When I come home in the summer, my work is evident, there are fruit and nut trees where once there was only bare and overgrazed ground. Grass is thicker and greener every year as I spread the donations from the goats and poultry. New pastures are being created so the "children' can roam and graze in a much more sustainable and beneficial manner.
Hedgerows to break up our ever present wind and providing much for the homestead in food, herbs, medicines and shelter for us, the critters and wildlife. I try very hard to include all life forms present and new to this environment as this also creates a healthier environment for all.
This year will be the first for bees in a long time. The orchards are getting old enough to provide fruit and nuts. For now I'll have to rent a hive, but look forward to keeping my own bees after completing a localpermaculture bee course. That and the many herbs and flowers planted around the homestead will provide bees much of what they need before and long after the orchards bloom.
My neighbors stop and ask what I do with the tumbleweed one finds on the fences here. All things are used here. Even though I still have to buy hay, I find the tumbleweed will fatten the wethers and provide the necessary fiber the milking does need for well being. The "straw" left from the goats eating the tumbleweed I use for abating problem erosion areas. I can thank Brad Lancaster for the sponge idea on that one!
I dry the clothes on the line, reuse water as many times as I can, find new uses for scavenged wood and other items locally. Even the willows from this dry environment provide materials for basket weaving and poles for pole beans.
All this and much more in the planning stages or already in progress (30 + raised beds and counting, large lasagna beds and new areas for growing more of what is needed here on this homestead-everything from young new trees and shrubs, perennial crops to annual crops).
None of this do I have to do. I would not go to the lengths of growing our own meat or produce if I hadn't decided how important it is to eat from our own environment and at the same time benefiting our planet.
One day soon I will have the one step completed which will free me from the "dreaded" electric bill. I have sun and wind in sufficient quantity that buying power is increasingly not making sense.
And that's one thing about homesteading overall is that it MAKES SENSE!!!
It is so satisfying to see the soil change and the plants grow. I am looking forward to seeing those improvements over the years at our new place. but my sense of urgency is being offended! I also have some reservation about changing the landscape too much here. it is not farm land and i'm sure it hosts its own variety of plants and animals adapted to the conditions here. the shallow soil is obviously a haven for some plants and animals so I aim to use and change only as much of the land as neccessary to support our activities. but I'm also sure that our operations will be ever expanding in my search for sustainable self sufficiency.