“Homesteading isn’t about where you are, so much as who you are.” – Rhonda
Homesteader Profile: Rhonda is a Southern farm girl transplanted to the wilderness of Northern Idaho. She lives there with her husband and adorable “pack” of dogs. She is the writer of The Farmer’s Lamp.
Rhonda’s Homesteading Journey
I am one of generations of life timer homesteaders. I was born into a farming family. My maternal grandfather was a Cherokee/Apache American Indian. My maternal grandmother was 3/4 Blackfeet American Indian. My paternal grandparents were of Scottish Celtic descent. I say that to say, “Farmsteading is in my blood.” My maternal grandparents were a huge part of my life. They taught me the ways of farming they learned from their parents. The older I get, the more I realize with just a few modern conveniences and tweaks, their ways are the best ways. That’s what we do: practice the old-timey ways of being a steward of the land, not a possessor of it.
Until November of 2015, my husband and I were running the family farm in west central Louisiana. Through a series of events which can only be described as supernatural, we found ourselves suddenly transplanted to the wilderness of The Panhandle of Northern Idaho. Besides cultural, environmental, and emotional shock, we have had to adjust our homesteading ways to a very different climate.
While the basic principles are the same, the implementation and timing of them is different. We are establishing our homestead here. While we’re adjusting, I am talking with some lovely old- timers here and gleaning everything I can from them. If you know The Farmer’s Lamp then you know learning from old-timers is my favorite way to gain knowledge and insight.
We will be getting milk cows, probably Scotch Highland, because of their durability and cold weather tolerance. Large Black Hogs and Red Wattle Hogs will also be a part of our homestead. Of course, I would never be without chickens. We have plans to add ducks, geese, and rabbits to our homestead. We’ve had these before and since we are sustenance farmers, these will all be for food production.
We are having quite the adventure here as we adjust, learn, and implement old-timey wisdom today. We would welcome you to be a part of our journey and share in the adventure with us.
The meaning of the word “homesteading” is sadly a controversial question. With many people in suburbia beginning to see the need to provide for themselves and their family, they are taking up the idea of self-sufficiency and calling it homesteading. Personally, I don’t care what they call it, but I know many farmers who resent them calling themselves by what has historically meant moving to a piece of land and providing for your family by farming and raising livestock on that land. To me, homesteading isn’t about where you are, so much as who you are. I’ve never really considered myself a homesteader, but rather a farmsteader. We live off the land as much as we can and continue to pursue being less and less dependent on outside sources. We are stewards of our land. This means we care for the soil, the trees, the water, and all that pertains to the land so that future generations will have a living piece of land to do the same for their families.
The goal of any homesteader is to be self-sufficient and provide as much as possible for themselves and their families from the land they have, no matter how big or small. I help as many people as ask me. Some are just starting this way of life, others who are thinking about starting this way of life, and some who are working with me as we help each other to grow in skill and knowledge. If we don’t reach out and help others, then what’s the point of it all?
There has never been a time in my life when I have not felt the need, the drive, the desire to be farming, gardening, milking my cows, fussing with my goats, and loving my fowl. It is in my blood, it is who I am, and I am glad of that.
Rhonda’s Advice for Farmsteaders
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Set goals for your homestead and prioritize them. Take steps towards those goals every day. No matter how small the action, every little step will lead to the accomplishment of your goals. It’s okay to work on more than one goal at a time. Often they overlap one another, but don’t let the work load overwhelm you. Embrace it! It’s a fact of homesteading: There’s always work to be done. You’ll never be done with the work, just projects and even then they’ll need upkeep. In short: “Enjoy the journey! The journey is what it’s all about.”