Chasing the dream on a small farm in Western Pennsylvania

Flowers available in 2017

We have finalized our list of flowers that we will be growing in 2017 including Zinnia, Gomphrena, Marigolds and more! Check out Hilterman Farms for a complete list.

Orchard Started

We have our first two trees in the fruit orchard!

Preparing for Winter on your Homestead

Since we are only a couple of weeks away from our first frost here in Western Pennsylvania, it's a good idea to get your homestead ready for the never-ending chill.

Preparing your garden
  • Rake up leaves and add them to your compost bin or use them as mulch on your beds.
  • Remove dead plants from beds and throw them in your compost bin.
  • Cut perennials back, weed the beds and add fertilizer.

  • Dig out your water trough heater (or buy one).
  • Make sure your hay supply will last the winter.
  • Clean out all animal stalls, coops, runs, etc.
  • Vaccinate, clip hooves, deworm and any other medical needs.

    Around the house
  • Make or buy thermal curtains to keep the cold out.
  • Make sure you have enough firewood, pellets or propane to last the winter.
  • Clean out your chimney or better yet, have a professional do it.
  • Make sure weatherstripping around doors and windows are in good shape.
  • Clean gutters of fall leaves and debris.

    Your car
  • Make sure your car is in good working order. It's better to fix now than to get stranded in the dead of winter.
  • Make sure antifreeze is a 50/50 ratio and does not contain too much water.
  • Fill the windshield washer fluid with a winter blend.
  • Make sure your heat works well on all speeds.
  • Test the battery voltage of your starting battery.

    Thinking about the impending winter does not excite most of us but it is a reality of living where we live. Just think, May 17 is our average last frost so we have 8 months to mentally prepare for Spring.

    Bumper Crop of Tomatoes

    After a few years of struggle growing tomatoes, mom has had a very successful crop of tomatoes. So far she has 60 quarts canned with many, many more on her porch and on the vine.

    Storage Shed Build

    We have decided to build a storage shed to house building materials and tools for when we begin construction on the main cabin. It will be a small shed, 8'x12'.

    View the progress pictures...

    New Cabin Location Leveled

    The location for the new cabin has been leveled and ready for the construction to start. A big thank you goes out to my neighbor Joe for putting his equipment to work to level this area.

    Planning the new Cabin

    After building the hilltop cabin last year, I wanted to build one that was easier to get to in the winter. Since my land has a "lower 40" that is just about level with the road, this is where it's going.

    The new cabin will be a single story building, 26'x24' with two bedrooms, bathroom with composting toilet, living room and kitchen. The construction will not start until spring of 2017. Stay tuned!

    Spring Development

    One of the major steps towards homesteading is finding a source of water. I already have rain collection devices on the hilltop cabin but I wanted to find a more steady source of water.

    When we first bought the property where the cabin is, we knew there was a source of water where a collection of trees and brambles had grown up and out of control. So after making our way through the overgrowth, we did find a gallon per minute spring.

    The spring sat undeveloped for many years until this year when I went looking for it again. Once again the brush had grown and it was a pain to get to. Once I found it it wasn't running (we are in a bit of a drought). I dug a little pit and left it alone for a few days.

    We did have some rain during this time so I had good expectations of what I would find when I checked on it. It indeed did have some water in it but still wasn't running like it had in the past. After a few more days it still hadn't recovered. This will be a wait and see project.