|Posted on October 10, 2016 at 8:00 PM|
Our mini barn, pond and pumpkin patch.
Freeschoolin' gives us the freedom to pursue our passions; homesteading is a big one around here!
One day we hope to own our own land to build a sustainable homestead on but for now we are lucky enough to have a wonderful place to save up and enjoy while we wait!
We live in a 2 bdrm apt over the garage of a country home near Barrie, Ontario. We have use of the entire property of about 3 acres, complete with a large fire pit, plenty of camp out spots, a large pond and a small barn and paddock that was built for us by the landlord; no charge.
In this little kitchen we make all our own bread and baked goods, process our homemade apple cider vinegar, dry and process our homegrown herbs and so much more.
We dry and store our own seeds so we don't have to buy them every year. To improve the impact our environmental footprint leaves we use a family cloth system instead of toilet paper; much like doing cloth diapers. We also use baking soda as shampoo and apple cider vinegar as conditioner for our family; it has worked perfectly for many years now.
Our goal is to be as sustainable, eco-friendly and frugal as possible on our homestead and it's brought us endless challenges and lessons we are very grateful for.
As I said, our landlord built us a barn. We rescued a thoroughbred, River, in 2011 and so instead of boarding him, we get to keep him at our home. We use his excrement as fertilizer so River's presence on the homestead is very symbiotic in many ways. It doesn't need to be said that he is one heck of a lawn mower!
We have a crab apple tree I trim to help it produce big, juicy apples that make absolutely awesome apple sauce and apple cake, not to mention apple peels and cores for apple cider vinegar. River loves them too!
Our property has loads of areas for gardens so we make use of as much of the land as we can; each year we take more space.
This year we did potatoes and got over 20lbs, many tomatoes, a lot of Kale and Mint, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Oregano and Cilantro, 3 kinds of melons, cucumbers, peppers and 2 kinds of pumpkins. It supplemented our grocery bill significantly and we are already excited to have an even bigger produce selection next year.
We have quite a few wild raspberry patches that I trim to produce bigger more plentiful berries. We pick as many as we can and freeze what we can't eat for smoothies, nice cream and pies.
There is broad leaf plaintain that grows wild all over which we are aiming to make plaintain oil out of one day but we like to include it in our salads, as well as dandelion greens that we allow to grow in our garden.
We do not till the ground; we remove the weeds by raking and taking anything big out by hand and then lay cover (compost) over to add to the soil.
The more homesteading we do on our rented land, the more we feel confident in our ability to manage our own land in the future so there is nothing wasted in each moment we spend working here.
We've just recently been approved to start building a chicken tractor out of a large, used crate so that is a project we are working on currently. We hope to have chickens by next year to provide us with fresh eggs which will absolutely reduce our grocery budget, especially in seasons with green as the chickens can eat from the ground and will be excellent help fertilizing the soil for our gardens with minimal effort from us.
The way the earth works together in a symbiotic nature is fascinating and incredible to manifest in our homesteading adventures; we are learning how to let nature provide for us.
If you would like to hear more from "The Freeschoolin' Homestead" side of things in our Freeschoolin' life, please let us know by commenting, telling us on Facebook, sharing your thoughts in the Freeschoolin' Community or Twitter, all linked convieniently on our website's Home page.
We love to share our journey with you; so glad you are here for the ride!
Wendy - Freeschoolin' Mommy