Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Get Real

This week we are all sharing what homesteading/gardening looks like at our homes.

Slowly, steadily, generally moving forward but occasionally taking one step backward, our family has been gardening and engaging in some aspects of homesteading.

"When a man can have light or heat without a fire, or can eat without a garden, then folks will forget that there is a God."
(I don't know where this quote came from, I just found that I had written it in one of my notebooks. 
 If you know, please share.)

Oh, this can be hard, but at the same time it can be so rewarding  to work with what the earth has to offer us – God’s gift of creation.   Digging in the soil, picking blueberries, making an apple pie from apples from our old apple trees, gathering fresh eggs and using the manure in next year’s garden.  There is nothing like the feeling of having a nearly all homegrown meal, such as quiche with eggs from your chickens and with salad and potatoes from the garden – it is just so satisfying.  Not to mention so good for the earth.  Think of the transportation miles saved, the packaging, the driving to the store, etc…when you eat home grown food.

So many disappointments as well, such as only harvesting 5 – 8  winter squash from numerous prolific vines that simply did not bear fruit, raising two female goats from 6 weeks of age, but then realizing that I am probably not ready to raise a buck and commit to twice a day milking (fear or just not wanting to be tied down I am not sure).  But for now we are loving our two does and appreciating the fertilizer they produce.  One last mistake was that I planted garlic last fall and forgot about that when letting out the chickens so we lost quite a bit.

A wonderful aspect of homesteading is that it keeps the seasons real- each season brings a new set of activities:  tapping trees and preparing the soil in early spring, finishing the planting before true summer starts, the weeding and harvesting in the summer along with the blueberries.  Then late summer and early fall brings the rest of the harvest as well as apple picking.  During all of this is the firewood harvesting, splitting and stacking.

Our children are involved in helping around our small homestead.  The younger children help with the chickens, the older ones sometimes help with the watering of the gardens and the splitting of the wood, for example.  There are seasons  when I have been pregnant and feeling terrible and wish I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself to get the garden producing and then when there is a toddler, I have to lower my expectations a bit again as she will want to be digging with meJ

 Aren’t we blessed to have choices? Sometimes I am grateful for the local organic family farm if one of my crop’s fails or I did not get to planting something. 

There is so much more that I want to learn and do.  My goals this year here at our little homestead involve making our own yogurt and occasional soft cheeses as well as make our own soap.   I would like to include these new skills into our seasonal and daily homesteading routines.

Looking forward to all the sharing again with these inspiring (but real) women ~


  1. I love knowing what some of the ups and downs of homesteading are Tonya. I think that understanding what goes wrong, what kind of time it takes, on top of of all the joys, is really useful for those of us that are slowly finding our way there. Thank you for sharing.

  2. The quote you began with is one of my favorites! It's so true.

    I've not milked goats so I'm not sure how much milk you'd get, but- you could think about milking just once per day and leaving the kid(s) on the doe the rest of the time. Or, perhaps since goats have just 2 teats you'd find it didn't really take long?

    I love all home grown meals, too! Aren't they so fun! We usually take pictures of them out of excitement. :p

  3. Lots of steps backwards! But as you have always reassured me...despite their appearance, those steps are always brings me just a little bit closer to where I am going. Thank you Tonya!


  4. Great post and very interesting...thanks for sharing....blessings

  5. Like Rootsong suggested, milking goats only once a day works great! We have done it this way for several years very successfully. On days that we aren't able to milk we just leave the kids with the does overnight and they take care of the milking for us. We use the extra milk for making soap and raising calves.

  6. love the quote but don't know where it came from either! I also love this series that you are doing and wish I had made some different choices in the past but I am learning and that is all part of the process. Thanks for sharing with us all.

  7. Thank you for keeping it real, Tonya! For there are indeed setbacks and trials when aiming for the simpler life...however, all the benefits are so wonderful. I like that you addressed the seasons that keep it real for all of us...with each new week, there are new things to attend to, more food to harvest, another fence to fix, more wood to gather. We follow the sun more mindfully, we plan for the winter ahead more thoughtfully, and perhaps we relish in the moment with a little more abandon since the day's work has been accomplished.
    Also, to be able to fall back on one's community is also an important part of aiming for self-sufficiency, for crops do fail, people get sick, and the savings gets spent on an emergency tooth problem. Walking across the road for eggs in a pinch is reassuring, or trading some woodworking for a few broiler chickens is the kind of thing that keeps us energized to keep on homesteading. Thanks for sharing, Tonya...this is a wonderful series.
    xo Jules

  8. What a great post! Love that quote, and I totally agree that a homegrown meal is so amazingly good. I hope to make soap someday, too :)

  9. I have been wanting to try both soap and yogurt for a while now. I think the hardest part for me is finding a large block of fairly uninterrupted time to do either. Also, I think fear of the unknown hold me back. One of these days I'll get over that!