Toni Cameron

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since Feb 19, 2020
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North of Shelton, WA
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Recent posts by Toni Cameron

Yes, I have all of the updates. Some good some bad. I have learned a lot about myself and how much time I have each week to make progress on our homestead.

We are going to be selling the house we are currently in. For a variety of reasons, the biggest two being the house is too much house for just the two of us and the other is, that I don't have as much time to commit to homesteading as I thought I would. Originally we wanted to do a food forest which would be perfect for the property. By the time I would get my garden chores done, general house upkeep, and my 'real' job that pays the bills, I had nothing left over. Forget the chicken coop I wanted to build, or the greenhouse addition on the garden, or even planning for the food forest. Whenever I had extra time it was spent on the garden or maintenance work on the house. Things like invasive weeds that need to be cut back, or trees that have come down too close to the house that need to be removed. Or it is time to weed wack the 500-foot driveway up the hill since the plants were pushing in from both of the sides.

I realized I couldn't keep up with it all, plus make progress on my homesteading goals. OR I needed a ton of money to pay for help and that wasn't going to happen. So I started looking at properties that were more suited for a beginning or someone who only had weekend hours to get major projects done.

In Feb we found a place that was 20 minutes down the road closer to Shelton. It's a smaller lot but it has had animals in the past and it is FLAT. We couldn't deal with the incline of our current property. It was too much for us to handle. Maybe in ten years after we have more experience under our belts.

General detail: 2.5 acres, flat, some wooded area mostly pastures, barn already on the property, and it was a big fixer-upper. The purchase price was less than what we paid for this house. So by making the switch we will be reducing our debt and be closer to our long-term goals.  It would free up cash in the long-term once we sold this place to do some of the bigger projects.

For the past several months we have been working on the new house so we can move in during August. We have built an office for my husband in the barn and a freestanding office for my business on the property.  We still need to get electricity out to my office but we are working on it. The next big goal is a greenhouse. The garden is already in, though I am only visiting it a few times a week for upkeep.

Other things I have learned: I love the area. Hoodsport and Shelton are great areas. The climate is great and the community is also really good. At the new place, we already have met the neighbors, one has heavy equipment for digging, bushwhacking, and such. A good friend of ours has also purchased a place in the neighborhood we are moving to, and it will be very nice to have someone 4 houses down who lives as we do. Our neighborhood is a 'horse' community so it has some interesting rules that actually protect homesteading rights. I thought I would never buy a place with a HOA.

Outside of the house updates. We have found a butcher that will process your own grown animals like deer, cows, pigs, and lamb. More local meat sources besides that, and a small great town that usually has what we need. Then in Olympia, I found a great local resource for heritage breeds for chickens and ducks. So if you have any questions let me know! I am also connecting with other homesteaders in the area.
1 year ago
I am up in Hoodsport, WA and it is my first year on the property. The info I found was the 2nd week of April so I am using 4/17 as my date to start counting from. For me any of my plants that are frost sensitive I will either be using water-walls, floating row covers or making covers for the first two weeks after they are planted in the garden. I think I will be in the clear by the first week of May. The wall of waters I take off the plants in May but I repostion them in the garden to provide extra warm for the heat loving plants. In mid-June I will finally take them out of the garden.

I am using raised beds since my soil is actual rock with some clay thrown in for good measure.

That's my plan but its my first year on this property so I have no idea how it will go. My biggest thing is to document everything. I am trying to save up to get a weather station to help me record daily information so I can keep track year over year.
I keep a list ranked in the order of when things must get done. I then work only on the item on the top of the list that needs to be done the soonest.

This is our first year on this property, so we are putting everything in from scratch and I have to keep reminding myself that perfection is the enemy of the done. This year doesn't need to be perfect, I just need to make progress.

If that means you focus on getting the greenhouse done, so you can get the seeds in it. That's a win, only work on the greenhouse until it is good enough to get the seeds in it.

Right now top 5 in order are:
- Find someone to deliver raised bed garden soil, onions needs to be in already
- Must decide on a date for last frost
- Create a calendar for seed starting via garden planner
- Create space for seed starting
- Build an additional raised bed
2 years ago
I would put cardboard over it if you have some available, layer it nice and thick, and place some rocks over it incase of wind. It should help kill the roots. Then build your raised beds on the cardboard.
2 years ago
Thank you for the advice about not feeling bad. I hate cutting down trees but man they are growing like weeds in the few areas that get direct sun and I need that area in the garden for annuals short term and perennials long-term. In the phase 2 area, the fir trees are strangling the apple trees we have.

The trees in the kitchen garden area are all super small except for the old cherry tree.

I think we are gonna need someone to do the tree cutting work on that since it is too close to the house and my tree cutting experience is with much much smaller trees.

The other property we own has several giant trees that were cut down for the driveway and house before we had to pause the job. How does one find a mill to buy the trees? We have several nice oaks and cedars that are just sitting on the other property at the moment. They are too big for us to use as is.

2 years ago
We finally moved into our new home. Bardhwood.

5 acres, hilly mostly forest narrow lot. Totally worth it. I have attached a picture of the house and the only cleared areas that get sunlight on the property.

The kitchen garden is going to go in between the house and the garage, in the blue area. The yellow area has some overgrown trees that we are going to remove to increase sunlight. Phase 1 is the kitchen garden since we both have full-time jobs and all of the garden beds are going to need to be raised. The soil is so freaking rocky. Like, I am gonna have all the rock I need to line paths with cause woah. The raised route seems the easiest given all of the stone. I started gathering all the leaves I can find, to compost in the areas that I am going to put the beds in.

The garage in the picture is around 37 feet long and the house is 29 feet long. Nothing is at right angles but those dimensions are close.

Before I get to into my planning phase any thoughts and ideas? This is a very different property than what we were going to build on so I wiped the planning board clean.
2 years ago
It is amazing the changes that can happen in 9 months. Well, we had to put the build on hold for the land we already owned. The costs to build kept going up until it reached the point that I was like no - we can buy a house on a different 5 acre lot elsewhere for half that price. So that's what we did.

We are still in the Olympic's, now down in Hoodsport. Our 5 acres does have a house on it, mostly forest lot on the upper of a hill. So very different land we are working with. We have been here 8 weeks and I have been spending time trying to get the house unpacked and our home offices set up.

Inventory of the land still needs to happen but what I know already:
5 plus apple trees that haven't been touched in 5 years
2 blueberry bushes
2 cherries trees that I think have to go, one to make food for the kitchen garden
lots of rock, everywhere (I think I know what I am lining my beds with besides fallen trees)

I have completed a compost bin and we have picked up our half pig and a quarter cow for the season. Lots of planning is going to need to happen during the rainy season.
2 years ago
I have a meyers lemon, lime, and pink lemon tree in pots in my bedroom at the moment. My goal is to grow them in an unheated greenhouse at the property when we get one in a year or so. They first need to grow up a bit.

I am going to have to look into Owari Satsuma mandarin, my partner was asking about orange. I love citrus for cooking hence the lemons and limes but a mandarin - hmmm. I wonder if my cedar chest can hold another potted mini tree.
3 years ago
Our land is located near Quilcene. Yeah, I have noticed the microclimates. All the advice I have gotten is to keep a journal for frost dates and such for different areas of your property. We haven't had a chance to hike besides on our property. Most of our hiking is down in Oregon when visiting family but I am very excited to get to know the area better. I have a local eatery already tried and tested for breakfast.

My dream was to find land with huckleberries and blueberries on it. So far I haven't found any. We have a small patch of blackberry which I'll pick but not spread from its current location near the road. We will have to plant our own and I want to do a set of fruit trees but it is all gonna come down to how much we want to clear treewise.

I love the PNW and both of us wouldn't move anywhere else. We are thankful that we have been stockpiling for the house and have reduced our expenses as low as we have. This weekend we are walking the site to situate the house with the builder and we are going to start marking trees that need to go. I want to get started on our site map for things like garden areas, all the unofficial creeks, house site, and future workshop.

After this last round of numbers, we have to cross the garage/workshop off the list which hurts like no tomorrow. We are going to have to save up over a few more years prices are rising faster than anticipated.
3 years ago
I have started to post in various forums and realized I didn't introduce who I am or what I am currently working with.

My spouse and I are office workers - I own a remote tax and accounting firm while my spouse works for a tech company. We are currently in the Seattle area and purchased a 5-acre lot a few years ago on the Olympic peninsula.

I am so excited since we are finally making progress on the property. We have a well plan, septic plan, and finalish numbers to take to the bank for financing. The well will be hopefully put in within the next 2 weeks - we are on the schedule. Once that is done we need the rest of the permits to move forward once the bank approves of the construction loan.

Why am I here? I like to stay pretty close to my food and I am worried about what is going on with the world. I plan on growing a good chunk of our meals once we are out on the property next year. We have made changes to our current lifestyle to support local meat sources and farmers markets when possible. I have always gardened and canned food. I grew up in the middle of nowhere upstate NY and for a long time I wanted to start a farm on the old horse farm we had in the family. That hope was dashed in high school when we lost the family land, I ended up going to college for accounting since I figured I would always have a job. It has worked out for me.

Our goals for our property include a large garden, orchard, ducks, chickens, maybe rabbits, along with keeping our woods in healthy shape. It was logged about 80ish years ago, and does have some nice oaks on the property still and we don't want to clear the land by any means. We are building our house in a clearing, though we will need to clear some area for the garden.

Overall, I have a ton to learn about living in the woods. This year is mostly doing what we have, canning food, gardening in the space I have and buying locally.

Oh and my name is Toni =P
3 years ago