Like almost everybody else in America these days, the Roberts family has spent a lot of time in our house and out in the yard, and trying not to venture out into the big, scary World. Unlike almost everybody else in America these days, we have liked this so much that we want to continue it as much as possible. To that end, Ashlie and I have decided to start a little homestead on our property.

Some of the supplies

We have a decent amount of land: five acres, with about two of those being “yard” and the rest wild field that used to be cow pastures.

A view of the backyard, including the shed (more to come on that later)

We used to have a large garden where the swing set is, but once we had kids we found it too much time and effort to keep up with. So we built the swing set instead, but then decided we still wanted some home-grown food. So I built two little planter boxes that live by the garage. Last year we didn’t really do anything with them; this year we planted beans, carrots, peas, and a few other things.

Ashlie and Hadley planting the sprouts
The kids can help with the gardens now!

We decided that a right proper homestead needs to have a split rail fence, or else we can’t use the term “homestead.” So I bought all the supplies, and bribed my friend Kraig with pizza and beer to come over and help me begin installing it.

Breaking ground!

It took us a few sections before we really got the hang of it, but then we stated rolling and managed to build twelve sections in an afternoon!

Yes, the post wasn’t level when this picture was taken. We straightened it out (I think).

Now we only need to build an additional 500 feet of fencing before we are done! But it’s looking good so far!

Yup, that there is a nice homestead fence

I’ve always wanted a forest or some woods on my property, and now that we no longer rent out the cow pasture to our neighbor, I decided to make that happen. We bought five trees from CountryMax the other day, and the girls and I spent an afternoon planting them along our back property line. I quickly realized how foolish I was for wanting to put them as far away from our topsoil and mulch piles as possible, as it took multiple loads of each through our entire yard and most of the pasture to reach them.

Avery was very excited to help dig (AKA look for snails)

We planted three weeping willows (they love how wet our soil is) and two oak trees. You can barely see them right now, but I hope that they are just the start of a yearly tradition of planting more and more trees in the wilder parts of our property.

One little oak tree, standing all alone

Finally, the most exciting part of this project (at least to the girls) is our decision to start raising chickens. We eat a fair amount of eggs, and we have a shed in the backyard that really was just storing scrap wood, so we converted it into a chicken coop and bought some fertilized eggs!

Twelve eggs in our makeshift incubator

Turning the shed into a coop was fairly straightforward; I just had to build a nesting box, and still have to add some ventilation, a door, and build the run for them to frolic outside. The run will be a lot of work, but luckily it isn’t too complicated.

Halfway done with the nesting box
Hadley did a great job sorting the lumber by size
Avery built a little house for her toys too
Ashlie admiring my (admittedly shabby) handiwork

The best part about this project is that it allowed me to use up a lot of scrap wood that I had laying around. I didn’t have to buy a single thing to make the nesting box. Unfortunately, I do need to buy lumber and hardware cloth for the run.

Soon this view will include the chicken run and a few fowl creatures!

Now, the eggs were supposed to hatch yesterday, and they haven’t yet. I hope they do soon, or else we may need to buy some pre-hatched chicks. Either way, in a few weeks we hope to have an update with how the chicks are doing! That’s all for now on the Roberts Quarantine Homestead Estate!

Categories: Matt's Blog


Mom! · June 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Awesome! So jealous we can’t be there to help! Right up our alley!

Arleen · June 10, 2020 at 2:14 pm

What a great idea and so much great family time!! I can’t wait to meet the peeps!

Linda M Voelker · August 18, 2020 at 6:04 am

What a great plan, so good and healthy fo the girls. Enjoying your blog!

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