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Homestead Houligan

Thanks again to everyone who has followed this blog and thank you for any contributions you have made.  If you would like to continue to follow my adventures, please head over to homesteadhouligan.com.  See you there!

The New Blog

Just in case anyone is wondering where all the posts have gone, I finally got the new blog up.  The first official post will be up Monday, but if you have enjoyed this blog, then you can follow the new one now.  Don’t miss a thing: homesteadhouligan.com.  Thank, as always, for being such great followers and contributors!

One Year Off Grid

I’m excited to announce that we have officially been off grid for a whole year.  I would love to write a long, descriptive post about how amazing a journey it has been, but I’m posting from my phone while my computer is getting fixed up for the new blog.  What I will say is that it has been an experience I will never forget and every bit of our struggle was worth it.  Thank you for being part of our journey.  

I have decided that I have outgrown this blog.  I will be switching over to the new one very soon.  The plan is to reveal the new one the first week of July. I can’t quite guarantee a date with my lack of consistent internet, but the plan is for the fourth.  This new setup I am working on should allow me to do far more than I can right now.  I can bring my blogging to the next level.  I hope that you will join me at the new site, and thank you for following me this far. 
A sneak peak at the first project at the new location:

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An outdoor kitchen equipped with rainwater collection and a rocket stove.  I will also be building a cobb solar oven, a play place for the kids, an outdoor shower,  and lots of other fun projects.   Hope to see you there.  
I’ll post the new web address soon.

I just wanted to check in.  I’ve been busy with a big project lately, which is why I haven’t kept up posting.  I’ll be sharing in another week or so….

I had always been interested in carving gourds. You can make beautiful works of art including gorgeous jewelry and birdhouses. This is just the beginning. The man recently brought home a book for me on gourd carving and now he wants to do it to. The only problem with this is that I now have to plant a million gourds in hope that we have enough for both of us.

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I have a long hugel bed that I have not even come close to being finished preparing. Eventually, this bed will be home to rows and rows of all sorts of herbs and vegetables, but right now, it is home to all kinds of critters. I think I can make it work, I don’t really have a better option.

My plan is to plant the gourds all along the base of the mound after laying a thick pile of leaves there to help mulch the gourds. As I have the chance throughout the rest of the spring and summer, I will continue to add leaves to the back half of the mound so as not to squish my gourds. As the leaves settle, they will rot and finish off my hugel for later use. I hope that the leaves will deter the critters before they get to eating my gourds. I don’t really have any idea what will happen. I figure it’s worth a shot.

Check out these links for some gourd sculpting ideas:

Gourd Art

Gourd Carving Gallery

Next planting project we will be working on is seed bombs.

We all know that if you want a beautiful crop of root vegetables, that the soil has to be in perfect condition for the roots to grow. This means double digging, spending money on moss and compost, and otherwise using too many resources for the crops. This is why I never have carrots in my garden. We do not have a good relationship. The one year I had good luck with carrots was the one year I spent hours and hours preparing the beds and spent money to buy dirt that was soft enough for the carrots. I have no interest in spending hours of my non existent time on preparing a bed this year and I surely can’t afford much. I spent a little bit of time looking on the internet and found what seems to be a good solution.

First, I made the outline of a raised bed with rocks I found laying around. Then I went around picking up rotting logs and sticks and I haphazardly piled them in the raised bed. I buried the logs and sticks loosely with leaves. The tractor scooped up some topsoil and dumped it in the raised bed. With the logs, sticks, and leaves being piled up loosely, the heavier rocks and clay should have room to fall down into the spaces left. The light, fluffy soil would be more likely to stay on top. This is not an exact science and won’t be perfect, but I am going to try it and see what happens. Worst case would be the root crops failing and then having a bed full of rich soil next year. Once there is plenty of top soil built up on the bed, I grabbed the rake and try to get the leaves mixed in to the soil. This encourages the heavier bits to drop and the leaves will compost to make the soil more rich. If you don’t mix leaves up, they stick together as they rot and form a layer that the root crops may not be able to grow through. I’ll put a couple tomato or pepper plants in the bed so that there is no monoculture and to shade the root crops that like it cooler.

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When it came time to plant, I pretty much just scattered the seeds around the bed. The soil was fluffy enough that the seeds dropped nicely in to place. I scattered beets, carrots, turnip and then some marigolds for beneficial bugs. Along the front I planted onions and parsnips along the back. The onions seeds came from this years seed swap!

Here is a link on making amendments to the soil and another one all about carrots.

Here is my recent post on growing potatoes.

Next planting project: planting gourds for crafting!

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