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2018: Year of the Homestead

It’s been too long since we last posted. The last 3 years were very long and hard, but in the summer of 2017 we purchased our first home, a 1922 farmhouse on a third of an acre, and after some remodeling, we’re moved in and ready to work on all our long dreamed-of self-sufficiency plans. In 2018, we have several goals we want to accomplish:

The Garden

We were blessed to find a home that already had a substantial garden space. We’ve spent some time cleaning it up and laying down wood chips to prep it for the spring, and our long term goal is to expand the garden even more and grow as much of our own food as we can. This year we’ll be growing some vegetables, herbs, and—since the property had lots of them already—raspberries!

We also have a lovely old apple tree on our property that was severely overgrown. We’ve done some heavy pruning to restore it, and while it probably won’t produce much this year, it should do much better in the following years as we continue to maintain it.

As we work towards a garden that supplies most of our food, we’ll be participating in a local CSA this year so we’ll still be getting local produce, and supporting a local farm and business at the same time.

The Pantry

In conjunction with the garden, we’ll be doing more fermenting and food preservation this year to provide food throughout next winter. We’re kicking off the year making lots of stock from pork, beef, and chicken bones (and pig feet!), and we’ll be doing canning throughout the year as well in our 30 quart All American pressure cooker (no affiliation, it’s just a really great pressure cooker and well worth the money). We’ll also be fermenting veggies—particularly sauerkraut, carrots, and cucumbers—as well as kombucha, hard cider, apple cider vinegar, and, of course, beer!

The Brewery

When we first bought the house, we didn’t know exactly where I’d be able to set up my brewing space. The property has a couple outbuildings (a shop and a garden shed), and it also has a partial basement. I had set up my office in the basement, but it turns out to be the perfect spot for the brewery as well, since it has an external entrance, easy access to water and power, and an external wall to set up ventilation. All this means that once the brewery is set up and the basement is finished out, I’ll be able to start the licensing process and turn it into a (hopefully) profitable venture. You can follow more brewery-specific news over at underhillbrewing.com.

The House

While we’ve completed the main remodel projects allowing us to move into our house, we still have lots of work to do! This year we’ll be putting the finishing touches on our bathroom, doing some remodeling in the kitchen, and putting up trim throughout the house.

The Shop

Our property has a shop on it, an old single-car garage that by all appearances is as old about as the house itself. It’s currently pretty full of materials from the remodel, so this year we’re going to get that cleaned up and cleared out so we can turn it into a more usable workspace for woodworking and other DIY projects.

We’re going to make a big effort to blog more regularly this year to share what we’re working on, and we’ve also launched an Instagram account, @farhnerhomestead, to post pictures of projects, so give us a follow there!

Happy New Year!
—Ben, Arielle, & Eila