Adventures on the Homestead
By Monica Smith
Monica Smith is a small town barefoot country girl. She was raised in rural Mississippi where it’s a toss-up if there are more humans or cows. Plenty of people have chickens scratching in their yards or in a chicken run. When the weather turns cold, there is no end of hunters in the woods. Facebook newsfeeds become over-run with pictures of people’s kids’ first kill, or the first kill of the season, or even the biggest buck.
She was raised in this atmosphere and yet she was raised apart from it. Her mother often told her as a kid “We don’t eat Bambi.” The thought of eating such a sweet cartoon character was more than her stomach could handle. Her mom said it was wrong so it was wrong. She still doesn’t know how she got to that mindset when she was raised by a man who was both a hunter and fisherman.
Her family bought their meat from the grocery store so that they didn’t have to think about where it came from. Sometimes they had a garden and grew their vegetables and her mom enjoyed having fresh herbs on occasion. However, commercial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides were a common practice. Her mom tried to teach her a few things about gardening but she wasn’t that interested. Not when there was a grocery store.
The day came when she grew up and got married. Two years later, she had her first son, Zander. Lucas was born 2 years after that. The following year, Lana and Constance were born, and the next year after that, Aubrey was born. She had four babies in diapers at one time. Zander was having behavioral issues that she and her husband didn’t know how to handle and there was no end of people saying ‘send him home with me for a night and I’ll straighten him out.’ She began to suspect something was going on and when he was five she took him to a psychologist. There he was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). A few years later and he was in a behavioral health center for 9 days where they first mentioned that he may have Asperger’s Syndrome. Autism. That was a hard pill to swallow. It took a while to get an actual diagnosis, which is typical. He was later diagnosed with depression as well. He had to take five different prescriptions every single day.
Lucas was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety at a young age as well. There was no keeping him still for anything! He was also treated for impulsivity and later on ODD. He had to take four different prescriptions every day.
None of her girls have behavioral/mental/behavioral issues, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t. Narcolepsy with cataplexty, anxiety, depression, ADD, migraines, cluster headaches, restless leg syndrome, heart murmur, and some problems with her neck and back. She has no earthly idea how many prescriptions she’s supposed to take. She can’t afford any of them! And with the heart murmur, it makes her nervous. She hates her boys being on meds, but social services will step in if she doesn’t give them their meds as long as they have symptoms.
Monica and her family moved into her family’s home in 2012 following their deaths. Every day for the past several years, she has looked out over the land where there used to be a garden, and she looked at her boys wondering what she could do to get them off of some, if not all of their meds. She can no longer ignore the fact that most everything you buy at the grocery store is full of stuff that causes cancer, ADHD, ODD, anxiety, depression, etc. She finally realized that that’s what she’s feeding her kids. She’s feeding them cancer. She’s feeding them a death sentence. She knows so many people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Finally, the light bulb came on.
After much thought and discussion with her husband and children, she decided the best thing for them to do was to start a homestead. They need to grow their fruits and veggies without chemicals and raise their own animals for meat and eggs. It took her a while to decide she could kill an animal to eat it, but she finally got her facts right. Her whole family is on board and eager to get started.
And so, the adventures begin.