Check, Check… Reality Check

When my husband I and talked about marriage almost 19 years ago we had the same goal.  We wanted property, we wanted a couple of children, we wanted to live off of the land.  He wanted me to stay home  with the kids, teaching them and working with them for as long as possible, and he would support that. I’ve been a stay at home mom, schooling my children for 16 years. I have picked up work when needed, but we have stayed true to what we wanted. We have worked so long and hard to finally get the property part of our dream. Maybe with a couple more children than we had imagined, and looking much older than our dreams had made up.  But here we are!

I always imagined that when we got our little farm going that my husband and children would be happily working away every day planting seeds, fixing fences, tending the animals.  My animals would be happily grazing and producing.  My fruits and veggies would come in full force and I could share, sell, and preserve until my cupboards and freezers were full. Singing while we prance through the wildflowers with every day being a perfect sunny day.  Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but you get the point.  So funny how our minds can fantasize a beautiful paradise of everyone being together, and everything being so perfect.

Now, I would never discourage anyone from following their dreams. And given the same chances I would still choose what we have.  But today I had a realization, an aha moment. It might sound obvious to most, especially those who have already been on this road for years, but until really put in the circumstance we rarely know what reality is or will be.

Here is reality.  One morning my husband left for work.  I went out to feed the animals.  Every single animal knows feeding time and they certainly do not wait patiently and quietly for their food.  I have found on several occasions that feeding time is when I can usually tell if something is wrong.  This morning not all of my pigs came to the barn to feed.  It was a lot less noisy than usual.  I called and made a racket, but still was short.  My heart knew what that meant, and sure enough we had a loss.  I researched and worked like crazy hoping it was a fluke.  We found several factors were to blame, but one of those was our own error.  I had my oldest son help get things cleaned up, texted my husband the bad news, and then got back to school. As much as I felt defeated in that moment I couldn’t stop the day from going on. And although I was super sad I still love my life. We have to just move forward and hope to not make the same mistake again, and know better what to look for in buying and raising these critters.  Not the paradise of pigs prancing through the clover and oinking sounds of joy.

Not long later, one of my cows was in the pasture grazing and making a racket but wouldn’t come to the barn to feed.  (Always feeding time!) Upon investigation she was tangled in some downed fencing.  It took over an hour to get her free while she kicked and bucked, pulled and twisted. By the time my son and I cut her loose my hands and feet were freezing (it was a stormy winter day), my fingers were blistered, and my nerves were shot. Again, it was a school day, and my husband was at work. Not the family working together merrily on happy critters fairy tail.

We’ve had barn owls in our chickens, a dog that has strong prey instincts for poultry stock, weasels, and know that there will be more of these obstacles on the horizon. (I am not including pictures in this post because I didn’t take any of the sadness.)

No amount of reading and research will ever amount to hands on learning.  And no matter how many things go wrong on the farm, it usually is during a school  day, which is also a work day so my husband is not home.  But no matter what happens so far, even the loss of a couple of our beloved animals, it isn’t enough to make us throw in the towel or call “uncle”!  It is all learning.  We have success.  We have failures. Losing an animal on our error isn’t something we ever want to have happen, but the reality is that it does happen.  And that helps us learn hard and fast.

Why am I telling you this? Because if you have never lived a lifestyle that you always dreamed of and throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble, or you’re so scared of mess ups or failures that keeping it tucked in your dream journal is all you can do you just might never get to experience the actual joy of it all.

So when I came in to warm up my hands and toes by the fire, grabbed my now cold cup of coffee, made breakfast, and started our school day late, I realized that sometimes we get a reality check.  Fantasy vs reality.  But I actually do like reality better.  It keeps things more interesting.

 

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We Bought A Farm

I know it has been a while since my last post.  Things have been so busy. But good busy.  Here’s a little story of where we were, and how we ended up where we are. It may seem a little long but a lot happens in 8 months.  I can not believe it’s been that long already!

In the spring of 2016 we purchased a home on 4 acres.  We were so excited to finally have some acreage to start a small farm on! We were given a couple of goats, some chickens, and a dog.  Funny what people give away when they find out you have property. We started beekeeping immediately, a hobby I had wanted to take on for 7 years.  And as soon as we were able to get started we got our vegetable garden up and running, fruit trees put in, and a I build a greenhouse.  I had just had shoulder surgery, but it is amazing what a person can get done with one arm and a lot of determination.

Things started so well that spring.  But as things wound down for the fall and winter we found that the pastures of the property flooded.  Our goats were left with little islands of land to hop from to stay out of the puddles. This meant that any cows or pigs were out of the question since this left about 3/4 of the pasture on the property under water.  The roads were not something we wanted to live on with the traffic.  And sadly, we had neighbors that we just couldn’t quite see eye to eye with.

Shortly after we moved into the home I realized the huge home itself was more of a divisive lay out than I had imagined, and soon my children were upstairs in their own universe day after day while I was in the kitchen day after day.  I spend a LOT of time in the kitchen and soon referred to it as my prison cell.  I would ask the kids to come read to me or just come for a visit.

So, hard to admit, but that was not a good place on any level of our lives.  Depression soon sank in, and even with 4 kids, it felt so lonely. My health started to deteriorate both physically and mentally. My children didn’t seem as happy as I had hoped either, even with giant rooms and so much space. This solidified my distaste for big houses, and two story houses.

As my husband and I would have some down time he would often be looking on line for homes. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who was pretty miserable but I could not imagine moving again any time soon.  I felt stuck, trapped, and drowning. After numerous houses he would show me I realized there was really not much on the market that was appealing, or that we could afford.

One evening as we were heading to his folks house he said that he wanted to stop by a place he had seen on line.  I restrained from rolling my eyes in frustration, but thought, aside from wasting my time, it can’t do any harm.  He showed me pictures and they looked pretty nice, but there were a few things that made it seem impossible.

On our way home we drove half an hour out of our way, up a winding road that got slushy, and then snowy, and just kept going and going.  We have always wanted to live in the country, but knowing I didn’t see it would work I couldn’t help but think this long journey was a total waste of time and I didn’t want to get my hopes up on something that wasn’t realistic.

But all that changed when we drove up the long driveway to the property. We literally didn’t even have to pass the entry gate to completely fall head over heals in love with it!! We drove straight home and got in contact with our realtor.  She jumped into action and within a month we were moving into our new home on 10.5 acres!!

The previous owners must have been an exact replica of my husband and I, only with less kids.  We were now set up to raise pigs, cows, and chickens in an adorable hen house and run. And we jumped right into all of that! I had another nice big green house, and fruit trees. My bees are in a better protected area.  I also moved a bunch of my plants from the other place and immediately got the garden plot going. Because of the late spring move I wasn’t able to have as much of a garden as I usually do, but next year will be amazing!

So here we are!!  Owning a farm and living in the country has been a dream of mine my entire life.  One my husband and I have wanted to share together since the day we met. Sometimes dreams just take a little longer than we hope, but if you keep trying eventually you’ll get there.

As always mistakes are made along the way, and we have already made many. I like to call them learning experiences, stepping stones to be better at whatever we are trying our hand at. I will share those soon.

 

Until then, I’ll keep the home fires burning.

 

 

A Simple Lesson On Sourdough

Sourdough.  The word alone can strike fear into the most confident people. Even well seasoned bakers!  What if I’m doing it wrong and poison the family?  What if I can’t figure out what to do with it?  What if I don’t feed it right? What if I kill it!?  What if I killed it and don’t even know it’s dead?

It is actually surprising how many people find it intimidating to start working with sourdough, and yet are afraid to ask for help. No shame in saying that, I started much on that same line. So I am here to help you!!  Take a deep cleansing breath, make your self a nice cup of tea or coffee, and let’s go over this together, step by step, so you can find the fun in working with this amazing culture.

To start I’d like to back up a little and tell you why I started using sourdough for my family.  My daughter and I have gluten intolerance issues.  I’ve been free from gluten for many years.  In the beginning of my own gluten-free journey I just cut stuff out.  The options for wheat free substitutes were tasteless and had strange textures.  To be honest I got so sick of wasting money on gluten free products that I thought “there HAS to be someone out there that knows how to make gluten free food that is actually good!!”  Not just good for gluten free (I hate when people say that!) but just honest to goodness good, or dare I say delicious!  After a series of searches and let downs I stumbled upon Nicole Hunn (at glutenfreeonashoestring.com) and I kid you not, I don’t joke about gluten free food, Nicole changed my life.  I bought her books, followed her blog, and got busy making the most delicious food I had had in ages. She should seriously wear a cape, and super cool boots. Seriously!

Several years down the line I discovered my daughter is gluten intolerant.  I feel awful I didn’t figure this out earlier.  We had done elimination diets and tests to figure out why she was having these debilitating migraine headaches. Tests didn’t reveal anything. Doctors kept pointing to dairy, even when she wasn’t eating any dairy! They eventually came down to “just give her pain medicine and always carry it with you.”  I’m not the kind to put a bandage on a wound that can be fixed.  We don’t take things unless we absolutely have to.  And just doping her up and not figuring out the root cause absolutely wasn’t a satisfying answer for me.  So I finally talked with her and recommended we do several months, not just one, to see if cutting gluten would benefit her. We had tried the one month thing with no significant change. But six months, well six months in she rarely had any headaches, and refused to ever eat gluten again.  This is in part that sometimes the body just needs some extra time to adjust and realize what’s happening. In case you were wondering. (shrug)

But here’s the thing.  A lot of gluten-free foods are highly processed, even the flours.  (No offense Nicole.  You will always be my gf hero!)  Me, deciding at that point to be working towards a more Paleo style of eating, realized this was just not going to work any longer.  Even on my day’s off I don’t want highly processed food.  Even further, I don’t want my children eating that either.

But on a good note, at this point in my story, I heard a story about a long fermentation process with sourdough bread.  This longer fermentation is supposed to help eat the gluten proteins out of the wheat flour, thus leaving it safe for people with gluten intolerance to be able to eat it.

Wait? What? Bread made with wheat flour that can tote a label of gluten-free and safe for us to eat? I had to try this myself.  Sadly I can not find a lot of research on this topic yet.  But first hand knowledge can be worth more than a library of research.

My first encounter with said bread was at a restaurant my husband took me to on a date night.  Everything there was made with long fermented sourdough bread and “gluten-free”.  I skeptically gave it a try.  After a delicious meal I sat in fear waiting for that claim to be false and for the pain, brain fog, disappointment, and week of regret to set in. Can you say “food anxiety”?  I waited.  And waited…. Hours went by and I had no side effects from my meal out. Usually it takes less than an hour for this to set in.  Nothing, for hours.  Not even the next day, or the next….

Jump forward a year.  I had wanted to do the sourdough thing.  But it was scary!  How can I use it and not use it up?  Is it like komboocha? What if it’s too much work? Nothing I was reading made sense.  And to be honest a lot of sourdoughs are so strongly sour that I’m just not a fan.

Eventually, however, I was given a starter. I am pretty sure this starter was dead to begin with because it never smelled very good, to be honest it smelled sort of like nail polish remover.  It never bubbled up like a fermented culture should.  And it didn’t rise the breads as well as I had read it should. I wasn’t supposed to have to use yeast, and yet I had to in order to boost it a little.  I was scratching my head.  I was given another culture about that same time but it was so strong of a sour taste only one person in our house would eat it.  Not worth all the effort I was putting into bread of all things.  So I eventually dumped both cultures into the compost, washed the jars, and retired my worry and time to other daily projects.

But deep down inside I really, really, really wanted to do sourdough thing, and do it right!  I’m a bit stubborn.  So I decided to buy my own starter and see where it would lead me.  Then if I failed again it was me and sourdough was simply not my thing.  Well it turns out it totally IS my thing!!  And to boot, I bake and cook everything from scratch and try to live as self sustainable as possible.  So this helps fill that desire to keep this tradition going.

So as I share the starter with friends and family I have had a list of questions come up, and some concerns that it’s just too hard.  So, friends, here is what I do daily with my starter.  I hope this helps some of you in some way. And thanks for sticking with me through my story. I feel the love.

First of all, I bake bread daily.  My family can mow down an entire loaf in half a day if I let them.  So to start I have a nice big jar I keep on the counter of sourdough culture. You want to be sure that the starter can double in size without overflowing and making a huge mess.  My jar is covered with a brown coffee filter, held in place with a rubber band.  Cheese cloth works great as well. These babies are alive and need to breathe, so don’t put a suffocating lid on them.

  1. Take your amazing starter and pour 1/2 cup into a mixing bowl.
  2. Pour the rest of that starter from your fermentation jar into a mason jar, put a lid on it, and stick it in the fridge. This extra is what you will use to build up and make bread, or pancakes, or muffins.  Or even share with a friend who wants to start baking sourdough.
  3. To the 1/2 cup of starter that you poured into a mixing bowl add 1/2 cup water.  If you are on city water, or treated water – use spring water or bottled water.  Chlorine, fluoride, and other additives can kill the beautiful bacteria you are trying so hard to nurture and grow.
  4. Now to that 1/2 cup starter and 1/2 cup water, add 1 cup of flour.  Do not use whole wheat flour or anything fancy.  Sourdough likes the simplicity of plain ol’ white flour.  We buy ours at Costco in nice big 10 pound bags for a great price.  And it’s even organic! Double score!
  5. Mix that 1/2 cup starter, 1/2 cup water, and 1 cup flour all up.  It will be thicker than pancake batter.  If it is just too thick to get a good stir add a splash more of water.  The measuring isn’t an exact science but a good starting point.
  6. Lastly pour that fresh mix you just made back into the fermentation jar with that nice coffee filter or cheese cloth lid, and put it off to the side until the next day when you repeat the process.

I do not wash out my jar for every feeding.  Just when I feel it is getting a bit too gunky. Then I will give it a good wash and rinse super good.

Now here are a couple of questions I have been asked and the answers I have found.

Q – What if 1/2 cup feedings each day builds up too much starter and it’s coming out my ears?

A – If you find this feeding to be too much and are only baking a couple of times a week, or less, go ahead and cut that in half.  So by this I would do 1/4 cup starter, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 cup flour.

Q – What if I bake daily with it and 1/2 cup feedings isn’t enough?

A – Then double it, or even triple it.  For our needs here I use 1.5 cups starter, 1.5 cups water (plus a little), and 3 cups flour.

Q – I only bake once every couple of weeks and it just seems to be too much still. What can I do to keep a starter but not have so much upkeep?

A – Keep your starter in your fridge.  It will need weekly feedings that way, but the cooler temperatures slow down the fermentation process and feedings are way less. Then before using it take it out of the fridge, give it a stir and let it sit a little while to rejuvenate the process and get bubbling.

Q – What do I do with all the stuff on the top if it develops?

A – Stir it back in.

Q – What if there is liquid on the top?

A – Usually liquid on top means you aren’t feeding it enough.  You can stir it back in and then try feeding more frequently.

Q – What if it starts to stink?

A  – Your starter should have  a sour smell, it is “sour” dough.  But it should not smell putrid or chemicalish at all.  If it is totally unpleasant don’t eat it.  See if you can get another starter and start over.

Q – I’m leaving town for a week.  What can I do with it?

A – Just like the occasional bakers, feed it and then stick it in the fridge.  When you get back take it out, feed again, and get back to it!

Q – What if I forgot to feed it one day?

A – I have done this several times and it has been fine to feed it when you remember and get back on track.

I hope this answers a lot of the confusion that sometimes comes with new journeys, and helps you see that this is really a simple and fun thing to have going.

As always, feel free to leave a comment if you have questions.

 

Boughten, Like Rye Right?

When I was a child my mother always was making bread. Dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, sandwich bread… You name it, she made it. I remember watching her take whole wheat grains out in the breezy part of the day and lift them into the air with her hands to watch them fall back down, letting it filter through her fingers.  The wind would flutter the chaff away like tiny dry falling leaves. She seamed like she was in harmony with her food then. Doing this seamed to bring her a sense of peace. Even when I was young this wasn’t considered “normal” behavior though.  (I’m not really that old after all.) We had a neighbor that called my dad up one day thinking my mom had lost her mind out playing with “seeds of some sort” in the wind. Dad had to explain it to him. Apparently he never had any home made bread with fresh ground grain like we did. I don’t recon he was ever given any from my mom after calling her crazy either.

My favorite part of her bread making was when she would take off a little chunk of the rising dough and put it in my mouth. The light fluffy gooiness filling my little taste buds with sweet and earthy deliciousness.  Even still this is a fond memory I have from my youth and one I share to this day with my own children. Of course the next favorite part was the warm bread fresh from the oven, the cozy smell, the fresh taste with butter melting over it.

I didn’t realize what a privilege this all was until I grew up a little. My brother and I started school. Dad found more mechanic work. And in the hustle and bustle of our lives my homemaking mama became a working class woman.  Slowly the days of home made bread, fresh breakfasts, and easy living disappeared.  We no longer went berry picking, shaggy main mushroom hunting, or asparagus picking like before.  Fishing, ice fishing, and hunting were still seasonal things we were able to enjoy, but even that all quit when we moved to another state.

I solidly know where my desire to live off the land comes from.  I’m just glad that when we were forced to leave it while I was still young, it never left me.  If it were my way we would raise, grow, and harvest all of our own food.  What we couldn’t we would trade with others who could.  I think I was born in the wrong era.

At any rate, along the way of my mom and dad moving us and getting work away from home with longer hours, my brother and I watched our little human lives changing drastically.  One day I will never forget. My mom was home with me and I desired a piece of bread.  In my little human brain I was expecting the light, fresh warmth and comfort of her home baked bread.  I waited patiently while she pulled a sliced piece of bread out of a plastic bag, spread some butter on it, and handed it to me, just the way I liked. It felt different in my hands as I picked it up though.  It smelled different too, not as sweet and fragrant as I was hoping.  As I sunk my teeth into this particular piece of bread my taste buds were not welcomed with delight.  No, it was horrible!  “Mom? What kind of bread is this!?” I was shocked she could make something that wasn’t delicious.  She replied to me “It’s boughten bread sweetie.” Yuck, how could she make something this awful? “Please don’t ever make this kind again?” I was hoping in all my years after that she wouldn’t make something like this ever ever again.  Boughten bread.  What was that, like rye?  I knew I hated rye but this boughten stuff wasn’t far above it.

Many years later, living with my husband and new baby buying bread was the norm.  As I experienced with my culinary life I realized I was starting to like new things.  Grilled onions, for example, weren’t the things horror stories were made of to poison monsters.  In fact they were sweet and delicious.  I wanted them on everything.  Liverwurst wasn’t something I enjoyed at all any longer. I fondly remember enjoying liverwurst sandwiches with my dad.  But trying it again after years of forgetting about it, well, I’d rather just keep forgetting about it. Tomatoes fresh from the garden were so wonderful.  How could I have ever hated tomatoes? So too with bread.  I was enjoying more than just store bought buttermilk or potato bread.  I tried rye and realized it was just never going to happen. Then I remembered that awful bread my mom had made me.  What was it? Oh yes, boughten bread.  I went to the store looking on the giant shelf for it.  They had every kind of bread the mind could come up with, or science could invent.  But alas, there was no boughten bread.  Determined to find it somewhere I asked about it.  The store clerk had no idea what kind of bread that was, or where to find it.  “Maybe a bakery would have those kinds of specialty breads” he suggested.

I looked for weeks and never found it.  Finally I asked my mom about it.  Was it just some special kind she came up with herself? A smile spread across her face as we fondly remembered her bread baking days.  That smile turned to laughter when I asked about the “specialty bread”.  She looked at me with sympathy, I thought for my memory of it.  “It was boughten bread, sweetie.”  Yes, boughten.  Had I said it wrong? No.  I was so confused.  “Yes, boughten bread. I wanted to see if I liked it now after all these years.” She repeated, boughten.  I still didn’t get it.  “It was store bought bread.  Boughten bread.” Face palm.  Seriously? How did I miss that.  Although in my defense I have never heard the word boughten since then.  So apparently we had been eating boughten bread for many years, and I did like it.  I guess I had grown accustomed to it.

Now, many years later, I have 4 kids.  Organic whole grain bread is so expensive and often loaded with other ingredients that I am not even sure what they are.  Organic or not I don’t want soy in my kids every meal, or the preservatives, or the sugar.  And so after many years of buying everything and becoming more and more picky what is going in our bodies, I resorted to baking bread.  Instead of sugar I often use my home grown honey.  I know where my ingredients come from and what I want in there.  After the first loaf, which failed miserably, my oldest son asked why I would ever buy bread.  And that was the failed loaf! They ate the entire loaf in one afternoon! So I resolved to never buy boughten bread again.  Or rye since we all hate that too.

 

Saving Waste For The Dog

Do you remember reading stories about way back in the day when Indian’s and wagon trains were the norm? Before grocery stores and ordering on line was a daily thing? Before food and necessities were right at our finger tips in isles and isles of colorful boxes, cans, and bags? Everything was used in some way.  Waste was not a thing! Stale bread was soaked in milk and eggs and fried up for breakfast or baked into puddings. Clothing was mended until they were so bad off they were cut into scraps and sown into blankets or used as stuffing.   Indians used every part of an animal, including the bones and hides for tools, clothing, and shelter.

In my personal quest to be self sustaining and sufficient the thought of my own footprint on the planet and how to utilize everything to the fullest has been on my mind more that it probably should be. I want to be like the Indian’s and use what I harvest to the full.  Or at least as fully as I can since I’m not quite sure what I would do with some of the animal parts. I want to use that stale bread to feed my children a delicious meal, and I do!  The point is I don’t want to be wasteful, and I want to learn to use everything to it’s fullest.  Especially an animal that has given it’s life for my family.

Last year as we were hiking through the forest on an adventure to hunt deer, bear, and elk I was thinking about how we use our meat.  Here was my thought process; at home when I cook anything the veggie scraps are separated into various containers,  goat food, rabbit food, dog food, compost, or stocks and broths.  Nothing goes into the trash except maybe the stickers from produce I didn’t grow. When trimming meat I put what would normally go into the trash into a pot instead to cook up, sometimes mixed with some grains and veggies for the dog.  Table scraps that can’t be saved for leftovers go to the animals as well. So why should much of the animal we harvest go to waste?  Aside from the digestive tract and the hide (I haven’t ventured that far yet) why not use the bones for bone broth and the scraps for dog food?

I began Googling how to make dog food out of scraps of meat.  So many sites have supplements, minerals, vitamins, powders, and potions to add to the mix.  Funny what you stumble across when researching, really.  And the price that comes along with all of these dog diets. But logically dogs as companions have been around long before bagged or canned dog food was invented, or any supplements.  How did they eat a “balanced” diet of processed modified grain and who knows what small amount of meat all dried up onto bite size kibble before it was invented and packaged for our convenience?  As farm hands they were fed scraps from the family and ate what they could find off of the land.  Scavenging meat, vegetables, and whatever else they can find is in their nature.   They eat pretty much anything, including other animals excrement!!  How can they have such picky man made diets?

So while butchering the elk my awesome husband harvested this past hunt in the depths of Hells’ Canyon, and hauled out on his back with my son and a dear friend,  I saved every scrap that would usually go in the trash.  Instead of a trash bucket next to me, I had a dog scrap bucket, and every little scrap that wasn’t up to my standard for our consumption would go in there.  I ended up with almost 15 pounds of waste, only instead of waste it was going to become dog food.  I ground it up and cooked it along with some grains and frozen veggies I picked up while bargain shopping through the months. Seriously not even $5 was spent on this.  And it was so simple to make! I cooked up the meat, the rice, and the veggies, mixed them all together in a big container and let it cool.  I then packaged it in food wrap in the size I thought would be enough for a meal for my canine companion, and then plopped them in the freezer.

The reason I am writing about this is because many of us are looking for ways to save a little money, or be less wasteful, or just try new things.  When I first sliced all of this up I put the scraps in the freezer until I had the ingredients I wanted and the time I needed to make it. I’m not so awesome that my dog eats only home made food every meal of his life.  He has a bag of conveniently made dog kibble as most of the dogs alive now days do.  But I do find it satisfying to know that more than half of his diet is fresh whole food I made for him. Do you see all of the whole real food in there? Looks so good I could eat it myself, and would if I needed to.  I also find it satisfying to think of the money we save when we do what we can to not toss things that might be useful.

Here’s the recipe, roughly; about 15 pounds ground meat (cooked), 1 full bag of rice (cooked) 2 packages frozen veggies (mixed into the meat while it was cooking). Mix all together and make serving size packages.

 

Looking forward!

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Just in case you are wondering why I would think my life is important enough to share with others, I can tell you it’s not.  This life of mine is a basic chaotic experience that I gladly survive daily with my loving family.  But why start this site then? Well, simply put, because I was asked to by enough people, and enough times.  You see, I do all sorts of projects and have numerous hobbies.  Kind of a “Jane of all trades” as I’ve been called.  I love learning, and sharing what I have learned. At some point family and friends started asking me to set up a blog so that they could not only follow what I am doing, but learn how as well.

So here is a shortened version of where we are and why it is important to me.

Not quite a year ago we purchased a house on a few acres in a state we would never have thought we would live in. It brought my husband closer to his job, and quite frankly, there weren’t any homes for sale in the right points for us in the state we were in. In my heart I know that home isn’t where you live, it is where you thrive and are surrounded by those you love. At any rate I am still in the same garden zone (8) and so I know my garden will be similar to those in my past.

It has been my life long dream to have a sustainable homestead, wherever that may be.  In each home we have owned or rented I have gardened, cooked, canned, taken up skills, and done projects to live simple and self sufficiently. I have researched live stock, raised what I could, and dreamed of what I some day will. Though my dream is to live off the grid and off the land in a far away place, I realize that goal is unattainable for now and all I can do is my best with what I currently have, right?

So here is to doing our best and rocking this few acres with all our might! Stay tuned for what lies ahead as I share my projects, passions, success, failure, and… well, my life.