Folks who follow our farm tend to comment that we do ALOT of work. That is probably true. Alot of work is probably relative a tad as our past career lives were insane. So, to us the ability to stay in one place and not need to hop on a plane and fly somewhere on planet earth and be connected via phone and email 24/7×365 is such a blessing there are no words.
For folks wanting to homestead and do more things independently / self sufficiently, there is alot of work. But, it is so rewarding. In fact, I had a young millennial tour our farm last week looking at goats. She was just getting into it with her boyfriend. She shared with me how moving the whole journey is. She even shared that she cried when she planted her seed starts, now hardened, in her garden. The emotion even moved her. This lifestyle had that much impact on her life. I applauded her for her passion and focus on this belief system she has about her food.
What we tell folks wanting to live this life is to develop a rhythm about it. It makes things so much easier when there is a natural flow to what you do. And, do not take on everything at once. There are literally hundreds of things you can do and learn on your little urban or rural homestead. You could kill yourself trying to do it all.
Start small and grow your learning in one domain then expand into others over the years. Enjoy the journey! We have been at this a very long time and my husband and I both grew up this way. So, one must take that into account when we talk of all the things we do in a given day and the depth and breadth of homesteading activities we do and have deep knowledge around.
On that note, I wanted to show you something about food. We started and still do, focus on the foods that we value the most in our diet and we raise that. That means dairy, vegetables, fruit, meat, herbs and honey. How rewarding is that pay off? Well, it is only the beginning of April and everything we ate today came from the farm. Let me show you.
That is about $10 dollars worth of milk right there – 1 gallon of organic goats milk. Then I get about 5 eggs a day. That is about $2.50 a day. All right from my own farm.
So, in the above this was our breakfast and dinner all from the farm. We have eggs and our own milk with our own honey from our bees on our bread. On the right is venison that I shot last fall that was thawed and now is going to be marinated for the day with all the herbs from the basket above from my garden. That is about a $35 dollar jar of honey, about $5 to $7 dollars in herbs and garlic and about $10-$12 dollars in venison. That was about $30 dollars worth of food not even counting the honey since that takes a while to go through. $30 dollars a day in food is about $900 dollars a month in a food bill. Since it is all organic as well and I know every single chemical put in all of it – which is ZERO – you can add a value of about 30%. That is a heck of alot of benefit, reward and yield when you think about it. Chain grocery stores only started in the 1920s. Before then the local grocery store sold only dried goods like what I buy now. Then you would go to the butcher back then for your meat and to a green house for your veges that you grew in your garden. It is really only two to three generations where we have been trained to buy everything off the shelf and do absolutely nothing ourselves to grow our own food. And, with that food costs have skyrocketed.
This is my homemade mix of herbs that are mixed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and used as a marinade for the venison. The other nice benefit besides being free other than your personal sweat equity and the fact it is organic which is very expensive in the store — well, it is as fresh as it can get. I literally cut the herbs off the plants in the garden and they were in the marinade 15 minutes later. And the milk was just brought in from the goat and processed within 30 minutes of the milking. And of course, the eggs were just laid.
As an aside, when you grow your own garlic, a way to preserve the extra is to dry the garlic as I have here in the little jar. So, I have a bunch of fresh garlic and even more dried since I grew so much this last year and I wasnt sure it would keep.
I also save the fat from our meats in their separate bags in the freezer. Beef and venison have different melting points so they are good for different purposes. I use rendered beef fat for soap making and I use rendered deer fat for candle making and other such things.
The point with the photo journey from todays meal planning is that everything comes off of our farm. I tought myself to cook around the food that we raise and grow. That way we rarely have to go to the store.
I also tought myself the styles of cooking like using a wok and a slow cooker to work cooking around my busy farm day schedule. I also prep for dinner in the morning right after I come in from the morning chores and am processing the milk and eggs I just brought in from the chicken coop and livestock barn.
This is what I mean by finding your homesteader rhythm. There is an interconnectedness to everything on the homestead. What you plant, you harvest, you preserve and you eat. What your raise, you extract value from — honey, milk, wool, fiber, etc. And, some livestock you slaughter and some of us farmers also hunt on our land for wild game like deer, ducks, turkey and geese.
This all works together in a natural flow. When you think about homesteading from this perspective, it is easier to attend the benefits of all the hard work that is put in.
I hope that helps make the journey more rewarding and less overwhelming and helps you think through the streamlining you might want to consider to make life easy and enjoyable all while you get alot done on your little homestead.
God Bless ! L. Davis