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A New Year on the Off-Grid Homestead

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Planting pigeon peas as companion plants to our young fruit trees...they add nitrogen to the soil

We prayed for direction in 2012 and set many goals; some we reached and others we didn’t. I shared much of what we did in 2012, our first year, in “A Year of Work on the Homestead,” Part One and Part Two. Here is a list summarizing what was completed, some of which we had wonderful help with from family and friends:

-Reroofed the big storage shed
-Finished the first phase of the deck with a tarp roof
-Erected the greenhouse skeleton
-Built perimeter fences on north side
-Got a cow (Buttercup), made butter & cheese
-Drilled a well
-Set up battery bank and 2000 watt inverter
-Built fences to enclose animal runway and our living area
-Prepared our garden area
-Planted fruit trees
-Built large roof over deck and camper
-Completed second phase of deck
-Installed solar panels
-Planted beginning phases of edible landscape
-Put in a few raised beds (rows)
-Cleared fence row for center paddock fence
-Bricked wall for fireplace on deck
A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Southern Bush beans that were later planted in our new raised rows...then froze when the temps dropped right before Christmas and we forgot to cover them...blah!


A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead
The first of our raised rows…made of composted soil and dried horse manure, then covered with several inches of hay.


A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead
Sugarcane we started…hoping to plant it after it roots and try it for animal fodder


A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead
We started soaking and sprouting various grains for animal feed


As a family we spent time trying to learn more about how things were done in the “old days.”  It’s amazing how ignorant of basics we have become.  There is so much to learn that our forefathers took for granted as basic knowledge.  Did the industrial revolution rob us of a basic education, putting us out of touch with reality?


A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Candle making

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead


A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead


Some things DIDN’T get done that we’d hoped would:

-Complete greenhouse
-Set up aquaponics system
-Build root cellar
-Plant grass and grains in cleared areas
-Build paddock fences
-Set up greywater and rainwater collection systems
-Finish raised beds (rows)
A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Our extended family grew in 2012...I'm holding my new nephew

Those things are now on the list to complete in 2013, along with the following:

-Screen the deck
-Install our windmill to pump water
-Increase chicken flock
-Build solar dehydrator
-Build brick oven
-Paint big shed (red & white)
-Move fences behind house to enlarge yard
-Build arbor
-Fix bad spot in lane (with crushed shell)
-Expand orchard (including coconut palms)
-Put down crushed shell in parking area
-Make window awnings
-Take classes to learn blacksmithing (Silver Oak) and other skills

And if all goes well and God provides we’d also love to:

-Start bee-keeping
-Build a carport
-Build a wind generator

Is that enough to make our heads spin, or what? It’s an exciting list which we can’t wait to get done, but we know it will only be accomplished with God’s help. If they are His ideas He will provide the way as long as we are faithful to do our part.

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

This first week Silver Oak already accomplished one goal...taking a blacksmithing class.

A new year makes us pause to look back from where we’ve come.  We revisited a few places this year that we had not seen for four years.  My, how our family has grown, in more ways than one!

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Five children in 2008...

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Six in 2012 (Honey Bun finally joined us in 2009).

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

A little crazy in 2008...

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

Crazier still in 2012!

As the new year begins we face some great challenges in our nation that we have never faced before. Will there be civil war or rioting over gun control? What changes will take place? What will they mean for our families? What will they mean for us as Believers?

The most important goal for the coming year is to draw nearer to Jesus, preparing ourselves and our children for what may be coming. We must prepare our children to stand alone for Truth. In this fast changing world Jesus is the only One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He alone can be a true place of refuge no matter what we face.

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

A family who settled among the palmettos in central FL many years ago...

A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

...and another one doing the same today.

Meanwhile we cry out that God will have mercy on us. “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” II Chron. 7:14

I pray this will be a year of God’s blessing on you, and on our land.

A New Year on the Off Grid HomesteadBlessings,
A New Year on the Off Grid Homestead

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23 Responses to “A New Year on the Off-Grid Homestead”

  1. Mimi says:

    Hi RosePetal,
    Love your postings and pictures. You really have accomplished a lot in this past year and I see from your list you have your plate full in the coming year as well. My question is , do you think this lifestyle is possible to do with no outside help ? I know you say you are blessed to have friends ad family to help out , but is it a possible lifestyle to live if you don’t have any such helpers ? This question might be hard for you to answer since you do have help, but maybe some of your readers might be able to comment if they are living “off the grid” with out a network of help . May God continue to bless us and keep us this coming year 2013 !!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Good question. First of all, I should clarify that we have done by far the large percentage of work ourselves. Two days we had help from several friends putting up the greenhouse, and one day several guys came out to help with the deck roof. Two of our friends gave a day to help with the shed remodel, and Silver Oak’s parents have been here twice and helped 5-7 days each time. My parents have helped with electrical, plumbing, painting and various odd jobs, but not on a regular basis. We’ve gone months at a time with no help. Volunteer help really gives a moral boost and relieves the pressure faster. But without it we still plug away and try to reach our goals.

      Secondly, we are not just on the receiving end, but make ourselves available to help others. One or more of us spent quite a few days this year at other people’s places as well, helping with projects or needs. We didn’t really have time for it, but we figure others don’t have time to help us either, and they do anyway. When we have extra milk or an abundance of something free, we take the time to sort through it and share with others who can benefit. Or we take time to teach or give tips about something we have learned in our experience here. It must be a give and take, and bless both sides.

      Thirdly, while we would press on even with no help simply because we feel this is right for us, we don’t recommend trying it without some sort of community. Being able to give and take with others is extremely important to survival. We kid ourselves if we think we can do everything on our own, our own way, in our own little world. Just as body parts cannot function independently, we need each other to function well. If you don’t have community, go after it. Ask the Lord for direction to like-minded people. Be available to help others. Don’t try to pay money or be paid for everything. That can be offensive to some who really just want to give of their time because they care. Start a group in which you organize work days with others and rotate work places. Use resources you have readily available (knowledge, skills, library, extra produce or dairy products, breeding studs, equipment, babysitting, carpooling, room to board, etc) and offer it in exchange for help they can give.

      Something that helps us accomplish things in a timely manner when we don’t have outside help: invite guests over. When you have someone coming in a few days it’s amazing how it clears the fog and motivates you to get projects done. It can also bring extra stress, so don’t over-do it or plan it in the middle of other commitments. It can be a very simple time with friends, neighbors, or family, asking them to bring a dish to share, or just have them come between meals and serve a simple snack, etc. The most important thing is to make guests feel comfortable and welcome.

      I didn’t mean to write another post. :) But I want to give an accurate picture, giving thanks and credit for help we receive, but not the false impression that we’re constantly getting help.

  2. Beautifully put! I’m grateful for your committment and devotion to your way of life and the Savior. Thank you for sharing with us on Wildcrafting Wednesday. God bless. :)

  3. Lisa Lynn says:

    Your family has been so busy, Rose Petal! You have accomplished so much and are a testament to family values and good, old fashioned work ethic! Thanks so much for sharing this post on the HomeAcre Hop!!!

  4. Wow, lovely post! You all got a TON done on your homestead, that’s wonderful!

    I have my opinions about the industrial revolution, and they tend to be in agreement with your statements. However, I can’t say much over here as my washing machine chugs away, my heater kicks on, and my computer runs off the nearest outlet! Even still…

    Thanks for sharing at the Farm Girl Blog Fest #15!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Yes, we are all glad for the “servants” we have as a result of the industrial revolution. But I wonder if the damage done to the family unit is really worth it. At any rate, our goal is to wean ourselves from dependency on the system it created…even if it means giving up washing machines. :)

      Thank you for keeping the blog fest alive!

  5. Rose Petal, your list of accomplishments is amazing! Thanks for sharing all that you are doing on your homestead with our readers at Homestead Abundance and on Wildcrafting Wednesday, too. All I can say is Wow!

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures and accomplishments in the coming year.

    • Rose Petal says:

      We can get a lot done when we have to, and starting a new homestead from scratch certainly put us in that position. I’m looking forward to another year of getting projects done, but am thankful life isn’t as crazy as it was the first six months or so. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  6. Abbi says:

    It is neat to hear about what you are doing. What fun pictures of your beautfiul family!

  7. Jen B says:

    The place you visited looks like a living history museum near us. We visit there alot. I admire your way of life. It’s something I’ve often thought about. Blessings to you!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thank you for your encouraging words. Our children are all totally interested in historical things like that. It’s a lot of fun visiting those places.

  8. Gretchen says:

    I love hearing about all your accomplishments. You’ve accomplished an amazing amount. It is inspiring how all the things you want to accomplish involve things you are planning to do on your own. I was wondering if you would be interested in sharing a bit of your story as part of my homestead highlight series. In this series I feature a different homestead each week. If you’re interested shoot me an email at gstuppycarlson at and you can get more details here:

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thanks for your encouragement, Gretchen, and I’m honored to be invited to be part of your homestead series. I will email you privately about that.

  9. Wow- you have managed to do so much, even if it wasn’t everything you had planned to accomplish it’s still very impressive. can’t wait to follow you through this years adventures! God bless you. Rebecca x

  10. Evangeline says:

    Love reading about your adventures. Just curious….Do you have any sort of electric bill at all, or are you completely off the grid?

    • Rose Petal says:

      We are completely off the grid so our “electric bill” is now only the fuel we pay when we must run our generator, which is usually about 20 minutes each day. When we get our windmill installed and no longer need to run our electric well pump, we will run it even less.

      Glad you stopped by.

  11. I remember reading this post when you first posted it in January but I always love reading what is going on at your off grid homestead you have such faith and the love of your family just shows up in each post that you write. You are such an inspiration to me and others for self sufficient living! Thanks so much once again for linking up to The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post!