If you’d asked me six years ago if I was interested in homesteading, my answer would have most likely been no. I knew next to nothing about agriculture or farming. My parents occasionally had a small garden growing up and we had a few family members that lived on acreage, but that was the extent of my interaction with farm life.
I went to college in a small town in Northeast Missouri, where the locals either worked for the university or farmed. I made friends that went to our college specifically to study agriculture science, which (to be honest) I didn’t even know was a thing. My college years spent in that small farm town, slowly opened my eyes to a new lifestyle. Not that I had my heart set on building a homestead in college. I’m pretty sure I still didn’t know what the word “homesteading” was. Like most twenty year old girls, I was focused on boys (one in particular), school, and not having a curfew.
At some point post-college, I was scrolling through Pinterest (like one does) and clicked on a recipe. The author had a fun voice and I enjoyed reading her little anecdotes, so I clicked around her blog. This author and her family had a small homestead where they kept chickens, pigs, a cow, had a huge garden, and cooked all their food from scratch. I think I spent all of my free time the following week reading through her blog posts and devouring every element of her farm life. (as I read that sentence now I realize it makes me sound like a stalker…) I was so intrigued with the idea of people raising their families, working real jobs, and still dedicating time to raising their own food.
From then, I was sold on the idea of homesteading. I was terrified, but I had my heart set on it. This was nothing either of our families had experience with. Neither Phill nor I knew a thing about gardening (besides putting a seed in dirt and watering it). We’ve never owned animals, besides a dog. I didn’t know the difference from a lawn mower to a lawn tractor to a regular tractor. I have no experience in building anything and I’ve can count on one hand the number of times I’ve “interacted” with a cow, pig or goat. Despite our lack of background, Phill and I could not shake the feeling that we could be homesteaders. And more than just be homesteaders, we knew we would enjoy it. We spent the first four years of our marriage learning all we could from books, blogs, and youtube. We’d send each other articles about how to build a pig pen or test soil ph levels. While we ate dinner together, we’d brainstorm what type of animals we would want to own and what we would plant in our garden.
It took a long time for us to get to where we are. We’ve spent years trying to learn everything we’d need to know, knowing full well that we’re going to continue to learn more lessons as we dive headfirst into gardening and building chicken coops and raising animals.
Despite the fact that we’ve only been “officially” homesteading for a few months, I can already tell it’s where we’re supposed to be. We find peace in being outdoors and watching Simon and Margie run through the grassy fields. We are starting to see the fruits of our labors as our tomatoes (finally) start to ripen. We get to live in a home that we love, taking on new adventures and hoping we don’t totally fail. And knowing that if we do fail, at least we learned something. There will be trials and stress and death and heartache. But there will also be joy and laughter and spontaneity and hope.
Did I think I’d ever be a homesteader or a girl who enjoyed pulling weeds without gloves or feel comfortable carrying a chicken around in one hand? No. But I am so, so glad that I’m here.