Philip and I spent a little over a week in mid-April on the homestead for the Spring 2022 Workcation. The Spring Workcation started out with some pretty emergent items that needed attention ASAP. We received some security camera photos before we left that revealed that our canopy that covers the RV was damaged. It was off some of the poles and shifted quite a bit. We had no way of knowing if the metal framing had damaged the RV or to what extent. The second we arrived, Philip immediately scanned the extent of the damage and we needed to get the frame of the canopy off the RV. Thankfully it hadn’t done any damage and we were able to get it lifted. Over the rest of the week we would dedicate some time to making a permanent repair to the canopy. Please forgive the bedhead in the video… This is real life…the raw of homesteading.
Kowalski Apiary II
This trip we also took the first livestock to Kowalski Mountain when we took 4 colonies of bees. This is exciting for us! We’re working towards the goal of moving to the homestead full time, we talk about it constantly, but sometimes, it feels like a distant wish. But this, moving bees to the homestead, this is real! This is an action step that gets us a tiny bit closer to the real deal when Kowalski Mountain becomes our full-time residence!
We had intended to take our time and set the apiary up properly when we got there. However, the bees had a much different idea! They were done being cooped up and they were ready to escape their boxes. We needed to get them settled before we had an angry mob to deal with. We quickly had to get the hives set up and off the truck. Later in the week we set up the official Kowalski Apiary II.
Rest and Relaxation
This trip, Philip did something that I don’t think he has never done on a single trip to the homestead…. He took a nap after driving all night. Usually, he just keeps moving until he collapses. While Philip took a nap, I explored. Every time we get to the homestead, I head to the waterfall garden. I try to keep it cleaned up. I spent time just sitting, listening to the water, enjoying the beautiful weather, and dreaming about what it can be. Right now, the waterfall garden gets quite a bit of light, but after the trees get their leaves, it will be shadier. Anything I plant will need to be shade tolerant. I’m hoping to plant bulbs this fall so that the daffodils will burst with color in early spring.
After I sat for a bit, I decided to look for morel mushrooms. I wish I could find just one, I think it will get easier once I find one! Instead, I found a wild bee colony. Or at least what was a wild bee colony. Later Philip and I set up a swarm tap to try and capture any swarms looking for a new place. This little respite as we start the spring 2022 workcation is creating a longing inside of me for a new life we are working so hard to achieve.
Some of the homestead chores are on the agenda for every workcation, not just the spring 2022 workcation! Philip did some mowing and worked on the driveway a bit. I spent some time picking up down wood and branches. Five loads of branches and I didn’t really do anything at all in the woods.
Of course, milling lumber will become a regular chore as well. Over time Philip will need to cut his own lumber yard. Once cut, the lumber needs to completely dry, depending on the task, so that lumber will need to be cut in advance and then replenished when it’s used.
I spent time cleaning up the weeds around all of the fruit trees, adjusting their fences. I did a lot of hoeing! It made me realize that I needed to up my chest and core exercise in the gym. Boy, was I sore!
When that was done, I spent more time hoeing in the garden and planted a ton of pumpkins and sunflowers. I heavily sowed the seeds in hopes that just a few will evade the deer and we get a harvest of pumpkins. I figure it will go two ways, I’ll get none, or I’ll get so many that I will be opening my own pumpkin patch! We also crated a raised bed using the flat cuts of from the sawmill to plant potatoes.
I spent time picking dandelions this trip. For awhile, I have been wanting to make some dandelion jelly and some dandelion salve. At home, hadn’t noticed any dandelions, so I was very excited to see them blooming on the homestead. I picked enough to make my dandelion tea that will be used to make jelly. Since I didn’t have the supplies I needed, I froze the tea and still plan to make the jelly. I just haven’t slowed down long enough to do it. Be watching social media because I will be sure to share.
I did make the dandelion oil for the salve. I am on the fence if I will actually make it. It smells like burned oil, I think I cooked it too high in my impatience and ruined it. So that I set aside.
Off-Grid Water Pumps
Philip spent time make two separate off-grid water pumps. I love how he takes care of us and does his best to make homesteading just a bit easier. Let’s face it, we aren’t getting younger. We will both turn 50 within the next year. Eventually some of the things we do will get harder for us to maintain. I did a full post all about the pumps and how amazing it made watering the fruit trees… even when I didn’t feel good. Being able to transport water and use it easily is a huge step towards our ability to continue growing anywhere on the homestead.
New Equipment on the Homestead
Philip was thrilled to purchase a 6-foot, 3-point disc plow. We’ve been borrowing a fixed plow for the neighbor, but Philip wanted a plow that could be adjusted for the task. He found a great deal and met a new valuable contact. This gentleman dealt with equipment repairs, so hopefully we’ve found someone who an come to the farm and work on the bobcat. Our schedules didn’t match this trip, but we will try again on the next trip.
Philip used the new discs to disc up the garden and food plots that he would be planting, plus we planted a wildflower field just for the bees.
Philip purchased several barrels and a cistern tank for some of the upcoming projects on the homestead. We unloaded all the trailers as well, once so we could get more supplies and the last time to head home with empty trailers.
Dutch Oven Cooking
I practiced my Dutch oven cooking and made us a special meal, making prime rib. Oh it was so good and came out perfect. I’m still practicing the craft of Dutch oven cooking and made a rookie mistake to check my meat. I opened the Dutch oven. The temperature plummeted after I did that and I scrambled to get it back up to finish the last 5 degrees in the cook temperature. I upgraded my Dutch oven cooking supplies with a digital thermometer. It may be an old fashioned cooking skill, but I can still use a modern approach to make it easier! Still it was a really amazing meal. Be watching for the full post and video coming soon.
The Vineyard was a big project for the spring 2022 workcation. We got all of the plants planted and some of the posts set. We still need to build the trellises that the grapes will grow on as well as better fortify the grapes from the deer. This is one of those tasks, we can only do what we can do. My getting sick really hindered what we could finish, but at least they are planted.
We planted 10 trees all over the homestead. Chestnut trees, plum trees and ornamental cherry trees. It took a good half a day to plant them. While we will enjoy having a variety of fruit on the farm, the excess will be enjoyed by the wildlife and supplement our food plots. The chestnut trees were planted exclusively for the deer.
Most excitingly, we started using the home cut lumber and installing the siding on the bathhouse. This project has been something we have been working on for so long! It is so exciting to see it begin to transform into the vision we have for it. It looks absolutely beautiful! I helped some and Philip did most of it by himself.
An Extra Day
We have found that we prefer to leave on Saturday to have a day at home before returning to work, however, since I was sick, I suggested we take an extra day on the homestead. There is no way I could have packed the RV and Philip was doing double duty picking up my slack. The extra day made such a difference, and we were able to wrap up everything we worked on.
I always make sure the laundry is done before we leave, so coming home late didn’t cause me to scramble to get ready for the work week. We drove all night and I went to work just a few hours after arriving home.
Spring 2022 Workcation Wrap-up
The main goal of the blog is to record our homesteading journey. We certainly hope that we provide useful information to our audience about the homestead as we build from the ground up. However, I have to include a post that reminds us just how far we’ve come! Happy Homesteading friends, may we inspire you wherever you are in your homesteading journey!
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.