More than 15 years ago when my girls were small, I dreamed of living a self sufficient life on our small farm — raising chickens, milking a cow, spinning wool from a flock of sheep, growing our own food, and providing a happy, healthy life for my small family that I was sure would grow to at least 1/2 dozen kids. Fast forward to today, and I am still dreaming that dream, at least part of it. Some days (infrequent as they may be) I feel like it may just be one of those “if I could have just” dreams, but then I realize just how far I have come on my homesteading life journey. My small family (just me and my two girls) have survived divorce, a temporary stretch of city life, job loss, physical illnesses, education – public and home, “near poverty, rock soup lean times,” drought, storms, predator attacks, and countless hurdles over the last 15 years. So, when I read the article “Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Homestead” from Mother Earth News a few years ago, the spark of THE DREAM surged again through my heart. In hind sight, I take issue with how easy the article makes it all seem and plan to discuss openly with you here the honest reality of living sustainably on a small farm.
From somewhere back in my youth, a lesson from my papaw, the Watermelon Man, resounds continually in my ears and provides the fertile ground on which my life now builds. Growing up all my life on a farm meant for me long summer hours hoeing in the watermelon field with my grandfather. He seemed to magically know just when my resolve to finish a row was about to melt away under the baking sun, and he would break the silence with a story or question or a life lesson that I was sure he heard straight from Ben Franklin himself. He once explained, “Life an’ anything you want to accomplish is jus’ like this field of watermelons. They’s alot of work needs doing ‘fore the fruit’s ready, but all you gotta do is hoe it one row at a time.” That was one lesson I heard loud and clear, papaw.
I’d like to share my journey with you, including farming small ruminants, chickens, gardening, wool, fiber arts, wild crafting, preserving, sewing, home education, good books, faith, family, and anything else that life tosses our way. My goal is not just to bombard you with post after post of instructions on how you should do this or that to be self-sufficient and happy, but just to honestly share my journey from a “Homestead Wanna Be” to where we are now — Exploring the Simple Pleasures of Life and Legacy at Kindred Kottage.