Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why Homestead?!

So, Why the Desire to Homestead?

Because it is just so darn fun to work like crazy just for one jar of green beans! Um… well… not entirely.

Let’s back up here. So about a year ago, I was an ICU RN working in a fancy hospital taking care of really sick people. I really did not like it. I kept thinking there was something missing. So around that time, my oldest daughter was having severe developmental issues with speech, behavior, and emotions.( She is way better now!) She needed A LOT of therapy. So bottom line, I went per-Diem at the hospital and eventually quit to be a stay at home mom. Through all this therapy and Dr’s appointments I was doing a lot of research about diet therapy for kids with delays. I thought, “Hey, what can it hurt?” so we switched to an organic diet. I don’t know if you know this, but organic supermarket diets are really expensive! I looked for a CSA to join and found a whole diet CSA through YeeHaw Farm. SUPER! One of the best (and most life changing!!) things I have ever done! It introduced my family to a COMPLETELY different way of eating, growing, and producing food. Suddenly, our food actually tasted like food and not just like salt! Suddenly I was cooking most foods from scratch instead of a rip and dump package! It was super tasty and….a lot of work and a lot of dishes every night. I won’t lie. Cooking from scratch every night is a lot of work but personally I feel like it is WAY worth it. But I digress, we started getting the majority of our foods from farmer’s markets and really enjoying it! I have a whole soapbox topic planned about buying from local people but that’s saved for another day! Ha!

Anyway… so we were buying from local markets and I began thinking… why couldn’t I do this? We have 7 acres of ground on top of our mountain… why couldn’t I grow some food? So last year I had my awesome husband build me two raised bed vegetable boxes and grew a small garden. I loved growing food! There is something so cool and rewarding about putting seeds in the ground and watching them grow. It’s primal. It’s elemental. It makes you feel like you accomplished something just by watering and weeding it. And seriously, that first ripe heirloom tomato straight off the vine, warm from the sun… bursting with flavor in your mouth… PURE wonderful tomato heaven! YUM!

 The small garden went well although I was super lazy and didn’t preserve a darn thing I grew. Let me tell you, I am feeling it now in January. I hate that I didn’t can anything this past summer. My pantry is bare and I’m dependent on the imported waxy junk produce from the store. YUCK! (another soapbox post about the industrial food system coming!) Next year, my friends, is going to be vastly different!

Anyway… I began to think about my garden.  How can I add more to it…how can I grow all the things that I normally buy from the market? I started planning and drawing and researching. Then there is all this talk about the economy and how at any moment it could come crashing down and leave us in another depression (slight exaggeration). So I began to think about how I could make our mountain as self sufficient as possible. We use a lot of eggs weekly so naturally I thought about getting chickens. We love cheese and milk, so my next thought was to get a Jersey cow. Cows eat a lot of grass that we don’t have on top of a mountain. So the next thought was dairy goats. They eat all kinds of grazing plants and don’t eat near as much as cows. Plus they don’t produce as much milk. Plus add a sheep or two for wool for knitting and crocheting. And bees are a must for honey, wax, and pollination. Then you add all that together and you have a homestead! Ta Da!
So basically it has been a year in the making... and I'm sure it will be many more years until the property is a functioning homestead but the dreams are in process. It has been an eyeopening journey so far. From meeting so many awesome farmers and growers who are always willing to share their experiences and knowledge to experimenting with growing my own food. It's been fun and I can't wait for the next steps!

Soon to come... experiences of making my own cheese!

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