Winter Days On The HomeStead

Winter Days On The HomeStead

Copy of IMG_2040IMG_2042.JPGIts a very cold day here at my homestead! This is our first winter we have lived here in the country.  Last night and today have been one of the coldest temperatures for the winter so far. So how are we doing? Well last night my family and I put on our long underwear under our pajamas, made sure wool blankets were on our beds, left a bit of water dripping in the sink for the pipes and made sure that our newly installed fire stove was a blazing! We survived! Lol! The coldest that I saw the thermostat was 55 degrees. Nobody complained! At the moment, I don’t know the temperature outside because our internet isn’t working today! I have the fire continually going and we have our space heater on in our home school room. I can’t believe I can start my own fire!  Pretty cool for what people might call me as a city girl!

I have driven so far this winter but always give myself a few days after a heavy snow fall.  These country roads kind of scare me! Just this last week, every time I tried to back out of our driveway, I would get stuck! We recently had a bad rain/ice storm . So the whole driveway was a mess! Luckily almost every time except one my husband was able to was home to help me out of my driveway. And of course he had no problems! Our driveway kinda has a drop in it.  But I cannot ever remember being stuck in a driveway before in my life! So to me it was strange and very challenging! Its not snowing today, but like I said it is very cold! But its not like I don’t have anything to do.  I am currently sitting here typing away have baskets of laundry to put away, a load or two to wash and a good amount of dishes to hand wash! Yes, I have to wash the dishes by hand. We do not have a dishwasher.  My facebook is not working due to the internet, so I guess its helping me stay on task for today.  For dinner I am making Pork Chops that we bought this past weekend at the Farmer’s Market in the next town over. Yum! They even seasoned them for me! And yesterday I made a loaf of sweet bread in my bread machine.  It has been awhile since I have made bread in the machine. Everyone enjoyed it! Its nice to know that on cold days all I need is flour, sugar, and eggs etc. and I have a treat to eat or can make bread for peanut butter sandwiches and other types of sandwiches too. Its also rewarding to make your own bread from scratch! The bread becomes your work of art to share! Well I am going to check on my fire now!

There is no longer a microwave at the homestead

There is no longer a microwave at the homestead

About five months or so our beloved microwave past away. Now my usual reaction would be to go to my husband and tell him we are in need of a new microwave ASAP! But this time I started to have questions and second thoughts on purchasing a brand new microwave. I thought “Great, another expense after moving”, “Could I really live without a microwave?”, “Microwaves aren’t very healthy anyways”, “But what about making popcorn?”, “Oh yeah, I used to use a popcorn popper!”, “Maybe I could find other ways to heat up my food or cook foods differently.” I decided to give it a try. My husband found a decent popcorn popper off Amazon and I purchased Farmers’ Market popping kernels.

So we plugged in the popcorn popper and I was glad my husband was making the popcorn, because for a minute or two I had forgotten how to use a popcorn popper! “Wait, how many kernels go in at a time?”, Where do you put the kernels in?”How could this be?” Had I really forgotten how to use a popcorn popper! I then realized it was probably because I hadn’t used a popcorn popper in almost 20 years! I was dependant on my bags of microwave popcorn I threw in my microwave filled with popcorn kernels, butter,salt and who knows what else was in there. So we put the kernels in the correct spot and cut up some butter and placed it on the little tray that sits up on top of the popcorn popper. Then something magical happend! Something else I had forgotten! The way the popcorn pops up and out of the machine and the sound of the popcorn popping. It was actually exciting! The kids loved it too! We then poured the hot melted butter on the freshly popped popcorn. I remembered that lovely taste of real melted butter on my popcorn! Wow! Crazy I know, but try it for yourself!

There was other microwave issues to conquer of course.  There were the problem of heating my soup, heating frozen vegetables,making baked potatoes, and fast nachos! I figured out quickly how to still make and warm these foods without using my microwave. I started baking my potatoes in the oven, warming up my soup in a pot on top of the stove, warming up my vegetables in a pot on the stove or roasting them in the oven and making a layered dip in the oven to pour over my chips for my nachos.

The best part of not having a microwave in my kitchen besides the space, is the mess! I no longer have to clean and scrub an icky microwave. I can scratch that off my kitchen chore list and have healthier ways to cook and eat my food!

So ladies and gentleman that’s why there is no longer a microwave at my homestead! Now I have a taste for popcorn!

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Our First Summer

                                                                                                                                                   IMG_0371Our First Summer was filled with lots of excitement not only our new home but a new life practically! Being from practically no lawn to acres off a farm is pretty amazing! We had so much fun exploring wildflowers, bushes, trees, luscious green grass, a creek, etc. It was such a pleasant surprise to find out we had a BlackBerry bush! Once we found that gem of a bush, we were there every day picking berries! The kids had a blast! And of course, Momma did too! And if the bush wasn’t enough, we also found out we had an Apple Tree! We were able to collect a great basket or two filled with delicious Apples!

We had a great time figuring out where to plant some more flowers. My husband decided with an over 2 acre home, we needed to purchase a John Deere sit mower! I think he really enjoyed driving the John Deere! Who doesn’t want a sit mower?!

We so enjoyed taking family walks around our property and occasionally would see frogs and toads! And they were not in the water! We found this one frog that was such a pretty shade of green! I personally love frogs! So this was pretty awesome to me! It seemed like everyday there were bugs to see. We saw a lot of Grasshoppers, Katydids, FireFlies, different kinds of beetles, ladybugs, spiders, and bugs I’ve never seen before!

One summer night we even saw bats! They were circling up above the roof! It actually was in our favor, because they ate a ton of the mosquitos! Which came in handy when we had our fire pit going! I just love having family time by the fire and under the stars! Roasting Marshmallows, making s’mores! The kids would go find long sticks and use the sticks to put the marshmallows on! Super easy for this Momma, I didn’t have to buy the holders and I didn’t have to wash anything! Win, Win!

Well as you can see it was a great summer we had! It went by way too fast though! I really miss being outside a lot. I miss looking at all the pretty flowers nature put in my yard. It was such a treat to pick the fresh cut flowers and decorate my home with them! I even would get special in-person flower deliveries from the kids! We are so looking forward to next summer! There

 is something about being outside, looking at trees and flowers and just being surrounded by nature the way God intended us too! What a precious gift.

The Unexpected Homestead Momma

So how did I become this unexpected homestead momma? I suppose you’ve already guessed by my blog name it came unexpectedly! And that is correct.  About three years ago my husband and I were deciding where our family was going to buy a home.  We had already planned on it being in the suburbs, two car garage, three or four bedrooms, basement, decent size yard, living room and dining room. You get the picture the average suburban house. The location would be still a reasonable location so my husband could still commute to his job in the city. I had already been homeschooling our daughter for preschool. And planned to also homeschool my son.  So there was no need to have the best of schools for our perfect home.  This made the search open to more cities in the suburbs.  I so badly could not wait to finally find our perfect home, establish our roots, join our permanent homeschool group, join our church, create our new circle of lifetime nearby friends and start living my dreams for our family.

  • Within the three years we had a few bizarre opportunities for relocating out of the state! My husband and I was asked if we would be interested in seeking a job possibility in Texas! It would definitely be a change for sure, but I actually loved the idea! A laid back, country/rodeo kinda feel. We tried very hard to seek the Texas move.  But unfortunately it didn’t turn out.  My husband did how ever get to work there temporarily while the kids and I stayed home.
  • The other state change opportunity was in Tenessee.  My husband’s family was planning on purchasing some property and the plan was to share a large piece of the property. My husband would not be a carpenter though so we would have had to have live off the land so to speak.  I called it ” Laura Ingalls’ living”.  I would have to not only do the tasks I was already doing in addition to gardening, tend to live stock, help build a house, can, soap making… You get the picture. We would also have very little money and didn’t have any large money making ideas we could start right away. I would also be leaving behind my family in IL. I loved the idea of a more relaxed nature free feeling kind of living though. Loved I would be in walking distance from family. Sadly,  the more my husband and I thought about the idea of Tennessee we began to have some major doubts! And for me, some major uneasiness about the whole thing! I was extremely concerned for our children’s welfare.  As much as I thought a”Laura Ingalls”life would be for them, I could not see how we would be able to financially live.  Other things didn’t work out with my husband’s family buying the property so it never did work out. Now one might think as even I had thought what in the world did God have in stored for my family? And why was Texas and Tennessee put in our path along the way? I really did not understand at all! There were so many doors opening and closing. Especially for Texas! I now see how they all were used, at least a large part anyway.  There are some things in life we just won’t ever understand till we our face to face with our maker.
  • After the decision to not go the Texas or Tennessee route, we decided maybe we could still get to have some of the homesteading life here close by so that my husband could still work while we built a little micro farm or what have you. Do some farmers’ markets and other business ideas and maybe retire early from my husband’s current job. But this would require at least an acre. So the search was on for a property with an acre or more within 45 minutes or so from the city. The closets we got around that time was near Crete IL.  But when I had finally called to check regulations on live stock, it left us with nothing again! It turns out that the properties we found that were on an acre or two had town rules about certain live stock! Who knew?! So here we were again searching for our perfect home! We found that we had some trouble finding a rural farm area with little rules near the areas 45 minutes or so from the city. So we decided that we would make the sacrifice of having Joe commute even longer. This way it would give us more options for a homestead. In the mean time our lease time was wrapping up at our rental home and the company we were renting from really wanted us to sign a six month to a year’s lease. Ahh! Talk about more stress!
  • To make this long story short we finally came across a down payment affordable house in country farm land in Il. But it was so far the opposite way of Chicago that it was pretty close to Iowa! It was a gorgeous little cottage that sat on approximately 2 1/2 acres off a farm.  Our backyard neighbors would be cows and a beautiful old barn, building and a silo of some sort. Not our property of course but what an amazing view! I didn’t even know about the beautiful views until we finally drove to this cottage on acres property two hours away from our current rental home. I just knew that it was beautiful and seemed to have a lot of potential!  Shortly after finding this future prospect, I contacted the real estate agent to see what was up with this affordable but far place.  She told me it was still available and I then set up an appointment with my realtor to check out this property! It was the first property we were actually in person going to see! I was very excited but very nervous! For sure there was something majorily wrong with this house! Maybe the house needs to be gutted or maybe even torn down or something.
  • I really didn’t think we would fall in love with it. But we were curious and at this point, there wasn’t really anything else on our lap. And why not take a beautiful drive to a real country town. And I am so glad we did! For this was as close as possible to a perfect home! I didn’t even want to leave to go back home from looking at it! It was such a magical experience! I took a ton of pictures and we went back home to the suburbs and did everything we could to get the property as soon as possible! And that folks is how I finally found my home sweet home, my magical and unique cottage with over two acres homestead!I decided to write this blog and share my journey of my unexpected  homesteading adventure with my family and I. Which is how I became The Unexpected HomeStead Momma! You see the rainbow really does come after the rain!
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    Here is the back of our beautiful home! Our rainbow after the storm photo! Isn’t it beautiful?