Farm & Garden · My Heart · Uncategorized

Welcome To The New Heart & Homestead

Hey y’all! I figured a small, reintroduction was in order since I’ve been out of the blogging world for a bit and our lives (as well as the name of this blog) has changed! I hope you enjoy the new direction and I look forward to sharing our lives with you more through this little corner of the internet.

 My name is Jill & I live on a 10 acre homestead in North Carolina with my husband, two kids, and a whole bunch of animals! We raise chickens and ducks for meat & eggs & currently have two goats that are mainly just our pets, although we put them to work clearing areas for us as well.

We are also currently in the process of deciding on a milking goat & we dream of raising pigs one day. I’ve always wanted to “slop the hogs!” The kids & I work together in our family garden, which, as of right now, takes up a full acre! We grow anything from zucchini and squash to blackberries. I feel like the garden is always a work in progress & I love adding to it every year! We’re still learning how to best manage it with organic products only, but for now, it takes a lot of good, hard work & a lot of love. We would love to extend it & start selling at our local farmers market!

However, our life hasn’t always been like this. Two years ago, we were your typical suburban family. We we’re living in a 2,700sq.ft home in a nice, big neighborhood, 20 minutes away from the city. We were obsessed with what kind of car we drove, what brand of clothes our kids wore, researching top notch private schools, & pushing ourselves, our kids, & our souls to the limit. We we’re overstressed, overworked, & underwhelmed. My calendar was full, but my heart was empty and we realized that a life of keeping up with the Joneses was going to kill us, & we slowly began making some changes in our lifestyle. Freeing up our calendar, saying intentional “no’s” to things so I could say “yes” to better things. Doing small things here & there to be less of a consumer & more of a producer, like growing a small kitchen garden with just a few tomatoes and herbs. We traded in the brand new car & slowly but surely paid off all of our debt. We had been making small changes over the course of about a year when my husband came to me one night, and said “look what I found!” He showed me a listing on his phone for a house for sale about 30 minutes from where we were. It was a very small house (well, tiny for what my opinion on space was then) that sat on 10 acres, with two ponds, rolling pastures, barns, stables, and it was all fenced in. It was beautiful…a dream! But we hadn’t even talked about moving! Not once! But alas, here we we’re, driving out to go see it. As we drove down the half mile long driveway, it felt as though I was carried back in time. My heart quickened but my soul took a long, deep breath. There was a rooster on a fence post & he crowed to us. The ponds glistened in the morning sunlight and it bounced off the fields like rays sent straight from heaven. The kids ran through them with their arms outstretched as the breeze blew their hair. It was straight out of a fairy tale.

I can’t even tell you exactly how it all happened after that, it was such a whirlwind. We put an offer in on the country home just three days after it had been on the market, our suburban home sold immediately and we began packing! Next thing I know, there we were, unpacking our boxes in our new home. I got rid of half of our possessions, because, quite frankly, our new 1500 sq. ft. home just couldn’t hold it all. I never missed a single thing I got rid of. We bought 6 Rhode Island Red laying hens the following week and those 6 chickens started us on our journey to self sufficiency. They taught me SO MANY lessons.

Lessons in diligence, facing my fears, & in responsibility. I had to learn how to care for a mangled chicken sooner than I hoped for after a raccoon got a hold of one and almost killed her. They taught me to think about why my farm fresh eggs from my free range chickens looked so different than ones I bought at the store…which led me to question everything else I bought at the store.

Those 6 chickens taught me that I can take back responsibility for myself and my family’s health. We now have 30 chickens, two goats & a few ducks. But we’re definitely not stopping there! We’ve learned a lot of hard lessons along the way. We’ve shoveled more poop than I ever thought was humanly possible.

My standard of “clean” for my kids has changed dramatically. I know so much more than I did two years ago about where the majority of our countries food comes from & the treatment of animals within the food industry. But I have also lived out the most beautiful, rewarding days of my entire life on this farm, raising my family in good, old fashioned work & play with a generous helping of hilarity along the way.

So much has changed about our lifestyle since we made the move, but we still have so far to go & so much to learn. We are living debt-free, we’ve decided to homeschool our children, and we are working towards self sufficiency. I invite you to follow along while I share our failures & successes in homesteading, homeschooling, motherhood & life, while still trying to capture the beauty and faith in it all. Pour yourself a cup of tea & come sit a bit…it’s sure to be a beautiful tale!

 

4 thoughts on “Welcome To The New Heart & Homestead

  1. Hi Jillian. Thank you for the post. Your beans look super healthy! I am in a similar position in my garden where I am learning from doing, however, I am still stuck in surburbia. I recently discovered “permaculture” principles and they have helped me in my garden. I do agree with your cup “There is beauty in simplicity”. Have a Merry Christmas. Lee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lee! Merry Christmas to you! It was my first time growing beans, & let me say, they didn’t disappoint! I’m currently reading up on permaculture myself. Do you have any suggestions that I should read that have helped you?

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      1. I am reading “Gaia’s Garden” by Toby Hemenway. The book is about home-scale permaculture, however, Toby used to have a 10 acre property before this. The book is well written, easy to understand and has great diagrams. He has some interesting takes on permaculture and offers some unique insights. For YouTube I watch Geoff Lawton videos on permaculture, he runs a school out of “Zaytuna Farm” in NSW, Australia. I am still a complete novice, however, the thought of having a serious “food forest” one day drives me to learn more. I think with permaculture, it is the principles which steer your life, such as; “more than one purpose for anything” and “the problem is the solution”. Permaculture seems to be the way of the future as it lets nature do all the hard work for you so you can concentrate on other things. On a different subject, you talked about raising pigs one day. Check out Matthew Evans and his “fat pig farm”, he was a chef and a food critic that moved from the city to the country and he now raises free range pigs on 70 acres in Tasmania, Australia. Sorry for the essay. Lee.

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