“Homesteading to me means raising and growing food as our ancestors did. Using and sourcing everything the way it was intended to be used and put on this earth for. Homesteading comes with a to-do list that I can never finish, dirty fingernails, and many failures followed by many successes, but it is also the most rewarding experience of my life. Homesteading simply means going back to my roots when food was whole, pure, and nourishing.” – Jen
Today’s inspiring homestead comes from Jen, author of The Easy Homestead. Jen and her husband live on 15 acres in South Carolina with their three children. The loss of a loved one and encouragement from an oncologist encouraged Jen to take a good look at the foods she was putting in her body.
Homesteading isn’t something that I really ever thought about doing. I was born and raised on the east coast beaches of Florida. I spent my youth taking vacations around the world. I kind of grew up like a city-girl in a small city. My grandparents did have a farm that I visited often as a kid. I actually have very fond memories of growing up on that farm. But, the farm was sold when I was in middle school due to the death of my grandfather. From then on farming was a thing of my past.
My husband and I met in Florida and just up and decided to move to South Carolina. We were tired of the coast. We picked a place on a map and moved there- sight unseen. It was the best decision we ever made. We moved to 15 acres in the foothills of South Carolina. Still, we never thought about homesteading. But in the next two years my life changed drastically.
In 2012 my mom died, at the age of 50, from cancer. Her oncologist mentioned something about learning to read labels and looking at what is in our food. I had no idea what we was talking about. The month after my mom died I took his advice and started watching food documentaries and doing research online. I was floored to say the least. A month later my husband and I got chickens. And that’s how it all started. With chickens…
My husband (whom I refer to as Mountain Man) still works a full time job outside of the home. I stay at home to maintain the homestead and the kiddos while he is at work.
How big are your gardens?
We have over 1,000 square feet. We have an “open” garden and a hoop house. Both measure somewhere around 18’ x 36’. Don’t let that fool you. I can take no credit for the garden. Mountain Man is in charge of that. I do water and open the hoop house every day, but if it wasn’t for Mountain Man’s amazing green thumb then we would have nothing. I’ve killed a cactus before.
Do you have any fruit or nut trees on your homestead?
We have “wild” hickory nut trees. We are planning to learn how to make hickory nut milk this year. We are planning on planting fruit trees in the next couple years.
Do you have any livestock on your homestead?
We have 11 ducks – 9 which are female. None are laying yet. Once they do we will hatch their eggs in our homemade incubator and raise those ducks for meat. We will also use their eggs in our baked goods. We also have 13 laying hens and 1 rooster. Twice a year (Spring and Fall) we raise our own meat chickens. Just over month ago we added goats to our farm – twin Nubian girls. We will breed them next summer. We will use their milk for personal consumption, yogurt, cheese, soap, etc.
What “homestead” changes have you made to your lifestyle?
We now make/grow 99% of what we consume. We rarely purchase processed food and if we do we read the ingredient labels very carefully. We reuse and repurpose every thing that we can. We also do everything as frugal as possible since there is only one income in the home.
Make sure you follow Jen on her homesteading journey by visiting her at The Easy Homestead.