It’s been a while

So much to catch y’all up on!!

It’s been a few weeks since the constant nausea of my first trimester subsided–praise the Lord! Since then, I’ve been trying to catch back up to life and all the things around the house and gardens.

In the past month, we’ve waged war on the “mother-in-law’s revenge”–aka goutweed–in the front gardens, planted fall mums, orchestrated a near-whole house refresh with new carpet and paint in the majority of the house, revived the dahlias in the cut flower garden, celebrated 2 birthdays and an anniversary, finished the football season, and moved the girls into a shared room to free up a room for the nursery.

The big garden also got A TON of care and attention from Clint who built raised and installed garden boxes and used old pallets to build a new compost bin. I’m serious y’all, it’s impressive!

As the cool weather rolls in, we have much more to do–like prep the coop and gardens for winter.

I’ll be posting something about each of our updates and adventures moving forward. In the meantime, what winter prep tips do you have to share with me?!



I Hate Gardening

by Brian J. Camp Jr. – age 11

I love to being outside. But my Mom takes the whole point of being outside away! She makes me work in in the garden all the time in the summer and spring. It sucks all the fun out of the great weather. I mean, who wants to pull weeds, plant, or shovel dirt and mulch when the weather is nice… or ever?!

She also makes help her with her projects. For example, the chicken coop, fencing the garden, building her a potting bench… that she hasn’t even used yet!

The only time I don’t mind working in the garden is if I can get money for it. Mom will sometimes bribe me to do work outside for her. But most of the time, if Mom pays me, she makes it hard work. She says she wants to “get her money’s worth”. 😒

And sometimes I do not finish, so I don’t get paid for the whole job. Mom says working for her is good practice for my business with the Yard Crew (more on that later). But Mom has high expectations. She even fired me once! 🙄

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like having a garden and fresh food. I just do not like to WORK in the garden.

The job I hate the most is pulling weeds. Mom has me pull BUCKETS and BUCKETS of weeds from the front garden. We don’t even grow food there.

My Dad can be worse! He doesn’t make me work int he gardens but he gives me gross jobs outside, like picking up dead animals. And RAKING LEAVES is the job hate the most!!!!

This year my Mom say she is going to make the garden bigger. OH JOY!!!!!!! 😑



Grace’s Christmas Post

By Grace, Age 6

Grace writes her blog posts using the dictation feature on Google Docs then helps Mom edit the blog after she copies it to the blog.

I love Christmas because I can wrap presents and give people stuff. I like wrapping presents a lot and putting them under the tree for Santa give lots of presents under our big Christmas tree that’s downstairs. I like to wrap presents a lot so I wrapped a bone for my dog Jack. I can’t wait to see his face when he sees the phone I hope he likes it. 

I think he knows what it is!

I didn’t wrap anything for Sarah Lee yet but I’m thinking about it. my sister loves my cat Sarah Lee and she’s doing a blog about dogs. Mommy has wrapped a present for me. I can’t wait to see what it is because it’s big! My sister has a present from Mommy too. I didn’t know she wrapped presents yet.

I also love baking cookies! My Mom, sister and I make the BEST gingerbread cookies!

We have elves that come to our house too! Last week the elves got hurt and really sad because they tripped on all of our stuff so we had to clean up. My elf, Heart, has a broken elbow Brian’s elf, Steve, has a broken leg and Ella’s elf, Eggnog, still has something wrong with her eye because I put sprinkles in it. I feel bad about that.

After we cleaned they got better and brought us elf slime, jingle bell necklaces we made, and today… LIPS! Mom said they are wax but we shouldn’t eat them even though they smell good. She’s also not happy they stole her red lipstick.

Oh! And Uncle Josh is here!  Lat night we had a sleepover in the basement with him. Mom didn’t sleep over with us but she did make popcorn for us. Josh is staying until Christmas so he can watch us open all our gifts. We play lots of games with Uncle Josh. And read, and cook, and snuggle.

Did you know we have Christmas to celebrate when Jesus was born? I bet he was such a cute baby. He wants us to give love and gifts and be kind to people. All I want for Christmas is love… and a bunkbed and a new sled and a card with money. But what I want most is love and to wish my teacher, Mrs. Gibbs, a Merry Christmas!

Okay, bye!



Deer

By Ella Camp, age 8

There was a deer walking slowly through the woods. There was also a hunter walk slowly through the woods. Finally, the hunter saw the deer. The hunter stepped closer behind the deer. The hunter jumped on the deer’s back. The deer leaped and the hunter fell to the ground. When he got up an angry male deer stood in front of him. The next day the hunter came back. This time the hunter saw a pack of deer. . . he ran away never to be seen again.

Photo by Louis on Pexels.com


The Snake

By Brian Camp, age 10

Earlier this week, I was playing with my sisters, Ava ,and Vinny. They were running around the yard catching butterflies. Ella was about to step in our flower bed when she thought there was a stick on the ground. Suddenly she screamed as loud as she could, “Snake!”

My Mom jumped up, she was working on the deck with her computer, and told me to get the shovel from the shed. She said I needed to walk around the deck to bring her the shovel so I didn’t scare the snake and she could kill it.

When I handed her the shovel I said, “Don’t kill it unless it’s a poisonous snake! if it’s a garter snake we should let Andrew have it!” My friend Andrew has been wanting a garter snake forever. Mom said she didn’t know what kind of snake it was so Andrew better get here fast or it was going to be a DEAD snake. Mom texted Andrew’s mom and they headed right over–they live just up the street.

When Andrew got here, he looked at the snake and said it was a garter snake.. he was 99% sure and he said it’s harmless. He went to grab it but Mom made him put on gloves. So I gave him. moms rubber garden gloves and then he grabbed a pole off the deck. He put a pole on top of the snake and then he grabbed the snake behind the head and picked it up. Mom screamed. then took some pictures.

Andrew’s mom showed up and Andrew walked back to his house with the snake. At Andrew’s house, we made it a big cage. He was going to name him Fang but chose Slitherin instead. Then we played. That’s it.



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!


  • 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 thinks they attract mosquitos. 🙄 2. He thought I’d ruin the grass. While it didn’t attack mosquitos, … 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 part due to lack of energy and in part due to putting together some special touches, like … Read More
  • Meet the newest member of the Camp family
    Nearly three months ago we anxiously awaited the arrival of March. Not only would we be welcoming the newest member of our family to the world, but I’d also have 6 weeks of maternity leave and the plans I had to do with my time were endless! One of which was to get back on … Read More
  • On the homestead today
    It’s cool and cloudy here so I’m in the gardens getting dirty—planting new plants and taming old ones.4 years ago there were just 3 poppies on this plant, look how many this year! It’s my favorite plant and blooms around Memorial Day each year.
  • Quick update..finally!
    Check out this video update on what’s been happening and the huge garden renovation this year!

This week on the Half-Ass Homestead | June 8 – 14, 2020

This week we had beautiful weather! A little rain, not as much as I hoped for–isn’t it funny how when you have a garden, you start to pray for rain? It’s way too much of a chore to pull the hose all the way out to the big garden to water. There are signs of plant production everywhere! Clint and Vinny were enjoying the butter crunch lettuce straight from the plant while out watering one day.

The flowers are still blooming every day. I took a stroll through the house gardens and cut a few roses and flowering herbs for a summery bouquet.

The hens got more adventurous as they roamed towards the front yards. If you drove by the homestead on Tuesday morning you probably saw me running around like a madwoman with a lime green snow shovel shooing chickens out of the brush behind the coop (it’s full of poison ivy) and yelling orders at the kids on how to wrangle them so they. Trying to keep them all our of the poison oak and ivy and get the hens put up before my next meeting was exhausting.

Sweet Grace – You can find her most days with a pretty dress on, chicken in tote, and shoes on the wrong feet.

I was able to use Sr.’s lawn sweeper (yes thats a thing) and swept up more grass clippings from our two yards to mulch the rows. I also added some enriching soil builder we had left over from planting the peach tree and blueberry bushes.

Sr got his 17 staples out and this weekend brought a slight improvement in Sr.’s pain 🙌🏻 and we explored new scenery for our walk.

Black Hand Gorge Trails

Vinny turned FOUR and Tarin did a maternity shoot in the garden with the chickens!



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!