Saturday, January 13, 2018

Getting Off The Grid - Be A Dreamer

I think dreams are born within us so that they can and will come full circle. I also believe that by speaking that dream over your life out loud that it will come true.

While most of the people around me know that I have always been the one to create my own work, businesses, I am often told I should go into this or that type of work, or open a new business, the problem with all those suggestions I do all th work.

Getting of the grid is about me lessening my work load out in the world, not having to make more and more money to have electricity, water and food, the things everyone needs to live, not creating a new way to make money that pulls my time away from my homestead.

Instead I want to make the homestead my full time job. Use the skills I have already and make money with those skills right here at home. 

As I was driving back home on the interstate chatting with my riding companion I mentioned that I wanted to work from home. He asked  " doing what?" I  replied, " I home can jams and jellies, I am  about to get into soap making, I am learning to tap trees for syrup and I had talked to a man at the Co-op about honey bees for honey, I also want to start back quilting and sell those as well, I can set up a small building to sell all these products." Those were just a few things off the top of my head I can do to make money. 

He agreed I could make some money from those services but maybe not enough to make a living like I have to now on the grid. I reminded him, spend less need less money.

While I buy a business license yearly already, I would also have to invite the health department into my home for a inspection and I am fine by that. Or I can set up the jelly making inside the small building and that would be inspected.

Am I a dreamer or what?

Progress Around The Homestead :

We are having crazy weird weather this year where the temperatures are all over the place, one week in the upper 60`s and 70° to day time highs not even making it to 32° and night time lows in the teens. Rain and then dry and next snow and gusting winds.

With that being said, dreaming and planning is all I can do.

Reading. I read and do my research on things I want to try to see if its feasible in my area.

From the garden :

I have nothing growing outside at all but I am still growing inside, well I still have to cold bitten collars and kale, it is possible for them to bounce back, it has happened before.

I sowed seed for tomato plants and bell pepper, they are growing nicely and it was time for them to get a pot each, so I took a couple hours and I did just that. Although I did not finish all of them, I did get the largest a big pot alone. I also transplanted small basil plants.

The Stockpile :

I have not added anything to the stockpile in several weeks. I am using the stockpile of coarse but I am not low on anything, nor do I feel the need to shop the farmers market or the grocery for cheap produce or meats to home can.                                                          

Learning : 

As I stated above I am just reading and using the internet to do research. About what I already have here on the property and what I might like to add to the property. Some plants and trees do better in different zones than in mine, I am zone 8, so I seek plants and trees that thrive here. I also need to know what types of soil each requires, Some like dry and some like soppy wet.

I know each season has its purpose and I am sure that the Winter is for me to rest my body and let my mind run wild with the possibilities of the coming growing season and what I can do on my homestead.

How are things on your homestead?

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Getting Off The Grid - January On The Homestead

Getting off the grid is about my journey. The idea and then the struggle to make it happen, mostly without the money needed to "just do it now." Learning to grow food. Learning to home can food. Learning everything as I go. No guidance except for books and what I watch on t.v. Come join me in my life of discovering, how to get off the grid.

January is a hard month on the homestead, there is not much I can do outside because of the crazy weather pattern, cold one day and hot the next. Snow one weekend and sunny with a heat wave the next. Its just the ninth and here in central Alabama the ground has been frozen solid with night time temps of 9 degrees to today at 50 something degrees and its rainy. 

I have been checking out the new seeds, I reckon I need to go ahead and order what I want so they will be on their way, some to start inside, some that goes straight into the dirt. That is about all we can do right now, plan for the Spring vegetable garden.

From The Garden: 

There are some greens still making it, kale and collards, mustard greens too, but they were "touched" by all the cold. Not dead but what is called burnt, they will revive with the warmth.

I had planned to share and home can kale all winter but this year I got sick with the new flu stuff going around and I just felt to weak to stay bent over picking, to weak to stand and wash them up and to weak to cook and pack them into jars. With that being said, if its Gods will, I will have greens all the way into summer and I will be able to home can them for the next year or two. Plus share! I have to share the greens, its just something I do.

This week I will transplant the tomatoes and bell pepper plants to bigger pots, I am hoping to have nice red tomatoes and sweet bell peppers before the Spring planting season comes, not any to home can but enough to eat. 

Progress Around The Homestead :

About the only thing I have accomplished is the backyard, the electric fence is up and had already taught the dogs they cannot escape their area. 

While some people thinks this is not a big deal, it is. 


I have dogs that love to hunt and kill small game so if they are running loose I cannot have wild rabbits, to hunt and eat if need be, and I cannot have chickens. Although chickens would be in a pen if the dogs thought they could just climb over and into the pen to eat the chickens they would. But being broke by the electric fence they are less likely to try get passed a fence, heading out to roam or into another animals pen when they see those wires. 

Stockpile :

I have been enjoying the stockpile! Instant meals when I am tired. Nothing like opening a jar of homemade vegetable soup when you are sick and it taste fresh as the day you made it. Or chili on a cold day to warm you up. All those wonderful strawberries made into jam on a slice of hot toast in the morning! Home canning food taste so much better than store bought.

I have not home canning anything in a short while. I just don`t like the thought of having to buy food to home can, unless its something I don`t grow.

However, I did buy up eight cases of pint canning jars. They were on sale and I also had coupons to make them as cheap as $5.00 per case, the plus is they have lids with rings too.

The only other thing is deer. I did receive a little deer meat and I will be home canning that soon. Its in the freezer at the moment because it was late when it was dropped off. 

I always give thanks to God for providing animals for food, they give their life for others to have life.

Learning : 

So far this month I have not read anything new to learn for the homestead. 


 I seen a sale ad that has solar panels on sale and I have saved enough over the year to make this purchase. I am sure this week I will make that purchase, its time for me to spread my wings and fly, not far but a start.

How are things on your homestead?

By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry


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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Getting Off The Grid - 2018 Plans For The Homestead

2017 was an up and down year for me on the homestead, my first year doing most of everything alone. The lack of equipment and the trial and error of many different things.

I also had my first weekend off grid in this house, no power. A learned lesson that was for sure. So I have intentions of loading up on fire wood this year. I have a couple small trees down in my old home place and one at a rental house that will be a start.

For More click Here : Off Grid For 2 Days 

I can say that 2017 was a learning year in more than one way. I bought many different books to learn how to live just in case that "what if" days comes.

The books : From treating diabetes to a tummy ache. Learning to identify trees to mushrooms. Learning how to tap trees for making my own syrups. Foraging for free foods, we call weeds to Buying an acid meter to make homemade soap. I also invested in tomato cages. The old way of tying them was out of the question to do alone, the cages will last me for so many years to come.

For More click here : Cooking dandelion greens 

I really think I hit bottom when all the mowers broke down and I had to push mow the fields and the rain did not let up till almost winter. I finally gave up and just let it go. I mowed around the house and in the rows of the garden, I did not have a good garden this year because of the warm winter past and the rain, the garden bugs and mosquitoes took over.

For more click here : When the rain stopped

I finally got the green house that I have wanted for years but it was put up just before the first freeze and I put some of the houseplants and a few vegetable plants inside. I began the daily venting to allow steam to leave and I used solar heat, the water filled drums, and all was doing great. Then the worst happened! We got sick. The flu got us this year and no one was able to work the greenhouse. Everything died except the small tangerine tree and it was brought to the house and put inside. I do not think anyone can prepare for when sickness its and I was not able to get out of bed for several days. Another trial and error. I intend to try and do better this year with the green house. 

For more about the greenhouse click here : One Crazy Week

January 2018 

I have several tomato plants growing and a few green bell pepper plants, inside the house by the window sill facing South.

I will be ordering new vegetable seed soon. I would like to try a new vegetable but I have no chosen which one to try and grow. I will start seeds now all the way up till April / May when its time to plant. 

From The Garden :

Right now I am still getting kale, curly mustard and collards. There is supposed to be beets around somewhere, and there are still purple top turnips.

The Plans :

I need a root cellar so I may look into getting one put in this year, as well as solar and well water. If its God will, I will get all three this year.

I do plan to take at least one vacation this year so if I add chickens it`ll be afterwards so I can tend to them.

Do you have big plans for your homestead?

By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Am I Sure This Life Is For Me?

I am the odd ball of my family that is for sure, they look at me like I am crazy one minute and then I get that look of aha! the next minute. I always knew I was different because I liked stuff that never interested anyone else in the family.

No, I am not into the "country" look or any of that, I actually like the modern look. I do not want a log cabin or dead animals hanging on the walls either. I want closed windows and air conditioning when its extremely hot.

There are a few things that I want and they are : 

1- free power

2- free water

3- food growing in my own yard

People are always saying "sure have yourself a garden then get real, no one gets free power or water." But what they do not understand is I want food growing all year round, 365 days and I want to capture it at its peak and preserve it in my kitchen, in jars for the most part.

Life is crazy as it is and I am wanting to take it a step further, free or a cheap as I can get it, as in $1 packs of seeds.

But there is so much to learn, I am living and learning this lifestyle. I want to know more and more so I buy the books, one at a time and I read it, sometimes I reread it for it to soak up in this thick head.

Get the knowledge and then..... DO it!

So.... I try.

When I was growing up my mom had a greenhouse and she raised and sold houseplants, she passed away and every place we lived after that my dad had a garden in the back yard, till the day he died he had a garden for vegetables and fruits, flowers in the front of the house. I come from a long line of green thumbs. But for the life of me I did not understand the work involved in the greenhouse. Open and vent daily, close before dark. What kind of heat? Well solar for me in the form of drums filled with water, someone told me to use an electric heater, no! If I want to pay for power I would just buy the food and not grow it. 

The greenhouse, maybe I am not cut out for growing in a greenhouse, not yet anyways. But I have not gave up just yet.

 A root cellar? This is what I do need to keep my home canned food cool in the summertime. A plus is storage space too, but who do I get to dig one, someone with a backhoe? How much does those cost to rent or hire? how many blocks do I need? 

Or Should I forget about all the other wants and go for the well first? I am sure they will hit water near the surface, this are is know to flood with the Springtime rains.Not every year but I have seen a couple here since I have been living in this area. I have names of several in the area but have yet to get the courage up to ask " how much?" I am afraid it will cost so much I will just give up right then and there when I hear the cost.

Although I am still on the grid I am learning and doing somethings that I want to try to make money, if one day I need to barter, I make all types of jams and jellies already but I am reading up on tapping trees for syrup and I am about to attempt to make soap.

I am learning about mushrooms and Tony picked a mess of turkey tails yesterday and they are in the dehydrator as I write this, for turkey tail mushroom tea, did you know they are supposed to help cure cancer? Yes I know these are edible mushrooms, so does Tony.

I am also learning about which weeds I can eat and which I cannot, some say do not eat poke weed but I was raised cooking and eating poke weed, we call it poke salad, its all in how you cook it, now eating it raw would make you sick but no one does that! As for the berries of poke weed its used for ink.

If I can manage I would love Chickens for the eggs, fertilizer and meat. When? 

I need equipment, I mean equipment that costs. A tractor and a backhoe would be awesome.

There is more but I reckon I need to sit down with pen and paper and write down what needs to be done here and if I will do it, money is always the problem, everything costs so much.

For many this life would not fit well with them because they depend on others to grow them food or kill the animals for the meat, for me it does fit but I am still not sure if I can make this work, especially at my age and for the most part all alone.

2017 was not a good year for me and the homestead, a few times I was broken and gave up, something in me always got back up again. I have missed a whole month, December, around here because I caught the flu, The homestead does not care, it wants to be tended to and that is something else I need to think about, what if I get sick, who will feed the animals and tend the plants? 

So in 2018 I will see and ask  myself "Can I do this?" or "Do I really want to?"

I often have sleeping dreams of no land and just traveling with a silver bullet, dogs on back of the truck...... Who know where life will lead me.

By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Gifts For Those Going Off Grid

When I say off grid I do not mean I live so far back into the woods I have to pump in sunlight, I mean I live 10 minutes from town and I will still get off the grid one day, sooner than later. 

Seeing as I have most things already and I really do not want a bunch of gifts that would call for power but there are some gifts that a homesteader can use or would love to have. Especially if they are like me and learning as I go before I jump all the way off the grid, plus I want to be more self sufficient and make or gather what I can for free.

Learning is the key, its hard to learn a lesson of no heat in the winter or no food after the garden dies.

So, there are some things that would be appreciated by people like me that do not live like others.

1 - Learn to be a sugar maker

I call it making Maple syrup but others call it sugar making. First you need to read about this amazing way of getting free maple syrup! Go from there and buy the needed items to tap the trees.

2 - Vegetable seeds

Its hard at first because you do not have seed to grow your food, after the first or second year things are easier because we learn how to harvest and save seed for the next growing season. All seed are appreciated!

3 - Soap Making

I like to use every single part of an animal, while I am more a vegetarian some in the family eat meat.  And while there is tallow ( grease) that comes from ALL animals, I need to do something with it and making soap is the best way to utilize the tallow. 

Learning is not hard but sometimes the little things I do not know help, plus a mold would be great so that I maybe can sell the soap if I am in need of cash or for a trade/ barter.

4 - Trees!

Yes I said trees. There is nothing like planting a tree and getting fruits and nuts right out of your own yard or field. While I prefer nuts for the protein some would rather have fruit.

5 - Anything Warm

While most people have a wood burning heater or fireplace some of us are not quiet there yet ( I just learned a valuable lesson last weekend, click here to read :  Off the grid ) So I suggest stocking up on warm clothes and long johns.

Well there you go!  A small list of things a homesteader would love as gifts that most can afford.

The list is long of things one would love to have on the homestead but I think it would be rude to ask for a backhoe or tractor :)

By Andria Perry
Photo By Andria Perry

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - Off The Grid For 2 Days

I was off the power grid for a couple days, Absolutely no power and only a few batteries that did die.

We got an unexpected snow storm, where some predicted an inch and a melt off by evening, we got a foot out here in the woods and most of it is still on the ground. I woke to snow last Friday and it snowed all day.

We lost power early Friday morning and the temps stayed cold enough all day for the snow to continuously fall, the night was down into the 20`s and we had no power and no heat and still snowing.

I am thankful God gave me some sense, I did have plenty of blankets and comforters so sleeping was not a problem but I was lacking because I was not prepared to face a night without any type of heat, Me! Miss get off the grid and live free! Preparing for the worst. 

I have 4 solar powered lights so we were not in the dark and I used all the candles to warm one area, But.......

I do have a fireplace "but" it had not been checked out by a professional, "But" when it got cold enough, on Saturday morning and still no answer about when I would have power back, Tony looked it over, gave it the okay and we built a fire in the fireplace. It warmed Us and the house.

Around 2:45 Saturday evening, with the temps barely at 40 degrees the power came back on. I think God heard me up in heaven screaming "thank you!"

So what now?

Actually I am glad this happened because no matter how prepared I am for other things I was not prepared for a power outage in the winter because of a freak snow storm, if we get anything its usually in February.

The plan :

Tony will coat the inside of this fireplace to make sure there are no cracks or I will replace the unit. Finish cutting down the tree that was struck by lightening and stack the wood in the shed where it stays dry. I have three acres of woods and I can clean up what had fallen and use this for heat. This will be the number one back up while I am still on the grid.

I will buy a small propane tank and a two burner heater, This will be number two back up while I am still on the grid. 

The Plan For 2018 :

I have had enough of being on the power grid, Calling and begging them when it shuts down to restore it just for us to have heat. I will buy some type of solar power system in the year of 2018 for the house and something more for the greenhouse, plants cannot live like this either. 

I have to live and learn sometimes, Kind of felt Gods finger poking me in the shoulder, telling me get busy girl cause you are not there yet.

By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry

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