By Caitlin Ethridge
Caitlin Ethridge is living out her “Homegrown Hopes” on the Ethridge Family Farm in North Carolina, and in her blog she plans “to share my young family’s journey to a more sustainable lifestyle.”
She will also focus on recipes, DIY projects, gardening, parenting and hunting. She and her family have a number of projects in the works.
“We are currently in the process of converting one of our chicken tractors into a portable greenhouse,” she says. “We try to repurpose as much as possible and this will be a great example of one structure serving multiple purposes on our farm.” Other projects include: raising hogs for meat; add more laying hens and begin raising meat chickens; partnering with local businesses to sell their fresh produce; building a more efficient compost bin; building more raised beds’ and begin growing medicinal herbs.
“My husband and I both grew up in families that gardened so it was always our plan once we were settled into our own home,” Caitlin says. “We love the money we save and the peace of mind in knowing how our food was produced. Currently we have kale, collards, mustard and curly greens in the garden. However, we will soon turn our garden under, spread compost, and let our chickens scratch in order to prepare for our spring garden.”
The family shares their homestead with a variety of animals: four American Paint horses – Brutis, Vegas, Jazz and Mayo (pronounced my-oh); Bella the pigmy goat; and 1 Golden Comet hen and four Americana hens.
Caitlin says her definition of a “homesteader” is “to me, a homesteader is a person who strives to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. This includes gardening, recycling, composting, livestock, and hands-on handy work.”
She counts among her country skills cooking, animal care, gardening, first aid, crafting, canning and meat processing.
And her philosophy on country life?
“I believe that we as a society have things backward,” she says. “We work away from our homes all day to buy meat and produce from the grocery stores when we could be raising and growing our own food. We pay people to do costly repairs and renovations on our houses when we could do them ourselves and actually enjoy our homes. I think it is time to slow down, and become more self-sufficient, healthier, and happier. I believe that country living is the way to do so.”