Honduran Homestead

Note: This post is a big one and picture heavy. Click any of the photos to enter into a full screen slideshow.
Three years ago, we started digging in our front yard. We pulled out dozens of old shoes, thousands of corn cobs, hundreds of plastic bags, more than a few metal files, and to the great delight of neighbor kids, at two or three marbles per day shining out of the dirt like the egg of some feral window . What was once an abandoned lot slowly yielded to machete, hoe, pick, and shovel. Within a few months, the community dump had transformed into a productive garden. The work that began three years ago has not stopped evolving into a more sustainable form of living. One that is finally arriving to the level of what I would call a permaculture homestead.

Permaculture seems to be defined a little differently by different people in different contexts, but for me it is the practice of cultivation and animal care that focuses on minimizing waste and maximizing yield by utilizing local resources and natural relationships between plants and animals. 

For us, this means kitchen scraps and yard cuttings go to chickens in the form of an enormous compost pile in their pen. That pile breaks down via the pecky-scratchers eating and scritching at it as the natural compost cycle does its thing. Once things cool down, thousands of worms move in only to become the victims of a chicken-imposed genocide. Those worms and grass cuttings are processed by the seemingly-brainless fowl into the very useful form of eggs and meat. Once that pile is fully mature compost and manure, it goes into the garden beds where it nourishes the plants. The scraps from the veggies and plants either goes to the chickens or the goats. The goats eat grasses, banana leaves, leuceana (tree) leaves, and madriado (tree) leaves from the yard which they magically process into fresh milk and pelletized fertilizer in the form of manure under their little house, which again finds its way into the garden. The enormous, prolifically produced leaves from our ginger and heliconia flowers also make excellent goat or chicken food. 

Where the magic starts.

With minimal input and the aid of the moist tropical environment, the yard is now reaching sustainable form. We still supplement the animals with a couple of pounds of commercial concentrate per day, but the vast majority of the resources needed for meat, eggs, milk, bananas, and fresh veggies are now produced within our tiny yard. Even the water we use is only that which falls within this small space. We and our neighbors have been amazed to watch it evolve over the years. Whether I'm out weeding, turning compost, or at the milking stand, I now get daily questions about how we achieved a certain result or if I can make a recommendation. We hope and pray that these inquiries will translate into lifestyle changes that can make an enormous difference in the lives of our neighbors. 

We have recently begun keeping detailed record-keeping of the yard's production, and it appears that we should be able to surpass the average family income in Las Lomitas with just what is produced in our yard. The first week of records (which was low production), revealed that we produced 82% of average income. As we've shared this information with people around town, they have suddenly become VERY interested... It seems that it is fairly universal to care more about $$ than we do about nutrition or lifestyle (try to not be shocked, I know that none of us are like that.) I have two young helpers in the garden (Eduardo and Victor) that sell our extra produce on the weekends, and believe me, they have certainly enjoyed the feel of money in their hands for something produced so close to home. 

Wheels are slowly turning in many heads. People are already asking when the goats will be having little goats, and if I'll be selling them? Where can you get those vegetable seeds in Siguatepeque? Are those normal creole chickens? How often do you turn your compost? How many eggs per day? How much did that squash weigh? How much milk does that goat give? These questions are just a small part of development, but we see our role as being people that humbly answer them with the hope that Christ gives us and the offer to walk alongside. 

Enjoy the photos. These were taken yesterday, July 30 (most of them anyways). They are also available here for an easier slideshow.

The volunteer squash have done well on the chicken fence. A couple have weighed more than 10 lbs.

Getting an average of three eggs per day right now.
Lemon grass.

Two kinds of bananas: little lady fingers (above), and regulars (below). We get about one or two stalks a month.

Baby mahoganies (above) and phoenix palms (below). See more at Post:Mahogany Men

Our "Family Plant," Monstera deliciosa is fruiting! The flower is above and the remaining fruit is beginning to form below. This plant's leaf is the basis for this site's logo.


  1. You two continue to amaze me! Love the photos and insight into your progress. Praying for you always. Kisses to sweet Alida for us!

  2. I couldn't be more excited about this. 5 years ago you were sharing this dream with us. 3 years ago we saw your home. And now....there are piles of bananas and beets and goats being milked and chickens laying eggs and compost and the water collection. But what's even more exciting than all that are the questions being asked. This is what it's all about. You're doing it, guys. So proud, and so humbled at the same time that God gives us the privilege of using our gifts for kingdom work like this. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  3. What a fantastic looking homestead. I am amazed at how many people don't know of how abundant a small piece of property can be. So wonderful that you are reaching others in the way of an abundant life, physically and more important, spiritually.