From City to Country: Powerful Refocus on Sustainable Living for our Family

Sustainable Living

Welcome to some musings. I’m hoping that instead of extrapolate knowledge with this piece, I more or less document a starting point. You know, like a “Wow, I’ve come so far,” notice for the future. I did look for this starting on other homesteaders blogs, but apparently no-one else started from nowhere, with zero knowledge. Let me assure you, I am. I know nothing about maintaining life, except where it involves children. I come with that on my resume. That and a red hot ability to cut through BS and propaganda and utilize my feminine quality of intuition to get to truth about sustainable living.

Sustainable Living

No sleuthing required in this next statement, but it’s getting wild and crazy out there, guys! Every day there is a new scare, a new threat to our way of life, all pointing to a louder and louder suggestion that things may not always be as easy as they have been for the last 50 years or so. I mean, this much tumult, seems unprecedented, no? It seems that stability is implausible at best, unmaintainable at worst.

Hence, my husband and adult kids have decided that change is necessary. Now, as stated earlier, I’m no gardener or chef or canner, ceratinly no seamstress … I’m a mom who loves her family with every beat of my heart, but a mom with few marketable skills. I grew up outside DC, I was a city kid. We moved to the mountains, but lived in a city. Everything from water to food to electricity to trash service was bought and paid for. I didn’t even have a pantry! We raised our boys to be hard workers and real men, but there as no real world skill set for that. The word sustainable was used in relation to RVing. How long can we sustain this lifestyle? Enter the past, I don’t know, nearly 3 years and boy have things escalated!

Sustainable Skills

 

Everything has changed. Dan and his sons have started a business together, Frontier Tiny Homes – sustainable living at its best –  manageable mortgage, minimalist mentality, freedom, and a small footprint! They have also started hunting. One season of turkey hunting without a single turkey and one season of deer and elk, with a 6-pointer now in the freezer. I’m not the biggest fan of meat, so I started tending to the land. As someone who has never kept a single plant alive, I find it hard to believe that I had somewhat of a garden this past spring. I mean I grew beets, broccoli, tomatoes, jalapeno’s, pumpkins, brussel sprouts, and sunflowers! I successfully killed countless other plants, including the impossible not to succeed in growing potatoes, but with some triumph under my belt, I feel slightly less apprehensive moving forward in 2023.

I also managed, with the help of the kids, to keep 17 hens alive. No small feat, really, especially now that the winter months have fallen on us and the predators from fox and racoon to mountain lions are lurking. I also learned that eggs are seasonal. Who knew that laying hens took a bit of a hiatus in the winter months due to lack of ample light and cold? Where we were gifted about 18 eggs per day all summer, we have now slowed down to about 4 per day. I actually went to buy eggs the other day for the first time in over 6 months and was shocked. Eggs prices have increased by about 225% and there were NONE on the shelves.

Sustainable Living: Chickens

Of course there are reasons and none have much to do with Covid, believe it or not! Consumers in Colorado were delivered a double whammy that has effected both availability and cost of eggs. 1) The Colorado general assembly passed HB20-1343 to advance animal welfare by requiring Colorado’s egg-laying hens to be housed in a cage free environment. Additionally, the act also prohibits business owners from selling or transporting for sale in Colorado egg products that are not from a cage-free farm. Converting to this requirement will cost producers millions of dollars and those costs will be passed on to y’all. 2) The bird-flu has presumably killed about 58 million chickens in the US …

And those are just issues with eggs. With every passing day, our departure from our .25 acre lot in the city to 36 acres in the country becomes more and more like a sound decision. Looking back I see every heartache, every inconvenience, every negative interaction as divine. Even as far back as 2008, God was preparing us to move, sowing the seeds that would free us from the binds that held us and enable us to turn toward greener pastures … literally.

As a budding homesteader, struggling might be the more accurate descriptor, gardener, and backyard farmer, I’ve thought long and hard about how recent economic and geopolitical events are affecting our health and sustainability, including, but not limited to, our ability to procure food. Rising fuel costs, supply-chain issues, and a virulent political climate are making some of the vulnerabilities in our systems and practices abhorrently apparent. I’m looking to become sustainable outside the grid, hence our purchase of a home with land, no governance on how to use the land, a fireplace, and a well. Having the basics, shelter, water, warmth as well as the ability to cook food covered, I’m assessing our future.

Sustainable Living

In fact, I am preparing for two possible futures: One in which humanity realigns with its core values wherein the best of society comes from its deepest commitment to the family; or some form of total breakdown of our existing order.

And either way, providing the freshest, cleanest, healthiest food, that is light on external resources and raised locally, is a necessity. Maybe my vegetable garden which, with all its failures and a sprinkling of success, and my flock of 17 hens, doesn’t stack up to homesteading, but it’s a start. A slow start, but a start. Which made me ponder the sluggish beginnings. I thought it was because I was wrestling with my desire to continue to travel. And while that may be part of it, I realize I’ve been hesitating out of a sheer and complete lack of knowledge. I’ve gone about my newfound homesteading foray wrong. I’m someone who learns as she goes and this past year, I’ve been reading and trying to be prepared. It’s no small feat to be solely responsible for a gaggle of kids, a home and an entire brood of animals of which you know nothing about. None-the-less, nothing else in my life has begun this way, I jump into things 100% and figure it out as needed, so going forward I’m throwing myself in the ring.

This year I am going to go big. Think pigs, a couple cows, hopefully a donkey or two and some milk goats, along with new chickens and a brand new coop. I also want to bring a horse of two into the fold. We have a lot of love to give and we have more than enough space. Building on last year, I’m going to grow all sorts of vegetables and start an orchard complete with fruit trees, vines and maybe even a mini winery. I wish vegetables were perennials! That would sure make life easy, eh?

Sustainable Living

As it currently stands, our hens have been benefitting from my oftentimes failed foray into vegetable gardening and the overabundance of weeds. But, I can do better in terms of longevity and cost effectiveness of our homestead. One of our obvious goals is to figure out how to decrease the cost of animals, and find sources of local in house feed.  I’m done leaning on the “I don’t know” version of “I can’t”. As of right now, forward is the way to go. Look for big changes in the coming months and years.

Yall are a valued part of KelloggShow and I’m certain we will be learning a ton from you as we move forward. Any advice, leads, or general comments, feel free to contact us.

Sustainable Living

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