I, however, consider myself a newbie to this homesteading realm. I want a self-sufficient life, a healthy life, a more cost-efficient life, but like most newbies, I am not entirely sure how to get there. So I fly by the seat of my pants. I pin homesteading tips and tricks like it's my job (seriously, though, it's my job....if you have a blog and need a Pinterest manager, I'm your girl). And then I execute, hoping for the best. I don't expect to nail it the first time around. Nope, I just aim for learning something, or a bundle of things, to apply next time. Because there will always be a next time when Jen gets her heart set on something.
This week, I decided I would add two raised garden beds to my yard. We'd built one before out of fence planks. It became my raised garden bed of doom.
Not this time, I told myself. This time, I am going to plant with intention. I am going to grow with wisdom. I am going to think with the end in mind. Plain old fence planks aren't enough to hold such vast knowledge, not this time around. No. I need something more permanent. Something more...... concrete.
Hey Home Depot. I see you sell cinder blocks for like $1.40 a block. That ain't bad. Even with your huge delivery fee, the cinder block option is more affordable, movable, and weather-resistant than my planks. Looks like we got a winner.
So they arrived. On a flat-bed semi truck.
Dude couldn't get them through the gate into my backyard. He had a massive forklift that was just a teensy too wide for the doorway. And when I say teensy, I really mean his massive, gargantuan forklift would've left a hole twice the size of the gate had he followed my instructions and "just plowed on through."
So he just left them right here, in my front yard, just inside the gate. 80 cinder blocks. One nice day. And one Jen. Terminator time.
I'd cleared some backyard prairie plant debris from the far back reaches of my yard and piled it high on the lawn to help kill the grass. It kinda worked. See that little patch of yellowed grass?
Then I laid down some landscape fabric and started building my bed. Layer one, lookin'...hmm. Bit of a curve here, yes?
Well we could try and level the ground. Realign the structure. Build with physics in mind. But how 'bout we just shift them around instead. That's better.....right?
Layer two, lookin' decent.
How about a second one? Those blocks ain't gonna move themselves! Ah, there we go.
Now move that salvaged debris straw crap into the walkways and have your kid jump on it. Perfect.
Look at that! Two raised garden beds. Each have twice the planting area as the old one. Those little holes in the blocks are perfect for a border of marigolds and nasturtiums to keep bad bugs at bay and good bugs in plenty. Both beds together, with semi-truck delivery, cost less than $175. Without delivery we would've paid under $110. No level needed. No measurements needed. No experience needed. And look, you get a free pallet!
What's that? Took you four hours to move all those cinder blocks? It's time for dinner already, you say? Well, how about that. I'm sure you have dinner all planned out, right? Oh. I see. You were supposed to put the crockpot on seven hours ago. Well never fear, tomorrow's dinner menu is "breakfast for dinner," so you can just borrow from tomorrow and pull the ol' switcheroo. Wait, you don't want to sit at the stove and make pancakes for an hour? Stirring batter sounds about as fun as eating nails, you say? Too many dishes, hm?
Here you go. Pancake muffins. Rockin' the Halloween cupcake liners in April like a boss.
Better add something hearty and filling to that plate. Something worthy of 80 cinder block bicep curls.
There we go. Breakfast potatoes with chunks of seasoned sausage.
Now that, ladies and gentleman, is homesteading in real life. You get a plan, you execute on the plan, the plan falls apart, and then other plans you thought you'd planned fall apart too. So you improvise as best you can and try to take notes. And who knows. Maybe you'll get huge arm muscles and an unexpectedly delicious dinner out of it.
Anyone else gardening this spring? Made your plans yet? Ever had plans fall through? What tips and tricks do you have to share? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below! As always, thank you for reading :)