After our awesome and slightly wild week of giveaways, (the giveaways from Cultures for Health, Mountain Rose Herbs, and Graham Gardens are still going, by the way!) I’m ready to get back to our regularly scheduled programming. 😉
Before our Blogoversary week, we were smack dab in the middle of the How to be a Homesteader series. We talked about how to implement sustainability and the homesteading spirit- no matter where you may live: an apartment, an urban or suburban setting, or even a couple of acres on the outskirts of town. I was thrilled to be able to interview a variety of homesteading gals from various walks of life. I think you’ll be just as inspired by their stories as I have been. Last time, I interviewed Annette from Sustainable Eats. She is an experienced urban farmer, and recently turned rural gal.
This week, we are chatting with Laurie from Laurie’s Thoughts. Women like Laurie are a HUGE inspiration to me. She has been actively involved in this lifestyle longer than I’ve been alive. This is definitely no passing fad for her- she’s in it for the long haul!
Here’s a little background info on Laurie, in her own words:
My name is Laurie and I love my life with my husband. We have lived most of our married lives on our farm. Every year we get another step closer to agrarian style, self-sufficiency. We have four daughters, three sons in law and eight adorable grandchildren. The Lord is good to us and I am grateful for my life. It’s hard work but it is the most satisfying way there is to live!
1. When did your interest in modern homesteading begin?
We started farming, organically, thirty years ago, back before organic was so popular. We didn’t have a furnace in our new house until just a few years ago, so we got used to heating with wood. Both of our parents had gardens so that seemed natural to us as well. Most of our friends were homesteaders, homeschoolers and home-birthers, so we were surrounded with like-minded people.
2. What were your main reasons for deciding to “take the plunge” and set off on the homesteading journey?
When my husband’s father passed away almost 35 years ago, we purchased his 117 acres so that we could continue farming the land. We were only in our late 20s-early 30s when we started learning all there was to know about farming organically. We had a deep desire back then to begin the homestead journey. We didn’t have much money but we had strong backs and willing spirits.
3. What resources have you found most helpful along this journey?
We went to farm tours of other organic farmers, who lived basically homesteading lives. We read books, went to OEFFA (Ohio Food & Farm Association) conferences, talked to anyone that had skills we wanted to acquire but mostly it was just trial and error in many respects. Oh The Mother Earth News conference is wonderful too.
4. What has been the most difficult part of being a rural homesteader?
The most difficult part is there is so much work for only two people. Our four children are all adults (35-27 years old) and have lives of their own. We still have to put up our windmill, build the green house, and put up a livestock barn. We are not as young as we once were (56 years old) and keep working like we still have youth on our sides, but our minds and bodies don’t always agree!
5. Can you describe your current homestead for us?
We have two gardens, 30’X30’ and 40’X175’. We grow about 90% of all we eat with the hopes of it being higher each year. We have a barn that houses a little workshop and my milk cow, Daisy. (She will give us our first calf in early January) We have two chicken coops, one for raising meat chickens, with a large fenced in area and a smaller coop for the egg hens, that are allowed to free-range, April-December. (Winters are brutal here with lots of snow so in the winter we supplement with table scraps). We heat primarily with wood, though we did install a propane furnace a few years ago. We have an outdoor canning kitchen so that I don’t have to have the mess in the house. I hang my clothes on the line, weather permitting. We eat a “real food” diet so I make everything from scratch, including our own cheeses, butter, yogurt, fermented foods, bread (grinding wheat for flour), beer, wine and most everything! I buy very little, for eating, in the store.
6. In your opinion, what is the future of modern homesteading?
I think more people need to consider homesteading as much as possible. We all need to learn to grow and cook our own food and not rely on grocery stores so much. The way the economy is, we need to be as self-sustaining as possible. Yards need to be made into gardens and chicken yards.
Laurie, thank you SO much for taking time out of your busy life to share your story with us! You are truly an inspiration to me- I hope and pray that I will have as much motivation as you do when I’m 56 years old!
Be sure to head over to Laurie’s blog to read about her adventures and farm life!
All photos used with permission.
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