Let’s take a walkabout my zone 1 garden in the future food forest! *YouTube video*

On the day everything was wet here a few days ago and I did the tour of the future food forest I decided to tour what I call Zone 1. I am only about 1/3 of the way through the book Gaia’s Gardens about home scale permaculture BUT I am learning so much. I had never thought to include my front yard in the design, doh! I had thought I’d have grass and a rose garden and just pretty flowers and that’s it. Talk about feeling like a ditz!

 

So, I have dubbed this my zone 1 garden in the front yard and back yard that all already is fenced in on it’s own on the 8 acres overall and the front yard already has a lot of mature trees for shade to create that “canopy” affect that you really want in a mature food forest, or really that you NEED!

 

So now I’ve got plans in my head, I’ve drawn them out and I’ve talked about them on our Facebook page a lot so today in this video on YouTube I do a walkabout showing you this area in “real time video” and where I plan to put things! There are so many details I do not have planned out but rather just have the frame work figured out thus far!

 

If you have any ideas or suggestions I’d love to hear them!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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We have identified some of our trees!!!

I put this video on YouTube and shared it all over Facebook on local gardening groups asking for help in identifying a few trees in my front yard!

 

And success!!!!!!!!!

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I’d like to introduce to you my 3 trees in the front yard! They are Chinese Pistache Trees! This is what they will look like in a year or two when they’re more mature and healthy AND they get passed the straggly young phase!

 

 

Chinese Pistache Tree

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Love!!!!!!!! IF love was a tree I think it’d look something like this beauty!!!

 

Then on the west side of the front yard are two LIVE OAK trees!!!

 

This is what they look like young, like mine are.

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And then one day when it gets a little older it’ll look like this!

 

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I just love learning about these trees that are here so that I know how and when to prune them, how to properly care for them so that they can come back to life and be wonderful blessings on our homestead!! You will see these guys in future videos on the YouTube channel for sure!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Check out my WET future food forest!

We had a good 2 inches of rain here a little less than a week ago and when I went out to let the dogs out after the rain had stopped I decided to tour my future food forest and see where all it was holding water. Boy did I learn a lot! You can check out the video on YouTube here!!!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

If you like what you see here make sure you subscribe to the blog and the YouTube channel to stay up to date on our #startuphomestead adventures!!!

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Our first Christmas on the farm!

 

Our first Christmas on the farm is special to me because I always love this time of year but I also love to decorate for the holidays. A lot of our decorations we did have had been in storage for years so it was like getting all new stuff to start decorating here. Fun! I did decide not to buy Christmas lights because we had SOME and we didn’t need a ton and maybe next year when the farm is more established I will fee more like budgeting in to add more festive lights or something.

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I think I might have had the most fun decorating the gate. I love that we have this at the start of our property that I can change the decorations with the seasons and holidays. It makes me smile when I come home. I’d like to think that every so often my neighbors maybe enjoy it. But hey, even if they don’t, I love it and I guess that is what counts! =D

 

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Cute! The stuff along the top and the stars I did buy new but I got them at the dollar store! Lol! I didn’t spend more than $10 on a few new decor things to add to what we had.

 

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This is the gate from my parking area to the front porch. I love Poinsettias!

 

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I threw 2 strings of white isicle lights up along the front of the deck and that is really about it. I don’t enjoy hanging lights and we had so many that were broken and a tangled mess (a typical issue for most) that I didn’t want to fuss with it. The inside decor was more important to me because we see it all the time.

 

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I put together this cute center piece for the dining room table of all fake flowers from the dollar store, a red ribbon and some other little things. I really enjoyed having this on the table for the month!

 

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Sticker to go over the buffet with garland and poinsettias ON the buffet.

 

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Our festive dining room setup! =D

 

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Our tree!

 

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When we put this tree up I thought I’d write a whole blog post about how important a tree is or how symbolic it can be. But since I didn’t at the time and now the occasion has come and gone I thought I’d just say something breifly about why it is so important and symbolic to ME! I had my 1st son when I was 19. The first 9 years of his life our lives were closely tied in with my Mother. We either lived with her or really close to her. So Christmas was always about her tree, her decorations and when both of my boys would bring home homemade decorations from school they’d proudly go up on the tree. Well a couple of years ago I had so many special ornaments from my boys that I didn’t want them lost, broken or anything so I started separating our Christmas stuff. Then my Mom moved to Louisiana and I had a “hand me down” artificial Christmas tree. Two years ago when I thought I’d get a real tree I sold my fake tree. Then that next Christmas I didn’t get a real tree, we didn’t even decorate and instead left Az and spent the holidays in Louisiana with my Mom, my younger son and the rest of our family out there. So THIS year…after getting everything out of storage for the first time years…I found all those special ornaments. But we had no tree. I didn’t think about it and didn’t budget to buy a tree. I considered getting a real tree and I didn’t feel like I could afford it. So I went to the store on a whim and said “Screw it, I’m doing this!” and I bought a decent artificial tree with pre-lit lights (praise Jesus…if you don’t have one you don’t know what ease you’re missing, lol!). And you know what….I WAS PROUD! Because this was mine and my son’s first Christmas tree that we bought, all on our own, in our own house, on our first homestead, doing and living entirely on our own away from family and most of our friends and….I WAS PROUD! I let Riley setup the tree after we combed over our favorite special decorations and we really enjoyed ourselves. Once the tree was done I couldn’t help but stare at it and just feel proud of not only where we are but how far we’ve come! So THAT to me…is why a Christmas tree can be so symbolic. If you have ever spent a Christmas without a Christmas tree…the next time you have one you might realize just how special they are!

 

GIFTS!

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Seriously, this year everyone in my life totally outdid themselves. I’m wondering if everyone feels sorry for us out here in the boonies living on our own or if everybody was just “better off” financially this year but hey, either way, we have people in our lives that really care about us and have blessed us with an abundance of gifts!

 

I met a family recently on Facebook who is a family hoping to start homesteading soon and they started following my journey through this blog and my Facebook page and they asked if they could send me gifts for Christmas. I said there were several books I’d really been wanting to get myself so I sent them 5 examples. THEY SENT ME ALL 5!!!! I was totally shocked! Lol! Above are 4 that came in 1 day and the 5th one is below! I seriously can’t wait to get through these all, I’m so super excited about each one!!!!

 

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Then one of the gifts from my sister came in the mail unwrapped and it was these GORGEOUS blue vintage mason jars! OMG!!!!

 

TIME FOR FESTIVITIES!!!! Southern style!

 

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For Christmas Eve I made some hot chocolate to take to my Aunt’s house before we headed over.

 

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I put said hot chocolate in the mason jars my sister got me! How cute!

 

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At my Aunt’s Riley helped my Mom make fudge. Her and my Aunt Suzan came in from Louisiana for the holidays and it was wonderful to get to see them, all of them! This was one of the best holidays with a big part of my family in a long time!

 

CHRISTMAS MORNING CAME! And so did Santa….

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Almost all of these gifts under the tree are from my Mom and my sister Jennifer to Riley and myself! A lot of them came in the mail already wrapped and some for Riley I had to wrap but for a Christmas tree for just 2 people you can tell me we were very spoiled this year!

 

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Santa left a laptop under there for Riley! 😀 😀 😀 He noticed it right away…

 

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The dogs started out helping and then they ran outside. This is Riley digging in to find his laptop! He’s been asking for one hardcore for about 3-4 mths and since it will be useful in our homeschooling I told my Mom he could go ahead and have one now so she got it for him.

 

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A few of Riley’s presents that I’m most proud of really just because I always call him my “city boy in transition” because he still doesn’t totally understand the country life and such and so getting him into outdoor/country hobbies is my goal to help him realize how amazing this lifestyle of ours is! So he got new arrows for his bow for Christmas!

 

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He got another light saber so him and I can play together! Lol!

 

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He got a wood sword and a case and belt for it because he has this new obsession with swords so I figured I should start him out with a wood one!

 

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So Riley has had a pocket knife now for about 2 years that he earned in Cub Scouts but now that he’s getting older I figured he should graduate to a swiss army knife and then maybe next year when he’s 12 start carrying an actual hunting or survival knife! Progress. My boy is growing up on me!

 

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I got a ton of kitchen stuff for Christmas which is A-mazing! From my sister I got this glass mixing bowl set which I desperately needed….like…you don’t even know! Lol!

 

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My sister also got me this huge 128 piece home and auto tool kit! SO needed that! Love it!

 

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So we headed out super early, like 7am to go to my Aunt’s house to do Christmas morning presents with them after we did ours at home. We got to see the rare Christmas Full Moon sinking just before the sun rose on our drive over.

 

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Then to the east as the moon went down the sun came up behind the clouds and gave us this gorgeous view!

 

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My aunt’s Christmas tree! It is Minnie Mouse theme for the 3 year old grandbaby in the family, lol! I won’t share a ton of photos of my family as that is their life/privacy but I thought I’d share a few highlights.

 

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This is me and my cousin’s baby girl Amelia who is just a couple of mths ago. She’s my baby love and when I’m there I try to always have her, lol!

 

So while at my Aunt’s I got the rest of my presents from my Mom and all my family and they were totally over the top. I find it amazing that everybody totally listened to what I had said or hinted at as wanting. They all know that I’m trying to be this Pioneer Woman and that developing my cooking skills is really important to me. My Mom has seen the food pics I share on Facebook and I do that strictly because just a year or two ago I would never have dubbed myself a chef of any sort. But I’ve been working hard to go all natural, all organic, no processed food and in doing that you just have to learn how to cook. And when you’re learning how to cook you quickly realize what all cools and utensils and appliances you desperately need and which ones really aren’t that useful. So I told my Mom a few things I’d been wanting and the rest they ran with and I totally hit the jackpot!

 

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Mixing bowl set!

 

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Pasta Machine! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes!

 

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Canning mason jars!!!

 

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A peeler! This thing is awesome, we used it Christmas day for dinner to peel potatoes, lol! It’s great!

 

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A food dehydrator! Hello self sufficiency here I come!!!!

 

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A fry maker!!!! We will totally use this!!!

 

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My first cast iron set!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay! Pre-seasoned and even comes with a dutch oven! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve wanted this forever and my Mama did so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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The awesome, huge tool set from my Mom!

 

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A canning setup! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another step down the road of self sufficiency!

 

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Christmas Day sunset out in the desert! My cousin Amanda’s husband is an Arizona native and he likes to go out to the desert for a lot of reasons and he wanted us to all go out to do a bon fire and just hang out so we did! Them and their kids and me and Riley!

 

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Here is Riley helping my cousin’s husband start the fire.

 

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Me and Riley enjoying the fire!

 

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Riley and his cousins playing in the fire, lol!

 

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An Arizona desert bon fire on Christmas Day at sunset! It was cold and a lil windy but the kids loved it and so I had fun!

 

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS!

My cousin’s 2 older daughters wanted to come to our house for a sleepover so we had them over and other than selfies and being piled up on the couch we watched movies and stayed up late, lol! They ended up staying over all weekend!

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Fun times with the kids!

 

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Sunday running my monthly errands to go grocery shopping I decided to spoil myself a little more (I totally didn’t need the additional spoiling but I did need the jacket) and bought myself a new hoodie! I’ve had a black CenturyLink zip up hoodie for over 5 years from when I worked there and it’s…on the outs! So I bought a gray pull over hoodie that is Browning and has PINK CAMO!!! =D I love it!

 

I hope you guys all had a fabulous Christmas and I really just had to put this post together because I don’t want to ever forget just how amazing of a time we had and how lucky we are to have such good family! We have had a rough last year or two but all the great things that have happened this year on top of the quality time and conversations with my family this holiday season has really been not only a firm reminder of how lucky we are but also a much needed emotional reprieve for myself personally!

 

I hope everybody had a chance to recharge their batteries and spend the holiday season feeling loved!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

P.S. You KNOW in the very near future I’m going to be sharing a post about using each one of those amazing Christmas gifts for the first time because I’m so damn excited to cook with my cast iron, use that food dehydrator, make homemade pasta (Gahhhhh!) and everything! I’m just so excited about them all so when I do get to use them I’ll totally share how fun it was!

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