Last night as The Hubs and I settled down to rest our tired bones, I realized how far we've come. We have become quite the homesteaders. It's been a long time since we lived in the city and The Hubs was serving our country with honor and distinction.
I grew up on a farm where my parents and grandparents did most things the old fashioned way. We grew our own vegetables in a large garden. Mom and Nanny canned, pickled and jammed more than their fair share of produce. They also used what they had, and used it up. Most of our food could have been called "home-cooking" and it was from scratch. Daddy always made sure we had beef in the freezer, and hams and bacon in the smoke house. We also had fish from the river and deer from the woods. We never really needed anything.
Somehow, living in a city, we lost sight of that lifestyle. We would visit the farm and enjoy the bounty. But in our own life, that's not how we lived. So when The Hubs retired from the Navy and we built our little house on Lanky Ridge, we were determined to get back to "the way things USED to be."
So last night, the reality of our lifestyle just hit me: we've done it. Oh, we still have a long way to go to really consider ourselves completely self-sufficient. But for now, I'm going to sit back and marvel at how far we've come.
Here are the things that we have done in the last couple weeks:
- We've enjoyed all homemade, from scratch meals. Some examples include: baked chicken and stuffing; ham and cheese panini; stuffed peppers; spaghetti; beans & rice with cornbread; pizza; omeletes. We're using a lot of garden produce right now.
- We entertained some friends from out of state. This included a huge July 4th celebration with our neighbors and church family (also fireworks!). My friend and I made this awesome flag-themed taco salad.
- We've been taking care of our garden. This includes weeding, picking, watering, etc. We also picked, snapped and canned two canner loads of green beans; cut up and froze or dehydrated peppers (various kinds); we've frozen some tomatoes until we have enough to make a large pot of spaghetti sauce; kept the deer and rabbits away from our garden and apple trees (it's an on-going battle).
- We butchered some of our chickens. This is a first for us! We're so excited to have home-grown chicken in which we know what they ate (or didn't eat). And we can't wait for our other chickens to begin laying eggs!
- I helped my sister take some awesome pictures of our new grandson. He's only two weeks old and some pictures also included his two-year-old brother.
- I taught my regular Wednesday night, women's Bible study at church.
- We've both been working on furniture refinishing projects. The Hubs has been refinishing kitchen chairs for my mom (one at a time) and I've been chalk-painting some fun items.
- We take care of all our animals: three dogs, one cat, and our chickens. With the hot weather we've been having here in Central Virginia, that has included constantly monitoring their behavior and giving LOTS of fresh cool water.
- We do laundry using homemade detergent and we hang it to dry.
- We use homemade cleaners to clean and disinfect our home.
- I also work a 40+ hour a week job.
- Since our daughter just had her second baby, we've been helping her out some. We enjoyed having our two-year-old grandson with us while the baby was born. We're always glad to keep him for a few hours if she needs help. She lives close by so it's easy to run over and offer help--babysitting, shopping, cooking. Moms are good at that!
I just think that is an impressive list! It was really hot yesterday, and while I was fixing myself a refreshing mint julep (with mint from my own herb garden), I was just so amazed at these accomplishments! I hope this encourages you to become more self-sufficient. It's really in the details. Do one small thing consistently, until it becomes a habit. Then do something more. Keep going until you're saying to yourself "I've come a long way, baby."
I know for us, we feel good about what we've done. Our only regret is that we didn't do it sooner. But we're here now and homesteading feels good. I think it looks good on us!
Please leave a comment about what you're doing (or what you want to do) to become more like a homesteader.