Monday, July 5, 2010


So, why the Reluctant Homesteaders? Why not the Fortunate or Exuberant or the Happy Homesteaders?

As you may guess from reading these posts, it is not that we are reluctant about what we are doing. We are fully engaged, optimistic and enjoying the process.

For me the reluctance comes from what else is going on in our world. In addition to the 50 acres we are trying to rehabilitate at the Homestead, we have our other house. The one we lived in when this started, where we raised our kids and have Christmas, where we still live. It is on 1.3 acres, about 20 miles from the Homestead. We have been there for 11 years, and have found, over that time, that it is about as much as we can handle. With a stand of mature apple trees, espallier fruit trees, raspberries, blueberries, marionberries, grapes, a big vegetable garden, flower gardens and landscaping, it is more than enough to keep us fully occupied.

Here is an example. In the wash of green below, is a new raspberry patch I put in this spring.
(Click photo to enlarge.)
It is a little hard to see through the long grass. Once the grass was mowed and the weeds pulled, I got a chance to see how it was fairing.

Only about a 50% survival rate for the canes I transplanted. That is not what I was hoping for, and perhaps the neglect they suffered from my absence contributed to their poor showing. And the raspberries are only one of many projects Phoebe and I try to keep moving forward here, while taking care of the Homestead.

Of course, there is Work, that thing we do to finance all of this.

And then there is having fun, going out, riding our bikes, seeing people. Yeah, we try to do that too.

So, it is not a reluctance to do the work, or to be engaged in the project. In reality, I feel grateful for the opportunity to take care of both of these properties. And I feel a responsibility to the plants and animals that live on them, or eat from them or fly over them. And I find that as I help cultivate these lands, I am cultivating myself. Kind of like my raspberries, not all of the canes I put in the ground bear fruit, but the ones that do will be sweet.

Here are a couple more photos from our other house.
I planted a few canes of black raspberries, which are coming along nicely.

Grapes in their infancy.

Turkeys! Our first attempt at raising meat birds.


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