Archive for the ‘money-pit’ Category

The big storm came through last night.  Oddly enough, it split right down the center and the worst went North and South of us.  We still got quite a bit of rain, wind and some pea sized hail.  I think our garden is still intact, at least the berms around the beds show no signs of being washed out.  I really need to buy a rain gauge (or make one) It would be so helpful to know how much we got.  Regardless, we got a good soaking.  The ground is wet through, maybe this will help our ailing well.

Speaking of which… Stuart called the well driver his coworker Bruce recommended and apparently the water table is just too low around here to drive a well.  It looks like we’re going to have to go the expensive route and spend at least fifteen hundred dollars to have one dug.   It’s just such a big expense to pay right up front after purchasing the place.  I’ll bet the people who owned this farmstead before us knew that a new well couldn’t be driven.  They were so quick to offer a new furnace when we sent the report back after the inspection, just so we wouldn’t look into why the water pressure was so low.  And of course, our great Realtor was quick to say that even if something was wrong it was probably just the pump and that would only cost a few hundred bucks to fix… yeah right!  So today’s “How NOT to Homestead” advice is always trust your instincts.  I really felt that checking out the water pressure problem would be important but I was blind sided by the offer of a new furnace.  If I’d followed my gut, we might have gotten the price further reduced or a new well and saved a bundle.


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Every article about homesteading states in no uncertain terms that it’s really best to ease into the lifestyle; that getting too many animals at once, starting too big a garden is just a recipe for disaster.  And every would-be homesteader reads this well founded advice and agrees wholeheartedly that it applies to everyone but themselves.  I was no exception, but now as the twenty nine chicks rattle around my front porch in a plastic kiddy swimming pool, I begin to see the wisdom in this advice. 

Stuart and I bought a mix of twenty five egg laying breed pullets from a hatchery as well as three brahma roosters (three just in case one or two died as chicks) and received a free rare breed chick to boot.  We really didn’t want this many chickens to start out with but we thought that buying from a hatchery was our only option and you must buy at least twenty-five chicks at the same time if they’re to be shipped any distance.  About a week after we ordered our flock, we went to a feed store to buy the requisite heat lamp, feeder and waterer.  Much to our surprise we found they had chicks (Brahmas, egg layer mixes and banties) for sale too, with a minimum purchase of five.  It would have been much simpler to buy five or six to start out with, but we didn’t realize this was an option.  So now we have a mess of chickens and will likely have more eggs than we will know what to do with, unless the raccoons or feral dogs get to them first which is entirely possible.


Then there is the garden.  We gleefully ordered seeds from seedsavers.org imagining our massive perfect garden.  Now looking at our half shaded two acres it’s clear that we don’t have a good place for a big garden at all.  The one place that would have worked in a pinch was the front of the side yard, but it’s a remnant prairie and I can’t ask Stu to plow it up.  A little farther back is about half sun, the largest portion of sun being in the afternoon.  We’re going to plant the melons, zucchini, peas and beans there and the amaranth, corn, and sunflowers, up in front of the house where it’s sunny.  We already planted an apple tree, rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries in the front.  They’re doing well so far but it’s kind of depressing not to have one spot that’s just food garden.  I think that breaking the garden up like this might make more work later on and will leave the unfenced front garden open to rabbits and deer.  But it will have to work because it’s what we can do at the moment. 

The problem with buying an old farm house just before spring is that there are so many projects that need to be finished on the house itself that it leaves little time for gardening or tending livestock.  In our case there are bird nests in the eaves, a well that needs redrilling, windows that need screens, basement concrete that needs patching and a myriad of other things.  Not to mention boxes that need unpacking.  I really feel stressed sometimes and I wish I would have waited on the chickens.  We don’t even have a proper coop built for them yet…


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I saw a large tick- I don’t know what kind it was- on a towel when I was taking down the laundry from the line.  At first I thought it was just a spider and I shook it to the ground, but then I realized it was a tick.  In the apartment, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing spiders, they used to bother me but they don’t so much anymore.  As long as they’re not huge I can deal with them.  But I really hate the idea of anything sucking my blood- the idea of anything biting Midi just kills me.  After I collected all the laundry I took Midi inside and turned her round and round like a cartoon crow eating corn.  Thankfully, I didn’t find any ticks. Later, I felt a little tickly by my left breast and I reached to see if there was a tick.  I felt a little squishy bump and barely breathing I grabbed it- only a loose string but my skin is crawling.  I feel like I have a thousand little bugs crawling over me.  I keep having to stop and scratch, it makes a little journal entry long work.


I really need to get used to the extra bugs that are out here.  The Lakeville apartment was a good intro, at least I had to deal with many more spiders and box elder bugs there.  But I know it will be much worse here.  These sand hills breed bugs.  There are also lots of sand burs.  I remember them from Kansas.  I didn’t realize they grew here as well.  I think once the chickens are able to be about the yard they’ll eat a good deal of them (and likely fall prey to a good deal of them too.  I wonder if chickens groom each other…)


The plumber lady came today- I love that the plumber is a woman.  She looked at the well tank and the pump in the basement.  Apparently, most houses in the area from the 20’s had wells that were just pipes stuck in the ground until they hit water.  There’s no way to know whether the pipe has a clog or the water table is lower.  So we’re going to have to have a whole new well dug.  My little money-pit sucks up another two grand…

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