Imagine the homestead to be a self sustaining property. The house and grounds were all that this family needed to survive. On a lot size of 100’x100′ there is room for various plantings and livestock as well.
This particular homesteader divided her lot in half. 50’x100′ was set aside for her livestock. The animals included 6 turkeys, for eggs and meat, 1 goat for mild, cheese, yogurt, butter,ice cream and cottage cheese. One sheep for wool and meat.
Goats produce approximately 3 litres of milk a day, so one goat provides enough milk for this family. One sheep produces 15 lbs. of wool a year. This wool yields 7.5 lbs of spinned yarn. This is enough yarn to kit sweaters, hats, mits and scarves for the family. The sheep, goat and turkeys will be pastured on one half of the property. The other half of the property consists of the house, a shed and the orchard and garden.
In the first year, the work is hard. She has to turn the soil to plant her gardens and this is back breaking, tiresome, work. She has to haul logs for her fire and to keep her animals healthy. The work is constant, but so is the reward. There is a daily supply of milk, eggs and meat. She has to churn butter and make cheese and yogurt, but she also has milk for ice cream and when the berries come, that adds to her luxury.
In the first year the homesteader planted red and black currants and raspberries. There is also rhubarb and an apple tree on her property. This provides enough fruit for her to sustain herself during the winter. She can dry her fruit and if there is a need, she can make pemican as supplies run out. She has also planted potatoes as a main crop which she can store in the cellar.
As the years go by, the homesteader becomes more affluent. Life is easier, since her primary needs of shelter, food, cloghing and warmth are easily met. There is less toil, so with more leisure, she becomes more adventurous. She plants two plums, a cherry, a hazelnut, a peach and an apricot tree. She transplants some of the raspberries to provide a privacy screen and to increase her yield. She plants one more of each of red and black currant and introduces white currant. Her berry production is high and her varieties with her enthusiasm. Two black lace elderberry, two gooseberry, two valiant grapes, three kiwi, two black raspberry, three lingonberry, a high bush and a creeping cranberry, plus blueberry. The exotics add to the wealth of the land, providing greater interest and nutritional value. The understory of the trees is planted with strawberry and herbs. Oregano, thyme, savor and sage are incorporated into her landscape for warmth for the trees and to savour her meats and cheeses and add additional flavour to her meals.
Lavendar, lily of the valley and roses provide scent for perfumes and soap. There are other flowers and flowering shrubs interspersed int the landscape to attract butterflies and bees.
Rhubarb and potato, plus carrots and other vegetables all produce food for her on this small plot of land.
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written by: Louise Hayes
April 7, 2013