Thursday, January 2, 2014

Homesteading is about TRYING

Eggs from our hens
 When I started this journey as the “Born Again” Farm Girl, it started simply with a pair of chicks because my son wanted some. But what it awoke inside of me were memories from my youth growing up raising critters. I was “Born Again” to the “farm” way of life. But what I have quickly learned about myself is that it goes much deeper then a few hens….. It awoke a desire to do more ourselves for our family…. To learn the “old ways” of doing things.

I say to people “It’s not the amount of land you live on, but what you do on that land that makes you a homesteader.” And some people look at me like I am nuts….. How can you homestead on ¼ of an acre in a small town!?!? Homesteading is a large plot of land somewhere. Others view homestead as a go it alone lifestyle where you do everything yourself. Whatever your view of homesteading is…. This is what it means to me…..


Round zucchini from our garden

Homesteading is a lifestyle, that can be practiced anywhere. It is about growing food no matter if you do it on a balcony. We don’t raise all our own food, but we are getting better at gardening and this means less GMOs in my children’s food. We didn’t do great at canning last year (well other then my jams!) but we learned and can plan and do better this year. We can’t raise hogs in the village limits but our friend can where he lives, so we know how our meat was raised, ethically, and that the hog had a good life in the sun before it went to butcher. We even learned how to preserve that meat OURSELVES thus eliminating chemicals and other things you really don’t want in your food.


Boiling sap to may syrup
We have learned how to cook more from scratch. We have tapped our maple trees to make our own syrup. We have learned how to repair and reuse things. We think long term before we act. Because you see, to me, homesteading is doing more for yourself no matter where you are. It doesn’t need to include livestock. It is about TRYING to do more for yourself and a better way of life. And I know that might upset someone who says we are just “playing.” But I don’t care what anyone else says as I look at my mason jars of food, collect my eggs everyday, peek in the fridge at the bacon we made, or the country ham hanging in my kitchen curing. Heck, my Hubby butchered a turkey for Thanksgiving this year! So someone needs to tell that turkey we were just “playing.” LOL

Curing a ham

I know not everyone can do as much as we can. Maybe you can’t raise your own meat, but you can partner with local farmers. Maybe you stink at growing a garden or can’t fit more then tomatoes on your balcony, then visit a farmers market. It is all about TRYING new things. And not all of them will fit in your life…. We grew kale and made kale chips and I HATED them! LOL But I tried! Homesteading is about trying!

And I think what is even more satisfy then doing or living this “lifestyle” is that my children get to grow up learning these “lost” arts. Our oldest loves making maple syrup every year. He enjoys reading seed catalogs and planning for spring. He is learning, hands on, everyday….. important life lessons you just don’t get in a classroom.

So this year, why not try a little homesteading in your life. Don’t be scared, just try and who knows, you might impress yourself. And don’t worry, I’ll be here to “play” with you, share ideas and we will try new things together!



38 comments:

  1. I would love to try homesteading, but since I am staying with my mom, I am really limited as to what I'm allowed to do. I can't even cook in the kitchen, let alone raise my own chickens! LOL! But maybe when I get my own place!

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    1. Your not allowed to cook!?!? As a mom I would love if my kids (if they were older) would cook!!! LOL Start dreaming now then of the ways you can homestead when you get your own place. Make a list of things you want to try :)

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  2. We aren't homesteading yet, but I have slowing been phasing out all the chemicals from our food and home products... baby steps, right? I love this post because you are very realistic about what you can do. Its all about breaking it down into manageable parts with the resources we have... and then just DOING it, not making excuses as to why we can't do more (and then using that as an excuse to not do what we can!) Loved this one!

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    1. Baby steps is right! Thanks for your kind words, you made me blush LOL Now get doing!!! :)

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  3. I put a lot of effort into a garden a few years ago. We enjoyed it, But when baby #4 came along I gave it up for a year and now it's been Two :( Im planning to get back into it this year.

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    1. If you need inspiration, check out the Seeds of the Month club (their membership link is up top on the left.) We get seeds sent to us every month.... some things we never even thought to try to grow. It has been fun getting seeds every month, like a little kid LOL We had great success with their seeds last year and I am drooling all over the ones we have gotten this winter... can't wait to get them in the ground. And they are all non-gmo.

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  4. Great post, Mindie. I love the ham hanging in your kitchen ~ precious. Blessings to you and yours.

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    1. Aww thanks! I want to love that ham right into my mouth! LOL Only a few more months...... It kills me every time I walk in there and see it..... it is like "come on" but you can't rush it.

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  5. Great post. I think it is great your children get to learn all the hands on activities that you are teaching them because you are right, those are just things you won't learn in a classroom!

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    1. The only problem is the oldest country kid takes off with my seed and chicken catalogs and I have to clean his room to get them back! LOL

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  6. We live on a standard city lot, and do a lot, except for bigger animals. We limited to chickens. I'd like to get bee hives, but hubs said no too that :) I think he's afraid he'd get stung. We have done a lot in 6 years, and do more each year. This spring we'll conitinue eliminating turf and switch it to more garden space, get more chicks, plant more veggies in the front yard, etc. It all takes time, but it adds up...

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    1. We are doing bees this year. Hubby is scared to death of them, but we went to an apiary, he suited up and spent the day learning about them and now he is fine! I was there with no suite on and never got stung. Now I know we will sooner or later, but come on, HONEY and pollination for our garden. Well worth a sting. Keep doing what you do because it does all add up!

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    2. The Bee Association here where I live suggested that I shadow a local bee keeper for a year to make sure that I know what I'm signing up for before I start. They said that while they want people to join in, it isn't for everyone and it can be expensive to get started. I plan on doing that as soon as I don't have the responsibilities that I have right now that keeps me at home.

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    3. My uncle is a beekeeper and so we have lots of help (and use of equipment.) It is good to know what your getting into. Read, talk, listen, ask....... best bit of advice we have had so far is to start with two hives that way we can compare them to each other so if one starts to have trouble it will be noticable before it is too late to try to fix it.

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  7. Any little bit you do can be homesteading. Two years ago I convinced my parents to let me get chickens. I got a few more last spring and I hope to get some more this spring. I have 8 right now, I love my girls, even when they are naughty. We plant a big garden each year and I can't remember the last time we bought salsa, jelly, or green beans. We now have a sort of barter going with our neighbor who also plants a big garden, they give us veggies, we give them eggs. Eventually I'm hoping I can get myself some property and homestead on a bigger scale with milk goats, bees, maybe alpaca and raising some of my own grains along with all the veggies I need plus more to sell or barter. I'm also a potter and I hope at some point I can support myself without being in the 9-5 work world.

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    1. OMG I used to make pottery. I have no where to do it any more but I so loved just sitting down with some clay and relazing as it ran through my fingers. Set your goals and baby step them to your dreams. Anything is possible when you try!

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  8. I love this post! I referred to myself as a budding homesteader and got shot down by someone because I live inside the village limits of my town. I think you are totally right though... homesteading is a mentality. Probably that's why I read your blog and not hers. ;)

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    1. Well I am glad you read my blog and not hers!!! People should never "put down" someone just because their deffinition doesn't match yours!

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  9. Just found your blog from the Simple Saturday Blog Hop! I am inspired :) My husband and I recently moved from a condo in the city to the outskirts of a small village which is a three hour drive north. We are now classed as living in Northern Ontario, Canada. From having a small condo balcony, we now have 2 acres of cleared land and 13 acres of bush. I am planning my garden and hoping to get chickens in the Spring. That's just for starters. We have so many ideas and things that we want to do! Looking forward to reading more of your blog posts!

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    1. Lynda, it sounds ike you are ebout to start an amazing adventure!!!

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  10. OH to have some land outside of the city... its a dream... hopefully before too long a reality!... I've pinned your whole website... love everything! Thank you for sharing!... I'll be back for more! ;)
    xo!

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    1. You don't need land outside the city, there is so much you can do now, where you are! :D

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  11. We still homestead even if we no longer have the animals. We sold our country homestead a year ago and moved a step or two up the main highway to a small suburban community; we cannot have animals in our section ... but I hear chickens all around me (and try not to cry when I think of the chickens I used to have); we are trying to cut down on meats anyway, so the loss of growing our own meat isn't too painful :-)

    We have a postage stamp lot, but I still garden on a smaller scale: instead of the 120' x 80' garden I had last year, I am planning a manageable raised beds garden area for Spring 2014 - my husband and I built the six 2 x 12 beds (four 4 x 8' wide & 12" deep, and two 2 x 8' wide & 12" deep) last Fall and have them 'ready to go' as soon as old man Frost splits and I can get my hands dirty; LOL. We have used no pesticides or preservatives for the past 30 years. I even have two Patio Apple Trees potted up in H-U-G-E containers because this country gal enjoys her apple pies; and am scouting two states (ours and the neighboring state) for a bush pie cherry :-) Granted, there are some things ... such as firewood ... that we have to buy now, but we may have to do that even if we lived in the country - when my husband logged, he brought free firewood home, but those days are long gone now.

    Homesteading CAN BE DONE in the suburbs with a little creativity.

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    1. Yes it can and you are a wonderful example!!!

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  12. What a lovely way of live. When I was young, we raised chickens, pigs, and even had a cow. Leaning to milk was an experience. lol! We had a hugh garden and berry plants and fruit trees. Today, I have a small garden, an herb garden and many fruit trees. No pesticides here. I would love to get a couple of chickens but I know the dogs would have too much fun hunting them!!
    It is so nice to have your own produce. Keep up the great work,
    Bev

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    1. Thank you and you keep up the good work to! I would love to put in some fruit trees.

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  13. I love your blog...I think I will learn a lot from you...thanks for participating in Katie's Favorite Things Blog Hop! Have a great weekend!

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  14. Love this! We "homestead" on 1/8 acre in the middle of the city and, yes, lots of people look at us like we're crazy. BUT...more and more people are starting to look at us like we're brilliant. This whole homesteading craze is still alive and well and, truly, you don't have to have a huge piece of property to make a huge difference in your family's lives :-) Growing your own, DIYing, keeping laying hens...they're all priceless not only in what you get tangibly, but also in the lesson you learn while you're at it! Cheers!
    (BTW-Popping over from From the Farm and so glad to have found you!)

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    1. Welcome Melissa! So glad you found me too!!!

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  15. Great post. I think anyone could use even some of these principles in their life. I know I want to grow new vegetables in my garden this year, and actually prepare and eat them!

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  16. Thanks for linking up to Lovely Ladies Linky! I just got chickens last week for the first time ever! I grew up in a city and never did anything like that. My husband was raised on a farm, and wants to raise our kids that same way. It's been a really neat experience so far. I even got three eggs already! Although I have 12 chickens so... somethings not quite right yet. I figure they just need time to adjust. I am also learning how to can (which is sort of addicting, by the way!) But I totally agree with you that homesteading is about more than having a lot of land and using it. It's a mind set. While I have a LONG ways to go, I would love for my family to be more self reliant. I have big plans for a garden this year :) Lots of canning in my future.
    Thanks again!
    A Mouse In My Kitchen

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    1. I want to do more canning. It is totally addictive! LOL Welcome to the land of poultry.... if you like to bake, duck eggs are better for that. And ducks are so much fun too. Hint hint LOL

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  17. I'm a country-girl-in-the-making, having been introduced to life in a small country town within the last few years. I absolutely see the value of this lifestyle, where all the distractions are whittled down and what you are left with is home and family. I love the projects you are taking on here and I look forward to reading more.

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    1. So glad your here!! I hope you give some of these projects a try. Not only are they fun but it feels good when you pull em off! LOL

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  18. Super excited that I found your blog through a link up and I am your newest GFC follower! I can't wait to see all the fun posts show up in my feed :) I love all your ideas and living only 8 miles out of DC we are in the middle of the city/suburbs and we haven't been able to figure out how to do a lot of these great ideas. We planted a garden two years in a row and the wildlife enjoyed it but we got nothing. I can't wait to read some new ideas and I am off to check out the rest of your blog :)

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    1. :D so glad your here! I hope I can inspire you and help you along the way.

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