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A [Virtual] Tour of the Attainable Sustainable Homestead – September 2015

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Well, if this post isn’t a classic case of “best laid plans” going awry! Shortly after we moved into this new place, our eventual homestead, I had the brilliant idea to video tape our progress from the vantage point of our catchment tank. I planned to do it monthly to keep track of our progress. Ha! After just a couple of months, I had a camera issue that prevented filming, then life, then, then…

Which brings us to today! A year later, I give you another Tour in the Round. What a difference a year makes! We’ve been feeling as though we’re not moving quickly enough on all of our plans, but looking back at the video from last September makes it really clear that we are, indeed, making progress.

What’s new

  • We’ve fenced in the area around the house, orchard, and garden area to keep the feral pigs (and let’s be honest – the neighbor’s dogs) out. Pigs can decimate an area in no time, and we’ve lost a handful of chickens and a couple of guinea fowl to marauding dogs.
  • Our chickens had been housed in a temporary pen that was here when we moved in. We’ve removed that pen entirely and relocated the hens to our orchard area. We weren’t at all sure how many chickens the area would support, but we currently have two dozen hens in the area and the peanut grass is holding up just fine. They tend to scratch around the fruit trees where we mulch, looking for bugs and hopefully helping keep the Japanese beetles at bay.
  • In my last video, you can see how brown and dead the ground looked from where we removed the napier grass. It’s so much greener around our little homestead now! The perennial peanut grass (a nitrogen fixer) has taken over and holding out a lot of the less desirable grasses.
  • At about :25 in the video you’ll see our very happy yacon in the foreground.
  • The house has a much-needed coat of fresh paint. (We still need to scrub that back roof!)
  • We’ve done some excavation at the back of the house to create a little patio/outdoor eating area.
  • I have a new clothesline!
  • With the help of my boys, we’ve added four garden beds, and will add two more soonish. After a lot of hand-wringing, I finally came to the conclusion that I simply need edges on my garden beds. Call me quirky. The garden beds are not very productive yet; we’re still working on improving our terrible soil.
  • My youngest son has completely sided and shingled the skeleton of a shed that was here, and finished the interior with salvaged pallets.
  • The dry cabin is in the process of being painted.
  • Compare the bananas! At 3:23 in this video you can see how young they are. Above, at about 2:34, you’ll see that they’re now about 20′ tall.
  • And yes, there is a rogue chicken. There is always a rogue chicken on the homestead.


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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

6 comments… add one
  • Melanie Sep 9, 2015, 9:06 am

    So exciting to see the progress! Hello to the rogue chicken.

  • Sheri Sep 15, 2015, 3:34 am

    Looking Good!

  • marcia Sep 15, 2015, 9:30 am

    Sigh. Wish I was there. I bet your cackling girlies are happy! The orchard trees look like they’re progressing. What did you edge your veggie beds with?

  • Candi Oct 8, 2015, 2:43 pm

    WOW! Wild pigs!

    Too bad you can’t shoot them and have a BBQ!

  • Michal Eldridge Dec 23, 2019, 5:17 am

    I recently found your site. What a fun find. We have started our own homestead in 2014. We bought raw land (30 acres) in the middle of nowhere in Texas. We then began the process of clearing all the dense trees, digging a well, installing some power and we moved our 5th wheel out for a place to stay. We lived in that on the weekends for 2 years while we built our barn and home. We began the transition to living here full time and as of last August, we moved out full time. We are not young, we are mid 50’s and wish in some ways we started years ago, life did not give us the chance to do this till 2014. But over the past 5 years, we have built a small container garden, a greenhouse, then our 3,000 ft. large garden, our henhouse with a run, rabbitry with room for 9 rabbits and are starting on clearing land for some grazing pasture for our next animals, sheep, and goats. We would love to be self-sustaining and are slowly working our way that direction. We have solar on our house, barn, and pumphouse. We can run full solar if we need to, but the AC is not part of that at this time, so we usually only do solar during the day. We have purchased additional panels and hope to get them set up in the next year, and then maybe we can go fully solar. Our huge trees make solar a bit challenging, and we have not wanted to cut down our trees since they block the hot sun and keep us cool. I can or freeze and on occasion dry a lot of the produce, we love our rabbit as our source of meat, and enjoy our eggs. We are making strides to being able to live off our land totally – but we are a ways from that point. Finding your blog is encouraging. looking forward to reading more of your articles. On a side note, I recently became a Master Gardener through our local TA&M Agriculture agency, and this has helped me understand the land, climate, animals and more for our area. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to expand their understanding of these things.

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 23, 2019, 11:15 am

      Wow! You’re doing amazing work. Glad you found us!

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