By Robert Pekel
Robert Pekel now calls Rogers, Arkansas, home, but he's lived, worked and traveled to different places.
His blog will focus on growing independence and reconnecting with Mother Earth through homesteading. His secondary focus will be on self-reliance, sustainability and happiness.
Currently, Robert is working on the soil in his garden. "The goal this year is to generate all nutrients needed to build soil for my garden on site. This is being done through composting, vermicomposting, and manure."
The to-do-list, while not very long at the moment, will undoubtedly grow as his garden does: Continue education to improve through science; year-round production of vegetables; and facilitate and outfit homesteader.
Robert was born and raised in the country, and he definite a homesteader as someone who "finds harmony and health by reconnecting with the Earth through sustainable practices. The beauty of a homestead is that it can be done on a 1/4 acre, or a hundred acres."
Gardening is his roots, Robert says. "While raising a family, I soon realized the importance of controlling a healthy, clean food source. Gardening offered a connection to the Earth that my children continue to cherish."
The family garden includes plants in a greenhouse and outside. "Currently in the greenhouse: tomatoes, peppers, and basil," Robert says. "Outside there is cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and various herbs. The strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, honeyberries, and goji berries and elderberries, apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches and persimmons will soon be awakened from dormancy."
The family homestead includes a number of animals: laying hens (Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Barred Rock); Cornish Rock meat chickens; one or two beef cows; and two or three hogs. Robert says the breeds for beef and pork vary each year.
As you might imagine, Robert's country skills are extensive. He says, "The most successful areas include: growing small fruits, vegetables and meat; developing a pantry and creating meals from it; vermicomposting; rainwater harvesting; and wildlife support through native plants in the landscape."
And his philosophy on country life?