The Sell Family 

Transitional Traditions

By Becky and Andy

Becky and Andy, along with their four children, call Omro, Wisconsin, home. Becky, who does most of the writing, plans to focus the blog on small-scale homesteading and family life, along with foraging, canning, fermenting, gardening, home remodeling, and being a mother and the lessons she learns from her children.

"A country girl by my genetics, I couldn’t be tempted by life in the city. Open spaces and wildlife are a part of me, just as family and farming," Becky says. "I’ve lived in cities, both big and small. Each time I found myself longing to see the stars again and smell a breeze as fresh as the hay in the fields."

She defines a homesteader as "a person or family working hard to live with and off the land they have. I am by no means a full-on homesteader. I have a long way to go before we can do what some amazing folks do!"

Their current project involves remodeling their 1,100-square-foot house "to feel more like a home and less like a manufactured double-wide," Becky says. "To do this on a shoe-string budget takes creativity, sweat equity and savvy searches on Craigslist and Pinterest."

The family's to-do list includes homeschooling, landscaping the backyard, expanding the driveway into a turn-around, and planting a large-scale preservation garden.

"We garden for the joy of it, but mostly for the fresh food and security of putting food by." And what is planted in their garden? "Classic canning veggies: tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, carrots, herbs galore, cucumbers, pumpkins and beets. We also grow perennial plants: blackberries, blueberries, red raspberries and golden raspberries. In a couple years, we hope our fledgling fruit orchard will begin to produce (apples, pears and a peach tree)."

The homestead is also home to a kitten named Max, a small flock of laying hens (mostly Rhode Island Reds, Americaunas, Buff Brahmas Bantams and a Buff Rock), and all the deer you could want, Becky says.

Her country skills are varied: "Canning, fermenting, gardening, foraging, baking, cooking, writing (does that even count?), teaching children these same skills, nature journaling."

What is Becky's philosophy on country life?

"I’m not sure I have a philosophy ...I  just know that I want my children out there, every day, finding something new and good and beautiful. I want to stoke their wonder so that they never lose it. I want to instill in them a deep love and appreciation for nature and working in the dirt. Even if they grow up and live in Manhattan but plant a windowsill garden, I will have done my job right."

Contact Becky and Andy through their blog, Our Farm Diary, Facebook (search for Rebekah Sell) or Twitter.