Update: Homestead and At Home

{Most of our wrap up is family and home, so I am posting it here on my family blog, and probably will until we start school again}

In School:

Jordan finally finished his General Science module 6 study guide and will take the test tomorrow. Then he will pick back up when we start school again. He did not meet his goal to finish his Life of Fred (Decimals and Percents) by the end of last month, so he is still working on that. Other than that, we are on break until the end of July. {A much needed break since I have been feeling very tired}

Oh, and I finally finished rowing My Blue Boat with the youngest two! =)

At Home and Around Town:

Nathan helped Luke deliver the Meals on Wheels for the Senior Center this week. Luke drove and Nathan delivered the meals to the doors by himself. It was a neat experience for him, I think. =)

The boys have been helping Luke mark the fields and set up and take down volleyball nets at the YMCA 4 days a week. While they do this, the youngest two get to play in the playground, so this was fun for them and a chance for me to rest!

They are all having a hard time believing that we are already half way through our Summer break. I'm hoping for energy to abound as I enter my 2nd trimester (I'll be 13 weeks in 3 days!). Right now, I am still not ready for school to start, but I am ready for some steady sunshine.

I've also been missing a boy for the last two weeks and will miss another boy this week. They have each been spending a week in Montana, fishing, swimming, and enjoy their time up there, but, I will be happy when they are all home again.

In the Garden:

The weather has been very cool lately, not much sun and lots of rain. Even so, my tomatoes are making it through the cool weather. But the strangest thing is that my spinach (which I thought was lettuce) has already gone to seed. I'm puzzled over that. Usually hot weather causes it to bolt. My peas are doing great and even my leeks that were so thin and straggly when I planted them are almost as robust as my onions. And I still don't have the whole garden planted yet! But I added a lasagna garden for a 4x5 patch of heirloom corn. :D They are only a couple inches high and I need them to be "knee high by the 4th of July," so I am hoping for lots of sun to follow this rain!

My strawberries are taking over the place! I have to weed them every few days (which I don't mind because I can sit there and it is peaceful), and keep lots of straw down to keep them happy, and I am already starting to transplant a few babies to take to our property.

To do this, I find a runner like this one:

And stick it in a small pot. It will then grow roots, like this:

When they are well established and I will cut the baby off of the mother plant and transplant them.

My plan is to leave the babies in the back and take the ones from the front that are creeping out of the strawberry box. The mother plants are doing well, and have been flowering like crazy the last few weeks and we now have lots of green strawberries! This whole bed began as babies from Luke's mom's strawberry bed. =) She started them for us when we moved in, since we couldn't take the ones from our home when we sold it, (2 years ago this Fall).

Since the boys have each been spending a week with their dad, we've been swapping near our property in Montana, so I have lots to update on what's going on up there. I don't have the pics from the other camera, so I will only be able to share the photos I took while up there last weekend.

On the Homestead:

We were welcomed by a new sign on our road.

If we don't find one ourselves, we see evidence that there was a tree in the road each time we visit. When we bought this property (22 acres) a year ago, it had not been maintained in 15+ years, so we knew we would have lots of work cut out for us (literally). Our land follows about 1/3 mile of the road and we need to clear all the trees 30 feet from the center of the road. The association is working on grants to help with this, but for now, we are weekend warriors trying to clear as many as we can, not only along the road, but also in the area surrounding our home.

Each tree takes about 2 hours to cut down, saw all the limbs off, then cut into transportable sized logs.

All the limbs and logs are taken by trips in the 1-ton {yeah! that's Jordan driving the now fixed, not overheating, 1-ton!} to what we call Congregation Point.

We call it Congregation Point because that is where we all congregated in our campers before we put the road in. =)

The logs will need to be cut into 12 inch sections. The good news?! Luke's grandma is giving us Papa's wood splitter. =) So happy about that, because Luke has been wanting to get one for "the big split" that will go on this fall, where we will split and stack wood for our own use as well as for several families that we know.

We are working with the County Extension Agent to get a crew and the use of their mulcher to mulch all the branches. (We have lots of piles like these all around the property now). 

During some free time, we took a hike to see the spring. Nathan was so happy to have his "buddy" home and it was neat to see them spending lots of quality brother time together. (Nathan wore poor Dylan out, though!)

Working on their fort (Dylan taking a rest) =)

While on our hike, we explored the natural spring. It flows in a creek bed with this spot being the source of the water. So far, it has flowed year round. Soon, we will work on slowly digging out the rock and mud to find the source, install a culvert, so that it will fill with water and then overflow into the creek. If we can develop a good flow, we could eventually add a pump for watering. But the water would have to be boiled and purified for drinking.

Here is another plan for water: Rain water catch barrels.

Next month, we will bring a 250 gallon water tank home, also from Luke's grandma. We have a water station at the end of our road and can haul water until we can afford to dig a well.

After our hike, we let the kids take a turn "driving" with Pop up and down our road.

The blueberries that I planted last fall are finally leafing out and I planted another row (8 more blueberry plants and one huckleberry) terrace garden style. Luke and Jordan hauled the big rocks and helped me arrange them, and Nathan dug the holes. We also added extra compost.

Here is the view from the top. (You can see the strawberries on the left top which is at the bottom).

The baby strawberries that I transplanted last fall are growing well. These are babies that I started just like I mentioned above. I gave them lots of room to spread out. =)

Here is a pic from the road below our house:

This was my favorite spot on the whole property before we put the road in. There was a beautiful rock shelf with water that trickled out of it and chokecherry bushes growing all around, but it was covered with dirt and rock during the excavation. =( Well, Luke's mom and Jordan worked to clear many of the branches (there was a pile about 5 feet high by 20 feet!) to surprise me. =) We still have a few cut trees to remove (and I personally would love to uncover the rock shelf that got buried, but that probably won't happen). But, we are hoping to make this a natural garden and park like setting. The good news is that there are chokecherry bushes along the whole creek bed and they are all flowering and doing well. =) Which reminds me that I still need to make syrup with the chokecherries we picked last season.

We accomplished one of our BIG (and most expensive) goals for this Summer ~ installing the wood stove! We had it professionally installed and it cost more than the stove itself, but I am so happy to have a source of heat (and cooking).

I was a little nervous when the Stove Guy left and didn't start a fire in it to test it. So, we started our very first ever wood cook stove fire all by ourselves. Jordan gathered the kindling and worked to get a good hot kindling fire going with Luke's supervision.

I think it is such a neat looking stove!

We only let it go for a little while, to test the pipes and the damper and then put it out.

That is our heat and cooking source during cool weather. Here is our cooking plan for warm Summer days:

We have a propane tank, and just need to get it filled and hooked up.

I have lots more to catch up on the inside and outside of the house. Luke has been busy installing insulation, sheetrock and soffit and facia. His parents have made several trips up there to help and that has truly been a blessing!

Once Luke finishes the soffit and facia, then we can finish the siding and paint it.

If you didn't follow our journey building this house last Summer, then you may not know the hand that Yah has had on building it. When we sold our house to get out of debt, we never imagined that we would have a home that is twice the size we had before, 21 and 3/4 more acres of land and have no debt! Only because He built the house. I still don't know its purpose, because we still don't plan on living up there, but it has been a fun investment and although I never dreamed of having a "Summer home," we love the chances to be up there. Okay, I will love it even more once we get the composting toilet hooked up, or solve our problem with having to dump the motorhome ~ it is full and it stinks when it is full. We had to come home early last weekend because I could not stand another night smelling the fumes from the septic, especially when I sleep right by the bathroom and have to use it every two hours all night. 

Hopefully, the boys got it dumped on Friday (I forgot to ask) and I can go next time. They are on their way home right now. I will get to see Jordan for the first time in over 10 days. And Nathan just called to say they made it to Missoula and that he caught 2 fish today. =)

That was more than I was planning on sharing, so I'll stop there! =) Have a blessed week!


  1. This is a wonderful post from all angles. I always enjoy reading your school highlights, and LOVE reading about the progress on your homestead. I can't even comprehend all that you are doing and plan to do on this home.

    The landscape is beautiful and you are so blessed to have such wonderful children and family to help you in this journey.

  2. Wow Chel, that was a wonderful update. So much work has been done to the property. What a blessing!

    The rain barrels, I need to find one like that one soon....LOL. All this rain is being wasted....

    I truly enjoyed reading this!
    Love ya

  3. oh, wonderful post! I pray Father grant you energy and strength, and unabounded JOY, as it is your strength!

    I also need to find out where to get a couple of those barrels. We have been wanting to get a couple, especially as we are now in hurricane season, and have been getting lots of rain. Although, I have some concerns with all the oil that is in the gulf, and it potentially coming back down in the rain. Hmmm... still pondering on that one.

    You are a blessing, and it is apparent you are blessed of Yah. I pray Father continue to bless all the works of your hands, as you continue to honor Him and the Torah :D

    Love you!

  4. You all have been busy! ;-) I like the stove. Cute shoes in the other post, too. Remember how Nathan made those for the boys, too? Well...LOL He'd made them for Trusten, and then Jaden wanted some, too. Kids are funny.

    When it's all finished, and you have plans all worked out, you'll have somewhere to go homestead. That's the great thing about it!

  5. ok, so were again in Montana is this? 'Cause we live just outside of Bozeman (Belgrade).

  6. Your new home looks wonderful! It reminds me of where we stay up in Canada! What a cool place for your family and especially your boys!

  7. Your posts are such an inspiration for me(here and in your homeschooling blog). Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life. Be blessed.