Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Homestead Highlight: Angi

My greatest inspiration in my own backyard farming adventure has been to hear the experiences of others. I invite you to read along here as Homesteaders share their adventures and experiences from their own farms, backyards, and homes.
Want to be featured as a Homestead Highlight? I would love to hear about your experience. For more information follow the link to the information page and share your own homestead here at the Backyard Farming Connection! 

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Today I welcome Angi to this space. (just a little note, I was lucky enough to partner with Angi in writing the new book: Farm to Table Through the Seasons - she wrote the month of January!)

Hi, my name is Angi and we have a small, 1.5 acre homestead along the Gulf Coast of Texas.  We've only been on this property for a little over a year and are in the process of turning it into our forever home.  After 14 addresses in 20 years we're ready for a forever home.  I blog at SchneiderPeeps and have recently written The Gardening Notebook ebook

 How long have you been backyard farming? What got you started?
We've gardened almost from the beginning of our life together.  It started with tomatoes.  Just in the last couple of years we've added hens as an egg business for 2 of our children.  And a year ago, one of our teenage sons began keeping bees. Our journey has been very gradual - starting and stopping as we needed to.

What does your backyard farm look like? Where is it?
We live just outside the city limits about 30 miles from the Texas Gulf Cost.  I truly think it's the best of both worlds for us. Most of our children are teenagers and they have interests that require us to be in town many times each week.  It's a balancing act.

Right now we garden about 1/8 acre of our property.  We have citrus trees that include lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and tangerine.  We also have a pomagranate tree, a fig tree, a mulberry tree and several blueberry bushes.  My mom gifted us 4 peach and 2 plum trees for Christmas so those will be planted very soon.  When we bought the property it had 2 mature pecan trees.  I really think that fruit trees give you the most reward for your work when it comes to supplying food for your family. 

As far as animals go, we have about 30 grown hens and 30 chicks.  We also have 5 bee hives.  And a dog. 

What has been your biggest success and biggest mistake?
I think our biggest success has been to consider each member of our family when making our plans.  The homestead life is mine and my husband's dream.  It's really not our children's dream.  Five of our six children are adults, teens and preteens.  They have their own dreams they want to pursue and homesteading is part of their dreams right now.  So we're careful not to create a homestead that requires so much work that our children have to be here to help.  That's not to say they don't help, they do help - quite a lot. 

I think our biggest failure so far has been the bee hive we lost to carpenter ants.  We didn't check on the hives enough this winter and since it doesn't get very cold here the ants destroyed an entire colony and stole the honey.  We're working on getting rid of the ants without hurting the bees. 

What plans do you have for the future?

We'd like to expand our garden and add raised beds.  We also are working on adding more compost to our clay soil to break it up.  We'd like to add apple and pears trees next year.  Our rancher friend has said he would barter our fruit and veggies for meat when we're ready.  I'll be asking the dairy farmer the same thing when we get enough produce to barter. 

We don't have any plans to add other animals to our place. There are lots of reasons for that, but the biggest one is that we really don't want to have the responsibility of caring for larger animals. We like to travel some and it's easy to get a friend to come by and take of the hens and the dog. But having larger animals would make it much harder to travel. We're also able to buy meat and dairy straight from local farmers who raises his animals the way we would if we were to raise them. 


  1. It's always interesting to read other homesteading stories!

    We are planning on adding some blueberry bushes to our property this year. Would love to include some fruit and nut trees but we don't really have to room.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Thanks, Rob. Are you able to grow blueberries in the ground where you live? We have to keep them in pots, our soil is just not acidic enough. But they do pretty well.

    2. I live in CT and am able to grow blueberries directly in the ground, they should do quite well. It's so nice to be able to pick fresh fruit & berries from your own yard.

  2. I am envious of all your citrus and fruit trees! I wish I could have them here in MO. Guess I need to move to a warmer climate, haha. We are getting bees this spring for the first time ever. We are excited, and a little nervous!

    1. Actually, you can grow citrus in pots. There's a great book called, Growing Tasty Tropical Plants, and it's all about growing tropical plants in pots.

      I think you'll like the bees. My son is the beekeeper so I don't really know much about it, but it is addicting.

  3. I've never tried it, bu thad an elderly lady tell me that you can kill whole colonies of ants by pouring a 2 liter of club soda over the anthill. The carbonated part of the soda takes away all of the oxygen, and therefore, they suffocate. Should be an easier adn safer way than some other methods----if it works. I've been battling ants this year too, so I'm pretty sure I'll be testign this theory soon.