There is a movement going on in the USA called Homesteading. Specifically homesteading in Texas. I belong to a Facebook page about it and the questions and comments are so very interesting. We live in Texas on a farm. I thought we would do a lot more homesteading than we do. The business keeps us very busy what with customers to wait on and show around, not to mention planting, harvesting, selling plants, dealing with personnel issues, counting seeds, making envelopes, and having enough product on hand to send out with Shopify orders, Amazon orders, and in person sales.
Per TexasLawHelp.org, homesteading in Texas is defined as "a
house or other residential structure that you own, together with up to
20 acres where the structure sits if the land is used for residential
purposes. A manufactured home on a rented lot qualifies as long as you own the home."
Good evening. It is 7:02pm on a very busy Monday. I never got the chance to come on here this morning. It was a beautiful day with a partly sunny sky and a cool breeze with a high of 82°. It is currently 78°. It got pretty hot each time I had to go outside and help someone buy plants.
The rest of the day was spent filling orders. Mondays are always our busiest days with hundreds of orders to fill from the weekend. To make it worse, today was payday so I had to write all of the checks and pay business bills.
The people with the Rossville Volunteer Fire Department came over three times, collecting all of the things they stored here yesterday.
I just went outside to check on my potato trench. Remember that I just buried all of my potato plants on Thursday morning. Now, they are all back out so I will have to try and bury them all again tomorrow morning. That is a lot of work and causes some pain for sure. I cannot believe they are already through the dirt after half a week! There is a thin, tan cat out there by the potatoes and she followed me all around. She is not ours. I think she belongs to the next door neighbor.
I took my GoPro out with me for the first time and I videoed my walk out there. I gave a small orchard and garden tour for my first test. Now I will see if I can figure out how to get the video from GoPro to YouTube. I have no idea how to do this stuff but if I want our business to grow, we need to get the videos going. Why does everything have to be so difficult?
They say chickens are the gateway drug to homesteading in Texas. I really think the real gateway to homesteading in Texas is finding and purchasing a decent plot of land. We spent months driving around the outskirts of San Antonio in all directions, looking for land that would be suitable not only for homesteading in Texas but also that would be good for our business. We were tired of renting out a little storefront in a crowded strip center in San Antonio and paying more than $3600.00 a month for it. That ate up a lot of our profits.
David would look up land online and on Saturdays, we would go driving but either it did not look good or it was just way too expensive. Land is so expensive plus if it is raw land, you have to have more money for electricity and water deposits, to dig a well, for internet, phone service, trash dumpster, someone to clear the land, add a septic system, a driveway, a mailbox, and so many other things that you never think of because you live in the city. Plus, what will you live in?
We were going to build and then we thought it would be faster to buy a manufactured home. It was but they refused to have it ready when we needed it so we had to live in a tiny shed for over three weeks. It was horrible. Do not sell the home you are in until the one on the homestead is ready and has utilities that work. That can take many months. Looking back, it was a nightmare. But fast forward three and a half years and we are fine now.
Do not go in debt to buy property for your homestead. What if you don't like living out in the boonies? What if homesteading is not for you? What if you miss the pizza man? Save up and pay cash for your land. Save twice the money you think you will need and you probably still won't have enough for initial start up costs.
Good afternoon. I have spent most of the day filling orders again, along with much of the team. It is windy and sort of cool out there. Now, it is 3pm and only 71° with overcast skies.
This morning, David had the guys take everything out of my greenhouse. They set it all up in my greenhouse outdoor area. I will be moving things around and a lot of the plants will be planted and/or sold this week.
We had just one couple come out for seeds today. No one has bought any plants.
Good news! We have a programmable gate that we got about 18 months ago. I was never given a key to get into it to program it. David did not think we had keys. He found the keys today so we will have to figure out how to get in there and reprogram it. Yay!
The pollen pieces from the oak tree right by our pond keep falling into the pond and they are on the gazebo deck and roof and all over the parking lot.
A lot of our large potted plants died last December during the freeze so I planted a beautiful mix of zinnias that I made in them all today except for the two pots that had the crown of thorns in them. The horrible prickly dead plants are still in them. I got a thorn in my thumb last year and I refuse to go near them again.
I made beef enchiladas for dinner. They were good but my feet were tired and I was very happy to sit down this evening.
David is a gardener so the first thing he did after we moved into the shed, while our home was waiting to be set up, was to make garden beds. We put together 100 raised garden beds which was our first act of homesteading in Texas in August of 2019. If you sell seeds for a living like we do, gardening should be your first priority when you are homesteading in Texas.
We put them in rows of ten and hooked two rows of ten together with PVC pipes screwed into wood on the raised beds. This made five hoop houses which we then covered with shade cloth. We had a neighbor with a tractor come over and fill the 100 raised garden beds with our native sand.
After that, David built a greenhouse out of PVC pipes covered in plastic. He has made many of them over the years everywhere that we have lived.
Gardening is an important aspect of homesteading in Texas. This way, we can grow our own vegetables and fruits to eat. After that, we had a farmer with a tractor come in and make planting furrows in the back behind the hoop houses. In between the rows of furrows, we planted a 100 tree orchard. Of course, that first February of 2020 wiped out a bunch of the trees. Then in February of 2021, a bunch more died during Snowpocalypse. In February of 2022, we lost more trees. Each time we lost some, we replaced them with others. Now, in March of 2023, we are waiting and trying to determine what is dead and what is not from the deep freeze in December of 2022.
Our citrus trees are now out of the greenhouse as of today. The winter freezes that we never used to have are too much on them. I have lemons and limes growing on my trees from my greenhouse.
A bit of a cold front has come in. Technically, it came in yesterday because it was chilly and very windy all day long. This morning, I woke up to 55° Fahrenheit and at 11:20am, I have a light jacket on in the Farm Store. One of our employees was here for an hour and went home sick so we are very short handed.
Being that it is a chilly, overcast day, we probably won't get many customers today. We had one yesterday. That gives us a chance to get caught up on all of the other work there is to do like mailing out orders.
I just restocked the store and filled the refrigerator. We now have some waters and small sodas in our store refrigerator as well as seven and a half dozen eggs.
It is 4:40pm, 65°, overcast, and chilly. We had one family come in for some seeds today. It just doesn't feel like spring. I am glad it is almost time to close up because I am tired. I am also very hungry. I need to make a dinner, plus feed all of the animals. I am relieved that this stressful day is over. I spent most of the afternoon correcting and adding to our listings. Computer work is just never done. Every time you think you are finally finished, something else pops up that needs to be changed.
I have wanted chickens since I was a teenager. Once we moved out to this property, we decided to start homesteading in Texas with chickens. We had a friend build a chicken fortress and we got our first baby chicks. In about eight weeks, we put the chicks into the new chicken fortress. Back then, it did not have the nice run it has now. The chicks got big and thrived in the chicken fortress. At four months old, some of them started laying eggs. It was very exciting to start finding eggs in early October of 2020.
Chickens are messy. They poop a lot and everywhere so the chicken house needs to be cleaned at least weekly. They drink a lot of water so they need fresh water every day and in the hot summer, they need fresh water two or three times a day.
Of course, we eat the eggs our hens lay. We sell the extras per our county's egg selling rules. The eggs must be washed, packaged in new packaging with labels with the exact wording as well as our business name and address. Make sure you look up the rules in your county for selling eggs if that is what you want to do.
A lot of customers will ask for unwashed eggs. My county rules say I cannot sell unwashed eggs so I let our customers know.
They say, "Don't worry about it. Just give them to me unwashed. I won't tell if you don't."
I say, "We follow the rules here. We are not that kind of business."
They get upset and find someone else who will not follow the rules. I know this because I see customers asking for unwashed eggs to buy and I see people I know say they will give them some over on Facebook. Here at David's Garden Seeds®, we have integrity and we go by the rules.
We feed our chickens different chicken feeds, meal worms, grit, crushed oyster shells for stronger eggshells, and scratch. We even make our own scratch with flax, split peas, rolled oats, dried corn, and black oil sunflower seeds. We heard millet is also good but we have not found that yet to add. Of course, we also give them table scraps. They cannot have uncooked onion or uncooked potato peels. Those go into our compost pile out behind the animal coops. We also give them the eggshells, broken up, to help with their calcium needs.
Good morning. It is wet, sprinkling, and 66° Fahrenheit. Matt just brought us breakfast super early. He is taking the Lucy and Pamela to be groomed in Jourdanton on this wet morning. We have helpers coming in from San Antonio to get some of this work done. Our teen helpers are unable to join us today.
It is finally getting light outside. I was going to water all of my plants but I think they are wet since everything else outside is wet...
Pamela and Lucy got washed and shaved. Sue Ellen about had a fit this morning when she did not get to go with Pamela. Sue Ellen will go with Ethel soon, but not today.
The fog has now moved in. It is 9:30am and the fog should be moving out! Matt is still in Jourdanton. I am going to go check on my plants since we have no customers this morning. Of course, in crazy weather like this, there is not much gardening going on.
I went out and harvested more asparagus and a few strawberries. I watered the guineas and chickens.
It is now 1:18pm and it is raining on and off. The fog went away but it is still sort of hazy. It is 76° but it is not hot at all. I am cold in the Farm Store.
David and Matt are getting father/son makeovers right now.
We have not had any customers the whole day which does not surprise me since it is overcast and chilly.
As I watch YouTube videos of snow, it is hard to believe that there is still snow in much of the country and it is chilly here.
Homesteading in Texas means preserving the food you grow in your garden. Our first summer here on our property, we began to harvest and put food away. We ate a lot of fresh produce as well. My favorite way to put food away for later is to blanch and freeze vegetables. This is what I used to do up in Colorado Springs when my kids were tiny. Then we started learning how to can.
David and I made pickles and started canning other foods. We got a food dehydrator and started dehydrating vegetables, fruits, and herbs. My new goal is to buy one of those $3000 freeze dryers but that is not in my budget right now so I have to save up.
We also got an oil press and started extracting essential oils from herbs.
This early in the season, we are harvesting a lot of asparagus and a few strawberries. The fresh asparagus is tasty but we need to preserve some.
This morning, Matthew took Sue Ellen and Ethel to be groomed. They are now home and looking fantastic. Michelle is cleaning the house.
We have a few helpers here today. They are planting vegetables out and about the property. They have moved new tomato plants from the greenhouse and we have more Tycoon tomato plants so if you want them, hurry. They won't last long. We still have several Juliet Paste tomato plants as well.
It is overcast, humid, and 82° Fahrenheit at 1:30pm.
I transplanted some of my plants this morning into my outdoor planter. It is now completely full. I planted a bunch of Orange Top Hat Patio tomatoes. Next, I have to plant out in the raised bed. Every time I start, we get customers. I have had four sets of customers today as opposed to yesterday's zero because it feels warmer.
Do you realize that this coming Sunday is already Palm Sunday? That is crazy. Where has March gone? We will be closed next Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Good Friday and Easter weekend. The dates are April 7, April 8, and April 9. We will open back up on Monday, April 10.
I think the cold weather is officially over as the forecast shows 80s and 90s for the next two weeks. I sure hope so because we are planting all over the farm this week, especially today. There is so much more to plant but each time I get my hands dirty, someone comes.
I cleaned out the pond and took out a lot of leaves. I also killed a bit of algae. I ran out of algae killer so I ordered more today. It should be here tomorrow. The water is so dirty right now because of the oak pollen that keeps being blown in the pond from the oak tree on the neighbor's property. That tree is right next to the pond. It has been blowing everywhere and collecting in the pond, making it yellowish-brown.
It is now 4:15pm and we have had a lot of customers, most of whom bought our seedlings today.
When you are buying land, make sure you get as much land as possible. Back when we found our property, it was the final piece of a peanut farm. It is four acres, not big enough for our needs but all we could find that was affordable. Shortly after we bought it and moved in, they opened up ten acre plots down the road. One of our employees lives on one. If they had offered them back then, we would have bought one.
Now, one of our neighbors is willing to sell us four more acres this spring. Hopefully, we will be able to afford it. If so, we still won't have enough acreage to be able to shoot on our land. The minimum requirement to shoot is ten acres. It would be nice if we could do target practice, but it is illegal.
We are talking about maybe building or getting a new manufactured home to put over on the new land. If so, we will have to have water, electricity, a driveway and road, and septic again, costing many thousands of dollars in addition to the cost of the land. Then we will pass our home on to our son. He can bring his current home and set that up here as an office for him or as a guest house for out of town guests. This is just one scenario. We may forget about a new house and build a big barn for large farm animals.
Good morning. Happy April Fool's Day! Can you believe that March is now gone? It is already hot and humid out there. We have a few employees here today as well as a few helpers. I did not sleep all that much last night. The puppies are running all over the house this morning. I had them outside but the guys are moving things out of the yard with the gate open so Sue Ellen kept escaping. It is time for me to go feed the fish and get the store ready to open. I need to take more eggs over as well.
I just cut the lettuce from the grow tower in the Farm Store for the chickens and other animals. They will be so excited. Our chickens love fresh vegetables.
I am watching a video on real food versus nasty fake foods that so many are eating. An example is eating "cheese food" made from vegetable oil instead of real cheese made from dairy milk. Lots of people have really become obese due to all of the chemicals and fake foods. When I was little, I remember staring a lot whenever I saw someone who was super overweight because it was not something I saw every day. Now, obesity is very "normal" due to all of the crap that we put in our bodies that the powers that be have said is healthy. Case in point, vegetable oil (which is really not made from vegetables) instead of lard is said to be healthy but it is not. It is tied to heart disease and obesity. Look it up. Do your research.
I was out back planting my sugar snap pea seedlings this morning. I put them all in a large pot in my greenhouse area. Everything is actually out of the greenhouse now as it is too hot. I still have more things to plant. I got just one Big Dipper gourd seedling to come up. I planted that on the side of my greenhouse. I still have other things but I had to stop and come open the store. Now we are open and no one has shown up yet. Some Saturdays, they start at 8:30am and we don't open until 10am. Now it is 10:18am and nobody.
Buy one tomato plant for $3.95 today and get a second one free. They are getting very big and it is time to get them in the ground. The 50¢ plants are gone.
The team is getting things planted in all of these beds around the front of the farm so customers can see things growing. Everyone wants to see what we are growing and how we are growing it. They have been planting cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkin, tomatoes, peppers, parsley, lettuce, and more.
Well, around noon, everyone decided to come see us. At that point until 2:40pm, we served a lot of folks. We sold a lot of tomato plants as well as other plants. I am now packing up and going back to the house.
Some of the families were sitting out in the gazebo with some little girls. I cleaned the pond today and was filling it with water. Some of the girls decorated the pond with oak pollen and an assortment of wild flowers so I had to clean it out again. It is still pretty dirty, mostly from the pollen.
Then, around 3:30pm, another couple showed up. I had just finished my lunch. The closed sign was up but the man insisted on being helped because somewhere on Google, it says we are open until 4pm. One of our employees was still here so he called. My legs and feet were aching but I still had to go out and wait on them. It is like we have no boundaries out here on Saturday.
For the rest of the day, my legs and feet were up, in pain. Svengoolie was a fun movie, Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy. Then Perry Mason was on and I fell asleep...
David used to raise rabbits in school when he lived in Leakey so he wanted to get some again. We did back in 2020. We have had several rounds of babies and he has culled rabbits for freezer camp. When you are homesteading in Texas or anywhere else, raising meat animals is a common thing. Contrary to popular belief among young people, it is okay to raise animals for food. Meat doesn't come from a grocery store. It comes from a farm.
We have not gotten any meat birds yet although we have talked about it. I would like to get some equipment for that and then give it a try. I think we would need to get a new freezer because the one we have does not have enough room in it for a bunch of chickens for food. I have eaten some fresh chickens since we have been here from other chicken farmers and they are so incredible, way tastier than any chicken you buy in the grocery store.
I have been watching videos where they process pigs for meat and lard. It looks really good. I love fresh pork and ham.
David and his parents used to process some young beef cows to fill the freezer years ago. His best friend from high school used to be a butcher so he would butcher the cow and take some of the meat as payment which was very nice.
Happy Palm Sunday! My legs and feet are feeling better but my feet still hurt. I have to go out and feed the animals but I am just sitting at the desk in my office. It is difficult to believe that it is now April. At 7:20am, it is 70° Fahrenheit and should get up to 90° today.
When we got home from church, I put some stew beef, potatoes, and other veggies, including green onions from the garden into my slow cooker. We had a delicious dinner this evening. We spent the day watching The Chosen and some Perry Mason while we did computer things.
What I would really love to get is a miniature milk cow for fresh dairy. That way, I could make butter and have fresh cream as well as milk that tastes far better than the watered down stuff they sell at the grocery store. I know it is not really watered down, but they have taken off the cream and heated it to change the taste (pasteurizing). They have also homogenized the milk. After they take the cream off, they blend in any fat and make it smooth so you cannot allow it to separate and take the cream off yourself. Cream is close to $5 for a quart at Walmart right now. I looked at the price on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. That is insane.
We need more room for a cow than what we have left so until we get more acreage, and we can build a barn, we cannot get a cow.
We have talked about getting pigs, sheep, and goats. David wants meat goats and I think it would be good to have some dairy goats.
Always make sure that you can house your animals. Build your barn or animal shelters before you buy your animals. It is cruel to have your animals stand around in extreme heat or cold or in the rain or snow. Animals cost a lot so you need to take good care of them, providing them shelter as well as food and water. There are a lot of people living in the country who have no shelter for their animals. We drive by their property in bad weather and the animals are just standing there getting hot, wet, cold, etc., with no where to go. That is sad. Up north, where I grew up, every animal had a place to go, namely, a big barn.
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