Welcome to our Homestead. I’m Dianne and I am the voice behind the blog. I’m a wife, mother, grandmother (aka-Nana), gardener, crafter, lover of animals and just being outdoors. I’m not afraid of getting dirt under my finger nails or blisters on my hands. Whatever work is necessary to accomplish the dream – I’m in! I live with my husband on 1-1/2 acres in Charleston, Tennessee.
Way Back When…
I grew up on a 5 acre homestead, but it wasn’t called a homestead 50 years ago, it was just called home. My parents raised everything we ate. I will say that I refused to eat meat growing up because I wasn’t about to eat a calf that I had raised on a bottle or a hog that I had fed daily. We had a very large garden and my “mama” canned everything that came out of it. We rarely went to the grocery store and for sure didn’t know what eating out was. Though every now and again, mama and daddy would take me, and my brother and sister into town, to the local drive-in for a shake – that was our treat. Growing up, I thought this life was horrible and I couldn’t wait to get away, but now, I dream of going back to it.
I married a wonderful man that had been raised in the city, knew nothing but grocery stores and restaurants and wanted nothing to do with homesteading, but after 25 years of marriage, job losses, working hard and not seeming to get ahead, and traveling some really hard roads together, he has finally been bitten by the homestead bug. So our new journey officially began in the winter of 2015.
Our homestead is far from finished, it’s actually still in its beginning, but I really don’t think any homestead is ever complete. For several years off and on, I would read articles that made me dream of living on a farm, but I would push it back inside me. We had only 1 income and we were barely getting by and no way could I even remotely think of building a garden, a barn, or anything else. I would lie in bed at night and I could see myself getting up to go out to gather eggs, milking a cow, and then working in the garden, but all it was only a dream. I actually still dream about chickens, cows, goats, a barn and a place to sell my handmade primitives in. We don’t have any of these just yet.
The dream became much stronger that I could no longer contain it. I had been reading everything I could get my hands on. I subscribed to Grit Magazine, Mother Earth News, went to the library, bought books, subscribed to blogs, and poured over the internet searching out homesteading information.
In the summer of 2014, my husband was working out of town, home 2-3 days a month and I began making regular trips to the local Amish community buying vegetables by the bushels bringing them home and canning them. I really had no idea what I was doing but I knew my mom had done it and there was still others that do it today. I started asking questions and then my daughter bought me The Ball Canning Book. It got even worse, though we do have nice shelves full of preserved food but I had spent way more money on the vegetables than I should have. I knew from my childhood that a garden was the way to go but where to start. I was so overwhelmed by the internet, so many ideas and how in the world could I do this without the money in our budget to do so?
I borrow a book from my friend, Amy, MiniFARMING Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre by Brett Markham and I couldn’t put it down. I marked and highlighted it up so badly I felt bad and that I bought her a new one. A light bulb went off and it sounded so simple …I can do this – I could grow a garden! It wasn’t but just shortly after this my husband was given 240 free untreated 4×4’s that were 12 feet long and I immediately saw raised beds. We had to load and haul them, but hey, no problem, we can do that. We borrowed a trailer, because we didn’t own one, and went to pick them up.
I guess I need to back up just a little bit here too and tell you that I had just a few days before came across a blog TenthAcreFarm.com and Amy, the blogger, had written a blog on How to Start a Garden on a Budget. I felt like everything was coming together.
New raised beds, growing more vegetables and not buying them, I had began paying more attention to our budget, paying off debt, and working ways to save everything I could so that my husband would no longer have to work the job that kept him away from home for weeks at a time. We still have to have an income, but not such a large one. With a more productive garden and kitchen, cutting back on unnecessary expenses and paying off most of our debt, he has been able to come home and work locally so he is now home in the evenings and on weekends. Homesteading is about living off the land, living within your means and not acquiring debt to do so. The dream is growing slowly but with careful planning, hard work, and goal setting, it is moving along.
I Began an Education
With all this, I returned to the classroom. Through certification, studying gardening, herbal classes, horticulture classes – I now grow and preserve much of our food, make most of our cleaning supplies and with careful planning, working on paying off and acquiring no debt; we are on our way to self-sufficiency.
Join the Journey
Our goal is to be self-sufficient, the work is not easy, it does take sacrifice, but it will be well worth it. My mission with this website is to share with you our journey in an effort to inspire you to reach for your dreams. Not to push them back inside but to allow them to blossom.
I will be sharing both new and traditional methods of gardening as well as ideas, tips, tutorials and instruction on how to build a homestead. I agree, I don’t have years of experience but if I can inspire you then my goal is met. Yes, our homestead is young, I have made many mistakes already and had many failures, and if I can share them with you and its helps you – we win.
I’m by far not a fancy person, nor am I a writer, but I do believe in being real. My heart’s desire is to help others to live their dream of self-sufficiency. To help others grow a garden to help with the family budget. And to share all that I do here to grow our simple homestead from the ground up.