Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Homestead objectives (part II)

I made a list of some of our main objectives thinking that I would write one post describing them. Then, I started and determined that such a post would be quite long, longer than I had thought it would be. So, I’ve broken it down into individual posts focusing on the individual objectives. The first one I covered was to grow and harvest good food.

The second objective I’ll discuss is to grow together as a family.

Homesteading provides opportunities for us to be together and to work together that would not otherwise be possible. I’m very blessed in the job that I have because Sabbath breakfastit allows me to work from home. It’s also not full-time work. The income it provides is less than many families spend just for food each month, but it allows us to be together. We have made choices about how weChore helpers live, and we appreciate the advantages that come with it. Sure, it would be nice to still have the income I had before we moved here, to still live in our big, red-brick house, but I would be gone much of each day and several evenings every week. I wouldn’t be around for us to eat three meals together as a family like we do now. I wouldn’t be there every night to help get the children ready and into bed and to kiss them goodnight. We wouldn’t be together as we are now. Our children are Malchiah with handtruckgrowing up with their daddy as an every day part of their lives. In fact, Malchiah and Naomi have always had it so.

We homeschool our children. There are too many influences in the public schools that we do not want them exposed to. Our children do not watch TV or play video games. They don’t go out to eat or to movies. They don’t do many of the things that most of society thinks of as “normal.” They aren’t deprived, though. They have 57 acres of woods and fields to run around in. They have great imaginations and are able to use them. Naomi reading at Mammaw's HouseThey have responsibilities and jobs and are learning the value of working. They have been around and know about the process of live, its beginnings and endings. They are developing a healthy respect for and understanding of the purpose of the animals God has created. Reading togetherThey are learning about proper stewardship for the things God gives us responsibility for. 

Ideally, schooling is a natural, normal part of life. We try to make that so. We also use some specific curricular tools and have “lesson” time for the children. They’ve been read to since they were just wee little things, developing a love of reading at an early age.

Our children are wonderful blessings, and God has given us a great responsibility in raising them properly. I wish I could say that we do it well. I know we don’t do it as well as we should. But, I can’t imagine the additional challenges that we would face in this task if we lived in different circumstances. When I was young, my family was financially poor, but we were rich in many other ways. We worked hard raising, harvesting, and preservingRamiah washing dishes food. I didn’t always appreciate the work when I was young, but I do now when I look back upon what I learned through it. I want my children to learn some of the same lessons and to not be selfish, in-debt consumers.

We have extended family here. My parents living next door on the farm is a wonderful thing. It seems so uncommon to find extended families in our culture and society. Yet, that is the model in the scriptures and in many cultures. There is a strength and are great blessings in having an extended family. Our children are being blessed in ways they don’t realize yet just by having their Mammaw and Pappaw  and Uncle Danny living here with them. Jessica doing lessonsIt’s also something that benefits my parents and Danny. I wish I could’ve grown up with my grandparents in the same way. There is so much more I could’ve learned from them.

I think that every homesteading adventure is unique, because each individual or family interprets and creates it in the ways that make sense to them. We thank God all the time for the opportunity we have to live here, to be together as a family. The are long-term benefits that we haven’t even imagine. Working and playing together, eating meals together, just being together, is incredibly important to us, and we are grateful that it is so.


Chicken Herder from Westville

I think it is wonderful what you are doing as a family and how you are raising your children.

We have been blessed with having my mother live with us for the last 10 years. My children are 21 and 25 years old and have greatly benefited by having her here.

Before she moved in she was here every day since being a widow she was lonely and needed us as I needed her with my dad dying on the day my daughter was born had made us closer than normal families.

When my mother was growing up she is now 81 years old, she was raised with her aunt and uncle living with them and their 4 children, her cousins. Her parents owned a restaurant and the kids all worked there in their varying ages and times. It was normal to grow up with your families around you.

When I grew up from birth to age 10 we lived in an 4 unit apartment building my grandparents owned. We lived there and my grandparents and my aunt and uncle and there 2 children and my uncle and his daughter. We went back and forth between apartments like we lived in all of them. We shared a washer and dryer in the basement. Those were the best times of my life!


Thanks for your comments. There are some definite blessings to having an extended family living together. It is unfortunately not the norm in modern society, but is sure used to be a lot more common. We count it a great blessing and are very thankful to have the opportunity to live where and how we do. It takes deliberate choices and effort to establish such a living situation today.

It sounds like you were very blessed with having extended family living with you when you were young and your mother near with our children. From age 5 to 15, I lived about 9 miles from my paternal grandparents and saw them nearly every week. There is so much I could've learned from them if we'd lived on the same place and worked together. It's a great joy now to be able to work with my dad here, and our children don't know how special it is to have their grandparents and Uncle Danny here. I expect they will cherish the memories they're making.


I read your blog (but don't comment until now haha)...I discovered it only 6 months or so ago, and have been going back through as I get the time. I immensely enjoy reading about your life, and live vicariously through it, until a day when we can see our 'bigger goals' come to fruition! We live here in KY also...in Berea.

This post of yours moved me to comment, because it reflects so closely our own families feelings and relationships.

We moved here 2 years ago (I grew up here, moved to Northern CA with my husband 15 years ago, then we came back for a more simple lifestyle). Until that time nearly our entire married life, as well as our children's early childhood (they are 11 and 9 years now), we lived on a piece of property with our extended family. There was myself, my husband and our two children. My husband's mother and father also. Then, there was my husband's grandfather (his father's father). And, last but not least, my husband's sister and her husband. Many times our friends would do the "how do you DO that??? It's soooo strange, I could NOT live like that"....but to us, it was perfectly natural. We loved it, and I still mourn that the time came where we had to move on in our seasons of life, and it changed. They now have a large piece of land in Oregon, and we have just over an acre here in KY.

We too homeschooled our children in the years before moving to KY, and I know that we will eventually find our ways back 'home' again soon. I miss it terribly, and the circumstances that prompted us to put them in school, are no longer an issue...so, I muchly look forward to that day.

Learning to use the land is a process we are working out. Neither of us have 'green thumbs' or know a lot about animals, and so on, but that seed is in us, and it is trying hard to break through!! This year will be our second gardening attempt and we also plan to raise laying hens. It's a small start, but our baby steps will hopefully lead us to a more sustainable, natural, SIMPLE lifestyle.

I enjoy so much seeing your progression, and am fascinated by what your family is able to accomplish. It's nice to "see" someone so close to us reach the goals that we hope we can one day have as well.

Much love to your family.


TuesdayK, thanks for sharing your thoughts and a little about yourself. I can imagine how awesome it was having so much family together in one place. It's still a blessing for us with my parents and Danny here, but it would be even greater if there was more family. That's a model of living and community that, unfortunately, has mostly been lost in our society and the demands it places upon families.

Learning how to garden or do most anything starts with a willingness to give it a try. We learn through the process of doing. So, keep putting your hands in the dirt, and you will grow 'green thumbs.'

Every step toward a more sustainable lifestyle is a good one, IMO. None of us gets there all at once; it's a process. Keep taking steps toward realizing your goals and enjoy the journey.



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