. Hopefully I will be able to gather some helpers to assist in harvesting.

I guess we’ll see what the future brings! Happy Harvesting!

Continuing Journey

So the other day, I’m thinking around Monday last week, I heard what was distinctly a crow coming from my chicken run area. Knowing that I purposely bought all hens, I knew I couldn’t be hearing right. Sure enough, my most dominate hen was perched up on an abandoned door, crowing for all she was worth.

To make matters worse, this morning I heard 2 different distinctive crows. Now it has me wondering if I do, indeed, have roosters. If this happens to be the case, my flock just got smaller, as I am unable to keep roosters where I live.

I guess we wait and see just how much of the crowing continues and whether or not I have to find new homes for them.

My Homestead Journey

If you are like me, you may be wondering if homesteading is for you, especially if you live in an urban area. Most people are confused as to what would be considered a homestead. Well, for me, a homestead is any area that can be used to raise food for you and your family.

For me, I live in a small city about 2 hours away from Las Vegas. It isn’t really a big, urban area but it isn’t a rural farming community either. My house sits on a .19 acre lot, which gives me plenty of room for a garden and chickens/ducks.

I first tried homesteading (raising chickens) about 6 years ago and invested in about 4 chicken. My boyfriend and I got a small puppy just shortly afterward. We ended up rehoming the chicken because they wanted to go after the puppy’s eyes and we didn’t want to have a blind puppy.

We (meaning I) decided to give homesteading another try just a couple years ago. We purchased a few duckling from our local Cal-Ranch store. We were told they should be female. Unfortunately, all three turned out to be male. We purchased a couple more the next year, hoping to get a female with no luck. Every one of them were male. One ended up dying and we traded a couple of them for a couple female.

We were doing pretty well with them until some unknown critter, still don’t know what it was, decapitated and ate the entrails of the only male we kept along with one of the female.

Last year we purchased a male and two more female from someone local that was selling the ones she had and so we returned to having one male and three female. Lucky male!

As is expected when you have a male in the flock, we ended up with two clutches of eggs. One was a total of 4 ducklings and the other was 7 ducklings. Knowing we couldn’t keep any of them, we sold all of the ducklings and rehomed the male, so we wouldn’t have any more ducklings.

Eventually we decided that the ducks were just to noisy and messy, we adopted them out and purchased chickens, which leads us to where I am right now in my homesteading journey.

I currently have 8 pullets that should be laying in the next few weeks as they are of age to do so. My boyfriend, as of the first weekend of August, tilled up a section of the backyard and made some in-ground raised beds. I have my fall garden planted and will be able to harvest, hopefully before the first frost in the middle of November.

So, if you don’t have the room to be able to raise animals or have a large garden in your backyard, you can still do a garden in containers as there are several that do really well along with learning how to preserve the food you do grow.

If you dream of being able to have a large homestead one day, take the time you have now and start learning the skills you will need to be able to manage and run your homestead. It is never to late to begin something new.

Best of luck!