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Where have we been?!?!?!

Yes, blogging land, it has been a while. There's been a lot of transition for us in our little homestead, and nearly a year ago, we returned to the suburban life for the current time. Have we given up on our dreams of wide open spaces and green acres?  Certainly not. Is homesteading still something we love or would love to do? Definitely. Here's the thing. Homesteading is what you make and how you define it.  If you expect me to be a purist, you are far from mistaken about me.  My life is far from purist.  Bits and pieces of life are combined into a recipe that is of my own making and best suited to my own life priorities and goals. Do things sometimes get a bit mis-mashed and messy?  Yes.  But it is always worth re-tweaking and making something unique, beautiful, delicious. It's all in your priorities and goals.
Pink Yarrow
Yarrow, pretty landscape addition and pollinator plant
 For me, having a manageable sized garden and quantity of produce is high.  Along with short commutes. And less stress.  And possible early retirement.  And extra time with my kids.  And a beautiful home garden. And about a thousand other reasons that I could share over a cup of coffee. Are we still really homesteading, though, you ask? You bet.  We're apiarists, cooks, preservers, gardeners, and poultry fanciers, all on 1/4 an acre. This year, we've... 
  • given bees another go. After a late-winter starve-out last year, our country hive perished.  Here in the suburbs they're going like gangbusters!
  • planted blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and hardy kiwi--we're staying a while and it's worth the time investment.
  • kept our staple crops of sweet potatoes, potatoes, and peppers, and they've gotten a great start.
  • been able to actually plan and accomplish a real fall garden, since I've not been as overwhelmed.
  • learned a TON about gardening in the semi-shade, as it predominates our yard (a few problem trees are coming out this winter!)
  • augmented our garden beauty, with a mind for the bees--black-eyed-Susan's, yarrow, purple coneflower, liatris, hostas, lavender, campanula, sage, oregano, roses, bergamot, sedum, lamb's ears, lemon balm, comfrey, chives, and salvia are all new to my little home--and it is good for a gardener's apiary-loving soul.  Borage, poppy, crocus, thyme, and others are on the to-add list.
  • added Aracuanas to our flock of chickens and a few fresh blue eggs are already rewarding our efforts.
  • learned so much about permaculture and urban farming.  They prioritize using your current space and making the most of it. For this point in my full-time-work life, a maximally managed 1/4 acre lot is about all that I can handle well.
Painting Hives
Sugar water syrup keeps our bees busy while they await their new home
Did we do some pruning compared to the old homestead? Definitely, but it's been a good time to remember to minimalize my homesteading and choose quality over quantity.  I'm keeping busy by honing my other homesteading skills. 
  • We no longer have dairy goats...and I learned some key things about choosing animals and genetics and historical husbandry of said animals in order to actually get the production and husbandry methods I'm envisioning.  They are definitely on my future dream list, but for now, I'm excluded from owning any for several reasons.
  • We no longer have pasture pigs...but we learned all we'd need to do them again heavily in the future, including an awesome small-farmer feeder, and the amount of headache that a lack of procrastination saves all homesteading endeavors *cough* castration *cough* (common sense, I know!).
  • We no longer have a giant garden...but a short commute comes with that--which is better for a smaller, more intensively-managed, less-stressful, more beautiful, productive garden.
Bee Entrance
Bees making good use of their lower entrance...note the spilled pollen.
Do I still have plans and goals?  Definitely.
  • Two or three old trees need downed and recycled into terraces and mulch.
  • Said trimmings will allow us to terrace and heavily mulch our chicken run area, adding to their bug-foraging, keeping their run mud free, and increasing the beauty of the space.
  • I'd like to add another terrace or two of berries (red raspberries, and some honey berries are on my wish list!)...and another terrace or two for vegetables. These terraces would allow me to nearly double my cultivated area.
  • Rabbits are still on my radar and would definitely work out nicely in the city.  Dan mows for two other yards plus our own.  There is plenty of grass hay to be harvested for fall and winter and there are plenty of trimmings and weeds from our own yard during the growing season.
  • An asparagus bed would be a great addition for the back of a deep border turned vegetable garden.  Lasagna layering that bed this fall should allow for a good home next spring.
  • I'd love to expand the apiary to a final of 3-4 hives. Currently we have one.  Splits vs. new packages are on the horizon!
So, despite the silence, we've been busy and blooming where we're planted for now. :) 
Hydrangea Dew
Recent rains on my hydrangeas
 

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