We’re heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you’re growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome to the Down Home Farm Tours series. To see all the farms and homesteads featured in this series, click here.
Welcome, Acres of Acorns!
Today “The Homesteader Family” (blogging at Acres of Acorns Alpines), share their homestead in the northwoods of Michigan: Acres of Acorns. Be sure to visit their blog and say hi!
What is your name and the names of your family members?
We are: The Homesteader Family. Dad Homesteader is a retired US Coast Guard Electrician. Homesteader Mom is a busy stay at home backwoods mama who takes care of our homeschooled, homesteader children. Together we take care of a menagerie of homestead critters.
Where is your farm?
We live in the Northwoods of Michigan, next door to the Manistee National Forest.
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
We have been homesteading on and off for the last twelve years, but more seriously the last one and a half years.
What is the name of your farm?
Acres of Acorns.
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
Our homestead consists of ten heavily wooded acres. We have mostly oaks (thus the name Acres of Acorns), with some white pines, red pines and a few beach and maples. We have a couple of rolling hills, a “some times” pond that hangs around for seven to nine months out of the year, and a driveway that is almost half a mile long that we shovel by hand each winter.
What are you raising, growing, and doing?
Here on the homestead we have chickens and ducks for eggs, Alpine goats for milk and meat. Each year we raise Cornish Cross meat birds and turkeys. This year, we are raising pigs for the first time. It is our goal to grow and raise as much of our own food as possible and as healthy as possible.
How did you get into farming/homesteading?
We started homesteading because of a desire to live a simple, healthier life, and to live off the land as much as possible, relying on the Lord to bless our efforts.
Any future plans?
Our future plans are to continue living as we are, carving our little homestead out of the northwoods, continuing to raise our children to love the Lord and caring for His creation.
Let’s Tour Acres of Acorns!
(Wardee: In the captions below, you’re hearing from Homesteader Mom, as she tells you what is in each picture.)
Because our soil is very poor, too sandy and acidic, we garden in garden boxes. We have a nice sunny hillside that we have terraced with twenty-seven 4×8 garden boxes. We then fenced the area in to keep the deer and any other critters out that would like to eat our veggies before we do. We also have four apple trees, four grape vines, two pear trees, two currant bushes, a small blueberry patch, and some raspberry plants that we are trying our best to grow.
Here is the gate to my garden, I made this gate out of 1×1 and cedar fence pickets. To me it says, “Welcome!”
Since we use herbs medicinally here on the homestead, it is my goal to grow all of the medicinal herbs that we use. Here is one of my comfrey plants.
I was excited to see that my Boneset made it through the winter and the Elecampane that I started from seed last year is still thriving.
Growing herbs is certainly not limited to the vegetable garden. I also use them in landscaping around our home. You will find Lavender, Echinacea, and Comfrey growing in many of our flower beds.
Here are our happy little pigs! This is the first year we are raising pigs here on the homestead. They are receiving non-GMO pig grower, our leftover food scraps, and a quart of goat milk each day. They are thriving.
We have eight ducks that enjoy spending their days on our pond — six hens that give us beautiful eggs each day and two drakes that keep the gals in line. When they aren’t trying to drown each other that is!
Here is our pretty little outhouse. For three years we lived on this property without utilities, and this little building received much use. This past October, the 21st century finally found us here in the woods! Now have a fully functioning home. (Wardee: I’ve never seen such a cute outhouse!)
Our beautiful Cornish cross meat birds. They are eight weeks old and ready to head to our freezer. This is the first year we’ve fed them non-GMO feed and they have done wonderfully! We do all of our own processing here on the homestead — all by hand.
Our chicken coop houses our bountiful hens that give us beautiful brown eggs. We also have about five too many roosters that grace the walls of our coop with their loud crows every morning. The small building in the back houses our ducks. We lock our animals up every night to protect them from predators.
We have portable pens for our goats. They are 8×8 sheds made from light material to be movable, yet sturdy enough to withstand the abuse from the goats. We also use cattle panels for fencing, making it much simpler to move our fences when necessary. We try to move their pens about three times a year. This gives them fresh pasture and also helps with parasite management.
Here are a couple of our Alpine goats dropping by to say hello. We have four Alpine does. One is a registered American Alpine, one is a registered Grade Alpine, and both of these are excellent milk does. We also have one other doe that will be a milk doe when she kids and another who produces offspring that we raise for meat. We also have a beautiful registered American Alpine buck who is the daddy of the six kids born on our homestead this year.
Here are some of our happy laying hens enjoying their nesting boxes. We also have a bantam rooster who likes to hide in the nesting boxes when it is cold!
Our resident chicken sitter. I will never forget the day when I discovered our cat Gem chicken sitting. We had the chicks in a tote beside the woodstove. I was heading outside to help with firewood when I decided that maybe I should check on the chicks just one more time before leaving the house. When I did, I when found miss kitty cat in the box with them. Needless to say, I took a picture, removed her, and then put the chickens in the closet where they were safe from the “chicken sitter”. (Wardee: How funny! Priceless!)
My wood cook stove is an Amish-made Pioneer Maid stove. During our time without electricity in the cabin, we used this to cook, heat all of our water, and to heat our 1400 square foot cabin. I still use it for all of my cooking and baking during the winter months, and it keeps our home comfortably warm all winter long. We are a family of eight and I have always had plenty of room too cook our meals and bake some mighty large turkeys.
This is my most favorite part of homesteading, watching my children enjoying life and learning to care for God’s critters.
Here is our driveway in winter! Keeping the snow cleared is quite a job!
(Back to Wardee) Homesteader Mom, thank you for sharing your homestead with us! We hope you enjoy your free thank you video, our gift to you. Plus, feel free to display the following graphic on your site. (Right-click and save to your computer, then upload to your site and link to this farm tour post.)
Would you like to be featured?
Are you a homesteader or farmer at any level? You don’t have to live in the country, you don’t have to be doing everything.
Being on the journey is the only qualification. We want to see what you’re doing, no matter how big or small.
Click here for submission guidelines for the Down Home Farm Tours series. We’re excited to hear from you!
If you’re selected, we will share your farm/homestead pictures and stories in a dedicated blog post, plus you can add the featured graphic to your blog or website. And, we’ll give you a free thank you video of your choice!
Please give The Homesteader Family a warm welcome in the comments! Don’t you love their homestead? I do!
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Looks like home to me. 🙂 Love the woodstove and outhouse, and the cat in with the chicks cracked me up. I did notice that you have “Let’s tour Acorns of Acres” in the post. Guessing that should be flipped around.
Ack! I looked at that a million times! Thanks. 🙂
Food Renegade says
I love this series, Wardee! Thanks for facilitating these sneak peeks into people’s homesteads.
Thanks, Kristen! I love it too. My email is bursting with really good homesteads/farms to share for weeks to come…. 🙂
Thanks so much Wardee, you did a beautiful job!:-)
mamainthewoods — Thank YOU for participating! Your homestead is wonderful and inspiring!
Susie Lewis says
Lovely farm! I love to live here. It’s so refreshing and so peaceful. Your garden is awesome. You can actually harvest good veges and fruits there in time.
Thanks for the tour!
I just love seeing the farms!
It is encouraging to know that there are families like yours learning the skills necessary to feed themselves. Thanks mamainthenorthwoods! (and I love your wood stove! )
Cheryl Anderson says
I think you may enjoy the Back to Eden film at http://backtoedenfilm.com/news/press.html it has really helped us with our garden and we have not watered once.
Rachel Schichtl says
Love it! The outhouse is adorable and the fence is a great little touch.