Happy 2019; Thanks for a Great 2018!

“Oh, you’re that teaching farm!”

A couple of times now recently, that has been said as new connections are made. It always brings a smile to my face because that is exactly what I was hoping to become. I have been so blessed by every one of you and your families that has come out to any of my classes and workshops. My goal has always been to preserve the ways of the past by spreading knowledge, sharing the joy that comes from doing, and enabling you to learn a skill that can foster independence and in most cases, frugality.

I am almost always asked how I learned to do these things. Many of the skills I teach have become a permanent fixture in our homesteading lifestyle and I have been using them for at least 15 years. When we began our family, I felt a drive for a different life. One that took us away from boxes and tin cans, convenience and expense. First I learned to cook – really cook (like following a recipe and using ingredients vs. opening a can of this and that). I then desired to grow my own food, bake my own bread, and grow as much as I could because healthy food seemed so expensive. I learned how to sew cloth diapers, make our own soaps, can and dehydrate food, and so on. My little 8×8 garden grew to half of our future backyards in the suburbs, and we finally made the leap to buy a farm so we could take growing our own food to a higher level – we (at that time) had six children who would all become teenagers one day. I have heard so much about those teenager appetites! We went on to have two more children since moving here. We decided after 10 or so years of gardening, it probably was not a passing fancy, and despite my best uses of intensive and verticle farming, I simply could not grow any more food in the space I had available. Now my garden is 2 acres, I am canning over 1000 jars per year, I haven’t had to purchase soap for our family in 13 years, and the fruits of our labor continue to grow. My goal is to become about 80-90% self sufficient in food (there are certain things we just cannot grow that we enjoy enough to continue buying, and some years will bring some failures in the garden, etc).

One day we may build a roadside stand and open a CSA, but my driving goal is not so much in selling things at the moment, but teaching skills. There are so many skills of the past that are going to the wayside because no one uses them anymore. Man, if I didn’t learn how to can food, we would spend a FORTUNE on groceries each month. Canning can make a huge difference in a grocery bill! so can gardening! And soap making! And baking all the breads! And I could go on and on – but that is why I have designed these classes, and will continue to design these classes. These skills are valuable, doable, and sometimes you just need someone to show you the way. I am happy to be that someone.

Some classes are kept intentionally small so you get all the assistance you need, and the small group feel makes it easier to understand, ask questions, and feel comfortable. They are taught in my home. Your children are welcome – mine are always home, so yours will have someone to play with if they get bored. Make yourself at home, sometimes we are in the kitchen, sometimes we are in the living room, sometimes we are even outdoors. If you get here early enough, you can steal the recliner, but if not, feel free to kick your feet up at the couch.

Thank you to those who have come to learn, and spread the word, and are helping us become “that teaching farm.”

I wish you all and your families a very Merry Christmas and hope your new year is blessed beyond measure. If we haven’t met yet, I hope 2019 is the year we do.

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