Homestead Roots Newsletter #2

Table of Contents

Homestead Roots Newsletter #2

Thank you so much for the warm welcome into your inbox last week. It has been encouraging to hear from you and have more and more of you join us in this community. As we get the ball rolling please know that we are always here to answer any questions you might have! If we get a few questions we may do a Q and A feature on the newsletter. Please also feel free to share us with any of your like minded friends or family. :)

Indoor Projects for the Cold Season

Cooking sap in April of 2023. Will we get to make syrup this year?

Winter is the season for indoor projects! During the warmer months, the inside of our house is honestly a bit neglected, maybe you can relate! This leaves us with a nice little list of projects for the winter. Over the weekend we finished the flooring project we started last winter by doing our bathroom. We ran out of steam last year knowing that doing flooring in the bathroom also meant we really should replace our 1980’s era vanity. To get it done we tag teamed the work. I tore out the vanity, and removed the toilet (thanks to Elias for helping sponge out the toilet water), then Ingrid laid the new flooring in the bathroom. We picked out a nice little unit at Menards, brought it back and put everything back together. Of course one more trip to Menard’s was needed to finish the plumbing! We still have some finishing touches, but it feels good to check that one off the list!

After several days of cold weather the weather has warmed again and the little snow we had is melting quickly. Last winter was a beast so I am not too worried about getting a break this year. The kids finally got to break out their skis over the weekend and skied on our tiny bit of snow on the frozen lake with their cross country ski club. Hopefully it isn’t the last time for the year!

This strange weather does have me wondering about the sap season. We look forward to tapping a bunch of trees and cooking sap in the spring but with as warm as it is I am wondering what that will look like this year. There is still a lot of time to turn things around so we will see how things go! If you have insight on tapping trees in a super mild winter let me know!

What’s Happening in Homesteading

Why Save?

I often feel like an old man (maybe I am an old man!) talking to friends and family about saving money. Now YOU get to hear me talk about saving! 🙂 Whether by nature or nurture I am a saver at heart, so a lot of this comes easy for me. For others the thought of saving and not spending their hard earned dollars is a tough pill to swallow. So why should you save?

This is a big topic but I will break it down into two thoughts for today.

  • Saving as a hedge against an uncertain future

  • Saving to create independence from a life of work

While we often feel like we have a good grasp on what the future will hold we truly don’t, life changes in an instant. Whether that is the loss of a job, someone getting sick, your furnace going out, etc. You just don’t know. Having an emergency fund means you can handle these unknowns without needing to go into debt, borrow money from family or just suffer without basic necessities. That little bit of insurance is nice peace of mind.

On the positive side of saving, building a nest egg for the future can give you the freedom to live a life without a dependence on steady work or a job you dislike. Saving is freedom in this sense! It also gives you the ultimate flexibility to live a different life from what we’ve been lead to believe is the only way. This is called Financial Independence. If you want to learn more I recommend doing some research on the FIRE Movement (Financial Independence Retire Early). We have found that it gives us a foundation, a plan and a purpose for saving.

All of this of course is at the backbone of homesteading as well, you need to be financially stable to make your homestead successful. So make a plan! Step 1 is to know where your money is going. Build a budget and track your spending. Step 2 is to make a plan for your savings, we like Index Funds. We will talk more about all of this in future newsletters!

Why Should You Have a Home Garden?

A picture from several years ago of Elias and Ingrid planting.

We often hear from farmstand customers, that they have given up gardening because they have us. While we love that for our business, we do cringe a little bit. In our perfect little utopia, all the backyard gardens would put us out of business! We love the idea of people growing their own food. There absolutely is nothing better than planting, nurturing and harvesting your own food. Growing your own food is the ultimate answer to food security and of course it tastes great too! Like most things in the world we have overcomplicated gardening. It really is as simple as good soil, the right seeds, and some time and effort. And if you do it right it doesn’t even take that much time and effort! If you have specific questions please ask, we are happy to help!

Getting to Know Barlow Roots Homestead

Garden veggies from 2011

Making spaghetti sauce

Ingrid and I bought our first home together in Sioux Falls back in 2007. We had no idea but this was where we started our homesteading journey. On a tiny city lot. The lot had a small garden space and we filled it up with plants! We certainly had no idea what we were doing and had ZERO concept of where we would end up. There was no plan. The former owner had a garden and so we did too. But that step of planting those seeds started our whole journey. Suddenly, we had more than we could eat so we needed to learn to preserve. I was working as a weekend meteorologist on the local tv station so we had very little excess money. This lead us to baking our own bread and eating meals at home. I remember us going to a meetup about backyard chickens. We purchased pork straight from a farmer. It was such a natural progression. As we left Sioux Falls we knew we wanted to do more homesteading and so we headed back home to Western Wisconsin… more in the next newsletter!