How To Create A Homestead On Wooded Land
Last fall, we found our perfect 10 acres, complete with a house we loved, and in the school district we wanted.
Needless to say, everyone was pretty excited when we made the move to our “forever home” in 2014.
Ever since then, we have been working to create a homestead on our completely wooded land.
It seems that the first instinct for most people, (including me) is to clear the majority of the land so pasture and gardens can be made and animals and food can be grown.
However, a complete turn around like that is not always the best, and definitely not the easiest or cheapest way to create a homestead.
So, I wanted to share some of the tips we have learned about how to create a homestead on wooded land.
Of course, there will need to be SOME clearing of trees and brush so that the necessary vegetables and fruits can be grown. We cleared most of the trees from our fenced back yard, and are using a portion of the yard as our new vegetable garden. The stumps will be removed eventually, but for now, we are growing around them.
Outside of our yard, we cleared a large area that will be our orchard. We have elderberry bushes, blackberry canes, and cherry and plum trees planted so far.
Eventually, we will clear a couple of larger areas to be converted to pasture and a field for growing larger crops.
The rest of the land will remain wooded, and used for many other purposes.
For instance, did you know that pigs, chickens, and turkeys were actually all woodland animals originally?
They can, of course live on and benefit from a pasture type habitat, but they also THRIVE in the woods.
We are fencing in a large amount of wooded land for our chickens to live in, (I am so thrilled to no longer have chicken poop all over my porches!) and for our pigs when they arrive.
The long term plan is to have a milk cow that provides the dairy products for our family, but it will be a while until we have a pasture ready for a cow. So, until then, we are going to have a couple of dairy goats! Goats are browsers and foragers, not grazers, so they do fabulously in the woods as well. I raised an entire herd of dairy goats for several years when I was a teenager, so I am pretty thrilled to get the chance to work with my sweet Alpines again!
We could also add turkeys and guineas eventually since they are so well suited for the woodlands.
All the wood we have felled has gone to the woodlot to be converted into next winter’s firewood and wood chip mulch.
We are also utilizing the actual dark shady woods for food growing as well as animal forage. Fiddle head ferns, violets, walnuts, and morel mushrooms have been foraged for, and a shiitake mushroom log was inoculated last fall, and is happily nestled away in the shade of the woods.
Golden seal and ginseng are woodland plants, and will be planted in the fall! Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the lovely maple syrup we have made from the maples!
Homesteading does not require wide open pastures and fields to be the only landscape around.
A woodland can be so beautiful!
All in all, there is so much benefit from leaving part of your land in a wooded state, or even planting a stand of trees to farm for firewood or fruits and nuts.
This post has been shared at Tuesdays With a Twist, Down Home Blog Hop, The Home Acre Hop, From the Farm Hop, Old Fashioned Fridays, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Wildcrafting Wednesday, and The Art of Homemaking.