Our Homesteading Adventure
I recently subscribed to an online periodical called “From Scratch Magazine.” If you are interested at all in homesteading or living a more simple life connected to the earth, I encourage you take a look at it.
In a recent email from this site, a pdf poster was included about the “Modern Day Homesteader” along with these words, “Homesteading is an attitude. A lifestyle. A journey.” That and a couple of articles I have read written by some of those “Modern Day Homesteaders” made me realize that homesteading and living sustainably wasn’t something you aspired to, it is something you just do…right now…right here…at this very moment.
Our journey started a few years ago when Dennis and I were living the corporate dream. Between the two of us we made well over six figures, had taken vacations to both Mexico and Canada…in the same year, and were basically living life.
Then the bottom fell and Dennis was laid off. Dennis’ job was sent overseas and as the job search lingered it became apparent that many companies had done the same thing leaving him unsure of where to turn to next.
That’s when we decided to move. We bought an old farmhouse on two and a half acres of field. The house needed a LOT of updating…I mean a LOT. We still had hopes that Dennis would find a full time job and we could turn this into our dream home.
While Dennis was looking for full time employment he started freelancing on the side. Before he knew it, he had several people coming back to him time and again. They loved his work. We decided it was time for us to reevaluate our situation.
We did some soul searching and talked about our lives and what was more important. Freelancing doesn’t pay what he was making before, but it does give a better quality of life. No rush hour traffic, no bosses breathing down your neck, no stuffy dress code…
Sure, we had to cut back on expenses. No more trips to Mexico (or anywhere else we couldn’t easily drive to), more hands-on do-it-yourself projects rather than hiring someone to do it for us, mending clothes instead of buying new ones. We cut back everywhere we could.
What this allowed was for us to connect more with our town and neighbors. We began to focus on our health and happiness and what really made us happy was being outside, creating new things and enjoying friends and family. Money could buy none of these things.
“Money can make life easier, but it does not bring real happiness.”
And so our adventure began. We planted a garden and learned how to can foods like tomatoes, jam and apple pie filling. We stopped buying prepared foods and started experimenting with new recipes using fresh, local products. We planted an herb garden and started using fresh herbs in our cooking. We built a chicken coop and brought home ten chicks for fresh eggs. I learned how to bake homemade artisan bread, make my own laundry soap (that is cheaper and better than anything I could buy at the store), and use everyday ingredients to clean our home. We then expanded and bought sheep for meat and goats for milk.
As I look back at all we’ve accomplished in such a short time, I’m amazed. We still have a long way to go and we aren’t spring chickens ourselves, but I am quite proud of everything we’ve done so far.
And yes, we are happier for it.
We aren’t “living off the grid,” but we are working to reduce our carbon footprint. We supplement our heat with wood, we open the windows instead of putting on the central AC (which we no longer have anyway since we moved into the old farmhouse) and we exercise by working out in the yard instead of spending money on and driving to a gym.
We have lots of stories already to share with you and we’ll be happy to share the things we learn along the way on this journey.
Check out the About Us page to learn more about Dennis and I and what services we can provide for you. We will also be selling some of our farm products as we begin to produce more than we can consume ourselves. For now we will only be selling locally, but we are not ruling out shipping certain items in the future. The idea of homesteading is to do whatever you can.