Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keeping it Real: Realistic Expectations about your homestead Part 2

As promised I have a part 2 now, building off of my post here, which discussed working, education and land expectations. Today I want to discuss;: FOOD. There will have to be a part 3 now that discusses animals and frugality.

I think that when people start out on their homesteading quest they have grand visions of never purchasing anything at a store to eat ever again. I think I kind of thought that:) But REALISTICALLY you have to decide what you are capable f doing and where you want to spend your time and money. I am pretty proud of our garden. I post about it quite often.

Growing our own:
We have an amazing Spring/Summer garden, and I am venturing more and more into Fall gardening which normally just has turnips, greens, turnips pumpkns and maybe a few carrots. I do can a lot. My kids have never tasted jelly that hasn't been homeade. I make all of our pasta, pizza and other tomato sauces from our garden. We have plenty of frozen corn, squash , etc to get us through the  winter. We also have plums, cherries ( what the birds don't eat!) figs, strawberries, muscadines, grapes, blackberries and more pears than we could ever eat. We have two pear trees that amaze me every year. Other things we grow in the garden: cucumbers, okra, zuchinni, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, many varieties of lettuces and greens, eggplant, several kinds of peppers, green beans, watermelon, cantolope, onions and several different herbs. I can or freeze what I can. We also of course eat fresh all summer which is just magical.

BUT..... we don't grow everything we need. I still like to go to the farmers market for asparagus, which I admit I just haven't mastered yet. We love asparagus and I pay dearly for the beloved veggie. We also go to a local orchard and pick peaches, as well as buy additional strawberries to supplement our stash.

We can't grow citrus here, so I buy it at the supermarket, as well as avacados. Some years we grow potatoes, but we haven't in about 2 years, so I'll pick up some potatoes from the farmers market.
Technically I guess I could grow olives and make olive oil, and although that might be a fun project, I use a lot of olive oil and just don't think I could make enough to sustain me. Same with garlic, we have some, but I eat a lot of it, so I have to buy some.
We don't grow or grind our own wheat. That's OKAY. I still buy cocoa, sugar, flour and other staples. Again, that's okay.

We do only eat meat that we have harvested ourselves.Only deer meat or fish for us. We will eat crawfish ( which we of course call crawdads here in the South), shrimp and other seafood sometimes. I'm happy with that decision.

I do understand that this idea of providing all of your own food is very romantic, it just doesn't work for us. Avacados make me happy. Limes make me happy. Strawberries make my girls especially happy. And hey, we do the best we can,but there are just things that we have to buy.

The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can really embrace those thigs that you DO grow and master them.

Happy Homesteading.....

Linked up to : Monday Homestead Blog Hop and The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Get a year Free of Organic Gardening Mag

My friend sent me the link to the above good deal. If you send in 2 UPC's from Annie's product you get a year free of Organic Gardening Magazine. here is the link to print the form.
I buy Annie's stuff sometimes anyways, so getting a year free of a magazine I really like is just a bonus!

Another good deal is one from SavingStar. If you buy 10 cups of Stonyfield Organic Oikos Yogurt you get $5 back for you Amazon account. You have to link your store shopping rewards card to the account, which is how Savingstar knows that you purchased it. I have a Kroger card, but the site lists a ton of different stores that count.

I am so excited to see some deals like this coming out on good quality organic products. Normally promotions like this are for junky type food or processed stuff, but this is great! Enjoy.

Are there any other online deals such as the ones above you all have found on good quality products?

This is linked up with   and

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Keeping it real: Realistic expectations about your homestead Part 1

This post is purely selfish and is all about me. All about my expectations and realities, but I do hope that someone out there is encouraged by my story of disappointments and why it's OKAY.

I think when you are starting to homestead or starting towards the idea of wanting to homestead we probably all have an expectation of how we want things to work ideally. I read these beautiful blogs and look at these pictures and in a way really yearn for other people's homesteads. But it's not realistic. It's not what works for my family and it's not going to help me feel good about my own situations. It's important to figure out which "elements" of homesteading work well for your family, for your situation and embrace that. Some examples:

 I was a SAHM for about 6 years. I loved it. I really did. But there came a point financially, personally, and an opportunity presented itself that I went back to work full time. Sometimes I do wish that I was still at home and all the kids were running around under my apron strings all day and there were no schedules to tend to. But, REALISTICALLY: I have a job I love ( I do for real, it's great) I get to work in a very professional environment with other like minded people to promote school gardens, farmer's markets, research food deserts, etc. etc. etc. etc. It's AMAZING). Our oldest goes to a fantastic small rural public school with a great teacher and she blossoms in it. Our younger two go to a babysitter 2 days a week that has a huge farm, and she only watches after my kids and she treats them like her own. She gives the real food! and they play outside most of the day exploring forts and tree houses, streams and playing with the animals. The other days they stay with my Mother in law. My husband and I both have flexibility within our jobs and we can attend school functions, doctor appointments etc.

Many homesteaders have a huge, sprawling bounty of land that I could easily be jealous of. But I have to say that our 5 acres is pretty fantastic. 3 ponds, a stream, a well ( that you can actually draw water from with a steel bucket!) trees, open spaces. It's quite stellar. You have to be happy with you have people, and make it work. We know we are very blessed to live here.

 I read homeschoolng blogs... it's kind of my secret fantasy.. I would like to homeschool, and may in the future. But as mentioned earlier my oldest goes to a great school. My younger 2 will follow when they are old enough. There may be a point in public education that I no longer feel that this is best for them, but for now it works. My husband and I are involved in the school, I read to the kids constantly, we do fun educational activities all the time, I have homeschool materials that I use with them even though they aren't technically "homeschooled". I gave up my guilt of not homeschooling a long time ago, and it makes me a better parent knowing that it's okay!

This post is becoming increasing longer so there will be a part 2 coming soon that examines: gardening, food, animals, and frugality.

What are some other things that you really want to do as a "homesteader" but just aren't quite there yet? Are you content being where you are right now?