Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our Homestead - The Beginning (Part I)

 We live on family land that consist of 137 acres.  Most of it is leased out for hay production while the rest is covered with piney woods.  My family has owned 1/2 the land since the 70's.  We moved my grandparents up from South Texas and built them a house here in 1980.  The were starting to have health issues and this way they would be closer for us to help take care of them.  They lived here until my grandfather died in January of 1987.  I had an aunt live here for a while then my adopted brother who lived her the longest until he found he needed to live closer to town.

We live 30 minutes away from the large towns and 15 minutes away from the small ones.  Just right if you ask me.  Not to close but close enough.  The rolling land is beautiful out here.  The deer use our property as a nursery for their babies.  We see them often romping across the field as our dogs have fits.  We have tried to teach the dogs that they are not a threat and to shut up however they continue to bark away.

We moved from North of Dallas to the property the summer of 2009 after we had lost our jobs.  We had used it as a vacation home for the year prior.  Coming up once a month and doing a little around the place just enjoying the peace and solitude. We just felt it was our calling.

That first summer we had a simple 20 x 20 garden.  Wow, I thought I knew something about gardening.  Apparently I didn't help my grandparents as much as I thought.  We purchase seed.  I read the book Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich.  We had a pretty good harvest for not knowing what in the heck we were doing.  We were so hopeful at what were were learning that we planted a winter garden and expanded the garden to 60x55 the following spring.  We harvested so much last year that we shared with all our neighbors on our 3 mile stretch of road and also a local food bank.  This was despite the drought last year.  We mulched with old hay as that is all we had.  The grass also grew up creating living mulch.  Heck, what ever works.

April 30, 2010
We enclosed this area abt 60x55 next to the house.  The ground was compacted with lots of small rocks.  I hauled in top soil from in the field to build up the beds for planting.  This was slow work as I only had use of a lawn mower to pull my small cart.  Better than having to use a wheel barrow.  One side was tilled by the neighbor kid but it didn't help much.  We added gypsum to help loosen the hard soil.

June 15, 2010
My beautiful models.  Our granddaughters helping me show off the garden progress.
June 15, 2010
Showing off the squash

July 14, 2010
My 8 foot patty pan squash plant.

July 29, 2010
Patty Pan Squash harvest of the day

July 29, 2010
To much for our little basket.  We had to break out the wheel barrow.

July 19, 2010
Our Amish Melons
(Those darn rabbits found them too.)

This year the garden is not doing so good.  I am having to water (not often as I refuse being on a well) but the drought is so bad that you just can't seem to get enough water on the ground for anything.  This sandy soil just drains it.  Mostly this year we are just getting peppers which do seem to be doing quite well.  If all else fails we will have peppers which are loaded in vitamin C.

On a good note, yesterday we got some good rain.  It is the first good rain we have seen since early spring.  The rain had seemed to be just dancing around the place maybe giving us 3 minutes of showers but yesterday we had at least an hour of good rain.  Thank God.

Enough for now.  More to come.


  1. I apologize for those who left comments. In the processing of learning how to blog I accidentally deleted them.

  2. Your story sounds a bit like ours

    1. I'll have to give your blog a read then. It is always good to be in good company.