The First Edition of the Homestead Roots Newsletter

Welcome to our first edition of the Homestead Roots Newsletter hosted by Barlow Roots Homestead. We are excited you are here! Some of you may be wondering how you got here. 🙂 There are a few of you who signed up for our Homestead Money newsletter and others who follow us at Barlow Roots Homestead. We are hoping to use this space as a consolidation of all the things we love to share. Here is an idea of what you can expect: stories from our homesteading journey, market gardening insights, homesteading finances, homesteading news, recipes, etc. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at anytime with questions or topics you would like us to discuss. You can simply reply to the email.

LONG Break for the Chickens and Enduring the COLD

The boys aren’t quite trained in on the saws but they do like to help!

Our chickens and ducks have been on an extended vacation from laying eggs. We were actually forced to buy some eggs from friends this year! Lately we’ve been surviving on the eggs we froze over the summer and an egg or two a day from the hens. With over 100 chickens this drives us a little crazy. Though we do understand their need for a break, I also think it is related to the breed we are raising. They go by many names we call them ISA Browns, they are a very high production hen. I think when our daylight levels drop off they just take a longer break than other hens because of the volume of eggs they produce the rest of the year. It has me thinking about diversifying our flock. Yesterday we were excited to find 5 in the nesting box. Let’s hope they are turning things around!

After a very mild start to the winter, it has been very cold! We didn’t make it above 0 Fahrenheit for a couple of days in a row. We’ve kept the cookstove cranking and are enjoying the cozy warmth of wood heat. It looks like we will finish this week in the single digits and then warmer weather will move back in. The kids are struggling with our lack of snow. We’ve had only a few inches fall so far and they are dying to get on their skis!

During the stretch of mild weather the boys and I worked to take out a few trees on the property. Emerald ash borer is here and we’ve got a lot of ash that needs to come down. The good news is that it makes good firewood. As the weather warms again we will get back out there.

What’s Happening in Homesteading

Homesteading superstar Joel Salatin was featured in an interview speaking about the power of homesteading and creating your own food systems.

We enjoy following Shaye Elliot and her families homestead. Here she wrote about enjoying the ordinary when it comes to living life at home and homesteading.

The wild weather affecting the country led to significant flooding at the Justin Rhodes homestead in North Carolina.

The Art of Patience

A solid tenant of successful homesteading is financial literacy. Homesteading can be an expensive endeavor but there are smart ways to manage your money and make homesteading work. We plan to talk a lot about this in the coming weeks but the first thing I wanted to mention here is to be patient as you build your homestead. You aren’t going to have everything you dream of overnight and if you do you will likely suffer financially because of it. In a world full of homesteading influencers buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, we sometimes need a reality check. We need to remember that it likely took them a long time to get to where they are and their circumstances are different from ours. Be prepared to take your time and enjoy the process of building your homestead.

A quick story from our homestead. This past year I had all the intention of building a nice wood shed on our property to store firewood. As the season wore on and we tackled higher priority projects it became clear that the woodshed was going to have to wait until next year. I spent some time bummed about not achieving that goal. In the end we found existing areas on our homestead to store wood. And to be honest I am thankful we didn’t get to it because my plans and location ideas have all changed. Patience is important, good things are worth the wait.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Ingrid and I have been reading through this book and have really enjoyed it. As a homesteading family we are already very committed to a slower pace of life so a lot of the concepts are things we already practice. With that said there has been a lot of eye opening content for us as well. Particular around uses of digital technology (good lessons for your author!). This book takes a Godly look at the dangers of hurry in our lives. A slower pace of life it turns out is not only AWESOME but also biblical!

Planning Through the Winter Months

While we aren’t yet digging in the soil we’ve been doing a lot of planning for the upcoming season. We placed our first seed order of the year a couple weeks ago. Importantly that order had all our tomato seeds for the upcoming year. Tomatoes were our first crop that we sold and continue to lead the way for us in profitability. We will plant around a dozen varieties of tomatoes totaling about 350 plants.

After doing all our planning in Google Sheets over the years we are transitioning into a new garden planner called Heirloom. It is brand new and they are still working out the kinks but so far I have liked what I have seen! First seeds will go into cell trays and under lights in early March.

Who is Barlow Roots Homestead

The homestead crew in our market garden farm stand.

We are a family homestead located in Western Wisconsin. We are a family of 6 these days and homestead on 10 acres. We have a successful market garden on our property and sell our veggies out of an honor system farm stand on our property. We raise chickens, ducks, dairy goats and pigs on our land. We love sharing our story and hope to use this space to encourage and educate fellow homesteaders on how we’ve been able to build a business to help us fulfill our homesteading dreams.

Thank you!

To those of you that made it all the way through this THANK YOU! We are really hoping this is a positive addition to your life. We know many of you on this list but there are several more we don’t know. Please feel free to introduce yourself by replying to this email. I would love to get to know everyone on a personal level.