That’s how I roll!

by Grace Camp, age 5

*Posts edited by Mom for clarity, spelling, and punctuation.

This weekend I got my first pair of roller skates! I really like them. They are Frozen kind. They fit over my shoe and they cam with knee pads and elbow pads.

I’ve always wanted skates. I have worn them almost every day. I can skate really really far, even on the road with Mommy’s help. I’m really good on the grass.

I signed up for soccer and I can’t wait for that to begin but I still love my roller skates.

Have you ever roller skated? I think it’d be cool if Jack could roller skate!

My roller skates are my favorite roller skates ever… wait they’re my ONLY roller skates!

Okay, bye!


This week on the Half-ass Homestead June 22-28, 2020

Grace has taken to driving the hens around… not sure if they like it as much as she does 🤣

The past two weeks have been busy one on the home front and with work for me. It’s weeks like these that I’m thankful to be doing this whole garden homesteading thing with the Norris family.

Work has ramped up between creating two online courses, preparing for our first virtual summit for educators, and meeting with customers to plan for next school year, I feel like I’ve been glued to my MacBook for two weeks straight. And, though Brian Sr. had a couple of days where he started to feel better, he quickly took a turn down hill with severe pressure and nausea. We’re hoping for more answers and relief next week given this new medicine he’s on. On top of that, I’ve discovered I’m now allergic to poison ivy (turns out it’s bound to happen when you spend three weekends with a weed eater killing that stuff). So much itching!

Last week I didn’t get out to the garden once but often looked out the window and would see Clint and Vinny watering the garden, hanging with the hens, or eating lettuce and spinach off the plant. Grace, Ella, and Brian Jr. often joined them. They even dropped off some radish on Father’s Day! So grateful for them!

The kids tried radish for the first time, Grace was the only one who liked it even a little. I really enjoy some fresh slices on my sandwich but look forward to a few suggestions from some of our Facebook friends, especially roasting them!

By the time I got out to the garden this Friday, it was in desperate need for some harvesting! It’s amazing how much of a different the grass mulch has made for our crops!

Tarin, who has been busy with work herself, joined Ella and I in the garden for some picking. We got quite a haul!

On Saturday, we harvested rhubarb and I picked up some straw to recover our walking paths. Grace took pictures:

It’s about time for a second planting of carrots and some other crops. I’ll have to do some research on what would be good to plant.

Sunday, I spent time in the house gardens, adding cobblestone to a some of the paths, and reconfiguring the front garden by removing a bush and widening the area around our front outdoor table. I plan to add stone or pea gravel to level the space out.

While I worked, Sr. relaxed inside, the girls played by the creek catching salamanders and Brian Jr. played ball in the yard and took breaks to play guitar for the hens. It may be a little crazy, but life on the homestead is good!


  • Backyard Reno: Totally Functional – Help me decide how to finish it!
    Last week, fall finally showed its beautiful temps here in central Ohio and I decided to make the most of it. Thursday afternoon I spent a few hours unloading pea gravel between meetings (since it was cool and breezy enough to do so without breaking much of a sweat). On Friday two of my calls … Read More
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This week on the Half-ass Homestead | May 31-June 1, 2020

The week Brian Sr. came home from his brain surgery and we were blessed with so much help on the Camp Farm from mowing the yard to delicious dinners. Honestly, I haven’t had to think about dinner all week. It’s been glorious, and super helpful as I pick up Sr.’s activities. So. much. laundry. We are so thankful for the continued support. Check out these awesome cookies my friend and colleague, Kyle made and sent to us from Houston!

As for Sr., it’s been pretty rough with severe nausea and pain. Mornings are the worst for him and walking is still pretty taxing as his neck is regaining strength and balance is still off. He’s supposed to work up to walking 5 miles a day. The first day he could gather strength to get out side and walk, he only made it across the street and back. We have a long way to go but each day he makes it a little further down the neighborhood and this weekend, he was able to walk with out his walking stick.

Ella and Grace have been playing entrepreneur all week, with an “Amazon delivery” adventure and having lots of meetings. It’s quite the business of the future. I don’t even have to order the items, the just show up in bags with “invoices”. And they are things I love, like my favorite books or high heels from my closet. 🤣

Little Miss Grace has gotten quite good on a bike and earned herself a shiny new one! And Jr. finally earned enough to get his new bike–thanks to his cat sitting job and helping in the yard and garden.

The hens continue to grow and have proven themselves capable of being able to roam free in the back yard mostly un supervised… I guess this means they’re now free range!

In the gardens, plants have been loving the sunshine this week. We’ve seen tons of growth in both the house gardens and big garden. My favorite peonies came into bloom and Ella and Grace helped me make a trellis for the peas and to support the green beans.

With all the extra sun, the soil in our growing rows was starting to dry out and crack. We hadn’t gotten around to adding mulch to the rows, or even deciding what kind of mulch we’d use, so I added grass clippings from our last mow. I’m hopeful this will be a good, free, solution.

Grace found our first strawberry and the girls helped me pull seeds out of a few melons and cucumbers for later planting since our first round of them didn’t take after all the heavy rains a few weeks ago. My sweet friend, neighbor, and fellow gardener, Amiée, brought us a few of her extra cucumber plants as well as a few extra goodies! I mean, I couldn’t be more excited about this book, y’all!


The Littlest “Pool” on the Block

The redneck pool, aka redneck hot tub, is a bit of a tradition in my family and brings up fond memories of hot summers and water fun.

Summer is HOT, especially down in Texas. Growing up, whether on a hunting lease or our own ranch, we always managed to find an old livestock trough/stock tank to turn into our own mini water park. My mom would make me a swim suit, usually out of those red shop rags, and me, my brothers and my cousins would spend all day crammed in that game and playing with the hose to keep cool. Eventually we had a house with an in-ground pool but the old stock tanks were just as fun!

Me and my big brother, Sheldon

This spring, when the chicks started getting too cramped in our storage bin turned chicken brooder, I found a great deal on a 110 gallon tank at Tractor Supply. Initially I thought once it finished it’s purpose as a brooder, we’d put it in the garden as a container for potatoes and onions. However, when I got it home I discovered a spicket at the bottom for easy draining.

This discovery meant the tank would be perfect for a redneck pool like I had growing up. We’ve been wanting a small pool for the summers but Brian Sr. Says it’ll bring mosquitoes. I think he just doesn’t want to get shafted with cleaning duties (I don’t blame him).

We first filled the tanks a few weeks ago, when it was admittedly too cold to swim. Despite my warnings the kids insisted. They splashed around with blue lips and jaws chattering 90 miles an hour. They had a blast!

Now that it’s feeling like summer, this has been the perfect distraction for the kids—especially on days like today when Brian Sr. and I are away for Sr.’s brain surgery. The kids had a blast in the pool and even coaxed Jack to hop in!

The best part is, the kids work together to keep it clean and filled. Sr. and I do nothing… well except tell Grace to stop yelling and shrieking every time she splashed. I sweat the whole neighborhood hears her, and then hears us yelling her name! 🤣🤷🏻‍♀️

Once the days get even hotter, I’m picturing a little redneck hot tub in in the evenings… because, why not?!



This week on the Half-ass Homestead

May 17-24, 2020

Despite being stuck inside most the week, this week was an eventful one; full of hard work, celebrating the birthdays and mourning the loss of those we love. We celebrated Brian Sr’s birthday as well as one my best friend, Rachel’s birthday. We attended the funeral of my Opa virtually and spent time telling stories of his life.

Last Sunday was a busy day! Ella Rose helped me use some old lumber we found under the pine trees to build a raised bed for our new cut flower garden and then fill it with a combination of dirt from an old compost pile on our property and cheap topsoil from Tractor Supply. I also made a small bed around the mailbox for a little curb appeal and filled it with a few new plants and the tall marigold variety we started by seed a few weeks ago. It rained like a monsoon most of the week but weather cleared up for the weekend. Ella Rose and Grace helped sow seeds in the new cut flower garden more on that later.

We also made our first “cooking videos” as we made our rhubarb pie for us and a few friends. 🤣 Tune into tomorrow for the first.

After all the rain, the coop was starting to smell. The chickens are getting to big! Our coop “for 4-6 chickens” is getting a little tight. Jr. helped me clean the coop on Friday while the girls and a few neighborhood kids kept an eye on the chicks as they roamed the yard (maintaining a social distance of course).

This weekend we FINALLY added a gate to the garden, it’s the epitome of half-ass but it gets the job done for now.

We also planted the last of the new plants including two new strawberry plants, two blueberry bushes, eggplant and our special peach tree.

Grace’s take on Saturday’s planting.

Brian Sr. was also busy getting the lawn on the Camp Farm in tiptop shape and working on the “super Chevy”. Look at that pretty green lawn!

Looking ahead to next week we hope to build (or buy) more space for the chicken to run and get mulch in the growing rows.


  • Backyard Reno: Totally Functional – Help me decide how to finish it!
    Last week, fall finally showed its beautiful temps here in central Ohio and I decided to make the most of it. Thursday afternoon I spent a few hours unloading pea gravel between meetings (since it was cool and … Read More
  • Fresh picks
  • Progress! Backyard Reno
    Last time I shared with y’all I was fresh into redoing the backyard, so excited about the possibilities. It’s been a month and a half and until this weekend the project hadn’t gone any further. Luckily the stars … Read More
  • Lately on the Homestead: Backyard Reno
    Last summer, despite Sr.’s disapproval, I put a pool up. He was against the idea for two reasons 1. He’s not a fan of pools(unless there’s a slide going into the pool, he doesn’t see the point) and … Read More
  • Nursery Reveal!
    It’s been nearly three months since we’ve brought Bladen home and I’m excited to finally share my new favorite room in our home! The nursery took me much longer to put together than nurseries in the past, in … Read More

Meet Grace

by Grace, age 5

*This post was dictated with an app by Grace and edited for spelling and punctuation (and a little bit of clarity) by Mom.

Hi, I’m Grace and I’m 5 right now! Soon I’m going to have a birthday in a 150 something days. I should be able to take the chicks out on my birthday and I’m sure I’ll get new batteries for my Barbie car so it goes faster. I’m gonna go to kindergarten next year after Mommy teaches me pre-k. On ABC mouse, which is my school work, I have a learning path and my pets on there too. I even have a chick that has Easter eggs that she called an Easter egger.

I kinda like gardening sometimes. Last year, we planted a big garden and we had to plant vegetables with Mommy. I like going out to play with Jack, our dog and I like playing with all my friends.

I have a best friend, Vivian. She has a very good house. I cannot wait til we can have a sleepover again because I got my own toothbrush from dentist. You should go to the dentist, it was so much fun! They gave me floss and toothpaste. The floss tastes like bubble gum and the toothpaste tastes like mint. A girl stuck a thing in my mouth and they took a picture of my teeth, that really kind of hurt when they put the thing in my mouth to take the picture, but I didn’t even tell them about it and I didn’t yell and scream.


I was born in Texas and now I’m at Ohio. I like playing with my brother, his name is Brian, and sister, she is Ella. We play puppets and Xbox, adventure, and we have a rock band. I am the drummer.

I have a creek but it’s behind Ava ‘s house. We go there and play, it’s SO fun! We have a pool too and sometimes it gets really really dirty.

I’m sure you’ll love the things that I’ve been typing, I’m sure it’s a lot.

I love making pie with my mother, Cory Camp. My favorite food is chips and salsa. Sometimes I fart a lot. My Dad cares about my Mom. I love my Mom every day, I love her so much.

OK, bye!



Meet Brian

by Brian J. Camp Jr., age 10

*Posts are proofread by Mom for clarity and some spelling and punctuation.

This is when I was 8 years old.

Hi I’m Brian. I’m 10 years old right now, and I was born on a Columbus Day. Some things I’m interested in are football 🏈 ,baseball ⚾️,basketball 🏀, 2K MADDEN, and WWE WRESTLING. My favorite WWE wrestlers are THE MIZ, UNDERTAKER, THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR, JOHN CENA, KANE, and ADRIAN NEVILLE.

My favorite football teams are the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers. Baker Mayfield is of my most favorite football players of all. I had fun playing football for the first time last year, even though we only won 1 game against Johnstown. We still played in the playoffs because every team gets to play in the playoffs. My mom yells and cheers a lot from the stands during my games and my Dad is a coach.

Me playing QB
Me and Coach Dad

In baseball I have 3 trophies, and 6 metals. My favorite baseball teams are the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros.

I love homesteading because you get to do things outside, like improve a chicken coop. I hate gardening though because I don’t like bending over and pulling weeds until the weeds are all gone. But I will pull weeds for money. 🤑🤑🤑

Me exhausted after my Mom made me help in the garden

I love having chickens because you get to play with them. I also like to eat eggs, so it will be cool when they start to lay them.

Chicks dig me.

I like being a big brother because they always play with me and I like helping my mom with them. One thing that is annoying about them is they never stop arguing some days.

I like living in Granville, Ohio, even though I miss my friends back in Texas–especially my best friend, Jacob.

Me and my best friend, Jacob

At least Ohio is not always hot in the the spring and summer like Texas. I like spring the most because the weather goes from chilly to warm and back and forth.

This is a picture that my Mom drew of me.