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Sunday, August 28, 2011

My back story

I was asked about how I got into homesteading, if I would write about my beginnings. There is a wee one out there that wants to begin and I told them I was their age, 23, when I started.

My back story; I was raised comfortable middle class, with 3 brothers, until I was 14. Then my world unraveled and I found myself on my own.

Husband's back story (as I wouldn't be doing what I am doing without him) he grew up poor white trash, living in hotels, cars and small town run down homes. Until he was in High School.

I met Husband when I was 18 years old. (15 years ago this week!) Love nor lust (lust on my part) at first sight I might add. We had our first child together in July of the next year. It wasn't until Large was 4years old and I was pregnant with Medium that we decided to change our world. Yet again.

Our first change was to get Husband through Motorcycle repair school. So all his years of working on bikes were legitimized. We now were living a middle class life in a small town in south central Kansas. But our home was on the corner of a busy intersection. It made me not only uncomfortable, but paranoid.

Our goal was never to be homesteaders. Many of you have a leg up on that goal. You have those plans, I merely happened on it. We didn't look for a place with this type of life in mind, and made some mistakes. The acreage we bought had all the top soil stripped from it. We wouldn't know this until a neighbor told us a few years later.

The house payment were a bit much for us in the beginning.  But we wanted to be away from the city and it's suburbs, we had to find a way to make it work. Growing up my mother always had a garden, and that was my first step to turn this desolate land into a homestead. A small garden to help supplement our food.

We put our garden in the same over worked spot that the previous owners did, my tomatoes and cucumbers went nuts. And that's when I was given Carla Emery's book, so I could can. I did basic stuff at that point, none of my fancy recipes, just the pasta sauces, pizza sauces and stewed tomatoes. But as winter came, and I being this fanatically obsessed reader, sat down with Carla Emery's book   (Her widower Don by the way is an amazing man. We chatted for a couple hours, he is remarried, isn't doing all the homesteading to the extent he and Carla was doing, sells some eggs and is a miracle worker in his church's "soup" kitchen) I read the book cover to cover that winter, it sparked a few things in my mind, but at that point in my life I could not foresee myself doing many of the things that I am doing now. I am a suburban girl after all.

My next step was chickens, laying hens to be exact. I did research and ended up just buying the Homesteader's delight from the McMurray Hatchery. I just wasn't sure what to get. Liz at the Pocket Farm was my only real source of blog opinion at the time (If you are reading Liz, I do miss you and you were (still) a wonderful inspiration to me). I had started reading so many other books and no one agreed on anything. This life is too opinionated. Looking back on it now, I do suggest getting the Homesteader's delight to try out the different breeds. (no they don't pay me, I wish!) I just checked, doesn't look like they offer that special anymore.

As I writer I decided not to get into blogging at that time. But I wanted to expand my repertoire. I sent queries out to all the homesteading magazines and was turned down by every single one. This is were my blog began. I was frustrated with the books and magazines. There were only 4 other actual homesteading blogs out there when I started. I was tired of running into something that no one warned me about or could help trouble shoot, all those freaking mistakes! Everything was so happy and picture perfect. Yes, I will not be humble, I changed that with this blog. I admitted to my mistakes, called other people out on the "dish washing mice" (love that line by the bye). I dared them to answer me when I had made a mistake. I tend to tick people off. ( wanted to add here, that some of the blogs that listed themselves as Farm blogs have change to Homesteading blogs when it started to become popular)

My beginnings as a homesteader were never planed. It was a need to help feed my growing family, then lead to an interest that showed me how to have pride in myself (something that was lacking), showed me responsibly and a thirst for learning.  This blog is now over 5 years old, and has helped lead me down a road to my personal revolution. I have met the most wonderful and inspiring people (look through my blog list). More people like me ready to push even the norm of homesteading.

I guess this post got away from me a bit.


Basic Humanity said...

Awesome. Thanks so much for writing about that, I wasn't expecting it so soon. It's cool that something that's such a big part of your life just evolved and wasn't premeditated. OK saying premeditated feels like I'm comparing homesteading to murder :s.

That was a great insight. I hope I one day get to write a nice long post about what brought me to (hopefully) an equally great situation

Phelan said...

Some days. . . it isn't a far stretch to compare it to murder.

Basic Humanity said...

Haha, I guess I can imagine that. But so worth it I'm sure. I'm planning to grow some tomatoes next year as some sort of start. Maybe potatoes if I can get my mum to give up some of her garden space. I want to get hold of a canner asap.

FancyHorse said...

Interesting story about yourself and your homesteading beginnings. I knew some of it from previous postings, but not all. Thanks! :-)

TransFarmer said...

this is totally unrelated to this post, but I saw in an earlier post that you had to buy store ketchup for the first time in years. we have some extra tomatoes this year. if you would share your recipe, I can send you some jars if you would like.

Alex said...

Heck of a story. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

It's beyond cool to know that everyone is stumbling around looking for a better life...just some of us don't see it in the advertisements or in the city. Beautiful story, congratulations on your successes :)

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