Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our Suburban Homestead.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


 Today while I was at work, Chance was home working in the garden beds, we finally had a sunny day here.I tell you seeing the sunshine this morning made it hard to want to go to work but I went,other sunny days will come and my day working in the garden will come too.

  While Chance was working a woman from the big church on the street above us stopped by to say hello.She was very impressed with what we have done here with our gardening.Well actually, being a "churchie" kind of person she called it "a garden of Eden" a compliment that kind of makes me giggle**. The woman told Chance that the church is starting a community garden on the churches property but no one really knows where to start.The lady inquired if we would be willing to come help them get things organized.Chance said we would be willing since food security is a big concern of ours.The woman said she would stop back by when they are ready to get things going.
  I am hoping this really dose come to be and will be open to the surrounding community not just church members.Within a few blocks of the church are several large apartment complexes and I know many of the families would benefit from having a place to garden close by.
  Last spring Chance , a neighbor and I  tried to get a community garden started at the end of our street.The land owner also owns several rentals in our neighborhood.The lot is large with full sun all day but sits empty and unused.Sadly the landowner said no.And since he has money and is well known in the city, gorilla gardening, even on a small scale did not seem wise.
  So hopefully the church fills the need.They have lots of open ground that could feed many families.What is the quote from the Bible? The one about feed a man a fish,he eats for a day.But teach a man to fish he will eat for a life time.Maybe filling ones belly is not the intended  meaning of those lines but none the less if we can share what we know so others may thrive it will be time well spent.

  There's some clearer looking weather coming this week,whew! If all goes to plan some serious work will happen this week in the garden beds.Chance got a huge start on turning the beds and fed the chickens 3 wheel barrows full of weedy bits........ Three wheel barrows full is what happens when the weather is so wet this time of year.Things grow fast this time of year no matter what but when it has been too wet to get out there to keep it at bay,the chickens end up with a feast day......It will be cheering and grounding to be outdoors again,digging in the soil and planting.Dreaming of the goodness of a homegrown basket full of just picked veggies and fruit.Summer homegrown tomatoes,I have missed you.

  Rois 


** I lean towards giggling only because we are not church going people but consider ourselves amongst other things to be stewards of the Earth. Tending to our garden here at Hrafinstaad is like going to church for us.
  
 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New things or why you can't define Homesteading.



    Wow the past week has been filled with new surprises around here,all of them unexpected.

  We have a space in between the house and the garage we call the Breeze Way.During the warm months I set up a sitting area since it's nice and shady there. We also use this space for working on large projects so there are at times a jumble of parts waiting there.This is also where Chance sets up the smoker for smoking various things.

   Now keeping in mind that there is this interesting mix of things in the Breeze Way and an eclectic-ness  to our hobbies new and old,I am going to tell you this tale.
 
  Chance has a replica of a Viking Helmet he built years ago,the helmet has been living on top of the smoker, left there while he was cleaning out the garage.


   Every Spring we have a tiny couple that comes to Hrafinstaad for the Summer months, the House Wrens.I look forward to these two visitors each year,for tiny birds they have big singing voices.Although I am not certain it's the same two each year,it seems like it is due to their bold friendly personalities.The Wrens are the second piece to my story,now back to the helmet.

   If you look closely the helmet upon the smoker sits right by the garage door,a very high traffic spot.The face of the helmet is turned southwest,getting some sun but shaded by our fir tree at noontime.Kind of a cozy spot for someone tiny.
 Alright you have all of the parts to the story. The other morning I went out to feed the chickens and what did I spy? The House Wrens flying in and out of Chance's helmet with twigs.When I looked closer I found......


   A beard like nest for two built in the helmet. I can see why the Wrens like the helmet,water tight,foam lined,sun and in a yard where they are always welcome.The boldness of these two can be witnessed by their willingness to build in such a high traffic spot.But it has left us with a problem or two. We don't want to take the nest completely away because then we may lose our summer visitors for the year.If we move the nest still inside the helmet would the birds mind or find it? It's not practical to leave it alone, at some point we will need the smoker. I thinking of asking Chance if we could build a shelf on the garage wall just to the right of where the helmet now sits.

  The next new thing around here was tried with a mind set of "I don't know about this,but I will go" Chance took me to my very first scooter rally.One of the local scooter clubs puts the rally on every spring.I was not sure I would have a great time since most of the time scooter events have been filled with guys talking Scooter Speak- parts,makes, models and other fish tales. I ended up having a blast! Riding around the city in a pack of over 150 scooters is thrilling.Yes, friends I have Scooter Fever and it looks like I may have to learn Scooter Speak.


3rd one in with the raccoon tail is Chance's
Leaving for the run,organized chaos?

 








      The final new thing around home is the vintage stereo console we finally found. We have been looking for one of these for several months and finally found it at the Goodwill Bins for $15, nice price!  What we had for the stereo equipment before was not great and looked cluttered but with the new piece it is all neat and tidy.All of the equipment fit inside but Chance did place two small speakers under it,you can't see them in the photo.


         









  We also found time to start getting the garden beds ready for some planting while we had a break in the rain.The soil was soaking wet so we did not do any digging. So far no planting has happened here and after yesterdays insane weather it's probably a good thing because the seeds would have just rotted.Here in the Portland area yesterday there was, a funnel cloud,snow,thick layers of pea sized hail,rain and bits of sun.I wonder what the weather gods were up to way up there in the sky.Hopefully working things out so we can have some spring after all.
  Oh, and the other night I made gluten free chocolate muffins.They were good but the garbanzo bean flour in them made Issac and I pretty darn sick.Now to work on a replacement for the garbanzo flour that is not a bean.  **** Garbanzo beans make many people with Crohn's sick even if they tolerate other beans well.***

 In my header I wrote "why you can't define Homesteading".I really feel like this posting shows that very clearly and I did not even need to rant.I shared a snap shot of my week with you,simply things that happened while waiting for the weather to improve.This is what Homesteading looks like to us,birds nests, scooter rallies, vintage finds and baking flops.It's not the whole sum of us, only one week out of many. I love our eclectic homestead life,it suits us just fine.

Rois