Written by: Nicole Ellis
In a world where you can order something on Amazon and have it here the next day, it’s hard to imagine what someone means when they say, “We make do with what we have”. Making dinner with the food you have grown? I bet there’s a lot of improvising to go with the dinner recipe!
Modern homesteading and creating a more sustainable life is something we can get inspired by. I got to know more about three homesteaders who are all in different places along their journey of building a farm.
There's a lot of sweat and patience involved with running a farm. I am excited to introduce you to these three strong ladies!
Jen - 7 Years of Homesteading in Colorado
How do you build a home and farm with a goal to be debt-free? For Jen’s family, it started with shipping containers. Jen and her husband built their home from 3 shipping containers and continued from there to be as resourceful as possible. They built their outbuildings using recycled material, and even put piles of free sheet metal to good use.
They have been slowly building up their homestead for seven years. More recently, her husband was able to quit his 60+ hour a week job to work on the farm and make good money doing it.
Jen has four kids and one on the way. Since her husband can work full time on the farm this gives her more time to take care of the kids, meals, and home. She says that homesteading has helped her to keep in check the spending and truly not let anything go to waste.
She has learned to think outside the box and work with what they have. The best part of homesteading is seeing the progress and results from the hard work. Homesteading for beginners is a very slow work in progress. Everything requires patience and lots of time to let the hard work really show.
The biggest challenge involved with their farm is that they never get a break. The animals always need food and water and the work never stops. It has been 5 ½ years since they last took a vacation. Jen says there is just too much going on to hire someone to take care of the farm for a few days. She also comments that pulling weeds with her husband can feel like a date. Finding joy in the journey and hard work!
Each kid has their own chore and they jump in and help in other places whenever they can. This slows down the process but is a necessary part of modern homesteading with a family.
Stacy - Building Their Farm From An Entirely Wooded 22 Acres
Stacy grew up with farm life on her grandpa’s 40 acres that her family also lived on. Stacy, her husband, and their eleven-year-old daughter now live on 22 acres in Louisiana. They built a barn with their home on top of it. Their land was entirely wooded before they cleared it themselves.
The neatest thing about their land is that it's surrounded by 80 acres of land owned by immediate family. They continue to work on building pasture fences to house their future animals.
Right now, Stacy gets her daughter involved with beekeeping and harvesting honey. She hopes that beekeeping is something she can pass onto her daughter.
Stacy went from living in a neighborhood surrounded by people to being surrounded by 22 acres of farmland. Their living space was downsized drastically as their home above the barn is only 1,000 sq feet. When living on a farm most of your time is spent outdoors. Downsizing the house works especially well when you are supersizing your yard.
You can find Stacy on Instagram @duckdrivefarm.
Carli - Family Traditions Inspiring Growth
Carli also spent much of her childhood living the farm life on her great grandparents’ homestead. She has great memories of helping with the corn and pumpkin sales. Family traditions are one of the most important things to Carli, and farming runs in the family. She now has an old 1941 dairy farm with all of the old classic farm charms she loved on her grandparent’s farm.
Carli has a flower farm which she grows with plenty of inspiration from her ancestors as well. It’s an old family tradition to use flowers from your own yard to put on loved ones' graves. She started out growing flowers for her grandfather's grave but it just took off.
Carli’s daily routine starts with feeding the chickens, cows, and goats. She then starts cutting flowers and filling orders before the sun is hot. She has two young kids in tow that she is always creating side projects to keep them busy. When the kids are busy, she can stay busy.
They have opened their farm up to the public so that other kids can come and see what farm life is like. Carli is grateful for that opportunity to get other kids on the farm. She doesn’t get off the farm very often and this way her kids get a built-in playdate.
She says that farming with two little kids is the biggest challenge as the chores take longer, but loves what it teaches the kids. Her daughter bottle feeds a baby goat 3 times a day! She also gets them involved in what they decide to grow and do on the farm. Her daughter gets them growing green beans, corn, and pumpkins. Her son loves foraging for apples and strawberries.
Carli comments that her favorite part of farm life is the sore hands and tired back at the end of the day. Hard work grows right in front of you and you can sit back and see so much progress.
You can find Carli on Instagram @petalsandposiesflowerfarm.
As we build our lives with our families we are creating ways and traditions that are passed down to future generations. It’s a powerful impact and makes you stop and think about the best practices in your life and what you value the most. Keep working on the road to happiness for your life. It’s not always the road most traveled!
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