In The Beginning

Reader Contribution by Gavin Dinnel
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It wouldn’t be fair of me to fast forward you into our lives as we stand now, you’d miss so many choices and hardships. Instead I will take you back to the beginning. The beginning of our journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. One in which we provide food for ourselves, preserving what is readily available, and bartering with others for goods.

Before I begin though, remember that this blog is not for me. It is for you. You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t interested in or already homesteading. Perhaps you live in an urban area and just want some ideas on how to eat locally, or how to preserve your own food. Maybe you are planning to move into the country to raise your own animals. Or you might already be doing the things I will write about and just want to read about another person’s experience. Regardless of what might have brought you here, welcome!

We do not have to travel very far back in time to get to the beginning. Just a mere couple of years. My wife, Kaitlin, and I had been married for about a year and were living in a small apartment. Born in that apartment were hopes and dreams for the future. A house of our own with land for animals, chickens, of course, and maybe others. A yard large enough for children to play and run and be the kids we used to be without all of the video games and screen time that takes up their lives.

We ended up on a small piece of land in rural Pierce County of Washington State. Two and three-quarters acres of land; two of which were already fenced and usable. Now that we had our homestead we needed to decide what to do with it. As you can see from the photograph below, it was a blank canvas. We jotted down a few ideas and this is what we came up with originally.

Our blank canvas.

1: Fruiting trees and bushes (apple, blueberry, raspberry).

2: Raised garden beds with asparagus, strawberries and room for vegetables.

3: Large chicken coop with egg-laying chickens.

4: Area for raising several pigs.

5: Paddocks for Dexter cattle.

6: An outlet for selling excess meat/eggs/produce. As simple as a farm stand or selling to friends and family, or more involved such as a farmers’ market.

Where did we start? How does this list compare to today? Well, dear readers, I can’t give you the whole novel in one sitdown, now can I? I hope you join me for my next blog post; we’ll learn if the chicken came before the cow and just how this list ends up.

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Be one of the first to join the discussion on my Facebook page.

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