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. Getting dirt under my finger nails does not bother me and I’m willing to work hard enough to get blisters on my hands if necessary. Whatever 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 plot of land. It wasn’t called a homestead 50 years ago, it was just called home. My parents raised everything we ate.
I refused to eat meat because I wasn’t about to eat a calf that I had fed with a bottle. 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.
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 guy who had been raised in the city. He knew nothing but grocery stores and restaurants. This was perfect, I was getting away from it! After 25 years of marriage, job losses, health issues and just not getting ahead, there had to be more.
In the Making
For several years off and on, my mind would drift back to living on the farm. We had only 1 income, barely getting by, and no way could I even remotely think of having a garden, a barn, much less anything else. When you are barely getting by, there is no money.
At night I would lie in bed and I see myself gathering eggs, milking a cow, and working in a garden, but all it was only a dream.
The idea was becoming much stronger and I was having a hard time containing it. I was reading everything I could get my hands on. Subscribed to Grit Magazine, and Mother Earth News. Went to the local library, subscribed to blogs online, and poured over the internet searching out homesteading information. I wasn’t telling any of this to my husband though. He was working out of town and home only 2-3 days a month.
I began buying and canning vegetables, by the bushel, at the local Amish market. Really having no idea what I was doing but I could ask my mom and I knew others that were experienced with canning as well.
I started asking lots questions and then I got my hands on The Ball Canning Book . It got even worse. Yes, the pantry shelves were full, but I had spent way too much money buying the bushels. I knew if I wanted to do this, I was going to have to grow my own. I was overwhelmed, so many ideas, and how in the world could I do this with no money?
I borrowed the book, MiniFARMING Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre by Brett Markham from my friend and I couldn’t put it down. I marked and highlighted it up so badly I had to buy her a new one.
The book made it sound so simple!
It wasn’t but just few days later, my husband called home and ask me if I had any use for untreated 4×4’s – 12 feet long? How many and how much was my first question? “FREE – as many as you want!” I immediately saw raised beds! Free fit my budget!
He came home for the weekend, we borrowed a trailer and started hauling! Raised beds were coming soon. He left to go back to work and I began digging and building raised beds. They needed to be ready for spring!
The Official Beginning
New raised beds, growing and canning vegetables. Focusing on debt, paying close attention to the budget. How else could I save? What else could I do? How could I earn more money on our homestead?
With a productive garden that supplies our food, selling my handmade crafts, jams, jellies and strategic planning, my husband was able to come home from the job that kept him gone for weeks at a time.
He does still work outside the homestead, but he is home nights and weekends. I can live with this until we are able to get him out the rat-race of working for someone else.
Homesteading is about living off the land, living within your means and not acquiring debt to do so. It’s about living on the basics, by choice. The homestead is growing with careful planning, hard work, and goal setting, it is coming together.
I Began an Education
With all the excitement and desire to learn more, I returned to the classroom. Studying gardening, herbs, and personal health, I acquired a certification as a Master Gardener.
I now enjoy the pleasure of helping others to achieve their gardening dreams. Helping with experiences that I have had through both successes and failures. After some prodding from fellow gardeners and students, Hidden Springs Homestead was developed to help reach others that may be struggling with containing the dream I had.
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. Knowing that 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 it helps you – we both 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.
Feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have.