Disclaimer: I did receive the VIVOSUN grow tent as well as one of the AeroGarden’s mentioned in this post for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Welcome to today’s behind the scenes survival diary February 5.
You may have noticed that I did not include a year.
That was intentional.
While it is true that some of the information is very date specific, the general information of what is happening on the homestead is more than likely what you are here for.
Tapping maple trees, starting seeds, milking goats and all the other homestead tasks mentioned are typically done around February 5 every year – and so that is what I hope you will focus on the most.
My Job Outside The Homestead
So it’s been another busy day I haven’t been feeling well yesterday at work.
I got a very large order of 110 items.
The apartment complex that I was delivering to did not have an elevator, so I had to carry the items up three flights of stairs.
I did get some help, but it was still very difficult for me with the health issues I have.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe when I got done with the delivery and my chest was hurting.
I have been having a lot of chest pain especially when I am lifting heavy items that weigh 30, 40 or even 50 pounds.
I do like my job and I am able to get some things for the homestead that I would definitely not be able to get without the job, but at the same time it is taking a lot of time away from here.
During the holidays, I was delivering 12 hours or more each day.
Now that the holidays are over, there are long days where I can easily work 12 hours or more and then there are days where there is no work at all.
There’s Always Time To Help Others
I’ve also been helping a friend’s mother.
She doesn’t drive anymore and she needs help.
Sadly there are no resources here in our community that can help her with some of the things she needs.
So I decided to take a little bit of time and try to help her out.
So far that’s going pretty good.
I think it’s giving me an excuse to take a break from working the 12 and 14 hour days and it is certainly keeping me from working seven days a week.
I think I needed that because I really feel pushed to just make more and more money.
Sometimes it feels like nothing I do is ever good enough for those around me.
So I feel like this gives me a much-needed break and a different perspective on things.
I have also missed her daughter so much over the years.
My mother did not allow us to be friends outside of school, but that was kind of my life.
I really didn’t have friends outside of school, and I was really pretty isolated.
Maybe that’s why I am the way I am now.
I don’t know.
Sometimes You Just Have To Squeeze More Time Into The Day
Today I have been able to get quite a bit done in the way of homesteading tasks because of taking time off to help others.
Although I have not accomplished as much as I had hoped, but I am making progress.
On Sunday we went to North Manchester, and we were able to visit Winger’s Sugarbush & Supplies.
That was exciting because I have been tapping the maple trees here since 2005 and had no idea where to get some of the specialty supplies I wanted locally.
Now I am finally finding other people in the area that have the supplies, understand how to make maple syrup and can guide me.
This is a great thing because I did not get to ask my Grandpa some of the questions I should have when he was alive and I did not get to tap trees with him when I was young.
I would not have known about Winger’s Sugarbush & Supplies had it not been for the Indiana Homesteading Conference that took place last fall, so I’m very grateful that the conference got started and that this company was there.
I feel like that conference was a wonderful way to find out some of the resources that are available in the area, and also to find other local homesteaders.
We do have a Homesteaders Of Grant County, IN group now on Facebook, which is fantastic.
We’ve had one meeting so far, but another one is planned for spring.
It’s nice to get together with other people that understand the lifestyle and are not judgmental of the lifestyle.
Processing Tomatoes And Making Maple Syrup
So today I have been working on processing tomatoes that I froze this summer and did not have time to process and can.
I used my Weston tomato press, pressed the tomatoes so the seeds and skins were removed.
Now I have them in my mother’s electric roasting pan cooking down.
Once the tomatoes cook down into sauce, I am going to can the sauce.
I also brought in the first batch of maple sap and I’m trying to cook it down in the crockpot this year.
I don’t know how that’s going to work.
I’ve always done it on the stove top or outside on the barbecue grill, so this is an experiment.
I’m hoping it turns out well because it may actually be easier for me, especially with me gone all day and into the evening.
I also have a roast in the instant pot.
I added in some of the chipotle potatoes that I canned in beef broth last summer and a couple cans of sliced carrots.
Then There Is The Goats
I wanted to milk our goat Bailey’s today but when Jeff went out to the barn, the kids had already got the milk.
I still don’t have a good way to separate them but now that I know about Premier1, I do plan to get some fencing and a creep feeder gate.
I would like to partition the stall so that the kids have a place they can get in and the older goats cannot.
That way I can give them grain that they can eat without fighting with the older goats who can be bullies.
I also feel like I can use the area to keep the babies separate so I can milk.
I don’t want the babies to feel alone.
I think it is important they can still see their mama and she can see them, but they can’t access the milk during the day.
This will allow me to be able to milk Bailey’s in the evening when I get home from work.
In the past, I have separated the kids at night and then milk first thing in the morning, but now that I have a job I need to switch the timing up.
This is where the Livestock Planner has been a lifesaver!
I am so busy with everything else, the Printable Homestead Livestock Planner makes keeping track of what is happening with my goats and chickens – as well as what they need done – so much easier!
Not to mention it also covers horses and rabbits.
Seedling Time Is Here Again As Well
I do have quite a few seedlings going in the basement inside of a VIVOSUN grow tent.
I have three AeroGarden‘s with different vegetables in them.
Once has tomatoes, one has lettuce, and another one has chard, kale, and basil.
One of the seeds I start early is tomatoes because I love growing them and tomatoes are so easy to grow.
Then I have a shelf with grow lights, and that is where I am starting all of my seedlings this year.
I also ordered us some of the seed mix from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and I ordered some of the trays that they suggest using for the soil blocks.
I have not had a lot of luck finding the right type of trays for those soil blocks in the past and thus they often fall apart.
We did make some wooden trays last year but did not get around to using all of them – and they are pretty heavy.
Also the wood is already starting to look kind of nasty because of the soil and the water, so I am not over joyed with the wood trays.
This is why I decided to order some of the plastic ones that Johnny’s Selected Seeds suggested using, as well as the seed starting mix that they suggested using with the soil block makers and we’re going to see how that goes.
I’m really hoping that the different type of soil and the different trays are going to work.
I’m looking forward to being able to get really nice soil blocks and being able to get quite a few more vegetables going because I’d like to have a really big garden this year.
I’m not sure time wise how this is going to work with me having a job and still trying to do all the things on the homestead, but again we’re going to see.
I’m not willing to just give up and throw in the towel.
I think that’s probably it for my update today.
I’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave some comments below.