Some followers have been wondering where we have been and what has happened to our blog posts.
While I wanted to start writing some serious blog posts about homesteading, life around our own property has been keeping us a little too busy. But I knew it was time to share a little bit about what we’ve been up to – what’s worked out and what hasn’t!
Back in mid-February (2018) I was installing a propane heater in our home and somehow ended up pulling a muscle in my knee. I am still not sure what happened or what I did. Unfortunately I ended up going through an x-ray, MRI, and subsequent knee surgery, which I ultimately didn’t need, but that’s a story for another day…
Our First Homestead Garden
Soon after my knee healed up, my wife, Cheri, and I began our gardening adventure. We opted to build a small raised garden bed that would allow us to experiment. We still had to learn what we could and could not grown at our new homestead in Tennessee.
We found vegetable plants galore at our local produce stand and at a Mennonite community a couple of hours’ drive away. Soon we had a variety of peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, and lettuces along with some raspberry bushes.
Cheri started started carrots, arugula, and a few other veggies from seed as well. Unfortunately none of these produced much. It seems we may have planted too late as they mostly like the cold/cooler weather to survive. Our spring just got too hot too fast.
I also enclosed the raised beds in a hand built enclosed area to thwart any intrusion by deer and other hungry critters. It seems to be working to keep them at bay.
So far we’ve enjoyed a nice supply of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and kale. We are waiting to see what the broccoli does, but it may be too hot for those plants as well now. We’ll keep our fingers crossed anyway.
Homestead Cooking Challenges
We’ve been in our cabin for just over a year now, but we still don’t have an oven. With so many projects to complete, it just hasn’t yet made it to the top of our priority list. We figure we’ll get to the stove when we turn our attention to finishing our kitchen area with cabinets and countertops.
For now, Cheri has been preparing our meals with a slow cooker, microwave, and toaster oven. With summer fast approaching, however, we decided to invest in a large liquid propane gas grill complete with a side burner. This would provide us with many more options for cooking and keep the heat out of our cabin.
A Place to Grill
As is typical of much of our homesteading experience, one project leads to another. Investing in a grill was no exception because, after spending all that money on it, we didn’t want to leave it out in the elements. So we decided to build a covered deck to keep it – and us – sheltered.
We decided to build the grill deck off to the side of the small existing porch. Our intention is to extend the front porch area to create a screened sitting room, but we don’t want the grill taking up that space. Extending to the side also allowed the cabin itself to provide added support for the deck.
We purchased most of the materials to the grill deck from our local hardware/lumber supply store, but we’ve found the best deal on metal roofing at Rocky Top Metals in the Mennonite community in Spencer, Tennessee. It’s a bit of a drive for us and requires two trips – one to place and pay for the other, another to pick it up – but the money we save makes it worth the effort. Plus we we get to pick up some home-grown produce and delicious baked goods while we’re in the neighborhood which is always a treat!
For now the grill deck is open but we plan to screen it in along with the extended front porch.
If you happen to have some interest in building a deck like this, stay tuned for my next blog post. I’ll be sharing how I constructed ours along with simple instructions on how to build your own.
Our Next Project
Next up, we will finally be installing a ceiling in our cabin. Because we’ve looked at the insulation long enough! We’ve decided to go with a vintage-industrial look using roofing metal. We’ll share how that goes once we’ve completed the process.
As always, feel free to ask a question or leave a comment sharing your homesteading experiences. I’d love to hear from you!