Our Homestead

2011- Our first time haying our own pasture

Many of you have been interested in the details of my own homestead, so here is a little more info for the curious.

We purchased our little piece of Wyoming in July of 2008.

As far as we can tell, the original homestead was established around 1910. It had been very neglected for many years, but since we were looking for a fixer-upper, we were beyond excited to find it. Thankfully, the seller had completely remodeled the house, so we got the best of both worlds: an old-fashioned house with lots of character, but still brand new sheetrock, flooring, cabinets, and appliances.

Our little house sits on 67 acres of Wyoming prairie, surrounded by sprawling ranches. No subdivisions or HOAs for us!

Many modern homesteaders have to start from scratch with their outbuildings, so we were very thankful that a large barn, chicken coop, and shop came with the property. Since purchasing our homestead, we have logged countless hours hauling away trash, mowing, fencing, roofing, painting, remodeling, and landscaping. But, we have loved every minute of it and have many more exciting plans for the future.

Oakley the Milk Cow

The Lifestyle:

Though we didn’t purchase our land with the intention of becoming part of the modern-day homesteading movement, we quickly fell in love with the idea as we began to explore options for our property. And to think that it all began with a compost pile

My husband and I both enjoy a bit of adventure in life, so the harsh weather and unpredictability of living 30+ miles from town doesn’t bother us at all.

Some people pity our lifestyle. Some people envy it. I suppose regardless of what side you lean towards, you can come to the honest conclusion that we are just a little bit crazy. After all, as I’ve said before, we tend to thrive on just a little bit of organized chaos around here. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Click here for a photo tour of our homestead.

Food Production:

It is our goal to produce as much of our food from our land as is possible. So far, we are meeting that goal with several vegetable gardens, chickens, dairy goats, pigs, and a Brown Swiss milk cow. The horses, dogs, and barn cats round out the zoo. We were “animal people” long before we started our homestead, so getting more critters hasn’t been much of a sacrifice. We recently started butchering our own grass-fed beef, and we also fill our freezer with wild game whenever we can.

We’ve found that producing foods as naturally as possible not only makes for an ultimately superior end product, but also eliminates a lot of hassle and expense.

Anyway, if you stick around long enough, there is bound to be some sort of excitement. From tornadoes to old-fashioned blizzards, grasshopper plagues to snakes in my house, there is never a dull moment around here! We are so glad you decided to visit our little homestead on the prairie- enjoy your stay!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

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Jill Winger

Owner/Blogger at The Prairie Homestead
Hey! I'm Jill. I'm all about cooking from scratch, getting dirt under my fingernails, hoarding mason jars, and trying not to kill stuff in my garden. I firmly believe that anyone can be a homesteader. Stick around, and I'll show ya the ropes!

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Comments

  1. Pavil, the Uber Noob says:

    i recommend checking out Acres USA. Lots of good farming stuff.

  2. I am one of those who “envy” yalls lifestyle!! How BLESSED yall are :-) A friend recommended your blog and I am excited to start keeping up with it.

  3. Me again from over at your giveaway! What part of Wyoming are y’all in? I grew up in Green River and lived in Pinedale before we headed South to my husband’s stomping ground….and where my homestead roots are now planted! I’m excited to keep up with you and share our goings on around here!

    From one ‘former’ Wyoming girl to another…..

    Homestead Blessings In Christ!

    Jennifer
    (If you’re like me and a little funny about sharing details for all the world to see, feel free to email me!)

  4. I have to say I was very surprised and pleased to see that you all are very young (at least in comparison to me). My wife and I would be interested in how much places like yours are selling for up there. Just ballpark figures are fine, and we don’t mind searching. Thanks

    Don

  5. Idaho was our favorite place in the whole world, but as we drove back to the east coast about 7 years ago, we decided to go through Wyoming and my husband and I were in awe of how beautiful the state was. We’re in the very beginning of homesteading in New Mexico, but we don’t have 67 acres. More like 1.2 acres! But we are making it work. I’m amazed at how much we’ve gotten done in one year. No matter what size the homestead, I think it does take a little bit of insanity (creativity LOL) to do what we do.

    I learn something new everyday, and I’m so glad to have found a homesteading community to stay in touch with along the way.

    • SO glad you stopped by Angela! Glad to have you as a part of our (crazy) little online homestead community. ;)

  6. Amen!

  7. sarah~ new homesteader says:

    I have a brown swiss cow too. We love having the fresh milk and cream! She is a sweet heart (for the most part:). You sound like you have a fabulous set up! We are doing the same thing on 5 acres in the Arizona desert.

  8. Christina says:

    Our family is moving from Pennsylvania to Montana in June. We are very excited to have space to homestead. Praying that God will take us to just the right place for our family. We make our first purchase for our homestead this weekend. A beautiful brown Newfoundland Puppy to grow up and watch over our kids in the Wild West. I’m a little scared of all of the things that they have there that we don’t have here, like grizzlies, rattlesnakes and mountain lions. I’m enjoying reading about your homestead! Thank you!

  9. I am envious, most definitely. :) After living such a hectic lifestyle (Army wife) I crave the simplicity and hard, honest life so very much! Both my husbands and my dream is to one day have something similar for a life.

  10. Boy you sure have progressed faster than we have towards the goal (produce as much of our own food as possible). Producing meat and dairy yourself is no small feat! We talk about goats, but the milking schedule might conflict with our band’s gigging on weekends, and camping trips, When we do leave for more than one or two nights, it’s already a pain to get someone to come deal with all the watering and feeding as it is with just poultry and the gardens. And I love that compost started your adventure. We lived our first summer with no house, but had a garden and compost going in less than three weeks! It all begins with compost, doesn’t it?

    We are also really lucky to have a good well with 30′ static level and 20 gpm year round. Do you worry about oil and gas extraction affecting your groundwater in Wyoming?

  11. Hello Jill,
    I just discovered your website. I was looking for details on how to make vanilla extract. My husband and I are farmers at heart. We built an homestead in Chenango County, NY some years ago but our hunger for more of God took us to Pensacola, FL for 10 years going to Bible School. We have a 20 year old son, now in GA for army boot camp and 2 other children already grown up.
    I have been making milk Kefir at home for sometime now and I have extra grains. I would like to share those grains for free. Just let me know if someone is interested and I will send some. We are also looking to buy a property where we could raise chicken and have a garden. We are in the North East part of New York state.
    Be blessed Jill!

    • Hi Rita- You know, I actually might be interested! I would be more than willing to pay you for shipping- let me know what you think!

    • Hi Rita, I would LOVE to try making kefir. i am sort of new at all this but have pretty much switched my husband and I to grass fed and free range meats and eggs. I buy raw goats milk and have tried my hand at yogurt. I keep coming across articles on the goodness of kefir. So if you can tell me how to do it:) I would like to try.
      Thanks so much
      Pam

      • Rita Morris says:

        Hello Jill,
        I just found on YouTube a clip about making milk Kefir. I find that it is a good documentary with lots of good tips.
        Have fun making milk Kefir.

        Sincerely,

        Rita

    • I would be very interested in kefir grains. Please let me know how to get my information to you Rita and I will pay any shipping fees. My grains “gave out” last year. Thanks!

      Ginger

    • Jill, I just came across this web page. What caught my eye was I to am from NY but My children also went Pensacola for college They attended the Christian college. The reason for writing is I have been looking for milk Kefir I you still have some I would Love to buy some from you please let me know if you still have some thank you cindy

  12. Hello Jill,

    Yes, I will send you some grains. I did not find your address. Where would you like me to send the grains?
    I will use “next day delivery” via mail.

    Rita

    • Laurie H. says:

      Jill and Rita, I too am interested in the grains, and Rita I currently live in Pensacola! Small , world. We are preparing and learning as we are purchasing our homestead in Tennessee. Our first deadline is Sept 1st and then we will take it a month at a time as we prepare to go home.
      Jill, you site has been wonderful and so informative and I look forward to reading more.

      Gods Blessings to you both!
      Laurie/ Harmonyfarms Tn

  13. Chrissy W. says:

    I just found your website and LOVE it!! I am new to the farming/ranching way of life and love your ideas! We just moved to Craig CO, just south of Wyoming and bought 35 acres. We already have a little dairy goat herd, chickens, turkeys and pigs and cows coming in the next month. I am very new to the natural way of doing things, but love learning all about it! Thanks for your website, it is great!

  14. Okay just a tad jealous here. Beautiful property. What a fun adventure you have!! We are attempting to homestead on a quarter of an acre-so a lot less land needless to say-but nonetheless we are getting ready for chickens! I have two girls: a four and half year old and 18 month old so we are excited to watch them interact and learn to care for these feathery friends. I LOVE your blog. It’s so exciting learning about how other people live and farm. Thank yo for blogging!!

  15. Cassandra says:

    Hi Jill,
    It is so neat to find your blog! We live in Douglas, WY and at times feel like we should move somewhere else, that is more lush, to live the life we want, and be the growers we want to be. I am so inspired that you are puttin up with the wind and harshness of it here, because it can be discouraging, It is so worth it though, when you look up at our skies, mountains and open spaces:) Thank you for creating this space, It will be a joy to follow a blog from Wyoming:)

    • I hear ya Cassandra! I grew up in North Idaho- it’s green, lush, lots of rain, and everything grows there! I also get frustrated with our harsh climate sometimes- sometimes I think I must have picked the worse place in the world to homestead– but I still love Wyoming and can’t imagine leaving. And with a little extra work, we can still get some awesome yields. Keep up the great work!

  16. hi i was just browsing the internet for fly spray for my goats of which we have 3 pygmies and came across this site glad i did so far it is very interesting. we are moving to 158 acres in 4 weeks can’t wait soooooooo excited, then we can get our horses home, we have saved 4 from slaughter and maybe who knows more will follow, planning on getting a few sheep, pigs, dexter cattle and some chickens miss my chickens and their fresh eggs.
    well i will carry on reading.
    maria MB Canada :)

  17. I am so excited to have found your blog! My husband and I are starting a goat farm in Georgia and are finding your blog to be so inspirational to us! We’re 27 and so excited to be starting a new chapter! I put your button on my blog because I’ve become a big fan today! See you around!

  18. I’m definitely the type that leans towards being jealous. I live in the CO mountains and my dream is to have a small homestead around here someday. I am saving up to purchase some land, but as a single woman I know my best chance is to marry a Godly man who shares my back-to-the-earth desires and to pool our resources and ingenuity. Love your blog, by the way – so much inspiration for skills and things I can be learning now in my rental apartment until I CAN have that homestead of my own.

  19. I came here for the meatloaf recipe you posted as its closest to my moms and IM AMAZED at the rest of this website! My goal is somewhat similar except on the opposite side of the world in the desert of UAE with my husband! Next im on to your tortilla recipe. Best wishes!!!!

    • Aw- thank you Colleen! How awesome that you are going after a homesteading-lifestyle over there in the desert! Enjoy the tortillas and meatloaf. :)

  20. I’ve only gotten into a couple sentences of your homestead thread. I am thrilled. Our chosen piece of heaven on Earth is in the deep south, sub-tropical, zone 9. To be sure it is small, but there are not a lot of us and it is what we can afford and will suit our needs (especially after I read the information about farming 1 acre-we’ve got twice that). Still, your land is beautiful.

    Cheers and peace unto you and yours.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Lyric! :) I can’t imagine all the cool stuff I bet you can grow in your climate- how fun!

  21. Hi Jill! I think I found your site looking for homemade laundry soap and I have to say, now, “I’m hooked on you!!!” I thought, heck, we have 3/4 acre of good land in the high desert of southern CA. We have grown a few vegies here and there, but we have room for so much more!! If you or anyone else has a suggestion of how to start, (besides the compost!!!) please share!!! i will be grateful. Thanks again for this site. What a wonderful homestead you have!!! Also, congratulations on the birth of prarie boy!!! Your children will have a wonderful childhood on the prairie! Thanks again, Lisa

  22. michael w. says:

    im located here in new mexico with my family. and would like to start homesteading but im not really sure what steps to take. if anyone could help that would be so appreciated. Keep up the good work, i was very happy to see people working so hard to pull together there own little piece of paradise.

  23. Hi! I would like to say that I love love love your website!
    My family and I moving out onto lots of land, so you have some very helpful tips for us!
    I was wondering, though… Could you make a video tour of your barns, and maybe the layout of your barnyard/house yard? We’re building on empty land, and are looking for a good layout for our barnyard and barn interiors.

    • Thank you Grace! That’s a great idea– next time I borrow the video camera, I will do a tour. I can’t say it’s the perfect layout (it was an existing homestead) but we’ve made it work for us!

  24. I admire your commitment to the homesteading life! I can understand wanting a life like that, especially in beautiful Wyoming. I spent a summer there volunteering as the cook at a backpacking base camp and fell in love. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  25. Found your blog on pinterest today. So glad I did!! I have fallen in love with it and can’t wait to read every post!! We live in Texas on just a little over 100 acres and want to get to the point where we are growing/raising the majority of our own food. Your blog is such a great resource. Keep up the good work!!!!

  26. Hi Jill, your site is Amazing. I must say, the homesteading life is something to get used to for me. However, two years ago, my husband started with a handful of chickens. This past year, he raised a pig, and now he is researching raising a dairy goat. I have been fairly hesitant towards his new interests, but we both now are going with his approach. My little topsy turvy tomoato plant has gone from a hanging plant on my back porch to a full grown garden, along with another spice section. And I couldn’t be more happier. I absolutley love your site and all of your hints and secrets. Keep up the good work, I will be checking back to see your updates!

  27. I’m new to your blog…found you on the pin about the four thieves oil. I also envy your lifestyle. I’m a raised-in-the-city suburban girl longing for the prairie. But my husband & I just can’t seem to move away from my only child who just started her own home ’cause we’re looking forward to grandchildren. Anyway, glad I found your blog…I have to look into the doTERRA oils…we love doing things the natural way. I’ll be downloading some of your booklets, as well. We are putting in a raised bed garden this year, so I’m busy with plans for that…I’ll be glad to have grown some of the food we eat! Thanks again for your blog!!

  28. Hey Jill! It’s me again. I have found something really cool! It’s not EXACTLY homesteading, or eating from-scratch food, or taking care of chickens. BUT, i have found something to replace that sodium sulfate stuff we put on our faces…. Make-up. My friend says she made hers from corn flour, cinnamon, and cocoa. And you can make it match your skin tone too! If you want it lighter add more corn flour. if it needs to be darker, add more cocoa. more orang-ier, add cinnamon! I have yet to try it, but my friend did and she says it really works! There are some other recipes to make blush, eye shadow, even mascara and lipstick!!! (though i heard the lipstick is really hard to make :-/ ) Cool right? I don’t know if you’d be interested or not but i certainly was!

    • Love this idea Katie! Make-up is one area that I have yet to try DIY recipes with. Thanks for sharing! :)

  29. Rita Morris says:

    Hello,
    Regarding the Kefir grains… I tried to make Kefir with Almond milk and my culture went bad. I did not buy more. I am sorry.

  30. I am interested in Rattle snakes is there any way you could send me sone of course dead I havea log cabin and my decor is hides, deer head, beaver mount. Im a lady who hunts, traps ,fishes. If there is an animal that you would like may we could trade or I’ll pay ya for the snake or at least the S/H. If you perfer not to I respect that too. Here in ny I met a man that use to go to the outdoor sports show he lives in Terry Montana I’m trying to get a hold of him but I losthis bus card. Well thank you for you time Also I ‘ll keep you up on our Miss Jessie.

  31. Alissabeth says:

    This is the life I’ve always dreamed of! I’ll live vicariously through you, until I can do it myself!

  32. Hello again! First, I want to thank you for answering all my silly questions. I ughhh……..apparently have another one! :-P The only actual ‘homesteading’ thing i do is cook awesome from scratch meals, and throw lemon peels down our garbage disposal. But if i was to get some chickens, (if our town allows it) where in the world would I start? I would have to build a chicken coop of course, (or get my brother to do it…hee hee!) then get some hay or something…. How did you start it? The chicken part i mean.

    • Good question!
      Yes, a chicken coop/yard would definitely be the most important– and make sure that your coop includes some sort of nesting box set-up. Then you’ll need to decide if you want to start with chicks or older hens. Chickens are pretty easy keepers– you can feed them a laying ration from your local feed store, and just make sure they have fresh water and some calcium supplement (either crushed eggshells or oyster shell). I think they are one of the easiest farm animals, and so very rewarding too. ;)

  33. My husband and I bought 9 acres in the mountains of SE Oklahoma 5 years ago and started building a small house (600 sq ft) on it in October 2010 and moved from the Dallas area in June 2011. We are paying for everything out of pocket as we go, so developments are slow, but eventually we want it to be self-sufficient. People have asked me if we are “preppers” (we don’t have a tv so I had to look this up) and I’ve informed them that no we are not. We had the rug pulled out from under us with job losses, health issues, the economy, etc., so many times that we realized that the smart thing to do was own our land and house, reduce our expenses as much as possible, and supply as much of our own food and water as we can so that if the rug is pulled out from under us again we won’t lose our balance. We won’t be homeless, we’ll always have food and water, and we can afford to pay our bills on very little money. I’ve lost some friends along the way who were very critical and negative about what we are doing and others have told me we inspire them to make changes. I actually feel very blessed that so many bad things happened and we were able to learn from them to get where we are today. There is still a long road ahead, but we are finally on the right path. It’s nice to come across like-minded people online so it doesn’t always feel so lonely, and you’re right! It’s never boring here! I love the challenge.