I grew up a farm girl in rural Iowa where we raised livestock, grain crops, and tended HUGE gardens where we raised all of our produce. We ate fresh foods and what wasn’t eaten fresh, was canned to enjoy during the winter. Breads and rolls were made weekly, hand-crafted pies could be in the oven just 30 minutes after picking fruit, eggs came from our chickens, milk and cream came from our cow, and meals were enjoyed the most when shared with family and friends.
We were raised in a very self-sufficient lifestyle. If something was broken, we fixed it. If it was torn, we mended it. If it mooed, we milked it. If it was dirty, we cleaned it. If something/someone was hungry, we feed it. If something was ripe, we picked it. And probably one of the most important lessons… if you can make do without it, don’t buy it. Hard work was expected, but we also had time to relish the simple pleasures in life: enjoying the company of friends and family, watching fireflies and stars light up the night, playing hide and go seek in the hayloft, and riding our ponies on the gravel roads that connected our community.
Now I live in an urban setting with my husband, affectionately known as Mr. Overalls, on a 1/3 of an acre. We are just blocks from the local hospital, yet wake to the sounds of our chickens clucking and bees buzzing. The skills I learned growing up, serve me well on our urban homestead. We gather eggs from our chickens, honey from our bees, and fresh vegetables and fruit from our gardens. We compost dirty straw from the chickens as well as our vegetative scraps from the gardens and kitchen. That in turn makes a wonder, organic soil amendment. Meals are made from scratch, using whole ingredients instead of processed foods. During the peak of harvest, we set aside time to preserve extra for the long winter months.
To add to our self-sufficiency, we have added some new skills by making: cheese and other dairy delights, bar and laundry soap, household cleaning supplies, as well as mead and wines.
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Welcome to our homestead!