Live Ready Now! Homestead Tour

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour
The maintained dirt road leading to our property is flanked by pastures of cattle and horses, orange groves, and friendly neighbors.

Welcome to a virtual tour of Live Ready Now! Our 20 acre homestead is only three years in the making (October 2011-14) and still developing, but fully functioning. We’ve witnessed many examples of Jesus reconciling visible parts of His creation to Himself (Col. 1:16-21): barren sugar sand transformed into rich soil full of earthworms, palmetto patches exchanged for lush grass and nutrient-dense edible shrubs, chiggers replaced with song birds and butterflies, and thick underbrush broken by our long winding lane through the woods. From the time He provided this property for us debt-free, we have been amazed at His undeserved blessings, even in the hard times. We often wonder what He is leading up to. Please join us for a look around.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A 1/4 mile lane winds through the woods, mostly oaks and some pines. Two cross fences divide the property into three sections: one with pasture, pond, and wild FL scrub habitat, another with the home site, bio shelter, and gardens, and the third cleared and wooded for livestock to forage.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The pasture at the front of the property.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The pond, stocked with tilapia and mosquito fish, containing mature largemouth bass.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Great for cooling off on a hot day!

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Entering the home site you see part of the small barn with chicken coop and milking parlor, the red storage shed, and beyond that a corner of the house. Notice the windmill peeking up behind it.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A closer look at the red shed and barnyard.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A view from the other direction, showing the tiny house and enclosed deck.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Welcome to our humble abode!

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The enclosed area contains the house, herb garden, raised rows for annuals, young food forests, edible shrubs, and fodder beds.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Past the house is the garden and orchard area.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Entering the living area, looking at the front door on the deck.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Another view, with the acerola cherry bush (vitamin C) on the right, and one of the moringa trees (green super food) near the center.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Sunrise from the front steps.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Also from the front steps, looking into the herb garden, with a view of the bio-shelter (greenhouse). The herb garden is normally full of edible and medicinal herbs, but is here rather bare after numerous attacks from escaping young chickens which took a while to outsmart. They decimated the stevia bed and numerous other herbs. That, combined with the unusually intense and dry heat last summer, put a big dent on the herb population.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Small food forest incorporating fig trees, lemon grass, roselle, edible hibiscus, and sweet potato.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Typical gathering of greens for the dinner salad from the edible perennial shrubs in the landscaping, often including malabar spinach, cranberry hibiscus, moringa, edible hibiscus, garlic chives, roselle, opal basil, aloe, okinawa spinach, purslane, moluchan spinach, sweet potato greens, and okra leaves.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

In the herb garden...aloe, oregano, sage

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The old fashioned pitcher pump, mounted in antique brick by Silver Oak, is the centerpiece in the herb garden. It pumps water from the well.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Herb garden accents include my grandparents' galvanized tubs and old cream separator. Notice the pineapple patch in the background.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

One of the pineapple patches, bearing big delicious pineapples only two years after planting!

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

From the herb garden we look to the north side of the house to our windmill, annual garden area, and small orchard.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The bamboo trellis in the garden built by Silver Oak and his dad, and the windmill installed by Silver Oak which is the primary pump for the well.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The raised rows are here being redressed with barnyard scrapings and mulched for the winter planting.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Raised rows with young bean plants.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The Wind Engine windmill pumps water from the well into tanks of the roof. It is an 8' mill on a 21' tower.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The overflow from the water tanks runs to the rock fountain in the future water garden. Behind it is one of the portable chicken coops and fences. The chickens get moved around the garden or other areas to cultivate and eat weeds.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A closer look at the portable coop, or chicken tractor.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Next to the windmill and portable coop is the bamboo teepee usually used as a trellis for climbing beans, and a few young citrus trees with companion pigeon peas bushes planted next to them to fix nitrogen. Behind them you can see a bed of bush beans in the small keyhole garden which were grown between rows of corn now harvested.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A young Hamlin orange tree flanked by sweet potato vines looks like it will yield some juicy oranges this winter.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

One of the two varieties of FL peach trees that produced abundant and deliciously sweet peaches in early summer! Notice the banana trees in the background.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Cavendish bananas coming soon...the tastiest you'll ever eat!

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Luffa gourd growing on the fence; the young gourds are edible and the mature ones make natural sponges when dried. Beyond it grow lush velvet beans which make excellent animal fodder.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Turning around the other way we face back toward the house...the bamboo trellis, wash line, water tanks on the roof, and two varieties of bamboo which will mature to provide cooler airflow through the house windows.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Same side of house from the front, with empty wash line. The crawl space contains our electric well pump as a back-up for water supply.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Photo taken from the garden again for a bigger perspective. One of the two varieties of young FL apple trees is on the right.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The shady back yard.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

In the back yard facing the back of the (L to R) house, deck, and camper.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The wetland garden with elderberry and horsetail (powerful medicinals) that catches gray water from the washing machine and camper. Nearby grow young moringa trees, moluchan spinach, Everglades heirloom tomato (edibles), and an antique rose (vitamin C).

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

One of the fodder beds for livestock feed. Our fodder crops include chaya, roselle, perennial peanut, sweet potato, katuk, mulberry, comfrey, cassava, moringa, and cranberry hibiscus.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

New starts of cassava grow in front of the 4,000 gallon tank to be used for future rainwater storeage.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Weaver's bamboo...being trimmed in this case for rabbit feed. We have 12 varieties of clumping bamboo (non-invasive) whose uses include construction, weaving, animal fodder, air cooling, and beauty.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Looking over the back cross fence into the back section of the property which is forage area for the livestock and has been partially cleared of undergrowth. Future plans are to create paddocks for rotational grazing.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The rest of the back paddock area looks like this.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Between the camper (house area) and the barnyard...the back side of the red shed, the silver utility shed, and a papaya tree (L).

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Facing the other direction is our oldest daughter's 18-hole rabbitry, although openings between many cages allow more room per rabbit. Some of her rabbit forage beds are shown with cranberry hibiscus, Spanish needle, and Perennial peanut which is companion to the Meyer lemon tree (L).

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Some of the rabbit hutches.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

More hutches.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The hutches are all in the shade most of the day, but some are equipped with fans and blinds to make sure they never get overheated in the intense FL summer heat.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A happy (and terribly cute) rabbit family.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The side walkway from the sheds to the front door.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The camper, which serves as guest quarters, a second bathroom, and school room is pretty much a permanent fixture next to the deck.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Come on in...this is the deck: screened, roof with radiant barrier, catching breezes that flow through both ends in old fashioned dog-trot style. This is our favorite place to hang out, unless it's too hot or too cold to be comfortable.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Another view.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

More of Silver Oak's handiwork with antique bricks. This is our most loved spot to snuggle up to when it's cold.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

From the back of the deck looking toward the front door.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Our main dining area. On the left is the door to our tiny house...a converted 48' semi trailer.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

When you enter and turn left, the far end beyond the living room and green curtain is the children's bunk room.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

There are three bunks on each side, an open closet at the end, as well as a fire escape door behind the closet.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Each bunk has its own 12 volt reading light.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Another view of the living room from the kitchen.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Turning around we see the kitchen from the living room. The "master suite" is behind the white door at the front end.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

One side of the kitchen.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

And the other side.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Entering the kitchen from the door, showing the fridge.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Entering the "master suite"...bedroom and bath all in one...our loft bed with closet below.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The foot of the bed near a window you can't see (on the right).

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

From the closet, the back of the door, shower on right.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The sink and toilet. Now you've seen the whole house!

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Over in the camper there is more sitting space.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The slide-out makes it roomy.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The camper kitchen. The bedroom is at the other end with a fair-sized bathroom with separate toilet room in between.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Now we'll head back outside, first to the little barn near the entrance to the home site. The feed shed is to the left (needing a little paint), and the goat milking parlor is under the lean-to. The enclosed part is the chicken coop.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

This is around the side of the chicken coop, showing another lean-to out the back which is more shelter for livestock and has the milking stall for a cow. Notice the neem tree which is a source of natural insecticide.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

In the barnyard facing the back side of the barn.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A close-up of the cow milking stall.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A larger view.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Door to the chicken coop and gate to the goat milking parlor. Eggs can be accessed from the milking parlor.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

View of some laying boxes inside the coop.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The goat milking parlor has two milking stands, and is an alternative nursery for newly born kids and their mamas.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Now let's head out to the bio-shelter. It is 30'W x 40'L x 15'H, with steel trusses. The doors were added since this picture was taken.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The large white shade cloth is removed for cooler weather. The fence panel will hide future tanks to store rainwater after guttering is installed.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

A closer view of the front entrance with interior trellises visible.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

These sturdy wire trellises are on the south facing side and can hold many heavy vines. The bio-shelter is still being developed, hopefully some day to house a small aquaponics system, nursery, and a year-round producing food forest.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

An updated picture of perennials and annuals growing on and around the trellises: FL Seminole pumpkin, butternut squash, McGee beans, velvet beans, cucuzzi edible gourd, cranberry hibiscus, roselle, malabar spinach, plantain, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The new doors

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The back side of the bio-shelter with another door hidden by the bamboo.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Near the bio-shelter area is a grove of a dozen young olive trees to some day soon provide olives, oil, and tonic (olive leaves).

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

The sugarcane patch provides excellent fodder for the animals and nutritious cane juice and syrup for the humans. Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Our off grid system is powered by 45 68-watt Unisolar Flexlight solar panels installed (self-adhesive) on the roof of our house and deck. More efficient than conventional panels, they will produce with only ambient light or even if partly in the shade, cannot be stolen, and won't break in a storm.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

So far our 12 volt power system seems to work best with eight deep cycle 6 volt batteries and a Magnum 2 kw inverter/charger.

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

Beautiful fall wildflowers (including medicinal goldenrod and black-eyed Susans) freshly picked!

To get a better idea of how our power system was built and works, read our blog post Energy Crisis on the Off Grid Homestead from December 2012.

Read about our sugarcane harvest and growing patch on another post:  Old Fashioned Sugarcane Harvest.

Many thanks to MW, a good friend who was visiting and took many of the above photos for us.  And thanks to the Lord who has made all of this possible.  We hope you enjoyed the tour and thank you for stopping by!

Blessings,

Live Ready Now!  Homestead Tour

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