An Introduction, or How Not to Homestead

1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3

For my first GRIT blogpost, I thought I’d tell y’all a little bit about what not to expect from my posts. I’d hate to think that anyone came to me looking for advice or tips on gardening or farming or raising livestock or canning or cooking or sewing or how to keep birds from stealing your cherries or how to keep snakes from curling up on your porch or how to find those elusive free-range chicken eggs. You should, under no circumstance, expect anything like that from my blog. Why? Because I haven’t quite gotten all that stuff figured out yet. I’ve made countless attempts at it all, but usually my attempts fall a bit short of the mark. I am making headway though and will doubtless be a preeminent homesteader in, oh, probably around 50 or 60 years.

See, I’m pretty new to all those things. New, like a matter of months new. So far, I’ve grown more grass than veggies (although my garden is actually making food! I know! I can’t believe it either).

I’ve made pets out of all my animals.

My jam doesn’t jell and my lids don’t suck down; I burn food in my cast iron (not to mention the small blaze when I tried to season my dutch oven); I harvested all of one cherry that the birds didn’t get; I had a snake on my porch that I had to shoo off with a stick, then tried to shoot and completely missed; and I haven’t found eggs in over a week. (Probably because I missed the snake. A moving snake is a tough target with a .22!) So, if you’re looking for sage-like, tried and true advice on how to run a homestead, you have come to exactly the wrong place.

What you CAN expect from me, however, is folly and misadventure. You can expect to laugh at my mistakes as I learn the ins and outs of my new life. You can expect to feel better about your own mistakes as you see just how badly I muck things up. You can learn, along with me, how NOT to grow a garden and how NOT to put up squash or make blackberry jam. You can even learn how to set your oven on fire while seasoning your new dutch oven (if you’re into, I don’t know, arson or something).

Now, understand, not all of this stuff is completely foreign to me. I didn’t grow up on Mars or in Manhattan or anything. I actually grew up in rural Georgia. But I grew up “in town.” Granted it was a tiny town, but goodness knows, growing up “in town” is a far cry from growing up in the country no matter the size of said town. While all my grandparents and further back grew up on farms, everyone moved “to town” in the 1940s and 50s. They then became storekeepers and gas station owners and bookkeepers and never looked back.

My grandmothers on both sides always put food up in the summers, but as a teenager I didn’t see it as a vital skill and completely missed the opportunity to pick their brains, because it was so much more important to, you know, go to the lake or drive around aimlessly for hours or sit in the Hardee’s parking lot. Same with gardening. I remember my folks growing tomatos and squash when I was young, but again, I missed the boat.

So. What in the world was I thinking moving to the top of a mountain in Tennessee with my husband to start a homestead? Well, I guess I was thinking total immersion, trial by fire, hit the ground running, or … go down in flames?

Either way, in my posts here, you can expect to see my learning curve, my successes and failures; you’ll hear about my cuts and bruises, my run ins with the local wildlife (I heard a coyote outside last night!), my adventures picking berries in the woods; you’ll see pictures of my critters and my ugly, ugly garden; and, I hope, you’ll share in this adventure with me.

If nothing else, you’ll feel better about YOUR homestead after hearing about mine!

If you’d like to read more about our (mis)adventures in homesteading, go check out my personal blog at The Little Farm.