Welcome to Back to Basics Homestead

The Cormier family would like to formally welcome you to Back to Basics Homestead, our new piece of heaven we'll be working with to become more self sufficient in the food, energy and economic sense.  We chose the name Back to Basics Homestead because our goal is to simplify our lifestyle while learning some old school trades/crafts, learning to be more self sufficient... the theme back to basics just fit.  Read our About Us page for more background information and our old blog Sustainable Urban Homestead where we started this lifestyle change.  We worked on our self sufficiency goals in our Urban/City Homestead, and took those learns skills with us to the country.  Which brings us to where we are today...

Our house is a newer home with in-law suite built on a 2 acre piece of land where an old farm house once stood.  Still on the property is a large shed where we currently house tools and tractor.  My parents live in the in-law suite and travel south for the winter, lucky them ;o)  The 2 acres is plenty for our plans for now, but hopefully we'll be able to purchase some of the land behind our home down the road.

We currently have a basic row garden, about 20' x 5o', growing potatoes, corn, carrots, tomatoes, bush/pole beans, cucumbers, etc... the staples of a Canadian garden.  Our plans however are to convert this row garden to a walkable raised bed garden system and implement other growing techniques like Potato Towers and other vertical growing methods to maximize our space.  A greenhouse, cold/hot frames are also in the works to extend our growing season up here in the north.

Planting a small fruit orchard of Apples and cherries in the back is part of our first five years plan and some grapes in the front.  Back yard plans also include a cobblestone deck with pergolas for more grapes and hemlock horse style fencing to define our property lines and segregate the different parts of the yard.

As you can see, after only just over 6mths in our new home, we do have many plans ;o)  Of course those will change and evolve, but you need to have a general direction if you're going to move forward at all.

Hope you join us in our quest to be more self sufficient and share your experiences as well by commenting and visiting.  We're always looking for new information and personal experiences so feel free to share ;o)

A few more pictures as the house and property looked in August 2011, our first summer

  

Thanks for reading, hope you subscribe, friend, share and visit us often... but most of all welcome to our Journey!!

Back to Basics Homestead

Homemade Upside Down Tomato Planters

Homemade Topsy Turvy Tomato PlanterI've been wanting to try growing Tomatoes in Upside Down Planters for the last couple years, but time just didn't permit it.  We lucked out while looking for new fishing pools and stumbled upon some 5 gallon buckets.  These were food grade buckets and looked liked they must have blown off a truck or something.

We brought them home, washed them out and decided to make 3 Upside Down or Topsy Turvy type planters.  I didn't take any pictures of the process, but it's not hard.  I used a 2" hole drill bit and my cordless drill to drill the hole in the bottom center of the bucket.  Originally, as you can see from the pictures, I used the plastic handles to hang them up.  One broke in the wind and killed one of the tomato plants when it fell ;o(  I replaced the plastic handle with some synthetic rope I had which works great.  I think the only other thing I'll add is a cross brace of wood to keep the bucket from squeezing in at the hanging points.

I planted a left over tomato seedling in the bottom of each bucket and on top, some left over pole beans and snow peas.  I think it's working out pretty good and can't wait to see how they'll make out over the summer.  I also planted tomatoes in some SIP (Self Irrigating Planters) we built with the rest of the 5 gallon buckets.  Curious to see how each will do: Garden Tomatoes, SIP Planted Tomatoes or Upside Down Planter Tomatoes... either way they'll be just as good ;o)

 

I'll update with pictures as they move along... ;o)

Back to Basics Homestead

To Bee or Not To Bee

[easyazon-image-link asin="0470430656" alt="Beekeeping For Dummies" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dTr3Th84L._SL160_.jpg" align="left" width="127" height="160"]
After some discussion and a bit of reading, we decided to start beekeeping.  It's something we've wanted to do at our Urban Homestead, but just never got to that point.  Now we're settling in at our new country homestead, it's time...

The seed was planted last year actually... There is an Agricuture Festival in our community every year, and last year we have the wonderful opportunity to meet some local beekeepers.  They had an awesome display and had some honey tasting... YUMMY!  It was hard to leave that booth and I'm sure we were there for close to an hour, but that's all it took to get the ball moving again.

Unfortunately we were not in the position to do anything our first year.  We just moved to our new house, had many renovations and a newborn to tend to first.  Now that things are falling into place though, we started researching and planning this as a 2012 project.

Our goal is to read everything we can and try to learn from the beekeeping bloggers out there.  Of course we know that hands on and having a local mentor would be awesome, so we're going to see about finding and joining any local Beekeeping / Apicutlure clubs.  Having someone local or a local group we can lean on during our startup would be fantastic, especially for sourcing equipment and bee's locally, if possile.

Can't wait to get things going... The following are a few books we just bought to get started (ya Beekeeping For Dummies, but it's actually a pretty good book for us just starting out ;o)

[easyazon-image-link asin="0470430656" alt="Beekeeping For Dummies" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dTr3Th84L._SL160_.jpg" align="left" width="127" height="160"] [easyazon-image-link asin="1592536077" alt="The Backyard Beekeeper - Revised and Updated: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rR6nbNeDL._SL160_.jpg" width="128" height="160"]

Thinking of picking up the following but not sure yet... would be interested in any recommendations.

[easyazon-image-link asin="0801485037" alt="The Beekeeper's Handbook, Third Edition" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511JJK7YRRL._SL160_.jpg" width="160" height="121"] [easyazon-image-link asin="1906388970" alt="Beekeeping: A Seasonal Guide" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ibI7YtjSL._SL160_.jpg" width="107" height="160"] [easyazon-image-link asin="1592536522" alt="Better Beekeeping: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Stronger Colonies and Healthier, More Productive Bees" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416gMHpI4GL._SL160_.jpg" width="128" height="160"]

Can't wait to get started!!

Back to Basics Homestead

Our Garden in July & August 2011

Our 2011 garden was not planted with much planning involved.  This was our first garden and there were already strawberries planted in a row from the previous year.  We planted best we could just to get things going.  This year we planted Potatoes, Radish, Yellow/Green Bush Beans, Pole Beans, 2 typs of Corn, Cucumbers, Snow Peas, small string of Carrots, pumpkins of course for Halloween, Lettuces and of course lots of Tomatoes.  We also have a Raspberry and Blackberry patch we're nursing along behind our Tool Shed/Garage.

More pictures to come!!

Back to Basics Homestead

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