“Homesteading is really just a way of deliberate living. It’s not a hobby or a fad; homesteading gets under your skin and once you learn one skill, you discover that there’s a long list of others skills waiting for you down the line because its all connected. On the one hand, that can feel a bit overwhelming at times – you’re never done learning! However, on the other hand, its an exciting journey, full of surprises and joys.” – Tessa
Homesteader Profile: Tessa is a wife and mother of five. She is a homemaker/homeschooler and the author of The Do It Yourself Homestead: Build your self-sufficient lifestyle one level at a time. She lives with her family on 1 acre in Utah.
Tessa’s Homesteading Story
Tessa is the homemaking, homesteading, homeschooling mother of five small children and wife to one long suffering man (her words, not mine). She currently lives on an acre in suburban Utah with several generations of her family. She is an advanced master gardener, slowly working on becoming a master herbalist. She is also the founder of the Salt Lake County Seed Swap. Most days you’ll find her hauling her good natured, adventuresome children around to learn about herbs, small farm livestock, fiber and other lost arts, whole foods and home education.
What got Tessa bitten by the homesteading bug? Chickens. Its all downhill after chickens. That and a desire to figure out why they were the sickest healthy people they knew. Tessa and her family thought they were doing everything right with regards to health and nutrition – turns out, the Food Pyramid is whacked. They’ve learned so much about the importance of a whole foods diet and how, unless you’re independently wealthy, it becomes necessary to produce a great deal of your own food to ensure that its clean and actually healthy.
Tessa is currently residing on just shy of one acre in the Salt Lake area of Utah, but she plans to move to Missouri once she sells her current homestead [shameless plug if you’re looking to buy a home in the area – it comes with garden plots 🙂 ]. On her property she has gardens on almost half the land. She has a medicinal herbal/edible garden up front, a large area of garden boxes and several areas where she rotates animals and cash crops/cover crops, depending on the year and season. On a homestead this size, she has discovered that it’s imperative to learn to use your space year round without killing yourself with work. Tessa uses the animals to help build up the land and vice versa.
Before their decision to move came into play, Tessa and her family had a small, but thriving dairy herd and various types of poultry. On this land they’ve run chickens, ducks and turkeys. They have neighbors who have a cows and horses. Due to the impending move, they have relocated their animals whom they miss terribly.
Over the years Tessa and her family have put in a lot of work to make their house and homestead. They took out the grass from the front and converted it into an herb garden with edibles and a few ornamental plants here and there. Tessa states “Tasha Tudor says it takes over ten years for a garden to look like its been there forever and if that’s true, then we have about eight more years to go.” Tessa finds that she loves that space – its healing and comforting. They also added all the garden boxes in back and cut several areas for crops and animals to rotate in and out of – and, of course, for the weeds to have a home.
With a family of seven, it’s hard to have “leftovers” of anything, but Tessa does trade her surplus goods. They always have extra seeds and are happy to share those with the Salt Lake County Seed Swap that they founded a few years ago. Its a great group of people and its growing! Be sure to check it out if you’re in the Salt Lake area.
Follow Tessa’s journey in homesteading on her site HomesteadLady.com.