Today is a typical example of what MW must do to keep us afloat. He got up at 4:30 this morning and is on the road making a 600 mile round trip to a location in California to work on a generator for about one hour. Of course he is compensated for travel time, fuel, and the labor for that one hour. His work has taken him to New Mexico, Utah, California, and all over Arizona. We are thankful for the ability to earn something, but sincerely hope that the homestead will begin to make the lion's share, if not all, of our monetary needs. Being a family which works together and lives sustainably off the land is our ultimate dream, and it's starting to come true, one step at a time!
One of the significant steps we have taken this year has been to clear the land for the garlic crops. It may only be about 7,000 square feet, but it's a great way to get our feet wet in raising garlic. We have our eyes on other locations on the property to increase the size to about one acre for the second year, if not the first year.
The goats are a special resource we hope to make use of starting next spring. With their milk we hope to make fudge, kefir, cheese, yogurt, butter, etc. Selling fudge ought to be yet another source of income. Cheeses may be in the future if we decide to get all of the state requirements fulfilled. Even the eggs from the hens will become another source of income.
This area we cleared the goats and llamas out of is about 3,000 square feet. I've never had a garden that big before, so I don't know how much we'll get out of it. I can safely say we'll be able to freeze and preserve a great deal of produce from it, saving a fortune on the grocery bill. However, I'm hoping we can still sell some to supplement the garlic crop.
I think crops like cabbage, fresh and dried herbs, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, winter squash, pumpkins...
...and maybe even beans, such as Black Eyed Peas,
and freshly cut flowers like zinnias and sunflowers ought to add diversity to the garlic.
Meanwhile, I must get creative about rounding up some extra cash. You see, the new school year is nearly upon us, and I need to buy the books and materials I'll need. In addition, I've got a very special project I would like to participate in. It's called the "Sketchbook Project: 2011 Tour," offered by the Art House Co-Op in Brooklyn New York. Here's their link if you're interested in checking it out. http://www.arthousecoop.com/projects/sketchbookproject Like they say on their site, it's like a concert tour, only with sketchbooks. I have not had a great deal of time on my hands which allows me to paint on any regular basis. However, I think I do have it in me to go ahead and enjoy the relaxed feeling of simply sketching. This opportunity just gives me a fun reason (not that I really need one) to sketch away.
Before I rolled the coins, this jug was about one quarter full. As you can see in the pic above with the rolled coins, I still have more to roll. We'll be able to purchase all the school supplies and still have quite a bit left over to cover the cost of joining the Art House Tour. A wonderful thing considering this has been about six years of accumulated coinage!
Knowing I'll be able to do a sketchbook for the Tour, I felt the need to do a sketch to reassure myself that I can still draw. During a one hour storm, I sat down and sketched this pen and ink. Ok, I think I can do this! I can't hardly wait to get started!