Exciting Updates (Sept. 14/22)

Dear Friend of Half-Acre Homestead,

I can hardly believe it’s been so many weeks since my last blog post. So much has happened since then! In this blog post you learn about how I sold my off-grid tiny home, my eco-cabin plans are now for sale on my website, and a garden update that includes my garden map for this year.

First of all, YES! I sold my off-grid tiny home this month. This was my most special tiny home that I lived in for five years while looking for land, buying land, and building my permanent eco-cabin, which I now live in. Yes, it certainly was emotional to see my “baby” being towed away to its new home, as you see in the photo above. I believe my exact words as I saw it at the stage of the photo were “My House!!!!” However, the buyers are wonderful people. I wish them both the very best and hope that this wonderful home is just as good to them as it was for me.

Second, I am so excited that I am finally able to make my eco-cabin plans available for sale as a pdf! These plans are to the Ontario Build Code, which is quite a solid building code, as I understand it. The plans contain all of the information you need to build the 18 by 24 foot eco-cabin. However, due to variations in building codes, you may need to have your own local architect sign off on them or alter them to suit your local code.

Having plans to start with can still save you money when working with your local architect. I did this with one tiny home I designed, and it did save my architect time and therefore, saved me money. If you are potentially interested in buying these plans to start dreaming up your own dream cabin, you can email me at welcome@halfacrehomestead.ca . My eco-cabin’s small footprint and passive solar design features have built in savings in terms of heating that will save you thousands in the future. It is my dream to help our planet by spreading the word about this great little home!

 Here is a computer-generated image of the interior of the eco-cabin from my architect. This is part of the plans.

Third, despite my early challenges (see my last blog post if you have not already read it!), my garden is doing great now. My best producers are my two main zucchini plants and their little cousin zucchini plant. I don’t have any problem eating a zucchini a day! It is so rewarding to see my potato plants are starting to die off, signalling that harvest time is approaching for my wonderful Irish Cobbler potatoes. They are supposed to be the oldest potatoes in North America. Being of Irish heritage, this does mean something to me, but they also store well over winter and taste delicious! My mouth is watering just at the thought of being able to eat these again….like seeing an old friend again after a long time. Here is a photo of the corn and potatoes in the second bed around a month ago:

The potatoes continued to die back in August, except for the row on the far right, which still had some life in it yet.That row was made up of many of the smallest of my seed potatoes from last year’s harvest. We had a HUGE rain last night and I am now waiting for all of them to dry for a few days before I dig them up.

For fun, here’s a photo around one month later: potatoes have died back, Corn is nice and high, although I would have preferred it was all one height. I think this was because of shading from the high meadow plants combined with the fence.

This year, I have made my second attempt at growing late crop Rutabagas. Now, to be totally honest, I do not believe I have ever actually EATEN a Rutabaga. However, they are so nice and big and keep so well, that they have been on my self-sufficiency to do list for many years. Last year, I tried to plant them, but they did not do well. Weather could have been a factor. I am not sure I got them in at the right time, too.

This year, I dedicated a special area for them. I am growing the “York” variety, which has been an award winner at our major fall fair. As well, it is pretty disease resistant. In this photo, I have thinned out the first section of the row, and will finish thinning them out tomorrow.  You might be wondering why I have the hoops in place. That is simply to remind me not to step on that late planting area while wandering in the garden! Should I decide to keep these in the ground late, it will also be very easy to throw on a piece of plastic to extend their growing season.

A big success with these was that I saved all viable plants as I thinned them and transplanted them. So, I now have more rutabagas growing where some of the carrots didn’t take. It will be interesting to compare how these two groups of plants do as fall progresses.

For fun, here are the rutabagas one month later, too. The back has also been thinned. I am excited about the growth, especially of the front plants. This means that I have enough Boron in my soil. On the left you can see my giants turnips still growing. I store them in damp tea towels in perforated bags in the fridge. Stored that way, they last for months. When I need one, I just take it out. I usually oven roast them. On the right, you can see that my beans are basically done. These are pinto beans, so I am growing them for protein. They did very well along the fence this year. I added some extra peat to my sandy soil and mulched the plants once they emerged from the soil.

As promised, here is my garden map for this year (see below). You will see some of the plant areas are highlighted in blue: these were some of the early seedling and crop losses I wrote about in my last post. These were replanted, either by seed or whatever way I could, getting plants from friends or buying some locally. Most of the shortforms are pretty self-explanatory, but where they might be confusing, I have written them out of the map. Where you see a “P” and a checkmark is how I remind myself what’s been planted as I progress.

What is important about this is not that it’s perfect, but that I have it and it makes sense to me. If you haven’t recorded your planting yet, it’s not too late to draw something up so that you have it next spring to remind yourself. I hope this is encouraging to see that even a rough record like this can be effective. My new motto is “Having something done is better than waiting until it can be done perfectly.” Anyhow, there really is no perfection.

 I hope you have enjoyed this update on the sale of my off-grid tiny home, my eco-cabin plans and my garden. Stay tuned for some fun harvest and food preservation updates!

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