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So what's homesteading all about?

(By Marina)

Before sitting down to write this post on our journal for you, I started my day like every morning for the last 5 months, with my online Ashtanga yoga community at 7am. I'll admit there are days that getting up for this 75 min practice is challenging but I always thank myself afterwards. Especially on mornings like these, when the sun appears over the mountain at about 7:20 and slowly warms my cheeks.

I then went ahead to feed Beno and our 3 cats, Paul cleaned the pool and watered the plants with water from our well. Pressure pumps are powered by our solar panels so the mornings are a great time to do these chores to give the batteries time to charge later at noon. Sebastian spread more mulch on the lower part of the garden this morning to protect the soil form the hot summer temperatures. I made the bed in our Sand studio and placed some snacks and fresh flowers from the garden for our guests arriving this afternoon. I picked some lettuce and kale from the garden to feed the chickens, filled up their water supply and checked if there were any eggs. There weren’t any yet so we had oats and beautiful figs that I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday, for breakfast. After coffee with Paul on our terrace overlooking the garden whilst we planned our day, I checked our online bookings and confirmed check in times with guests arriving next week and sent our location to the ones arriving later today.

Whilst busy I realised I have never described our homesteading days to you yet! When we show people around at Back to la Tierra, without fail everyone says: 'It’s all so much work!' and although it definitely keeps us busy there are so many things we don’t have to do.

We never get stuck in traffic to go to work! Work and leisure morph into each other all the time. Feeding the chickens is a ‘chore’ but at the same time I love to observe their behaviour and see our new chickens settling in and feeling gradually more at home. I love to get to know them and am in awe at how they all have a personality of their own. And we love their eggs! Sadly, we lost all our ducks a few weeks ago. There is a prowler (probably a genet) who hunts chickens and ducks and leaves not a single trace. In one night all our Indian runner ducks were ‘gone’. We were obviously very upset by this. We also realised that a genet probably has a family to feed too.

We woke up several times last night as the wild boar were trying to get onto our land and Beno smelled them from a distance. His bark doesn’t keep them out but does alert us to check on our fences.

Our chickens lay eggs almost every day although the new ones need to first settle in before laying on a regular basis. Last night we made beetroot burgers with feta cheese, onion, dill and mint (all from the garden except the feta!) and only had 2 eggs when the recipe required 3. Oh well, we have become very good at improvising, adding some chickpea flour to achieve the right texture. Fresh lettuce from the garden with basil (all home grown) and figs were a perfect side dish, the results are on the photograph!

This was what we had in mind when we started with Back to La Tierra 3 years ago. Homesteading is developing a lifestyle of commitment to self sufficiency. Energy management is an essential aspect of that philosophy. Last Saturday was a big day for us as we finally had solar panels installed to power our energy and batteries to store it. We now have an app on our phone which tells us how much of our energy is supplied by the sun, how much of the energy is used and how much is stored in our batteries for moments when the sun doesn’t shine i.e. cloudy moments or night time.

In many ways we register our own personal energy in a similar way. Some chores deliver energy, some cost energy and some moments are a great way to store it for cloudy spells.

Imagine having an app which registers yours today? What would the graph tell you?

Our apartment (for 2-4 guests) is available from the 8th of July until the 15th if you can free up some time for yourselves. Don't forget to charge those batteries! :) (Send me an email or call to get a special last minute booking price)

Hasta pronto!

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