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Artichoke
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Ramble Like You Mean It (Annual Moving Blog)

Big News Alert

It's official! I can tick off almost all of my 2020 goals!!!

How crazy is that?!?!?!


Also, how is it possible I've moved almost every year since 2017? Someone sit me down and tell me to stop moving.



Not too long ago I made a 5 year plan. As I have done in the past, I published this huge plan so that all the world could see it. Some may call that irresponsible, setting yourself up for failure, or just plain silly. I call it a great way to have accountability without even trying.


As a quick recap, these were the goals I set for myself to complete in 2020:


  • Buy land **CHECK**

  • Move out of our horrible apartment **SET TO BE CHECKED OFF**

  • Churn out blog content weekly **CONTINUOUS CHECK**

  • Save money like crazy for a house and car **BUDGET IN PLACE, WILL START NEXT MONTH**

  • Launch a cooking assistance service *nothing but crickets*

  • Collaborate with another artist **ARTIST PICKED OUT, DETAILS ARE WORKED OUT, COLLAB IN PROCESS**



I am thrilled to have made so much progress in such a short amount of time. Even moreso that purchasing land means Cody and I can work on building our dream house and finally settle down somewhere where my dog won't borf every five seconds at the neighbors. Literally, anytime I remember that my dreams are coming true this meme pops into my head.



 


It's All Coming Together


GUYS. I am just so freaking EXCITED that I have 5 acres of land to make my own. I've had a dream of having a large property for as long as I can remember. When I was 16 or so, I figured that I would get myself a yellow Jeep Wrangler, equip it with all my favorite camping/survival gear including my kayak and bike, and be ready for any adventure that called my name. I assumed that during the summer between college semesters I would be essentially homeless, as I planned on camping and traveling the entire time. (That did not happen). Also at 16 years old, I made a plan to hike the Appalachian Trail my second or third year of college (that didn't happen either). Basically, I figured I would get all of my traveling done in my college years and then I would be ready to settle down and maintain my own piece of paradise. The perfect land would be literally the biggest amount of acres possible, with a nice rolling hill and field and a pond and a farm and a cabin or farmhouse. Something remote but not too far away. A place where I could adopt as many dogs and cats as I wanted without people thinking that I had too many due to a lack of space.



It may not be the exact slice of heaven that I dreamt of in my youth, but at least this time around I'm not going to be a spinster with a million cats and dogs. No, now I'll get to share my million cats and dogs with my husband, Cody, and my son, Warren! A five acre plot of land that has a couple of acres worth of wetland swamp on it will be such a fun place for my little boy to grow up and explore with his friends. Think of all the mud and bugs they have to play with and then the bonus of a nice field for sports!



Down the line, I would adore having a mini-farm. Part of me wants to start the farm portion before we even begin building our house! I would build the fence in a couple of weeks and the barn as soon as the ground thaws in the spring. Who's to say we couldn't make a one room studio apartment inside a pole barn work for one year living space? Probably everyone I know, their mom, the government, and maybe even historical figures in ghost form coming back to warn me of this horrible idea. But whatever, a girl can dream.


On a more serious note, I do have some big (and more realistic) plans for this plot of land. Out of a field, I will create an efficient or at the very least productive homestead. One of my creative goals is to learn how to reupholster. This will be helpful on my homestead because if I'm any good at it, I can make a couple of cute 'sets' out of the chairs and couches and rent out our yard to local photographers. The field would make a great background and if we had a cute old pickup truck that would be family photo heaven! It's certainly a doable goal, but not until we have a few other things in order. First things first, I need a garden. So that will start this spring. If I'm able to procure some fencing, I may set that up around the perimeter. Out of my garden, I would like to produce plenty of herbs. Those herbs can be used to make smudge sticks and spice blends along with a few different teas (raspberry & hibiscus, lemon ginger & chamomile, etc.), all of which I would like to sell. If I can successfully make a flower garden I would enjoy pressing flowers again. There are a number of sellable pressed flower opportunities out there. Something fun and new to grow would be mushrooms! I've seen a lot of tutorials about growing them, and if I can come up with the proper set up for optimal growing then I think they will be a fun addition to my gardening repertoire. And I can't forget the wonderful benefit of just having a vegetable garden, the food! I, of course, would love to use the fruit of my labor in my cooking.



As far as farm animals go, it would be very nice if most animals on the farm had a specific purpose and job. Ducks are great because they produce eggs longer and faster than chickens, and their waste can immediately be used as fertilizer, whereas chicken waste needs to be composted before use. Sheep are known for their grazing abilities, so I would use them as a lawn more, perhaps with goats as well. Sheep do produce milk too if they have lambed recently. Apparently, sheep milk makes a few great kinds of cheese, feta being the one which most excites me. Now, dear reader, please don't take too much offense, but I am not a vegan, nor am I a vegetarian. I want to honor the life that my animals give me as much as possible, so it's very likely that I will be bringing my animals to a butcher as needed or learning to butcher them myself. Therefore, I may end up buying breeds that tend to rear more often and birth more easily than others. I haven't fully decided yet, clearly, I have some time to figure this all out. But,, I have a feeling I'm going to learn to eat duck, lamb, and goat, all of which at this time feel seriously foreign. I've had lamb exactly one time in my life. I've never eaten goat, and I think I've only had duck oil fries and never duck meat or eggs. That part kind of freaks me out, but they're so commonly eaten throughout the world I'm positive that I will find quite a few outstanding recipes to try out.


Other animals that would suit the type of farm life in my mind are a horse, donkey, or mule, occasionally pigs (they are smelly and can eat people), cows, alpacas, and guinea fowl. Oh, and of course a couple of dogs for herding and guarding. We have a lot of coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and the occasional bear up north, so I'm not taking any chances. If you're thinking this will be far too many animals for 5 acres (more like 2.5 usable acres), then yes. It is. I'm aware that I'm reaching too far. One thing that a lot of homesteaders do though, is kind of rotate their animals around. Not with each other, but on the farm in general. So one year they may have pigs. The next year maybe just chickens. It all depends on what you feel like keeping and which animals you want to cull (slaughter for purpose of being selective for your herd/flock/team/etc.). So, I may be able to have all of the animals I've been dreaming of, eventually.



Like I said though, I want all my animals to have some sort of purpose. The sheep graze, maybe they give wool (although there are some nice hair sheep varieties I'm more interested in), they give milk, and they give lamb and mutton meat. Goats give milk, they also graze but they are better at debris and weeds than grass maintenance, they entertain for days, and can be butchered. Ducks provide eggs, meat, fertilizer, pest control, and feathers. Guinea fowl provide the same as ducks with the addition of being an "alert animal" as they are noisy AF and seem to always be on alert mode. Horses, mules, and donkeys can all help with garden maintenance as well as being ridden. I suppose all the animals can help with fertilizer since I'll be having a compost pile or two. Alpacas provide wool, cows provide milk (and in turn butter, cheese, buttermilk..etc.) and meat. Pigs mostly just provide meat, but they eat pretty much anything so if we had food we didn't want to put in the compost then the pigs would likely be more than happy to help us. The farm dogs help with herding, guarding, and yardwork (they can pull a small cart around). Barn cats help with pest and vermin control. Oh, and I forgot to mention before, but I also want bees. Which provides honey and better produce from the garden and orchard. Yes, an orchard will be had as well. New York is famed for its apple orchards. If I have the land, you bet your bottom dollar I'm going to grow as many fruits as I possibly can. There you have it, my list of farm animals that I would like on my future farm.


 

Of course, I have a lot of research and hoops to jump through if I ever want to sell anything I grow or make on land. I'm well aware of the challenges ahead of me. Perhaps that is why I am so determined to make these dreams happen. When it comes down to it, I am quite competitive. One might not think I would be, considering how....passive? my personality can be during a conversation. In all regards, I would rather keep the peace than cause a disruption. However, if you tell me that it would be unrealistic or impossible to do something, be prepared to see a miracle.


One of the most nerve-wracking parts of this whole adventure is building a house with little to no experience. Yikes. Why the heck would I do such a thing? Well, by building a house I will gain experience. I will have the added benefit of knowing every single detail of my home. No guessing of why the electrical is so poorly outdated and not up to industry standard. No questioning if the foundation is corrupted. I'll know exactly when the roof was put in. My home can face the optimal direction for self insulation and for my indoor plants/greenroom. I won't have to renovate to get my dream kitchen layout. BUT.....I want a specific type of house, and I am SO FREAKING NERVOUS that I won't get approval for it.


Guys, I want to build an aframe.

 

aframe in the woods
// Aframe Inspiration //

Aframe Dreaming


You guessed it because I'm so insane, I'm not going to settle for just a small aframe either. I want the ULTIMATE aframe. If I'm planning on having a fully functional homestead I need some room and storage and enough bedrooms/home offices to make everything operate smoothly. A typical Aframe is just a bit too tiny for me. As it has an 'A' design, the top floor has considerably less space than the average house. Due to this, I was thinking about possibly having a double-length aframe. Think of it like this, I want the house shown above, but with the same house attached to the back. Basically, it's just an extra long 'A'. Towards the front of the house, there would be many unique features. I enjoy the idea of having a deck (where the upstairs balcony is on the house above. If I had my way, it would be a wrap around second story deck, maybe a stairway down, maybe not. Rather than having a traditional first story living room, I would like that space to be a garage. I would kind of be like having an apartment over a garage because the second floor could still be livable (perhaps a living room for entertaining or maybe office space.



Okay, this is where I get a bit crazy. I'm not sure how this next part of the house would become a reality, but if I can make it work then it would be fantastic. On the back part of the second story living room/office, there will be a door. If you open the door it will lead to a small balcony with a spiral staircase to the first floor. Keep in mind this is beyond the garage, which will also have a door leading to this section of the house. Welcome to the greenhouse. The roof is transparent & UV-Ray protected. The floor is brick. This room is long enough to house some plants towards the front and back of the room with a dining table in the middle. There are adorable strung up lights for the evening. There is a fireplace to keep us warm while the weather is cold. From the balcony, there are hanging plants "running" down the wall. The plants here are special, avocado & banana trees, pineapple, plants that would never survive in New York naturally. Now look again towards the back of this room. There will be a dutch door, the kind that is cut in half so you can open just the top or bottom section, this door will lead to the actual living space of the aframe.



This section of the house is most likely the first part we will build because it is the most important. It will be our home. Depending on the layout and approval from the local government, I would like it to be a 3-4 bedroom 2-2.5 bathroom house. Somewhat open concept as many modern aframes seems to be modeled. A first floor master bedroom with master bath. Perhaps a second bedroom on the first floor. Two bedrooms upstairs, along with a bathroom with a shower. That bathroom may end up being quite small, but I think it is necessary. To save some space, either the pantry or the first floor half bath would be underneath the staircase. Depending on how much money we are looking to spend right away this section may or may not have a basement. Even though this is the section that would be built first, I have spent the least amount of time thinking and designing it....well except for the kitchen, of which I recently made a wishlist and realized I have far too expensive taste (i.e. my dream kitchen is over 10k without even thinking about cabinets and countertops).


There you have it! An extremely eccentric rundown of my *hopefully* future home!


As with many of my other goals in life, I've found that if I talk about them enough they stay at the forefront of my mind and are more likely to be achieved. That's why I'm not afraid to talk on and on about my goals. They could take a different path than I set out initially, but I find that as long as I ramble like I mean it, one by one my ideas start to become a reality.


So this is me, rambling on.

Because I ramble like I mean it.



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