Collecting crazy and berry picking…

We started our journey to homesteading in midsummer of last year. As we keep working and planning, things just seem to get crazier and crazier.

At the first of the year, we bought our land. 18 rugged acres with nothing but a creek, some young trees, and a ton of briars.

We started working. We started some clearing for the driveway (1000 feet or so) and the area for the eventual house and barn. We have a 3.5 hour drive from where we live to the farm, so not too far but not around the corner either.

A problem we ran into was time. We both work full time jobs AND run a moderately successful online etsy shop. That means on a handful of days a month to drive up and work on the farm. Tent camping up there was really a pain, so we tended to settle on day trips. 3.5 hours up…work until dark…then drive 3.5 hours back. Long days for sure. We kept exploring the possibilities for some sort of structure for overnighting.

That’s when the crazy happens…

We ended up being given ( just in the lastfew week) 

1. A good used pop up camper.

2. A brand new wood chopper (3″ capacity)

3. A full setup to run the pop up on solar.

4. A 2004 Ford f150 xlt.

To end up with all of these Maria and I had to drive from the coast of North Carolina to just south of Chicago and back in two days off of work. I felt like we were in a bad remake of Smokey and the Bandit. We had a long way to go and a short time to get there. Well, we made it and we’ve got a pile of resources for the farm now. A huge windfall, but crazy and overwhelming.

The camper.

The chipper.

I don’t have a photo of the truck yet, but you’ll see it soon.

A good (and not so crazy) thing that happened on this trip was that we had the opportunity to stop at the farm for just a bit. Those briars that we have been fighting and cussing since the beginning of January are covered in berries.

We are super excited about the berries. So, on the next trip, as I get a good spot cleared and leveled for the camper, Maria plans on picking as many berries as she can carry. She’s planning on canning and making jam to fill her extensive mason jar collection. I think that she will have plenty as about 15 out of 18 acres are absolutely covered with vines.

So this week we’ve had a bunch of crazy and then some berry picking. We hope that you all have a wonderful week, and if it turns crazy we hope its the productive crazy. Enjoy life and just hang on for the ride.

Chad

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26 thoughts on “Collecting crazy and berry picking…

  1. How fortuitous to get all those things for your homestead! The landscape isn’t as pretty up this way, but glad to got to visit Illinois! We also have the wild black raspberry briars everywhere. I have a berry picking outfit that includes the greatest shirt ever. It’s too thick for the briars to penetrate and doesn’t snag…well, it catches, but doesn’t rip or tear. Love that shirt and wouldn’t go in the briars without it! Anyway, sounds like you’re well on your way and will have a much better experience!

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  2. I have friends who bought 67 acres north of Marshall near the French Broad River last year. In Miami, they own a wildlife attraction near the Everglades that they intend to relocate to these mountains. Since last summer, they have made trips back and forth from Miami, drove a school bus up to the property, where they have been staying inside it while they are here working. They have put in roads, a large aluminum utility building, a well, and have built a small cabin where they are now living. Another utility building is under construction, and they are pretty much living up here full time now while family is running the animal attraction in Miami. They intend to bring all their animals up here this year, and have their new facility open by next spring. Quite an undertaking. I just wanted to share their experience because it reminds me of what you guys are going through in the high country. Dreams can happen, but often they require a lot of work and sacrifice… Good luck, Vann Helms

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    • Thanks Vann. I can’t imagine having to move a bunch of animals! We are roughly on the same type of plan, although we’ve got 4 more years until I retire from the day job and move up full time.

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  3. Sounds like the good Lord is looking down on you guys that’s great!!stay tuned on our blog because thing are about to get real crazy….in a good way…..tell all your friends we want to share this journey with as many people as possible and make as many friends along the way…God Bless

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  4. We end up traveling back and forth to the Adirondack Mountains, NY…a bit further than you go, about 4.5 hours. For 10 years we have done this, getting a house built, a garage, now a pole barn, and I started a new garden there this year. I have no more than one more year before I want to be there full time. It is pure craziness to run a business full time, to make the money, in order to get to the move – but we’re almost there!

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    • It IS crazy. Its hard to work well when you don’t have much of a place tothe lay yourhead head. We both workfull full time jobs, run a business, and try to find time to build. Needless to say but I’m tired!

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    • It takes some serious math that REALLY made my head hurt. We got a large deep cell battery with 125 amphour capability. And then an 18 watt solar panel. Neither of the two were cheap. We then connected a 3000 watt inverter to the battery. Ours has an air conditioner and we can plug our shore power plug onto the inverter. If we run the a.c. its a pretty big strain on the system. Withjust the a.c. separated we can run all of the other shore power, plugs,lights, fridge, etc off of the inverter witha no problem. We have Honda eu 2000 generator that I prefer to run the a.c. on. Like I said, none of those components are cheap but luckily we received half of those as gifts.

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    • Let’s see..
      $195 = battery
      $300 = solar panel
      $385= inverter
      $1000= back up generator.
      The generator was for the camper and to run power tools on site. It might not need to be the Honda, but the cheaper ones tend to be a lot louder. The a.c. in the camper is louder than our generator.
      Again, I would try to load up the inverter to the max. The more you add the quicker you can and will drain your battery bank. You can add more solar panels and batteries for longer available power.

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      • Did you get the solar panels new?..i see used solar panels for sale all the time….i have a a good generator that also has 240 v as well as 4…110outlets…are the batteries special batteries or can you use car batterys……Thanks for the info..troy✌

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        • You don’t want to use car batteries, they don’t handle being run down and recharged very well. Deep cell like ag or marine batteries work better. You should be able to use used solar panels. That generator should run everything, depending on the wattage. If its more than 2500 -3000 I think it would work fine. We always like to share skills when we can. Good luck with it.

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        • The solar panel is 18 watts. It should be enough to recharge the battery throughout the day. We don’t run much during the day so it gives it a chance to recharge. I don’t know a thing about wind, that might take a whole other round of research.

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          • I hear ya..i just watched a ytube add harbour freight has a 100 watt system solar panel (4 25watt panels) for 149.00$…looked like a great way for me to get my feet wet in the solar game without to much cost
            Plus watched some stuff on making my own wind turbine…pretty interesting stuff .ill let you know…Thanks troy ✌

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