The beginning of a homesteading journey
isn’t always what we imagine or think it is. Sometimes, the beginning of a homesteading journey is growing a small herb garden in your kitchen window and cooking from scratch. It doesn’t always start with a home that can be renovated, 15 acres of land, chickens, goats or even a garden big enough to feed your entire family.
I really believe that everyone and everything has a time and a season. It’s one of the first lessons I was taught when learning about the Bible, except it wasn’t a lesson I easily accepted. Life is constantly changing and throwing us curve balls. It seems like the last 10 years have been curve ball after curve ball for The Well Prepared Family. Things seem to be changing quite frequently and sometimes it’s really hard to keep up.
If you read my last newsletter, then you know a little bit of the craziness that’s been going on lately. You know, that there have been huge decisions that Mr. Well Prepared and I were going to have to make. I’ve been a tad reluctant to say much about it because well, life and her curve balls have a way of slipping in last-minute, but I think short of some major disaster or crisis, nothing is going to change what is about to take place over the next few weeks.
For a long time, Mr. Well Prepared and I have discussed that if the opportunity ever presented itself for us to pursue a much more simple life, we’d grab it by the horns and hold on for all it’s worth. Having the chance to raise our children in a small town like he and I grew up in, go to a smaller school with a more individualized approach and be able to live as self-sufficient as possible is something that we just wouldn’t be able to walk away from. Two years ago, we decided that if the right place ever showed up, that we would do all we could to make sure that it happened and this past weekend we had just that opportunity present itself.
When the economy started to decline and people stopped building homes, my family took a pretty hard hit. Mr. Well Prepared worked as a mason for many years laying the foundations for the new homes that were being built-in our’s and surrounding counties. When all of that came to a halt, so did my husband’s job and our credit took a pretty hard hit. I ended up finding out that many family’s were in the same, if not worse position than our family. We never thought we would ever be able to buy a home again and even if we could, we were sure the down payment would be astronomical, as would the payments. But, God really does work in mysterious ways and when He does, it’s really hard to ignore the message He’s trying to send to you.
We found a company that did owner financing on land, but land wasn’t what we were looking for. With 6 children who were going to be coming with us, we needed a property that had a home, electric and running water. I figured that finding something that we could afford would be practically impossible and pretty much gave up hope on the idea of ever-moving forward with a self-sufficient lifestyle.
That was until Homestead Crossings sent me pictures of an old, stone home that needed A LOT of TLC. But, even though this house sat empty for a long time, was over-grown with brush and the inside needed a lot of work, I had a vision for this house. I was able to see what I could do in this house to make it into a home. It had so much character with its real, hardwood floors, an old fashion kitchen and make-shift bathroom off of the dining room. I knew that with a lot of TLC, imagination, hard-work and elbow grease, that this home was exactly what my family needed. Even with its cramped, closed up rooms, no hallways and paneled walls, I knew we could make this into something amazing.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be cleaning out the house that I’ve lived in since I was 13 years old. The house my mother raised me in, the house I have raised all 7 of my children in. We will be purging our belongings down to as minimal as possible for 8 people, packing up our trailer with what we have, loading everyone, including 2 dogs and a rabbit into our Tahoe and heading off on a journey that my family has needed for a long time. We are just weeks away from embarking on probably the biggest adventure that our family has ever been on. And I’m taking all of you with us!
There is so much work ahead of us, from a complete over-haul on the home to planting gardens and raising chickens. There is so much, that needs to be done it is going to take time and the gardens will be done on a much smaller scale this year due to there just not being enough time to do all that we’d like to do. But, we can get started and that’s what is important. I am in the process of creating our First Year Homesteading Goals. Right from the beginning, I want to have a plan in mind and a journal to keep track everything.
There is a part of my mama’s heart that is sad and it just comes with being a mama to an adult child. Our oldest son D, who is 21 years old, will not be coming on this journey with us. He has a life and responsibilities here and he’s just not ready to make the move with us. As much as I understand, my heart is still sad knowing that he will not be with us on this journey, creating memories with the rest of his siblings and learning all the new lessons we are going to be learning. That is the hardest part of being parent, knowing that our path is not necessarily our children’s path and that one day, they are going to have to decide on their own which way they are going to go. Thank God for the days of Skype, FaceTime and Text Messaging, not that I’ll worry less, but at least I can see his handsome face every day!
Time and seasons change and we must change with them, or life becomes really, really difficult. I trust that my family’s faith will get us through all the trials that are going to come with this journey and I anticipate that there will be many. A simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle does not mean that we are free from life’s hardships and we must face them head on and remain strong in our faith that we are doing what is best for ourselves and for our family’s. This is the hardest lesson that I’ve ever had to learn, and one that I hope to pass along to my own children.