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Monday, November 30, 2009

Last Post by: Pioneer Living. Net

Our Homestead
at 03:18 PM on July 26, 2009

After our first week on the property in March, we have come to realize that we are truly living the pioneer life. A little about our property. The gentleman who purchased the property sometime in the 1930?s, and his wife raised 11 children on their 80 acres of land.

The Mrs. passed away around 1990, and the Mr. passed away in 2003.

The property was then divided up into eight 10 acre tracts. We were fortunate enough that one of the daughters was selling her 10 acres that just happens to be the original homestead. There is a house and a small barn on the property. The house has not been attended to for the last 6 years, ceiling falling down, floors are falling through, windows broken, not to mention the rodents that have since made this home their new residence. It is in really bad shape. Once we get rid of the rodents and possible snakes we will gut the home and turn it into our small animal barn to house our chickens, rabbits and goats at night.

There is approximately 5 acres of prime farm land with rich sandy loam soil and 5 acres of forest. The primary cash crops that were grown on this property consisted of strawberries, cucumbers, peanuts and corn. The family garden plot consists of a ½ acre completely fenced to keep the critters out with trees planted on the perimeter of the garden plot.

There is an 80? hand dug well, that has the cleanest, freshest water we haveever tasted. After two days of John working on re-installing the pump that was provided to us for the well, we attempted to prime and start it up just to find out it was shot. Thank goodness the hardware store in town had a pump, as we were in need of water. We both worked on installing the new pump the next day and jumped for joy when the pump started pumping out water that evening.

You never realize how important water is until you don?t have it for three or four days. Water is the most important element for human survival. We tested the water with a water test kit and every single test came back perfect. The water is crystal clear, cold, tastes and smells clean.

There is an old barn on the property that is in pretty good condition. You can tell that the owner built this himself, even down to sawing his own lumber as there is still some bark on some of the lumber as well as all the 2x4?s in the building are true 2 inches by 4 inches! It took 2 days just to clean out two sections of the barn. One section that was used as a pantry/storage will take a little longer as there are still jars and jars of canned blackberries, potatoes, beans and who knows what else. Now mind you none of this food is going to be any good, but it does show us that this family lived off this land for the last 70 years and we intend to do the same. There are dozens, and dozens of mason jars that we will be able to use once they are cleaned and sterilized. Carrie was thrilled to see that as we will only have to purchase new lids and rings.

We are going to see what we can salvage from the house before it is torn down. We are then going to turn the barn into our living quarters. One of the boys who grew up on this property stopped by to pay us a visit. We learned that the original home had burned down and they had to live in the small barn for a while until they could afford to build another house. I can?t imagine trying to raise babies in the barn, but back then, you do what you have to do to survive. It is kind of ironic that we are going to take advantage of this same shelter as our living quarters on our homestead (See Photo page).

During our visit, we were told that there are two pecan trees, several black walnut trees and 4 hickory nut tree. There is also bing cherry trees,2 persimmon trees, and wild blackberries. We were shown where the deer trails were and informed us that there are wild turkey as well. We thought that this was a great start for our new homestead with already established nut and fruit trees as well as an abundance of wild game.

The grass in the fields and the family garden plot are about three feet high, so it will have to be cut and we will need to turn the soil in the garden plot as we have been told that it is time to get your garden in. The days have been warm and sunny. Cabbage and broccoli can be planted now. We were told that potatoes need to be in by March 17th,then everything else right after that. Yes, we have a lot to do. All this work to do, just as the pioneers before us, as we have no modern day farm/garden equipment so it will have to be done by hand.

Thanks to all our readers,

John & Carrie

Co-editors, Pioneer Living

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