Around here canning season is starting and soon to be in full force. This means less sleep and less of my undivided attention on the children. This is the time when my anxiety levels rise because there is never enough time in the day. The house is usually a disaster zone because all my effort goes into stocking up. I question our motives for why we do what we do. We seem to take on more and more each year.
I have been scribbling notes on this topic because it has been on my mind of where we are, where we have come from, and where we are heading in the future. Seven years ago when Brook and I got married we began our little garden. Oh how I wish we had pictures to show you. It was not pretty! Brook got his love of gardening from helping his grandfather on his organic farm. I had a small garden growing up and helped my mom make jam and freeze beans and corn. I can remember riding the bus as a young girl and passing one farmhouse with a big red barn, daydreaming about the day I would live in a place like that.
Setting out on this path to self sufficiency we never thought of it as homesteading. We really just wanted to know where our food came from and to stock up on a few things for the winter. Each year it grew into more. First the chickens and later the beef cow and the pig. We added a few fruit trees to the place we rented. Next, we planted a few berry bushes and along came the bees. Then the Lord blessed us with our dream home. A farmhouse and barn to raise our children. It has just enough acres to plant our roots and establish a small homestead. Over the years things have evolved into more than just wanting to know where our food comes from.
It has become so automatic to go to the store and grab some food without a thought of how it was grown or raised. Do you really trust the government with the quality of food you eat? It is a satisfying feeling when you sit at the table and look at what you have grown and produced with your own hands. Just the other day Grace wanted to go to a particular restaurant. We were running errands all day and so I agreed, thinking it would be fun for my girls and I to go out to eat together. I was really disgusted with the quality of the food and the price I paid for soup and salad. That moment made me appreciate the work Brook and I put into raising, growing, cooking, and baking wholesome food for our family. We could throw in the towel at any moment, but that is not us. When we sit around our table and say our prayers there is a connection to the land and the past generations who lived this way. It was the only way they knew. Nothing was artificial or overly processed. The ingredients were real and honest. Today we do it by choice, because we want to get back to the basics of real, honest, and wholesome food that tastes good and is good for us. It is a joy to watch the girls race to the chicken coop when they hear the chicken clucking or to sit with me and help me prep tomatoes for sauce.
Homesteading is more of a way of life for us. We can show and teach our children that things are not automatic. If you want something you need to work for it. This kind of life is hard work, but it is so rewarding. Around here if we need something we work for it or we make it ourselves. There is not much to spare at the end of the month but that is the choice we made. We are investing in our children right now. Not only are we nourishing there bodies with homegrown foods but also their minds, souls, and faith. We are raising them to have a connection to the land. For everything there is a season. Our season now is our children. We do not have a penny to spare on retirement or even putting away for college savings. My plan for now is to sell the farm to pay for some of the girl’s college. We believe they should have to put toward their school of choice. Then buy a VW Vanagon and be hippies with no strings attached. We all know the Lord has better plans. Brook hopes so! As for me, I think I would not mind it.