Modern Homesteading

The Farmer in the Dells

This site contains tutorials, charts, recipes, pics, videos, articles and more surrounding the annual cycles of homesteading in suburban/rural Wisconsin Dells for one family on 1/2 acre lot (1/2 of that is a very steep wooded hill), with neighbors. That leaves us little more than a decent sized yard to work with, plus a large collection of mixed white balsam, red pine, silver maples, sugar maples, and white oaks. There are a few others mixed in including a handful of basswood. I see carcasses of paper birch and choke cherry, but have not found any live trees of these varieties. We have very diverse and abundant wild birds, deer, fox, raccoon, rabbit, squirrel…. Insects, many species of frogs, all manner of songbirds, hawks, owls, turkey, fungus, weeds, wild bees and more. It all ends up within a stones throw of the house at some point.

This is our own reference guide, but we are commonly asked about what we do and how we do it, so the writing will be targeted towards you, the reader. If you know what you are looking for, go ahead and use the search box to find it quickly. If you are just browsing, use the links at the top and bottom of any page to browse by topic.

We will cover our critters, our plants, as well as canning, making home brews, and some highly approved recipes so you know what to do with real food no matter where you get it from.

We raise chickens for meat and eggs as well as rabbits and catfish (and worms, but not for us to eat). We grow a variety of fruits and veggies from plants and trees in our garden, our ‘food forest’, and our aquaponic systems (indoor/outdoor, large and small). This year, we will be adding bees to the homestead along with hopes of brewing our own Mead (and why not beer, root beer, and other brewed/fermented drinks?). Did I mention our shrooms? We (try to) cultivate morel mushrooms, but the best location for those is near the chickens favorite hangout.

It is our philosophy to raise drug-free and chemical-free foods while ‘closing the loop‘ on energy added to our system and waste produced by our system… it is amazing how a bag of chicken food will stick around as it is turned into chicken poop, composted, used to grow veggies that feed us, while the plant waste feeds critters and future compost, back into the system again…. we waste very little around here, proving that one species waste is another species treasure.

How did we fall down this rabbit hole? Period… I love to eat. That spawned a love of cooking (to make the best foods), which led to a love of producing food (that is healthy and good to cook with).

My wife and I started life together 20 years ago and started working together doing auto repossession in Illinois. After moving to Wisconsin, I worked without her by my side for years. It became clear that we needed a new project to work on together and that morphed into raising our own food and becoming more and more self reliant. It is one of the greatest feelings in the world to share this hobby and lifestyle with my wife as we have grown into this homestead together (with her kicking and screaming sometimes as I push her into newer and weirder territory).

Another boring how-to grow hippie site? Not exactly… Those chickens and rabbits do not hop in the pot themselves. Any section dealing with slaughter or processing will be stashed away in a special category, but we do slaughter/clean/freeze or own meats and prepare our own sausages with meat from local farmers with grass/pasture fed organic practices… yes, commercial food scares us and we choose to maintain our own standards for food safety, quality, and freshness that meet or far exceed industry standards. We vote with our dollars and choose local, organic options whenever our homestead cannot provide something for us.

The password is: slaughter
Do not view the password protected pages if you have issues with this sort of thing as it relates to preparing live animals for the dinner table.

But we live with the internet all day every day and listen to that rock and/or roll music while watching Blu-ray movies on our big or little screens… By trade, I am a software engineer. We are a modern family living in an everyday society, we just tore up our useless lawn in favor of making that space more productive!

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