Happy 2015!!

As you may have noticed, I have been posting stuff that happened in the summer lately. In January.

I know! I know!! I promise, I’m not trying to confuse people here. I just had a small hiccup in the internet department that I’m hoping I have found a solution to. For now, we have a place to go to once a week and I will use the internet there. It’s actually the place where I am doing our laundry at until spring.

As far north as we are, and as remote as we are, it’s not a simple matter to get internet. If you can get internet, it’s not necessarily good internet. Remember the days of dial up? You would click on the internet logo, and the screeches and beeps would start up, then you would go get a coffee and switch the laundry. When you returned, the browser was opening up? Yeah, it’s like that here.

We have found a tower based internet service though, and they have recently put up a tower within a few kilometres of our place. That’s the good news. They also have internet that they claim is fast enough to watch Netflix in HD. So they claim. I’ll believe it when I see it because I have been up north here for a year and a half and have yet to see any internet that can handle that.

The bad news in this is that we have a small forest between our place and their tower. They have quoted us different prices to set up a tower to get over the trees. We will find out within the next few weeks what kind of signal we will have. They are behind right now because we have had a week of -40C. They can’t lay the cables at that temperature, because stuff doesn’t flex when it gets that cold. For my American friends, -40 is the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit.

So that is our first goal for 2015 – to have INTERNET!

What else is on the table for 2015? Oh, where to start??

Back in October we purchased a Solar Panel kit. It’s a 1 Kw system, so quite small, but it should be a good start. It has room to grow and we will buy more panels and batteries as time goes on. Our next goal is to build the shed that the solar batteries and hardware will be kept in. Normally, you put this in your house, but since we don’t have a house, it’s going to go into a shed/guest house. It will be 14′ x 14′ or just shy of 5m x 5m. It will have a barn style roof with a loft and that’s where we will plunk down the family and friends who are brave enough to venture this far north to see us.

Goal #2 – Build the solar shed/guest house.

Monokristalline Solarmodule vor sonnigem Himmel

Goal#3 – set up Solar power

Our grow season up here is incredibly short. One compensator is that we have really long days in the summer. Super long. The sun barely sets. Seriously. This gives us some hard core grow time in our fields and allows us to work ridiculous hours. Last summer there were several occasions when I was getting tired working outside, checked the time and found that it was 1 am, and sunny. It takes some getting used to, but boy oh boy can you get a lot done!

Unfortunately, although gardens love the extra light to grow, and we can grow some nice vegetables here, some plants still need a longer season than we have. I was shocked last summer when my tomatoes were killed by a heavy frost in the second week of August. Doesn’t that make you sick? This year I need a green house. I also want to make some hoop covers for the plants.

Icos-Dome-Greenhouse-Biodome

Goal#4 – build a greenhouse (hopefully a geodesic greenhouse)

I need chickens. Really. I am trying to live the farm life and so far all we have are two dogs and a rabbit. A pet rabbit. If I get no other animals in 2015, I have to have some chickens. The chickens need a house because Allan said they can’t live in the shower. I tried. <cry>

Image from cherrycreekcanadians.ca

Image from cherrycreekcanadians.ca

Goal #5 – Build a chicken tractor followed later by a cob or cordwood chicken coop.

Goal#6 – Get Chickens!

We were originally going to purchase some Chantecler chickens. They were developed by a monk in Quebec to withstand our cold weather. They are an endangered breed though, and as I am still very much a city girl, I think that I will possibly try something else for my first season. Maybe. There is a farm near here (600km south – distance is seriously relative this far north) that will sell two layers and a rooster to people who are willing to try and expand their flock off of that. I will be talking with the farm right away and if they are willing to work with me and give me support (read: allow me to call at 2am because their poo is funny looking) then I may go ahead and get them.

I need a garden. A real one. Last year I had strawberries in a hanging pot and I had tomatoes in plastic tubs and I attempted potatoes, but they didn’t quite make it. I planted them way too late. That’s the problem with not getting the acreage until June.

I ordered all of my seeds from here. It’s a great source for Canadians (or anyone, they are based in British Columbia but will ship out of country) to get heirloom and organic seeds for their gardens. Their prices are very reasonable and the quality is high. I already have mine and I’m itching to plant. Yes, it’s currently -40C, and that’s half the reason. The colder it gets, the more you dream of warmer days. <sigh>

IMG_1918

Last years’ tomatoes

 

Goal #7 plant the garden!

Fencing. Oh we need fencing. We have plans and hopes for goats, pigs, horses, and a milk cow. We have some perimeter fencing, but no paddocks or pasture that’s fenced. Have to get that in!

Goal#8 Fencing and cross-fencing

Did I mention we don’t have a house? Oh yeah. Somewhere amongst all of the other goals we will be building our house. Ourselves. Yep. I think we will have our hands full. Lord willing by the first new snow of 2015 in the fall, we will be tucked into our new home. It takes priority. The other goals we will squeeze in-between somewhere.

In the meantime, my laundry is done, time to upload what I have, head home, and put on some stew for supper.

Have a good night everyone!

The dream begins…

Homestead_RoadAllan and I have been married for nearly 15 years. During that time we talked and dreamed of having our own acreage, or small hobby farm.

The dream has been constantly evolving and changing. It started as a couple of acres in the country, nothing more. Than we wanted a few more acres and perhaps a couple horses. The dream sometimes grew, and sometimes it downsized. (At one point we considered a full scale Elk farm…honestly.)

Our dream right now? Self sustaining, clean eating. Doing our best to get back to the way of life that God created and further from the life that man created.

I don’t want you to think that I am a purist, I’m anything but. I use plastic, I still eat at McDonald’s now and then, and I still drive a Jeep. There’s nothing wrong with purists, I just don’t want you mistaking me for one and be confused when I buy my eggs or milk, or even a Big Mac…well…quarter pounder.

So why the lifestyle change for us? Honestly, I got tired of paying utility companies outrageous amounts of money to ‘deliver’ my gas and my power and my water. I’ve sunk thousands of dollars over the years so that some invisible person can deliver my utilities. (That was a joke, I don’t really think the invisible people deliver utilities, haha).

The other reason, the biggest reason, is health. I can’t help but wonder about our food and how we collect it and process it. People are constantly getting sick from packaged foods, and I’m hearing about recalled food products all the time. No one (other than the producers and processors) really know what the conditions are like for the animals raised in food farms. I had the misfortune of spending the day at a commercial pig farm. I was sick for 3 days afterwards and couldn’t touch pork for a year…and I LOVE bacon!

It dawned on me that I am trusting complete strangers with something that I’m going to feed my children. I have no say in what vaccines and medications are being added to the meat that I’m eating. I have no clue if the animal was confined or not. Whether it was neglected, beaten, abused, or treated like a prince. I would like to think it’s all treated well and that all the producers follow the absolute highest standards. Some do. Some don’t. How do I know which one raised my steak?

There is one simple way to take out the guess work. Raise my own food.

It may seem like a simple concept, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, or so I’m told. I believe it. I have never raised pigs or goats or chickens, but I’ve worked with cattle and horses. Mostly, I’m a city kid who always dreamed of being a country girl.

Allan and I just purchased 20 acres of bare land (as in, no utilities and no buildings) and are working on making it the farm of our dreams. We would like to invite you all to join us on this journey. I’m sure it will be good for a few laughs if nothing else.