What do Homestead tasks look like in July on the Pacific Northwest? Today I’m sharing a sneak peak into our busy month here at Wandering Hoof Ranch. To us happiness is Homesteading. Heartfelt hardwork, doing more of what you love with whom you love more often. I can’t wait to share with you all the endless possibilities for this beautiful time of year to bring joy and happiness to your homestead!
Starting our homestead 5 years ago all began when we bought 10 acres of land as complete beginners. It was a great thing to do in our early twenties, right after university and getting married it felt like the perfect opportunity for us as we waited for our family to start growing.
But to our surprise it wasn’t easy, it was honestly very overwhelming because homesteading is such a steep learning curve. There are many homesteading skills to aquire, and it’s not just planting something in the ground and thinking it will grow or buying a calf and thinking it will bring in the dough come butcher time.
We’ve learned the secrets to better homesteading management to help us start making money instead of our hobby being a money sucking nightmare.
JULY HOMESTEAD TASKS
HAPPINESS IS… JULY EDITION
This month I’m starting a new series of blog posts to help you as a beginner homesteader, because I know that our story is not different than yours. In fact, most people burn out when they dive into something big and exciting without a clue, like trying to being completely self sufficient when you don’t know where to start.
I truly believe that we’ve all chosen to homestead, no matter where we live, because it makes us happy. The hopeful feeling that the hardwork will pay off and the skills we learn will be passed down to our children again after what feels like a big self sufficiency gap has been wedged between the last few generations.
But, I also know that life is hard lately. If you’re trying to start it all with a new family, and homesteading with babies and kids feels impossible. Or maybe you’re working full time and fitting it all in on evening and weekends.
At the start of 2020, I set out our year in black and white with a plan. Doesn’t a plan feel amazing?! I love a good plan. Anyways, with any plan comes major hurdles that get in the way like post partum depression, a pandemic and strange weather.
But the rest of 2020 doesn’t have to be this way. So half way through the year I’m sharing how things have changed since I’ve discovered the secrets to happy homesteading!
Let’s conquer those hurdles together, let’s enjoy the journey and find happiness again in our homestead life.
HARVEST HOMESTEAD TASKS
Our zucchini and pumpkin plants are about to explode with a big harvest! Can you believe that the seeds I planted never took, but seeds started popping up in the old chicken coop run? Half of my tomatoes and zucchini plants started there!
If you’ve planted some too, then you’ll need to start getting ready for using it up! Check out my favourite recipes with Zucchini.
Tomato plants are about to burst soon as well. August-October, our main meals are filled with tomatoes. Lunch and breakfast consists of toast and tomato sandwiches often with a fried egg. Dinners include garden salads, homemade pizza and lots of chickpea and tomato curry.
Bags of frozen tomatoes fill the freezer space as I start to preserve my harvest for tomato sauces, salsa, chutneys and more.
Freezing is the easiest and best method to preserve them for later use. Frozen tomatoes can be added to soups, stews and pasta sauces. It’s a great way to add the flavour of summer to winter time meals.
ORCHARD HOMESTEAD TASKS
New fruit trees and fruit bushes will need good deep waterings during the heat of the summer. Pick fruit sooner than later to keep energy reserved in the root system.
With fruit trees happily growing and producing, deer start to appear to graze. Don’t forget to shut the orchard gate or they will eat all the leaves! Don’t ask me how I know 🙁
Early varieties of blueberries, raspberries, cherries and apples will start to be ready for picking. Go ahead and bake a delicious blueberry pie with this blueberry pie filling recipe and start making apple sauce or apple butter with early producing apples.
PLANTING HOMESTEAD TASKS
Planting season is not over yet! There’s still lots to grow to extend your growing and harvest season.
FALL GARDEN PREPARATIONS
This month is the perfect time to start preparing the fall garden beds. Our spring harvests are finishing up and I’m filling in the beds with new plants like kale, beets, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and much more.
I once was completely overwhelmed by planting a fall garden, but in fact it’s much new favourite gardening task. Extending the harvest season, reduces our grocery bill ten fold and helps us eating healthy organic vegetables longer. It’s a win win.
Plan your fall garden now using our free garden planner!
Clueless about where to start?
- Extend Your Gardening Season
- Save Money at the Grocery Store and
- Harvest Fresh Greens All Winter
… just by planting a fall garden?! YES YOU CAN! LEARN MORE HERE
Foraging in the summer makes me feel like a happy little squirrel gathering and storing nuts for the winter. It’s also fun to watch them along side you when foraging in the forest!
This summer has been amazing for foraging berries so far on the Pacific Northwest. There has been a long productive salmonberry season.
We also started foraging huckleberries and thimble berries. I have never seen huckleberries as productive as I have this year.
Go pick berries and flash freeze them for winter storage. Berries are perfect to have on hand for smoothies, muffins, and pies! You’ll need to use our best butter pie crust for the perfect summer berry pie!
HAY & OTHER ANIMAL FEED
Does hay count? We’ve been busy foraging hay from neighbouring fields that doesn’t get grazed by animals to stock up for the fall and winter. Raising animals through the winter can be expensive and this is one of the ways that we can afford to keep our cows.
I’ve been reading lots about foraging edible plants in my area, we’ve been camping and I’m taking the kids for lots of walks and hikes through our local forests. They now shout out what they find as we learn new plants together. It’s amazing and makes my heart sing!
Foraging for wild berries seems very elementary in the foraging world. There are endless wild edibles, plants and herbs in your backyard waiting to be discovered. Join me in my own foraging journey with the Foraging Course from The Herbal Academy!
My husband is a major fisherman. He’s always caught between a crossroads when it comes to fishing, hunting or farming as his favourite hobby. I’m just grateful to reap the rewards of each for our family!
This summer we’ve caught a lot of trout, ate crayfish for the first time, gathered oysters and mussels and are hoping to have the large boat ready to go catch salmon and lingcod next month.
(PST. NATURE IS A FREE SOURCE OF HAPPINESS! )
As the spring garden comes to a close in July, I’ve harvested a few vegetables to preserve for the winter. I see the squirrels busy in the forest doing the same thing and I can’t help but feel a stronger connection to nature.
I pickled radishes for the first time using my aunts recipe, and was completely amazed at just how easy it was to grow and preserve these tasty little treats!
We harvested our garlic and it’s currently drying in the woodshed in a shady spot. A few weeks before we harvested it we harvested the scapes for pickled garlic scapes.
Soon we will divide the bulbs into seed garlic for October and eating garlic. It stores remarkably well in brown paper bags in a dark cool space for the winter.
We raise Scottish Highland Beef Cattle on our homestead. We have been busy recording our cows heats, and using rotational grazing to keep our cows and fields in good health. Our steers are booked for holiday at the end of the grazing season.
We also raise meat chickens in the summer time, we’re able to raise and sell enough chickens to have enough roasting chickens to last all year long. It’s amazing, and nothing beats fresh organic chicken that you raised!
The backyard chickens are laying extremely well this summer, we receive 1 egg a day from all of our chickens. I couldn’t be happier. The kids are having fun feeding them the veggie and garden scraps and I’m loving skipping eggs from my grocery list!
HANDMADE HOMESTEAD TASKS
I often take a break from creating handmade items in the spring as gardening and other busy homestead tasks start up. It’s not until July when there’s a lull between gardening and the harvest that I take the time to start creating again.
I suggest using this time to start creating seasonal and holiday gifts. There’s nothing like sitting around the evening camp fire and knitting up Christmas sweaters!
SUMMER HOMESTEAD TASKS & PROJECTS
Our barn has just went through our major spring cleaning routine. It’s often done just after the cows go on the field and the hay has ran out. This year it happened when we started cutting the hay as we spent most of the spring repairing and building fences for the orchard and fields instead of cleaning!
We will also be doing some major building repairs in the barn before winter comes including fixing the roof and shelter area. I’d love to paint the barn this summer, but I’ve passed it off to the next 5 years list and am trying to forget about it. The seasons just seem to be flying by lately!
Lastly, I’m planning on planting a herb container garden along the front and side of the farmhouse. Next year my hope is to have the front of the house resided and painted with a beautiful walkway, rock garden with the herb pots.
We did get our front yard landscaped last summer so when I look out my front windows now I feel proud and happy with what I see. This was more important than the curb appeal!
Our biggest priorities for the year included cultivating what we already had to make the most of the year. It’s like a part of me knew what would hit in March….
Anyways with that enjoying our family, garden and outdoor living space is our summer priority. So far that’s looked like taking a little camping trip to come home with fresh eyes and gratitude.
Sometimes stepping away and coming back to a large project is the only way to really see the accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be a vacation, it can easily just be before pictures.
I’m enjoying the garden since I had the help from family to transform the old greenhouse into a playhouse for the kids. We resided it with reclaimed wood and I painted the trim red. Now by backyard view with the growing garden and the kids playhouse brings me a lot of needed joy!
I’m not going to worry about the weeds in the garden anymore after a good friend and colleague reminded me that they help retain the water and mulch around already growing plants!
WAYS WE ARE CELEBRATING IN JULY
- Writing this post as a monthly reflection of what we HAVE done instead of what we NEED TO DO!
- Eating fresh from the garden vegetables
- Playing in the forest with the kids and foraging together
- Fishing and foraging date nights instead of restaurant dates
- counting hay bales and feeling accomplished with a cold beer
- planning our end of the season camping trip to start fall foraging and hunting season
- Each mason jar pop during canning season I give a little cheer!
PLAN YOUR HOMESTEAD TASKS AND CELEBRATIONS!
PS. It’s not too late to grab your Gardening and Sustainability Bundle below! Get it soon before it goes away til next Spring! Pst. there’s still lots of great resources that are still applicable for summer and fall homesteading!