By Erin C
T & E Acres, in Martin, Tennessee, is home to Erin C, who plans to write about self-sufficiency, homesteading, gardening, canning and preserving food, raising livestock and animal welfare, and environmental advocacy.
She says: “Both my husband and I have lived in the country off and on our whole lives, but when it came time to purchase our first home, we knew we wanted out of town. We wanted to be able to put in a large garden and raise chickens and a dairy cow. Having watched other people struggle with arbitrary urban chicken keeping laws, and home associations slapping homeowners with lawsuits and fines for keeping gardens instead of lawn, we knew we wanted no part of in city limits.”
Erin and her husband are currently putting up food; the canning and preserving season lasts longer for them because they both work long hours, so they spend time at the end of the season catching up and emptying the freezers of fruit and stock to make room for meat later.
In spring, they plan to fence the pasture and build a small barn for their cows, build a chicken coop and yard, and expand the garden with new fruits and vegetables to grow.
The garden is a major project on T & E Acres. Erin says, “My parents have always had some kind of garden as long as I can remember. My husband and I wanted to grow a lot of our own food, and we are attempting to move towards less dependence on the food industry.”
Erin defines a homesteader as “a person who has an active interest in the world around them and their place in it. A homesteader can be someone who moves to a plot of land, builds their home with trees from that land, grows all their own food, raises livestock, goes off grid and is self-sustaining, or a homesteader can be someone who keeps a patio garden of tomatoes and peppers, a couple of backyard chickens and does everything they can to ensure they are consuming ethically and healthfully. A homesteader is not limited to living in the country or on a farm.”
Three housecats, Althea, Dixon and Lucy, and a house rabbit named Mr. Buns share space on T & E Acres. In the future a dairy cow, chickens, and maybe goats or pigs will join them. The garden is full of green beans, okra, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs and medicinal flowers like Echinacea, with plans to expand!
Erin and her husband have a variety of country skills, including canning and other food preservation methods, gardening, cooking, carpentry, blacksmithing, animal husbandry, and hunting.
“The reason we live the way we do and live where we live boils down to a simple principal; all things we do need to be ethical, gentle and helpful. We raise our own meat because we want to know they were treated gently and lived well. We name our animals, we give them treats from the garden, and we get out the horse brushes and brush the pigs. Our animals have sunshine, healthy food, and a good, gentle life. They are also butchered in as calm and humane manner as possible. We raise a garden so we know what goes on our food, and we know what is put back into our environment. And we try to be helpful; we give vegetables and fruit to our family and friends, and often make care packages of food for people in the community who may not have access or the budget to buy fresh produce.”