An Introduction, or How Not to Homestead

| 7/21/2010 12:59:43 PM

Tags: Introduction, Homesteading in Tennessee, Raising Chickens, First-time gardener,

KristiFor my first GRIT blogpost, I thought I’d tell y’all a little bit about what not to expect from my posts. I’d hate to think that anyone came to me looking for advice or tips on gardening or farming or raising livestock or canning or cooking or sewing or how to keep birds from stealing your cherries or how to keep snakes from curling up on your porch or how to find those elusive free-range chicken eggs. You should, under no circumstance, expect anything like that from my blog. Why? Because I haven’t quite gotten all that stuff figured out yet. I’ve made countless attempts at it all, but usually my attempts fall a bit short of the mark. I am making headway though and will doubtless be a preeminent homesteader in, oh, probably around 50 or 60 years.

See, I’m pretty new to all those things. New, like a matter of months new. So far, I’ve grown more grass than veggies (although my garden is actually making food! I know! I can’t believe it either).

grassy tomato

I’ve made pets out of all my animals.

Sherlock Combs

My jam doesn’t jell and my lids don’t suck down; I burn food in my cast iron (not to mention the small blaze when I tried to season my dutch oven); I harvested all of one cherry that the birds didn’t get; I had a snake on my porch that I had to shoo off with a stick, then tried to shoot and completely missed; and I haven’t found eggs in over a week. (Probably because I missed the snake. A moving snake is a tough target with a .22!) So, if you’re looking for sage-like, tried and true advice on how to run a homestead, you have come to exactly the wrong place.

chris davis
12/5/2010 11:30:57 PM

Kristi, You might want to try getting a .22 carbine and load it with snake shot. I don't know how well it will work, but it would be comforting knowing you can pull off a couple of quick shots while zeroing in on the target if nothing else. :) Good luck with your homestead, and that's a gorgeous bird! Here's hoping you have lots of fun with the blog.

kristi cooper_4
8/1/2010 7:49:30 PM

Hey I am another Kristi that is starting to try to homestead. I am looking forward to commiserating with your blog!! LOL I am so glad I am not the only one tripping along with this!! But one day I plan to prevail!! LOL

s.m.r. saia
7/26/2010 9:03:47 AM

Kristi, welcome to Grit! I for one am glad to see that someone else has as much grass in thier garden as I do!!!!!!

7/23/2010 10:56:51 AM

Wow, thank y'all for such a warm welcome! I'm really looking forward to this and I can't freakin wait to get to know all of you and what you're all up to. I have no idea why the good people at Grit decided to give me a swing at this, but I feel like I'm in excellent company. I have a feeling I'm gonna learn alot from you folks :)

7/23/2010 8:53:11 AM

Bless you Kristi and welcome the GRIT community. While we all have knowledge in one thing or another I think the thing we pride ourselves most on is the ability to laugh at our own misadventures. We are a tight community and are always willing to encourage each other and lend a tip or two. I think you'll fit right in. I actually DID move from NYC (Brooklyn, actually) to Barnesville, Georgia, with my wife to live on the family farm. Up until that point I had only grown tomatoes and some herbs on a rooftop in the middle of a housing project. You can always find me at and you are always welcome to send a question, laugh at me, or cry with me. It's part of the adventure!

nebraska dave
7/22/2010 3:46:50 PM

Kristi, you are a brave person to jump out of burning frying pan (pun intended) and into the trial by fire. I was definitely a black thumb grower up until I discovered this website. Because of all my friends that I have acquired here, I had the best ever garden last year but the real gardening experience was in the flowers. I came from a Nebraska farm background and as you have stated never really paid any attention to what Mom did in the garden expect make me pull weeds. I had other things to do as well like explore the creek, or climb trees, or kick the tractor brake off and coast it down a hill into a tree. You know boy things. So when it came time to satisfy those dormant farmer DNA yearnings, I didn’t really have a clue how to grown anything that couldn’t be plowed, planted, and cultivated from the seat of a tractor. Yes, I finally discovered how to drive a tractor without hitting a tree. Welcome to the Grit community. It’s quite a diverse community with folks all across the country that contribute and help each other with questions and answers. When things begin to come together for you, there’s no other satisfaction that can compare.

mountain woman
7/22/2010 9:54:47 AM

Hey Kristi, Greetings from a Southerner who is now living in Yankee territory. I'm so glad I'm no longer the only Grit blogger who doesn't know anything about what she's doing. You are a woman after my own heart. My chickens are pets too (I think I have the same breed of chickens) and I burn everything I touch. I'm so glad to find you! Mountain Woman of Red Pine Mountain blog P.S. - Your sunflowers are gorgeous.

7/22/2010 6:21:07 AM

Thanks Cindy! I'm looking forward to poking through everyone's blogs here and seeing what I can glean from a few more experienced hands :)Like you said, it's an adventure!

cindy murphy
7/22/2010 5:21:56 AM

Hi Kristi, and welcome to Grit. I currently live in a small town that sounds similar to the one you grew up in....and currently, am still learning...and still making mistakes along the way. Trial and is an adventure, and as Mom would say, 'it builds character!'. I'm looking forward to reading more of your adventures as you learn along the way. (Love the sunflower shot, btw.) Cindy ~ A Lakeside View

7/21/2010 9:40:30 PM

ohh wish I had could use that one but no-it's all my doing! You definetly will be fun to read vickie

7/21/2010 9:12:35 PM

Let me say in my defense, however, the folks who lived here before us planted a bunch of lovely centipede grass between the rows of the garden. So, while I have to deal with it, it was not of my doing!!

7/21/2010 5:59:11 PM

Thanks, Vickie! Hopefully by my next post my fingers and toes will still be intact :)

7/21/2010 3:28:49 PM

Welcome Kristi, Already laughing because I've done it all -it's better though when someone else is making the mistakes. Sometimes my garden looks like yours still -just depending on what has transpired that summer-you never know what life will throw at you. It's amazing what it will still produce-I've canned a lot of beans I've found in the weeds! It'll be interesting hearing about your trials by fire but be careful. vickie

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