Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url: http://flickr.com/photos/35090117@N05/collections/
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Friday, January 27, 2017
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Monday, January 23, 2017
As I mentioned before, we have several plans to increase the amount of fresh, year round food we can provide for our rabbits. Aside from the oat patch that I talked about in a previous blog, we are also setting aside some of our garden space specifically for them.
Now that the forest garden is going well, we find we have a lot more fresh food for ourselves. We therefore do not need to plant as much of the annual garden space in any one season. This year, we converted two of our wicking beds into winter beds, with greenhouse plastic keeping them a little warmer. Both beds have been so fruitful that we have had to give some of the food to the rabbits, which they LOVE. So we have just winterized another bed which will be planted exclusively for the rabbits. We plan to turn another one over to them as well, but for now, this one will be enough to give them treats until the weeds start to grow again.
Project aims to grow a 'city of trees' - A project aims to plant three million trees - one for every man, woman and child - in Greater Manchester over the next 25 years.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Friday, January 20, 2017
We hadn’t planned on getting any more pigs, but a deal came up that we just couldn’t pass up. A lady in our nearest city had several potbelly and mini pigs, which she had to get rid of in a hurry. So, she sold all the babies she had at the usual, ridiculously high price (potbellies are a fad pet, which makes the price of babies far more than they are worth), but she couldn’t sell a two-year old female who is pregnant. Because people want the pigs for a cute, small pet, adults are harder to sell, especially one that will shortly have a litter.
So, in we stepped to the rescue!! We went to pick her up over the weekend, which was a rodeo in itself. They may be smaller than regular pigs, but they are still incredibly strong and HATE to be picked up. We eventually got her into a cage and loaded up in the truck and headed home.
For the time being, she will live in an enclosed pen in the barn, until she gets used to us and her new home (although the chickens fly in to see if she left any food!). She’ll then be able to go outside the barn and will eventually join the other pigs to help plow the pasture.
She seems like a healthy pig, about two months pregnant, and should fit in great. Her name is Potter. It’s the kids who decide the names around here, and they have recently finished watching a Christmas gift - the complete set of Harry Potter movies! With any luck, her magical abilities will be minimal, as pigs are far too smart to be endowed with any further Houdini-like skills.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Once the nights get warmer, we plan to start camping with the kids over the weekends. They are both now old enough to hike a pretty good distance, as well as carry some of their own equipment. They are also interested in, and capable of, carrying out many of the survival skills involved in camping.
So, for the moment, we are in training! On Sundays, we get a picnic ready, and load it and any other equipment up in backpacks. We then set off in the opposite direction from the village (which is the only inhabited place for miles around us). We hike until we find a place we want to “camp” at (with breaks along the way if necessary), and then we make camp. We all eat, then the kids play and explore while we relax in the hammock! Last weekend, the boys paddled in the creek, and Leo even went swimming. Admittedly, it’s been a very mild winter, but still... that water is COLD, which means our child is just plain crazy!
As we get more into this practice, we will increase the distances hiked and weight carried. We will also start assigning more and more tasks (like gathering firewood, stringing up the hammocks, setting up a fire-pit, using flint to start fire, etc.). Once spring arrives, there will also be a lot more food (weeds) to forage. The boys are most excited about taking their slingshots, in the hope of bagging some little critter for dinner! I’m sure they’ll improve a lot over the coming weeks, but I think I’ll still be packing food for a while yet, just in case!
Hikes and Hammocks
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Monday, January 16, 2017
We have a couple of issues we need to address at the moment on our homestead. 1) We need to empty, clean, and put away the pool before the spring winds come (we will then refill it in April, when it’s warmer). 2) We need to extend the season when the rabbits have fresh grass and weeds to eat - this is currently only during rain season, from June to October.
We’ve come up with several ways to grow more of the feed requirements for our rabbits, but the one we’re going to implement right now is planting oats. We figure we can use the pool water to irrigate the oats, thereby killing two birds with one stone.
We have several terraces partly made below the existing forest garden. However, they need to be better leveled and plowed a little before planting. We have decided to dedicate one or two of these to an oat crop, and who better to plow the row than our two potbelly pigs.
Abe has set up an electric fence around the whole terrace, with small electric “gates” that split the row into smaller segments, to concentrate the work in one area at a time. About 10 days ago, he put in a hoop house in the first segment and put the pigs into it. They have since been doing a great job of leveling and digging up the ground, and have now been moved into the second segment.
The funny thing about it is that the female, Shiva, is over-wary of the electric fence. So, instead of digging up the dirt and grass on the outside of the hoop house, she stays inside it and moves the house over the ground she wants to examine. That way, she gets to stay safe within her “house”, but still get to the parts outside of it.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Friday, January 6, 2017
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Powering these holiday light shows for a few weeks is the same energy output as 34 homes over the course of a full year!
Monday, January 2, 2017
Sunday, January 1, 2017
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