Memories of a Homesteading Journey :: the 1801

I am sure it's approaching two in the morning, and my mind is still whirling about with memories of our homesteading journey. And this desire that burns within me. Up here in the north, the place of my growing up years, where maple trees fill almost every road side and two tracking is still popular. Providence has brought me another set of skills gleaned and new lessons to learn.

Meet the 1801.

This is where a little one runs through the hills barefoot and eats of berry patches freely. Where its normal to see her playing in the watering tank and climbing to heights that still make me gasp. Where chickens are hatched by the workings of the Creator, one clutch after another. The 1801, a farm in the making, with hopes of sustainable independence and growth.

Here, is where I milk for milk. But truly, it's more than that now... this is where I have become fond of goats. Even with their... shall we say character. This is where I have been able to perfect an udder balm that is marketable and share some of my herbal learning. Where I have tasted raw goat cheese, butter and yogurt... and this is where we learned how to change the rotors on the jeep.

The 1801, a place skilled in the art of reuse it. Selling chicken eggs and fire wood bundles. Where home birth and mid-wives are welcomed, land foraging and heirloom seeds abound. And since I have not left this area yet, who knows what else I may glean... there is invitation to participate in a bulk pastured chicken processing.

In this 1801 season, I am learning the ins and outs of community gardening as well. Green house usage, planting for market gardening and getting a honest idea on how much land we would really need. I am learning what I am capable of and what I am not, I am reminded often that I only have two hands and twenty four hours in a day. Learning about pacing myself...

And here I am, with this desire... that has been nourished within me for well over eights years. Who am I kidding, sometimes it feels like I was born to put my hands in the dirt. It will not go away, nor will the desire remain silent. And doing nothing... feels like something is starving.

It is definitely three in the morning now, and six thirty will come fast. So I will close my eyes, and thank my El for life and the experiences He has given me. I will pray and wait, looking forward to the next season of my life...

~ Blessings!

Memories of a Homesteading Journey :: Shalom in the South

The second pondering of 'how did I arrive... here' includes residing on a farm in middle Tennessee. And what I gleaned while living there, was more than just practical how to. There... I was surrounded by fellowship, wide open spaces, and began to heal from the inside out. Now don't think for one minute it was all rose hips and wine... but a true healing and growing {s.t.r.e.t.c.h.i.n.g.} happened there.

Meet Shalom in the South.

With her, I was able to cultivate more of my agrarian heart and add to my skills... she was were I learned to enjoy composting toilets, embraced an outside kitchen, and where we became really good at taking cover for Tornado warnings in the middle of cooking dinner.

It's where I learned to milk a cow, about banding horns, and birthing. Making maple syrup, late night guinea hen round ups, the butchering of sheep and the intensity of a Jersey bull. It's where ticks become nothing to have convulsions over and humidity was just the way it is.

Shalom in South, taught me to choose to over come and do it. To laugh again... pray hard... to sing as loud as your heart desires. Trust me, when I say on any given day, there was a song on every tree... it's where Sunday work days took on a whole new meaning, and where food preservation increased by triple volumes.

It's where I rekindled an appreciation for a wood stove, quality muck boots and strong denim. Where oil lamps and wagon wheels were normal, where I learned to say y'all and how to drive a creek just to get to my friends house. Where I learned about creek stompin, chicken and waffles, and just how peaceful a white rocking chair can be.

It's where I learned even more on how to love, through the hard parts. Where I met people who actually thrive off grid, where I saw first hand what a community can do for those who are in need... and where I learned to appreciate a home made truffle.

And a great cup of coffee...

~ Blessings!

Memories of a Homesteading Journey :: Knowing Tom

True, I was raised running through mud and chasing cows. But like everything, if you don't use it... well at the very least you could use a refresher course, and last night as I was thinking ~ how did I arrive to this place of desire. This strong desire to run bare foot through grass, pick and glean every useful berry, root, fruit and leaf I can get my hands on. To do it myself. Care for animals, and grow a life wrapped in the rhythms of the Creator's calendar and seasons...

Ever have one those nights, where you ask yourself... self - how did we ever get to this place? Then self starts remembering all the events that brought us to this place. And you find yourself still awake at three in the morning...

Meet Tom.

Tom was a grand introduction, actually I believe it was Providence. So many homesteading skills were gleaned from knowing Tom, and it was he who inspired me to turn my whole backyard into a garden, add chickens and ignited my flame of learning how to market garden.

It was also during that season, when we went door to door on a back country road looking for raw milk. Yes. True Story. Picture with me - a mini van, two ladies and four children of various ages all seeking 'white' gold and knocking on doors like we were selling cookies. It was Tom who sent us on that chase... and yes, we were blessed for our efforts. Raw goats milk for a season...

Tom also taught us how to butcher chickens, hoe long rows, prep for farmers markets, and what 'not to do' for organically grown produce and the importance of knowing your soil. This was also when I began to become passionate about Non GMO, having a serious dislike for Monsanto and Round Up... and became hound dog on intent to find another source for raw milk.

Later came my involvement in a whole foods co-op, a raw milk share and serving at a local church's healthier food store. Sold chicken eggs, tortillas and home made bread, gleaned wild plums and learned to can with a pressure cooker. Part of my daughters home school curriculum was to raise a four by four plot of red winter wheat, thresh the grain and grind it by hand and produce an edible.

I will never forget that dinner, we all sat there after grace staring at the bountiful table with hearts filled with gratitude. There before us, table laid was... home made butter, fresh biscuits and chicken soup... and the only part of the meal that we did not raise ourselves was the milk for the butter

We felt like we had reached a huge success in our lives, accomplished a high set goal and I think that will always be the best meal we have ever eaten, in flavor and in joyfulness.

Yes, knowing Tom, fanned the flame of what lay in my being... rekindled the childhood memories, the clothes line, my desire to learn how to sew and knit, make candles, render tallow and create home remedies...  and even though it was not Tom who taught me all those things, or even shared in each memory. It is who comes to mind first. When I ask myself ~ how did I arrive here?

~ Blessings!

The Ministry skill of Knitting or Where do You work?

I have been learning to knit for roughly four plus years, maybe more. Still, I have so much to learn... but with each project and year, glory I am gaining skill. My mama swears knitting was invented to torture people and cause personal agony, and therefore put down her knitting needles some time ago.

Now, I don't think she physically could do it. ?

Last month she needed a two baby shower gifts, and her budget would not allow for the extra expense. So she asked if I could knit her a couple of baby sweaters... I said yes to the opportunity to honor mama with an act of service. Saving her some stress, money and painful knitting attempts.

Besides, this gave me the opportunity to pick a new project, and to express my love for wool. :)

The first: raglan sweater :: a boy gift - knitted in size six to nine months

The second: baby's kaftan :: a girl gift - knitted in size six to nine months

Both patterns were from the baby knits book by Debbie Bliss. I found my copy at a yard sale or resale shop... for something of fifty cents. Truly, I have found some lovely books this way... adding to my resources frugally.

Handmade items make great gifts and love offerings...

The raglan, was made from one hundred percent wool fiber, while the kaftan was knitted from acrylic yarn. Personally, I prefer to use one hundred percent natural fibers or sometimes a blend of natural fibers but the acrylic was already chosen.

Now, after knitting them, I think I would like to make another set for my heritage chest... the heritage chest is a personal project of my heart. My hope is to knit or create special items for my 'one day' grandchildren... thinking generations here!

~ blessings!

A Pondering Birthday :: Starting Again ~ After Forty

My birthday happened little over a week ago, and if I could share a word of how I have felt for some time now. The word would be... stuck. I feel like the last two years of my life has been a roller coaster of miles and mud. Not in the sense of regretting the choices we have made, or the lessons we have learned... but in the sense of asking myself what have I really accomplished? Or more like what will the things I have learned be used for?  

How can I serve my Creator with them?

Truth, in two years I have learned more homesteading skills - such as; milking cows, goats and making cold pressed soap. Added to my canning skills, finished a portion of my herbal education and was up close and personal with an outdoor kitchen and composting toilet... even through a southern winter – it's cold. I have increased in my knitting abilities and have semi been in a relationship with a variety of garden climates... and soils.

These past two years, we know what it's like to have everything we own never fill a hundred square feet. My husband spent time in Israel, we met some really interesting and wonderful people... and have journeyed over two thousand miles. Ticks no longer make me wince, snakes however still cause me to flinch and I have continued to gather little items here and there that require no electricity. 

And I do praise my Father in Heaven for it, but I can't help but ponder.

Asking "why then do I feel stuck?" Why do I feel like we are in a place to begin again, about to be granted a do-over... or another go around. Why do I feel like this was all practice for something bigger, or does feeling this way happen to everyone who has crested forty a few years back and facing the reality of an empty nest?

By the Grace of God, I still have a good thirty to forty years on me... if I am blessed with similar longevity like grandma, then I have a good fifty years. Either way - a lot can happen in thirty or forty years.

 I realize that you never know what a day may bring... so what am I to do with it? I am not one to be idle and thrive... never have been. But I do know I am getting tired of moving, of my small collection of home making supplies being packed in a box... of putting forth a plan and then having it change. Of building relationships and then having them stretched or be dissolved.

Truly, I desire simplicity with a purpose. A direction, clearly defined. Space to breathe and room to think. A bed of my own, a garden that is closer than seven miles... a heart that would beat strong. The ability to focus on and invest in the remaining year/s that I have with my daughter at home. I desire deep rooted relationships, to cultivate time with my husband and the opportunity to sow good seed.

~ A place to be planted, so we can bloom!