Can’t Grow Your Own? Buy Local!

We aren’t as sustainable as some homesteads here at the Small House. But what we can’t grow or produce we can buy from local growers. I’m a softie when it comes to eating my own chickens so this year I ordered them from a local farm.

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Cornish hens ready to take home for Sunday dinner!

Today we picked up our 18 organic pastured chickens that we ordered last August from a nearby chicken farm owned by friends, Blackberry Pine Farms.

Blackberry Pines Farm sign

The greeting sign at Blackberry Pines Farm

We took a tour of the farm today when we picked up our birds and I was pleased at how clean and orderly it is. Blackberry Pine Farms raises and sells chickens, turkeys and peafowl.

Sign gate and pines

White Pines line the driveway to the farm.

My friend Ann and I went in together on our order and I pre-ordered 18 Cornish hens between us. I made the arrangements, placed the order, picked up the processed chickens and we met today for lunch and a handled the pick-up. She drove down from Newaygo with her husband Terry and we sat on our three season’s porch with lemonade and hot tea and caught up.

Ann & Terry USE

Gene and I spent the day with my high school friend and her husband Terry.

I wanted organic meat chickens in the freezer for the year and decided to test out Farm raised Cornish hens. My plan is to roast one chicken per month over the winter and to cook up a 9 lb. hen for the holidays.

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A cooler full of processed chickens on their way home to my freezer.

We had a nice visit on our sun porch and then drove into Fennville for lunch and to enjoy a bit of the annual Fennville Goose Festival.

Chicken Tractor

The chicken tractor ah la Joe Saladin.

We ate lunch as a great restaurant owned by another friend, Roots, and watched the small town parade go by our window. The Festival is the typical mix of food booths, bands, fire trucks, muscle cars, hay wagons carrying the local football team, the Goose Queen and King and so on. Our lunch that was made from locally sourced foods, was well prepared and tasty. And it was especially fun for the four of us to sit and chat and catch up what is for us, a very unusual day off.

The fall weather cooperated beautifully too; with blue skies and sunshine, warm breezes and lots of autumn color coming on in the trees and shrubs.

This day off was a rare country pleasure and a fine way to enjoy the autumn before the heavy snowfall arrives and prevents company visiting for another winter.

Small House homesteader, Donna

Fresh Picked Organic Strawberries on Lemon Pound Cake

Rows of berreis flowers in rightYesterday we picked 48 lbs. of organic strawberries. Then we came home and I made 5 batches of freezer jam while Gene cord, sliced and packaged up the rest of the strawberries for the freezer. It was a long and tiring but oh so satisfying day.

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I estimate that we have enough strawberries for eating and spreading on toast for more than a year and likely longer. Gene requested a homemade lemon pound cake with strawberries on top for Father’s Day and he definitely will be getting one from me! (Recipe below.) I’ll use our organic eggs and the farm’s strawberries…a marriage made in heaven.

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A weathered old barn, quilt patterns and a John Deer tractor. How picturesque is that?

I feel that we are very blessed to have this wonderful organic fruit orchard, Pleasant Hill Farms located just 10 miles from us in Fennville, MI. They converted their operations to organic about 10 years ago and have been building a client base ever since.

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Their berries are U-Pick only. Consult their Facebook page for days and times to pick.

As always I feel very fortunate to live in the plentiful fruit belt of Michigan and have Pleasant Hill Farms so close by us.

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A quilter, Joan uses favorite quilt patterns as designs throughout the farmstead.

Owned by Joan and John Donaldson, Pleasant Hill Farm is a small operation run by the Donaldson’s with the help of an occasional apprentice or two. They grow U-pick strawberries, blueberries and peaches, make maple syrup to sell cut wood and generally farm their land with the highest of ethics and care. I truly believe that food and it relationship to health is important to us all.

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Nothing like the rich red color of a fresh picked strawberry. Sweet!

They also sometimes farm with oxen which I find most fascinating. Their farm is pristine, well-managed and prolific. I am writing about them today because I respect their farming practices and hope that others will read about farmers and growers who are organic and realize that perhaps they to can make that formula work for them.

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A close up of the farm’s field of oxeye daisy’s.

Berries forground Barn in rear

Sitting in the strawberry field.

It was a long and tiring but oh so satisfying day.

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Johns enjoying planting a entire field in oxeye daisy’s making a beautiful scene out of a field.

I estimate that we have enough strawberries for eating and spreading on toast for more than a year and maybe longer.Gene requested a homemade pound cake with strawberries on tip for Father’s Day and he definitely will be getting one from me!

I feel that we are very blessed to have this wonderful organic fruit orchard, Pleasant Hill Farms just 10 miles from us in Fennville, MI. They converted to organic farm practices in 1977 and have been building a client base ever since.

Berries close

Our day’s pick.

As always I feel very blessed to live in the fruit belt of Michigan and have Pleasant Hill Farms so close by us.

They are a small operation run by Joan and John Donaldson with the help of an occasional apprentice or two. The grow U-pick strawberries, blueberries and peaches, make maple syrup to sell cut wood and generally farm their land with the highest of ethics and care.

They also sometimes farm with oxen which I find most fascinating. Their farm is pristine, well managed and prolific.  I am writing about them today because I respect their practices and hope that other will read about farmers and growers who are organic and realize that perhaps they can be organic too.

I snuck away from our picking duties yesterday to take these photographs. It was a pleasure to enjoy their beautiful farm for a couple of house on a nice June morning.

Pleasant Hill Farm Collage 4 jpeg no text

Contact Joan and John Donaldson at Pleasant Hill Farm, 269-561-2850. www. Pleasanthillsblueberryfarm.com

Lemon Pound cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, plus 1/3 cup

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan and line it with parchment or waxed paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter. Add 1 cup of the sugar and mix. With the mixer running at low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.

Working in alternating batches, and mixing after each addition, add the dry ingredients and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice to the butter mixture. Mix until just smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until raised in the center and a tester inserted into the center comes out dry and almost clean (a few crumbs are OK), 65 to 75 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the remaining 1/3 cup lemon juice until the sugar is dissolved.

When the cake is done, let cool in the pan 15 minutes (it will still be warm). Run a knife around the sides of the pan. Set a wire rack on a sheet pan with sides (to catch the glaze) and turn the cake out onto the rack. Peel off the waxed paper.

Using a turkey baster or pastry brush, spread glaze all over the top and sides of the cake and let soak in. Repeat until the entire glaze is used up, including any glaze that has dripped through onto the sheet pan. Let cool at room temperature or, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator (Well wrapped, the cake will last up to a week). Serve at room temperature, in thin slices.

Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand.

Small House homesteader, Donna

 

Heirloom Fruit Trees Planted on the Homestead

We replanted the fruit trees today in our home orchard.We planted three apples, two pears and a peach tree.

These trees replace those that died of old age and those that we lost in the high ground water flooding during the time period of 2009-2012. This extended time of flooding was  very rough time for us on our homestead. Living through the flooding and the stress that comes from the uncertainty of losing one’s home and has given me a much greater sense of how farmers and growers who live off the land must feel during bud killing frosts, drought, flooding, wildfires and so on.

Gene from front tree going in hole

Gene removing a fruit trees from its container.

We want to grow organic fruit without a lot of chemical sprays so we started this journey by reading The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips. Published by Chelsea green, The Holistic Orchard is a seminal work that is being compared with Sir Albert Howard and J.L. Rodale’s classic books on soil and organic gardening.

HORS triangle of dirt and trees waiting

 One of two large growing beds filled with manure, straw and our homemade compost.

After deciding that I wanted to grow heirloom trees  I found a source of heritage fruit trees at Southmeadow Fruit Gardens, Baroda, MI.,  which is located about an hour from our home. I found I was over whelmed by the numerous choices and I just didn’t know which one would do best in our area. After several e-mail conversations with the owner of the business  I placed an order for “Pete’s Picks.”

Pete choose the following trees species for us as the best choice for our soil, light and wind conditions;

1) Tohuky (fugi)
2) Court Pen Do Plat
3) Perry Russet

 

Cart horizontal

Our garden cart was used to hold our mix of manure, compost and waste straw.

I also bought two Barlette pears and one Red Haven Peach from Jonker’s Garden Center, Holland, MI, a very respected nursery. I figure that I am hedging my bets by buying and planting three heritage species and two others known to do well in this geographic area.

Jobes Fruit Tree Spikes

We added Jobes fruit tree fertilizer; two spikes per tree.

OUR TREE CRITERIA:

  1. Semi-dwarfs (10-15 ft. in height)
  2. Self-pollinating trees
  3. Heritage tree varities
  4. Varities that require the least amount of chemicals possible

OUR SITE:

We have flat land, lean and sandy soil and frequent droughts here on our SW Michigan homestead. We are working with a site that is sunny with some shade created by our home and several nearby large White Oak trees. We are located 17 miles inland from Lake Michigan and the heavy winds off the big lake can sometime blow down the roadway in front of our home so our site can be very windy at times.

The planting bed location was chosen both for the amount of sun the site provided but also to create a bit more of a buffer from the class AA roadway that runs in front of our home.

Following the principles outlined in the Holistic Garden we planted our trees in a large triangle combining a Permaculture fruit guild theory with underplantings of comfrey as a deep-rooted nitrogen fixer.  Later on we will add native lupines, chives, daffodils and yarrow.

We are both very tired today….but it is the satisfied kind of tired from a job well done. I know only Gene is photographed in these pictures, but I work side by side with him all the way. We are a team.

The next step will be to pick up a truck load of bark chips to use as a mulch on both beds.

In about three years we will picking our own fruit right from our own trees. ALL organic!

Small House Homesteader and gardener, Donna

The Homesteads Chicken Coop Unveiled

In about two weeks we are adopting five hens who need a new home. This means we are now building a mostly recycled chicken coop, run and dusting box. Our goal for our chicken coop, run and dusting box project is to spend as little out-of-pocket cash as possible while building a safe and sturdy home for our new chicken friends.

Coop walking into run USE THIS as ONE

I’ve been scrounging materials for a chicken coup for the past few years. Of course I perused Craig’s List (where I found some rusted chicken wire for $20.00) talked to friends and then I hit the jackpot one day while taking a drive along nearby scenic Lakeshore Drive between South Haven and Saugatuck. That bonanza included two large heavy pieces of exterior paneling someone had put alongside the road.

Sealed inside exterior plywood

If I had known in advance how beautiful the exterior grade paneling would turn out after being sealed, I might have put it on the outside not the inside of the coop!

According to the handwrittten words on the outside of these panels they once covered the porch windows of an old cottage. I knew immediately this wood could be the outside walls of a cozy chicken coop. My husband believes the wood is redwood, though I vote for cedar, and its dryness definitely indicates it is very old. These pieces were difficult to cut and the edges tended to split, but we managed to make the siding work in spite of that snag. A few pieces had to be repaired with exterior clear caulk or shims.

Another friend recently removed an old rotting deck and happily gave us as many 2′ X 4’s as we could remove and carry away before she burned the rest of the wood. We salvaged 38, 2′ X 4’s and several other wood pieces of various sizes.

Coop frames from 2 X 4's

The 2′ X 4″ frame being built. In the left of the photo is our vegetable garden and in the rear/left  of this photo is our future chicken run.

What we wanted; We needed a coop that was sturdy enough to not blow over in the heavy winds that blow in off of nearby Lake Michigan, sound enough to protect the poultry from the heavy Michigan snow and to be secure enough to keep the critters out. Cute would be a bonus!

Our Chicken Coop Siteing:

Location: We choose to locate the coop in the back side of our fenced in vegetable garden under the shade of a large White Oak tree.  I wanted the chickens to have shade in the summer and sun in the winter. This location was perfect for that. The prevailing winds blow in here from the west so if we have a breeze blowing through our property it will help to keep the girls cool.

Tree and coop USE

Sitting under the White Oak tree nestled against the 15-acre forest will be a cool and shady place for the coop.

This site will also be somewhat protected from sun, wind and rain as it is nestled up near our pole barn and a distance from the house in case of odors and allowed us to use one end of our existing vegetable garden fencing as our primary run. We added the Craig’s List smaller-holed chicken wire over our exiting garden fence to make it even safer from predators.

Coop Size: This was built 48” X 48” because that is how the pieces of available paneling worked out.

An Off-the-Ground Raised Coop: We built a raised coop for airflow and safety. Also because we had some severe ground water flooding in 2009 and having the coop on “stilts” might make for more comfort and less feet issues should we ever face that water problem again. In addition being on  legs keep the floor of the coop away from the frozen ground.

Free 2” X 4’s: We got 24 2” X 4’s free from our friend; all we had to do was make an hour’s drive and pull the decking apart. Of course this repurposing works takes more time and effort than buying new but costs less, a real plus.

Latches: We took great care to buy secure latches and other hardware to keep the raccoons out.

Big latch close

Sturdy latches will help to keep the coop secure.

Our Chicken Coop Construction:

Using Repurposed Wood: Be aware that working with reclaimed wood does have its challenges. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth the extra effort and labor costs. Hidden nails need to be remove sometimes the boards need to be re-planed. Often the pieces are not square and have flaw that need to be either be fixed or revered. on the other hand there can be one-of-a-kind interesting aspects about old wood as well.

Our Process: We used the 2 X 4’s to make a frame and then built and added the sides one at a time. Then added holes for laying box, hole for door and walkway and so on.

Holes from inside

An early view of then inside of the coop showing nest box holes, door to come in and out and window.

Paint Color: I painted and sealed the boards before the coop was assembled as it was much easier on the painter (me!) that way. I choose to paint the outside of the coop a medium brown color called “Rich Earth” using a gallon of Dutch Boy Grand Distinctions (paint and primer in one) in a color that we had on hand. This was originally a $6.00 “Opps” paint. This is also the color of the trim on our house and happened to be quite near the color of my friend’s brown deck. We had almost an entire gallon on hand and it took every bit of that gallon by the time the coop was completed.

Sealing: I choose to polyurethane the inside of the coop for help in keeping it clean. I figure that no liquids will seeps into the wood and scraping or washing will be easier with sealed wood and any parasites will be less likely to drill themselves into the wood.

Hinged Access Doors: My husband designed this coop to have two sets of double access doors, with openings; one on both sides. Both doors open outward and have some serious iron barn-door-like raccoon-proof hardware on them. These doors are for my daily feeding access and for ease in feeding, cleaning and airing the coop out.

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The hinged access doors are open. This will give me a easy and complete access to the coop for cleaning out.

Windows: Airflow is very important to chickens so Gene made windows on all four sides using hardware cloth and pine pieces as a window frame. More painted pine pieces will be used as “winter coverings” to keep out the cold and wind. We are painting those coverings now.

hardware cloth window in frame

Hardware cloth over the windows for spring, summer and fall airflow.

Door: Gene used a piece of matching exterior siding and pine strips to make the doors.

Roost: We choose a 2 X 4’ board for a roosting boards that I sealed with poly and Gene shaved down with his collection of old hand tools to make a more rounded piece for ease in holding on. We are hoping that all five chickens will be happy to roost on one long board.

Floor: We decided to use a piece of solid plywood for the coop floor and purchased that. I gave it three coats of poly to help to protect it. After pricing a piece of linoleum at Menard’s (around $79.00) we put out the call to our friends for linoleum and a co-worker gave us a piece left over from his house remodel. This vinyl flooring material also makes for easy clean-up and prevents mites and other parasites from burrowing into the wooden boards.

Linoluem before USE

Vinyl flooring remenent now covers the plywood floor. The sealed pine board edge strips will help hold in the sand litter.

Sand as Litter: Based on the recommendation of Kathy the Chicken Chick, http://thechickenchick.com we purchased sand to put on the coop floor as litter. We happen to have a gravel company a few miles from us so we stopped in one day to ask about prices and sand types. After recovering from the shock that having sand delivered was going to cost us $100.00 for the labor and the sand just $7.00 to $8.00 a yard, we decided to borrow a friend’s trailer and haul it ourselves. Kathy uses about 2 yards a year so I expect that we will too.

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Sand was hauled home in a borrowed trailer.

Feeders: I have a vintage metal chicken waterer and feeder from when we had chickens about a decade ago (pre-flooding!) So we got those out, washed them out and plan to use them again. From my on-line research we decided to hang them from the ceiling to keep ground critters out of the feed and to lessen the amount of scratch that falls out of the feeder onto the floor. We will also buy two small plastic feeders/waterers so we have them both inside and outside of the coop.

Coop-galnanized-duster-flag

Galvanized chicken feeder and waterer set the scene for our vintage coop set-up.

Roof: We had originally thought we would use roofing shingles on our roof, but the cost of new shingles on top of our other expenses was getting prohibitive. Again I put out a call for old shingles on Craig’s list and Facebook but then a friend offered us two pieces of white plastic corrugated plastic (two 2 ft. X 8 ft. pieces) for free. That what we decided to use and we decided we would do what we had to do to make those work. The freebie corrugated roofing material came up a bit short in width so we added white metal drip edge and some shims to make up the difference. The roof was topped with a long board that was pieced together to make a kind of ridge cap.

Roofing close USE

Looking like galvanized metal, this roof is actually made using corrugated plastic.

Chalet Décor: I found this cute metal sign at Word Market for $14.99-20% off. I added an old rake top I saved to hold chicken treats like hanging sunflower heads, corn cobs and so on.

Sign and rake

Run: We used one end of our existing vegetable garden so we did not have to put up run fencing around the coop.

Gate: We plan on eventually letting our chicken’s partially free range in our large raspberry bed after we get that fenced in.  This area will be for them to get some additional exercise, a place to scratch and for insect control.  We will eventually build a third gate for that extra run.

Metal gate alone

This metal came to as a gift.

The gate between the run and the vegetable garden is a nice metal farm garden gate a friend gave us when he dismantled a vegetable garden on his property. This way I will be able to let the chickens into the vegetable garden to scratch about late in the season.

Dusting Box: We built a simple dusting box using  pieces of wood from my girlfriend deck.  The wood was free and the sand was purchased from the sand and gravel business located about 2 miles from our home and hauled home in a trailer by us.

Nest box USE

A temporary dusting box. I am guessing with the year the chickens will have the coop area all dug up and then we will be adding sand and the base floor of the run.

Total of Materials Used & Material Costs:

Minwax Polycrylic Finish/Two Quarts @ $12.00 per quart =$24.00

BIM White Spray Paint: (to prime the pine boards) two @ $7.00 ea.= $14.00

Craig’s List Chicken Wire for the Run: $20.00

Large Roll of Chicken Wire Pen: $49.00

Hardware Cloth for Windows/Roof/Ceiling: $17.00

1 Piece of Plywood for Floor: $7.00

Heavy Duty Gate Hinges: $40.00

Hooks and Latch Hardware: $25.00

1 X 2” Pine Wood for use to Frame Windows/Floor/Shims: $17.00

Metal Drip Edge for Roof: $12.00

Decorative Sign $12.00

Sand as Litter:   $8.84

Kitty Litter Scoop: $4.00

Feed: To be determined….

Items that were free, given as gifts or that we had on hand in our barn:

Exterior Grade Tung and Groove Siding: (roadside rescue) $-free

Linoleum for Flooring: (a gift) $-free

Brown Paint/Primer: (We had this on hand)

Metal Garden Gate: A gift from another friend $-free

5 Hens: (a gift from a friend) $-free

Corrugated Plastic Roofing Material: (a gift from a friend) $-free

Old Plywood for Winter Windows Covers: (from our old coop) $-free

2” Pink Foam Insulation: (had this on hand) $-free

Total cash out of pocket for coop, pen and dusting box came in right around $250.00.

We know we may face the need for a closed or a covered run at some point. We have most of the roll of chicken wire left over we are prepared for that eventuality should we need it.

Next we buy three metal trash cans and chicken food. Then I can’t wait to pick up our chickens!

Small House Homesteader (and soon to be chicken keeper) Donna

 

Sharing Reiki Healing with my Equine Friend Juniper

I haven’t shared on this blog yet that I am a Reiki master and use this ancient healing work in my own life and the life of my family, companion dog Sassy, granddaughter and friends.

My special interest in equine Reiki has brought me many opportunities to work with horse companions as well as the eight special horses who work with in conjunction with humans in psychological and emotional healing at The Sundance Center at Red Horse Ranch in Fennville, MI.

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Best buddies, BJ (on the left) and Juniper (On the right)

I am certified to work with humans by my teacher, Sharon Dee, of Spiritual Healing having certified for Reiki 1, 2, and 3. I am also certified to share equine Reiki after studying and certificating with horsewoman and Reiki master, Lisa Frey of Flying Horse Ranch Energyworks.

I believe that we are all spiritual beings, humans and animals alike. It has been my greatest discovery to connect with a horse’s spirit and encourage them in their life.

Reiki for those of you who are not familiar Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by a “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

Red barn side, horse, blue sky nice

The barn at Red Horse Ranch

My friend Juniper had been sick with a very serious equine disease that almost took her life. She spent a week in Michigan States Equine Animal Hospital in isolation receiving antibiotics and fluids. It was touch and go and many in our community were all praying for her and sending her long distance healing energy.  I personally send her healing energy morning and night when I did my own daily Reiki practice. Luckily our dear Juniper survived and came home last weekend.

I was invited to come and give her more healing Reiki energy the day after she returned home, which I happily accepted. I’ve worked with Juniper before and I have discovered that she is the kind of a horse who knows just where she wants and needs her Reiki. Most of the time she wants Reiki in her flank and left side belly section, though as she relaxes and goes into what I call “The Reiki Zone” she will allow me to touch her elsewhere too. I know this because she positions herself directly to my hand and presses her sides into me and pushes. She tells me where and how to send the energy in no uncertain terms, and I have learned to listen.

Farmhouse garage ad flowers

The farmhouse at Red Horse Ranch

As the Reiki flows through her system her eyes close, she relaxes and receives the healing energy. As she pushes her flanks towards me, her belly growls and churns in response. She receives my healing touch for as long as I will give it or until her buddy BJ leaves the stall next door. And BJ always come comes over close to Juniper and shares in the flow of energy as well.

I knew Junipers healing session was done when she yawned, chewed and released a huge breath, kind of like a dog sighing. We enjoyed our session for some 45 minutes and both left feeling energized, content and happy again.

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A lovely fall vignette on the ranch…in the color red of course!

I feel blessed to be able to work with you Juniper and your herd on Red Horse Ranch. Be well my friend!

Donne, Reiki Master on The Small House Homestead

 

Evil in Eden (A Homesteader Needs to Get Away)

One thing about homesteading that might surprise you is how much deep rest and time off an aging homesteaders needs. To get that I’ve found I have to leave paradise!

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Gene and our trained bird dog, Sassy, pose at the Wilderness park sign.

Some folks feel that life on the homestead is all about sleeping in, setting your own schedule, taking time off when you want to because you are no longer punching a clock from 9 to 5. In some ways that is true as we are our own bosses and decide when we work and when we quit…but I personally have never worked harder, or longer hours, in my life!

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This Sturgeon Bay scene shows the typical shrubby ecosystem found in Michigan’s up north geography. This is our favorite place to run our dog.

I’ve discovered there is a flip side to “Eden” and that there is always work waiting to be done and rest is a commodity that it’s hard to find time for on the homestead. (There is a bit of evil in Eden after all! Lol)

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I am fascinated with the beautiful patterns in this amazing boulder full of lichen.

When there are animals to feed and gardens to dig, the spring rush followed by the harvest time is always short and precious. And now that winter is just around the bed there is so much to be done there is no sleeping in or beach sitting for me. How about you?

Gene fishing w Sassy in camo waders

Gene did a bit of fishing in Lake Michigan, but saw no fish.

Our days are long here on the Small House Homestead, especially if we want to keep up our property (and we do) and we want to keep adding new projects each season (ditto.)

Zigzag shorelineJPEG

My kayak nestled in the grasses and reeds of lake Michigan We were blessed with three calm days.

So this fall we took five days off and took a short camping trip for some much-needed rest. We drove the five hours to Wilderness State Park (near Mackinaw City, Michigan) for some rustic camping, reading and wave watching. I found that I was so exhausted once there that all I had the energy for was sitting in my bag chair, reading and listening to the waves. I only kayaked once.

Cabin nestled in greenery USE

This “our” cabin. This is the 8th year we have stayed there and we have begun to think of it as ours.

Sunrise penninsula NICE

A spectacular sunrise….what a way to greet the day!

Best wishes from Donna from the Small House Homestead