By Amy Greene
Somewhere near Hickory, North Carolina, you will find a family farm called The Greene House. Amy Greene and her family – including her pastor husband – are learning new things to lead them to a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Amy plans on writing about the journey, as well as about ideas on self sufficiency, sharing new ideas for saving money and hand crafting various items, sharing recipes for items that are usually store bought, and sharing family anecdotes.
Amy's current project: "I am learning to make homemade soap from various oils and herbs in hopes of starting a family business. I am trying various recipes and processes to make hand crafted bath soap, shaving soap, shampoo bars and more."
On her to-do list is to learn how to dehydrate food and herbs, learn to can soups and soup mixes, learn more about beekeeping, as well as learning about raising and purchasing chickens and goats.
"My husband and I both grew up in the country and had wonderful childhoods," Amy says regarding their move to the country. "We wanted to continue the tradition with our own children and teach them all the things we had learned, as well as give them the benefit of a wonderful place to live."
Amy definite a homesteader as "a person who learns to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, living off the land and making much of what they use from scratch. Also, they protect the environment and learn to upcycle, recycle, compost and perform other earth friendly practices."
The family garden was planted in response to the births of their children. Amy says, "After we had children, we were alarmed at the amount of preservatives and chemicals found in foods. We started learning to grow our own food so we knew what was in the food we ate and fed our children. It also helped us save money."
The garden contains tomatoes, potatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra, cabbage, zucchini, hot and sweet peppers, carrots, radishes, and onions.
Amy lists her country skills as canning, gardening, small engine repair, woodworking, building, cooking, baking, raising herbs, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and more on the way.
And her philosophy on country life?
"I think the country life should be restful and relaxed, but not lazy. It should include love and respect for the land and animals around you, using them in ways that are sustainable, helping you to become self sufficient. I believe the country life includes helping your neighbors and friends when possible. Also, I think you should teach your children the same lifestyle so it can be carried forward into future generations and therefore the lifestyle becomes sustainable as well."