By Debbie Francis
In Ohio, Debbie Francis has quite a few things on her projects list. "On my list for spring are to turn new ground for my garden and to have it ready for planting time. On-going projects are our house and barns," she says. "They're more than 200 years old, and we are always changing something to suit our needs. We just finished an old shed, and it looks really good now."
She's comfortable in the country as she has lived there her entire life. "It's all I know," she says.
"I would say that homesteading is love of land, animals, and who you are as a person. Homesteader is a choice for how we live."
Debbie and her family share the homestead with a number of critters. "We have a lovely milk cow named Jasmine, she's a Jersey. Then there is Louie, he’s a Pigmy goat. Then I have about 28 hens of different breads and one rooster named George. We have two horses – a Tennessee Walker named Diablo and a half Arabian Pinto named Shawnee. And about 12 cats and six dogs," she says.
Her garden is the result of her childhood. "My parents, when I was small, planted a 2-acre garden, and all of us worked in that garden. I just never stopped."
As one might expect from someone raised in the country, Debbie counts a number of country skills in her repertoire. "I cook, bake, clean, drive a tractor and bale hay; I’ve even been known to do an oil change," she says. "There’s not much I can’t do if I put my mind to it. I raise a garden and can what I grow. I milk the cow, and take care of the animals and my husband. I make my own soap and laundry supplies, and lotions. I use herbs for healing, and I like making things out of wood. I grow and grind my own flour and cornmeal, and I’m not afraid to try something new."
Her philosophy on country life:
"Love what you do, respect Mother Earth and all her creatures. Teach your children the same, and to help and respect your fellow man when need be. Take in all the small pleasures that life has to offer."
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