By Candi Johns - thefarmbarbie
On her family's homestead in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky, Candi plans to focus her blog on a number of areas.
"The primary focus of my blog is to educate, teach and encourage anyone interested in homesteading. The Farm Barbie provides step-by-step instructions to an-old fashioned way of living. If you want to reclaim your food, become more self-sufficient, or get back to your roots, my blog can help. Topics covered include: growing, raising, processing, preserving, and eating real food."
She also hopes to entertain readers, bringing some laughter into their everyday lives. She says, "There is hardly a post without an amusing story or comedic turn of events. My life is full of adventures and disasters, during which I try to keep my head high and a smile on my face."
Her husband's dream of living in the country prompted their move. "I was hesitant, but agreed to help make his dream come true. Once we got settled, I found my passion in gardening, canning, and animal husbandry. I absolutely love the country life and never want to go back to the city."
She defines a homesteader:
"I am a homesteader.
"I want clean food. I want clean water. I want clean meat. I want exercise and fresh air. I want my food to be as fresh and local as possible. I want my children to know where food comes from. I want to know how to butcher a chicken. I want to know how to milk a cow. I want to know how to shoot a deer. If all the stores disappeared, I want to be able to keep going.
"I am a homesteader.
"You don't have to move to the middle of nowhere and live on acreage to embrace 'homesteading.' It can begin in a neighborhood, an apartment, or on a small plot of land. Any one of us can become a homesteader. It's more than just getting back to the land. A homesteader is someone who is becoming less reliant on others and becoming more self-sufficient."
Candi's current project involves a lawn and a flock of chickens.
"Our current project is to grow a thick, grassy lawn around our house. The challenge is to stop our flock of chickens from eating all the grass seed. In the past five years, our hens have eaten approximately $500 worth of grass seed. Ugh. We are in the process erecting a fence to contain our sweet flock while we attempt to add a little green to the lawn. Once the grass has sprouted, our flock will once again be 'Kept the Redneck Way.'"
Her to-do list is somewhat lengthy: fence in chicken yard; purchase second Jersey milk cow; look after current Jersey, Faith, who is due to calve in August; paint the new run-in; plant spring garden; and plant summer garden. Sounds like she has her work cut out for her, doesn't it?
Planting a garden goes along with Candi's definition of a homesteader. "I wanted to eat clean food. Food without pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals. Food that was not changed in a science lab. Our garden provides my family real food. It is satisfying to grow, raise, process, preserve, and eat real food from our land."
Her winter garden includes garlic, chives and kale. Her spring garden will contain asparagus, oregano, basil, thyme, lemon balm, onions, cat nip, radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and sugar snap peas. She will plant a variety of tomatoes, a variety of peppers, green beans, lima beans, squash, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkins, flowers, and sometimes corn for her summer garden. Fall brings cabbage, onion, radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and Brussels sprouts to the garden plot.
The family's homestead is also home to a number of animals. They have two stinky pigs named Porker and Zorro; a sweet Jersey milk cow named Faith; a Brown Swiss steer, Crumple; three cats (Sophie, Scruffy and Velvet); a lazy Bassett hound that may answer to the name of Duke; three ducks, Ping, Sonny and Filbert; and the chicken flock contains 11 Red Pullets 11 Black Australorps, nine Ameraucanas, three Bantams, three White Leghorns, and eight Barred Rocks.
Candi's love of real food began long before she moved to the country. She now counts among her country skills animal husbandry, bread-making, canning, gardening, milking and home dairying, harvesting chickens and making bone broth, using a pressure cooker, hunting, gardening, and photography – so she can document her country adventures.
When asked her philosophy of country life, Candi responds: "The country life is not necessarily an easy one or a simple one; but I think the country life is the best one. Those of us who have embraced the country are all here for different reasons: clean air, less noise, more space, beautiful landscapes, small towns, growing gardens, raising livestock, or bushels filled with farm fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s something timeless and precious about the squawk of a chicken, the moo of the cattle, the snorting of the pigs, the smell of the hay, the feel of the milk-barn, the freedom of children running through the pastures. The country life is a slower pace, a gentle day, and a cherished bond. I wouldn’t change it for anything."
You can also reach Candi through her website.