Open source homestead and market gardening plans from start to finish!


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Trip to Knoxville Zoning

Knoxville City Zoning

Zoning is for the birds, and driving in Knoxville is not for us. We are better suited for small towns and country roads. Nonetheless, we are getting initiated in to life in a big city. The hard way. But we have to save the birds!

The zoning department rejected our plans because they don’t allow chickens on vacant lots. Well, at least not in residential zones.

The plans we submitted were for the Wade Lane address, which is the market garden lot. All the work! Planning, drawing, printing, and it was all rejected. *sigh*

In the end, we scribbled out our plans on a piece of paper in the zoning office. If I had known it was that easy to get a permit then I would have worked later yesterday and gone home to scribble out a plan.

All we had to do was move the coop to the same lot as the house, and make sure it’s at least ten feet from the property boundaries.

Steps we took to get a permit.

  • Drew up plans for the coop and its location.
  • Take the plans to the Knoxville Building Permits & Inspection – zoning [Click headline title to read more…]
  • Mad Ducks

    Mad ducks at Secret Homestead

    We were given until the 11th to find homes for the ducks, but Animal Control people have changed their minds. With net in hands, ducks were going to be captured. In spite of the 11th deadline, Animal Control will be back tomorrow. I want to save the remaining birds but I can only do just so much at a time! Do this. Do that. Get a permit here. Get a permit there. Oy! Tote that bar. Lift that bale! On top of that, we have to get this estate sale ready.

    And just when you think you can’t take any more…


    The city insists!

    The City of Knoxville Insists!

    So much for doing the initial cleaning for the estate sale. The city wants to come in and bush hog the lot! Say what? There are cherries, pears, grapes, and I don’t know what all is on this lot. A bush hog will take it all down. That means we switch gears and the lot becomes priority even if we have to reschedule the estate sale.

    Nothing wrong with dreaming!

    It’s no secret that I want a market garden, and have tried to create a market garden at Our Little Homestead. We had to travel so much that it just didn’t work out.

    So, dreaming on…




    Our Six Pack

    Our Six Pack

    Chickens and more! It normally takes us two weeks to complete an estate sale, but from the very beginning of the Secret Haven account, we have been met with obstacles. Yet, these obstacles are more like fighting for something you didn’t know you wanted, until it happens.

    Lessons Learned

  • Having a homestead is a serious commitment and lives, such as animals and plants depend on you to be there for them.
  • The city has a LOT of ordinances to figure out.
  • The city of Knoxville has a lot of patience with people concerning ordinances. Bravo to them for helping us get this estate straightened out. Though, I miss the birds.
  • Chickens in Knoxville

  • Yearly permit is required.
  • Chicken coop permit is required from the zoning department.
  • Secret Haven can only have six chickens with a permit.
  • No roosters allowed.
  • Coop has to be at least 10 feet from the property boundary.
  • Chickens can not be on a vacant lot. A house on the lot is required.

    [Click headline title to read more…]

    Bee not afraid

    Bee Not Afraid

    Bees everywhere! It doesn’t feel like work when I arrive at Secret Haven. It should, but it doesn’t. I finish my chores at Our Little Homestead and I look forward to the chores at Secret Haven. Weeds and all, but it doesn’t make sense that I eventually want to be in the weeds working. I’m afraid of spiders. Yes, those tiny little creatures that makes me a giant compared to them. I’m sure they are there but I want to tackle the weeds.

    I also want to take care of the bees. Baby steps.

    Lessons Learned

  • Bees aren’t as bad as my mind makes them out to be.
  • It’s normal for them be on the front entrance like what’s in the video.
  • They aren’t aggressive like my mind makes them out to be. In fact, they are a joy to watch!
  • Bees in Tennessee

  • The right to keep bees is protected under the Tennessee State Apiary Act of 1995.
  • They need to be registered with the State of Tennessee.
  • They can’t be moved without a certificate of health from the State of Tennessee.
  • They are great for market gardening.
  • Spiders

  • I was right. They [Click headline title to read more…]
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