Annie's Homestead


Homestead Updates!

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Life is in full swing here at the homestead!

The veggie garden is planted and growing well (weeds and all)...

In this garden, there are potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, caulifower, spinach, radishes, carrots, peas, green beans, eggplant, peppers (cayenne, green bell, and red bell), tomatoes (cherry, romas, beefsteak, and rutgers), and corn. I still haven't put up the "Now you see it, Now you don't" garden fence, but it's definitely a high priority on the To-Do list!

Last year, I didn't want to show pictures of the garden when it had weeds. Needless to say, I don't think I posted any pictures. This year, I'm going to post pictures all summer long- weeds and all.

In case you didn't notice, there are no squash in that garden. That's because I got so carried away over planting (though I don't believe there is such a thing), I didn't have room for them in the veggie garden! So, the herb garden has turned into the Squash Garden for this year...

Are my weeds killing you yet?! In here there's acorn squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, pickles, and zucchini. I had originally planned to also do watermelon, canteloupe, honeydew, little pumpkins, and luffas, but there is only so much room. The only herbs left in here are the rosemary, and chives- both of which have been in here for years.

And speaking of herbs, where are they now?

It just kills me to see them here! There's basil, dill, oregano, spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, stevia, lavender, catnip, chamomile, calendula, yarrow, feverfew, horehound, echinacea, parsley, thyme, coriander, comfrey, marjoram, belladonna, and tobacco...and yes, there's a few tomato plants here that didn't fit in the garden.

So that's what's growing here...well, not completely.

As some of you know, we got 25 new chicks right after Easter. I decided on Red Star and Black Star chicks for both their friendliness and their egg laying ability. They are amazingly cute- they love to sit in my lap, and have started climbing on my shoulders. I have never had chicks so friendly! So friendly, in fact, that I forgot to take pictures of them today...oops! I guess that's another blog post.

Anyway, with a new bunch of chicks, we needed to build a new coop. This has been a long process, but I'm finally seeing results! Originally, I wanted the new coop to be made from the old roof panels, but, in the end, it was decided to just recreate the first coop by purchasing a metal shed from Lowes.

Well, I think that takes care of the outside. Inside the homestead, things are a little quieter...kind of. Homeschool is winding down for the year. I have rosemary in the dehydrator, infusing in oil, and in alcohol for a tincture. I also have some plantain tincture resting. Right now, I have some alien rubber duck soaps waiting to be packaged, chamomile infused soap in the making, and then I am off to bed!

Sweet Dreams and Happy Homesteading!

My "Now You See It- Hope They Won't" Garden Fence

Posted on June 8, 2011 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (4)

It was the best of times, It was the worst of times...No, I'm not writing a memoir (though I can be rather long-winded when I want), I'm just describing my

This last weekend, I was hell-bent on finally getting my vegetable garden planted. SInce it had been a few rainy weeks since it was plowed, Saturday was spent tilling the entire 46' by 92' area. This is no small feat in the spring, and to do it in 95+ degree weather was insane. Sunday, I woke up early and set to map out the entire garden with string (a crazy neurosis I have), which again seemed to take all day- especially with the numerous trips to the pool to cool off. Sunday, I was finally planting! Monday, I finished planting, making a trip to the garden store for more pepper plants and sunflower seeds. I then, danced around like a mad woman! If my kids didn't know better, they would think I was crazy (they have figured that out already). They, of course, were less excited about the garden, but I think happy to have their mama back! ;)


As a homesteader, or really anyone these days, projects come, projects go, and there's always more projects than money.  This will be my third year with the big garden. And, for the third year, the money came and went...seeming to "went" more than it "came" and there was not enough in the pot for a real garden fence.

Back up to last year...I planted, it grew, and in one night, the animals came and took it all. Just like that. I am not about to let that happen again! Talking to some old-timers at Tractor Supply one day late last summer, they had a few tricks up their sleeve. I was told to pee around the perimeter (LOL- can't you just see that! FYI- my garden is up by the road), I was told that scattering human hair would keep the animals at bay. Irish Spring soap, plastic bags, and bells would also work. Don't you love old-timers?!

Finally, I was told that making a fence with fishing line would keep the animals away. The theory is that, when they come against it, but can't see it, they get scared off. So, yesterday I put up my "Now you see it, hope they won't" fence with, yes, 80 lb. test fishing line.

Now you see it...

Hope they won't...

But honestly? Let's face it- if the animals want in, they'll get in. I'm just hoping that they'll hit the invisible line and decide that the garden down the road is easier. hehe- I love my neighbors. :D

I'm thinking about reinforcing the side by the road and the side by the tree line- those seem to be the most likely areas the wildlife would come (Acres of woodland across the road). When I bought the line, I had my little ones with me, and I was thinking "feet" instead of "yards"- I bought enough line to put a complete wall around the entire garden!

And, if the fence doesn't work, I'll shave my son's head, have him pee around the garden, and if you hear bells, it's no angel- it's my fence. I may or may not be desperate enough to hang plastic bags, but buying soap in my house is just a sin!

On Another Note: Tomorrow I will continue with the herbs while I wait for them to grow!

and a shameless plug- I love to take pictures, so check out my RedBubble page!


Posted on June 1, 2011 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Finally, the long awaited herb garden is finished! I had planned to this last year and never got around to it.  I have been working with herbs for about 15 years, reading all I could read, and buying someone else's to work with- I am really excited to have my own!

Here's a copy of the design. (pardon my sloppy math on the side) ;)

The garden itself is @24' by 14'. It's right next to the patio, so there is easy access from the kitchen. This used to be my vegetable garden before we started the large garden further up on the property. The brick paths are in line with the clothes lines, and the little unmarked squares are the beams for the clothes line.

I need to point out (before someone else does) that there is actually a change- I am aware that Coriander and Cilantro are indeed the same plant. :D What I ended up doing was extending the sage through where it says "coriander" and I brought the cilantro to the brick path. Please have a good giggle on my brain melt as I didn't notice the error until I started planting. DOH!

My vegetable garden spot is finally dry enough to start plant-yes, I know I'm late! While I do that, I'll hopefully be posting an herb that I have planted each night talking about the who, what, where, when and why I planted it. And, no, I didn't forget about the plantain either...

Other news- the flip flop soaps have been put in the store!!! I love these- they turned out awesome!

Spring! Spring! Spring!

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (2)

Time has been flying this spring, but it always seems to this time of year.  And, in usual Ann fashion, I haven’t posted anything in quite awhile. I apologize.


The weather has officially warmed up, so I will officially say that we survived all winter heating only with the fireplace…actually, I did have a space heater in the upstairs bedroom, and one in a back bedroom, which we did use occasionally. This winter, of course, was the snowiest and coldes twinter here in Tennessee since we moved in 2000. So this is a particularly proud statement for me to make! I can’t tell you how good it felt to tell the gas man that we didn’t need him both times he came out wanting to refill the tank!! It will be even sweeter when I tell them to pick up their nasty, rusty, ugly tank. ;)


Unfortunately, while heating with the fireplace was awesome, it left a residue on everything in the house. Now I understand fully why spring cleaning was so important back in the day…This, in itself has kept me extremely busy!


Let’s see…the garden has been plowed, but not planted thanks to all of the rain we’ve had. I will be planting it this week- I’m excited to be playing in the dirt again! The only new thing I am planting this year is Luffa gourds. The plan is to harvest, dry them, and pour soap right into them. I love luffa sponges in the winter on my dry skin.


The herb garden has been tilled (twice actually) and the clothes line was put in yesterday.  This week, I will be working on the three brick paths, and planting! I can’t wait to have my clothes drying in the herb garden, just taking in all of the great smells.


 The wood surrounding the bottom is to keep it in place and level while the concrete dries- the garbage bags around the seemingly invisible concrete is thanks to the storm we had in the  afternoon. :)


That’s all I can think of right now- I know I am missing a ton of stuff, otherwise why am I so tired? Be safe, Be prepared, and well, just BE!


P.S. The scented sprays have been added to the webstore, and flip flop soaps will follow in a few days! Here’s a sneak peek!


Checking In

Posted on April 3, 2011 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

It was a GORGEOUS Tennessee day today- the sun was finallyshining and the temperatures were actually spring-like. I spent all morningoutside working on getting the herb garden going. I want to install aclothesline in the middle before I start planting, so I need to get my butt ingear! Call me weird, but this was the first time I got to play in the dirt thisyear, and I wanted to just lay in it- maybe roll in it like the dogs weredoing. I don’t know what it is about good dirt that does it for me, but dang! I did manage to hold back and just run my fingers through it.  ;)

I spent the rest of the day hauling wood. Since our clean-upparty, there are several piles of wood around the yard. Between the pickuptruck and the lawn mower with the cart, we hauled enough wood to get us throughnext winter. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I was also looking around,pondering future plans with all of my newly “acquired” land. Call me crazy, butI saw a spot perfect for a pigpen! But that’s a whole different post!

One more thing before I head to sleep. While working in thegarden, I was thinking about my kids and all of their electric “toys”. Whatwould their life be like if the power suddenly went away? Computers, television.gameboys, Wii, cellphones, etc… How would I manage without refrigeration, stovetops,and facebook? Now don’t get me wrong- I have theoretical solutions to theseobstacles, but aside from camping, I haven’t tried any of them. SO, I wasthinking about trying a “power out” weekend. A whole weekend with nothing…nolights, no stove, and *gasp* no facebook. Maybe we could even do it once amonth- learning as we go along. Have you ever tried anything like this? Whathappened? Our power goes out a lot, but never for more than a few hours at atime- I am excited to try it- I wonder how the kids will feel?


I found a ton of plantain growing wild in the herb gardentoday- it’s also called Heal-All and for very good reason! My next post(hopefully) I’ll fill you in on what it looks like, and some of the many uses-I guarantee it’s in your yard- even if you live in the city! Until then!



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