January 30th, 2017

We’ve been so busy outside these past couple weeks. The weather has ranged from cloudy and freezing to sunny, spring-like mid-60’s. One of our major goals this year is to clean up the homestead and get things in order. Over the past eight years we’ve started many projects… the chicken coops, the garden, the greenhouse, the workshop, the wood shed, the outdoor kitchen/porch… and we’ve done almost all of it from scrap materials. As you might imagine, we’ve accumulated quite a pile of junk in the process. Scrap wood, old pallets, damaged metal roofing, old windows… stuff that we got for free somewhere with the intention of using it for something someday.

I’m so over it.

I need a fresh start.

We’re clearing out, hauling off, and giving away.

Our old goat lot and pig pen have long been abandoned, and nature has begun the process of reclaiming her place. One of the first projects on our list was to pull the old fencing out of the woods, which is no small feat when vines and small trees have begun growing up and through the wire fence panels. For days we yanked, wire-snipped, chainsawed, and finally used our truck to pull the old fencing out of the overgrown brush. Once it was all in a pile, a guy we know came and picked up the old metal fencing to scrap, and a fellow homesteader was happy to take a big chain link gate off our hands.

We’ve also been hauling decaying wood from various junk piles, and tearing down structures that no longer serve their purpose. The $5 greenhouse is gone. The kids’ pallet fort is gone. The old fencing around the front yard is gone. The dilapidated rabbit hutch, rotten cold frames, and the old milking stand… all gone.

It feels good to get the place cleaned up. I’m tired of everything looking like a junkyard. We’ve had this hoarder’s mindset that we’d better keep anything that might possibly be useful one day, which has been somewhat good because we’ve been able to do a lot of things for very little money. But at this point it’s becoming a problem. I’m actually embarrassed to have people come over. And most of this stuff is rusting or rotting to the point that it’s not even useful anymore.

Even though I’m the one who initiated this homestead make-over, I still find myself resisting the purge at times. I can’t help but look at old pallets and see bluebird houses. I admit, I’ve pulled aside a few pieces of wood that look like they still have some life in them. And I did reserve several pallets in good condition for a new compost bin. But my husband is helping me make the tough decisions by assuring me that most of these items really aren’t worth keeping. I’m still debating on what to do with the old white picket fencing. Maybe I can sand and repaint it? Fencing is so expensive to buy! I’m afraid I’ll wish I had it down the road.

We still have a long way to go, and lots of work yet to be done. The floor of the greenhouse still needs to be deconstructed. Termites have eaten a few of the grapevine trellis posts, which need to be pulled up. Many trips to the dump are yet to be made. And I’ve got a lot of random things that I need to list on Craigslist. I’m hoping somebody will be able to use (or recycle) old tires, broken appliances, an old oil tank… stuff we’ve had sitting around forever and probably will never get around to using.

I’ve come to the conclusion that just because we live on an extremely low income budget it doesn’t mean we have to look poor. No, we’re not going to start spending a ton of money to make the place look fancy. But I definitely want to focus more on improving our property value and curb appeal (even though nobody can see us back here!). I look at it as an investment that will grow. Plus, it’ll be nice to have company come over without having to apologize for the mess.