What Is Homesteading? How Can You Do it?

What is homesteading? How to homestead. Debt free, building a pole barn house on land, or delivering a tiny home.

What is homesteading anyway? How can you do it?

 

Everyone is different. Complete with our own ideas and even sometimes definitions. So how about I do something I hardly ever do!- and get in the gray area!

Homesteading is what you make it!

 

That’s right. There is no “right” way to homestead!

 

You may be passionate about getting out of the city, or passionate about being smack dab in the middle of it. You may think it is essential to get animals to slaughter for food, or you may think “I’d rather not eat my pets”. You may want to get some solar panels and supply your own water, or you may be fine and dandy drawing grid power and living off city water. You may want to be out on property alone, or dwell in an intentional community. You may want to live tiny, or you may want to live big.

 

There really are COUNTLESS ways to homestead. Each journey is amazing. Each journey is individual. And yet, somehow, all the journeys in homesteading are collective. We are brought together under the common cause: finding a better way.

 

Whether you want to live debt free in the country or the city, or keep your mortgage in the country or the city; either way we are united. United in the idea that we can do things better. For us, for our children, for our health, for the environment, for the earth, and maybe even for God.

 

You won’t find a cookie cutter way to do this. I live in an intentional community with six families. We each have had unique solutions to our even more unique problems. And we all own neighboring land. How much more different will your solutions differ if your miles from us or the next homesteader? Big time is right!

 

Homesteading is something primal within us! We want to be connected to our food, to our water, to our needs. So, maybe homesteading is all about that journey. A journey towards being connected to our own lives.

 

If you want to read a little smidge of our story, do that here. Want to watch a little trailer video of some of my favorite homestead moments? Do so, here.
What is homesteading to you? How are you doing it?

Happy Homesteading!
<3Nadia

PS: Google defines Homesteading as “life as a settler on a homestead.” So, it is what you make it!
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Nature Walks and Summer Talks: How To Homeschool With Nature

Nature walks with kids, homeschooling, can be so fun! Finding ways to homeschool in nature really makes school special for the kids!

One thing we love, our land. Goodness, it really is amazing to look out and think “God gave us this?!”

A HUGE blessing to us, to our family, to our animals.

We LOVE it. The more time we can spend with it, the better.

The girls love galloping around when their daddy is there to do it with them.

And, inevitably, there will be rock skipping at the pond.

I forget what daddy gave our oldest dear daughter a hard time about, but it would hardly be an outing without a little playful teasing with the girls, or at least I’m sure that’s what their dear ol’ dad thought.

What’s not so common? Sticking our feet in the water. We do it figuratively all the time. But this time I just couldn’t help myself!

I was so glad when I finally took my shoes off and let my adult self wet my toes. Letting go of the fears of getting dirty or falling in. There was such a peace that came from being a part of everything around me.

It didn’t take me long to rub off on the girls. Off came their shoes. Just a shining example of what our every-single-day is: an opportunity.

It’s our opportunity to rub off on those around us.

<3 Nadia

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How To Take Photos Of Four Kids On Mother’s Day

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Favorite Spots, Early Spring

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Atonement Series: How To Pick Your Cow

Learn how to pick the perfect family cow by learning all about what makes a good cow good!

This is the second article in the Atonement Series. If you don’t know why it’s called that, and you’re curious what it’s all about, read that HERE.

You might be interested in dairy cows and what makes a family milk cow’s [raw] milk so good. You might be in the market to buy a family milk cow. Continuing in the second article of the Atonement Series, we are going to start at the very beginning.

What should YOU look for in a cow? Why does it matter?

Well. Let’s work our way backwards. A cow’s form, also commonly known as “conformation”, matters for several reasons, but I’m going to cover the top ones.

  1. Conformation directly affects the health of a cow.

This may surprise you. It surprised me. But let’s think about this. If cattle have been around for as long as we have, natural selection would have selected them for a bit more wild lives. However, with the new technologies for preserving and the retiring of nomadic lifestyle, today’s cow will likely put out A LOT more milk than she ever would have “back then”. This means her udder and her body may not have been selected for this high output. So we need to account for it. I would like to note, that some people are now breeding “once a day” milkers. This is great if you don’t have a lot of land or animals, but for us, we don’t mind the surplus. We use it in a lot of ways, which is for another article in this series.

  1. Conformation will profit you and your family in the long run.

You will get more for offspring that has better conformation. And if when you take the “4H plunge”, you will do better with good genetics from the very beginning. It pays to have a good gene pool.

  1. Pretty cows don’t stay pretty.

A heifer is just that: a female cow that has not been proven. She has not “bagged up” before, she has not successfully calved before, and she certainly hasn’t done it for several years in a row. Your heifer will have physiological changes, just like we mammas do. She will have her udder filled with milk several times. She will carry babies several times. She will be pregnant pretty much once every year. This may surprise you, but it is also not just because humans who want milk do this. The cow will come into heat shortly after calving. She’d get herself bred out in the wild anyway. If your cow doesn’t come from good conformation, her body won’t “bounce back” in the best possible way. This translates to health issues later in life, and sometimes even a shorter life. Read, conformation is an outward way of judging what is deep on the inside.

These are a few reasons to pick THE BEST heifer or cow you can.

If you are picking out a first-calf heifer, you want to lay eyes on her mama. If you’re picking out a cow, you’ll be able to see her conformation whether she’s dried up or in milk, it will just vary slightly. I.e., if you’re viewing a dry cow, you actually WANT to see a very “baggy” or shrunken and floppy (lol) udder. This denotes she has become totally dry. When you get “meaty” udders during the dry period, it denotes a cow that does not always dry her udder up all the way. This can cause issues like mastitis and dry cow mastitis. However, when a cow is in milk, you want to see her udder before she’s been milked out. Is the fore-udder attachment long and deep, or is it very shallow and not very extensive? Does she have a good udder cleft, reaching at least half way between her hocks and the rear attachment?

Udder attachment and udder cleft are the two most important factors when selecting a milk cow. Ideally, the animal will be conforming on all levels of judgement, however, these two points are the most detrimental when speaking of culling in the dairy industry.

Notice theses two udders and their differences. This is just one example of conformation.

Our beloved cow Dandy, who you remember from the first article, is pictured left. We were newbies and weren’t aware of what to look for. The back half of her udder is much lower than the front. Although difficult to see fully, it is clear here udder attachment is very “shallow” at the front. Her teats are nearly to her hocks. These are all poor signs for her future health. We just didn’t know that when we paid 2400$ for her! I know, deep breath!

Notice Bella, on the right. Her udder has an AMAZING cleft {the ridge there in the back}. This indicates a great rear attachment. Harder to see, here fore-udder attachment is also amazing! Her teats are close to four or more inches ABOVE her hocks. These are all GREAT signs for her future health!

This is the article I used, given to me by a dear friend who also experienced purchasing the wrong cow to begin with.

Once you start using this article in search for your milk cow, you will begin to be able to just look at cattle and see their outstanding attributes and faults.

I say it this way because, just like humans, no animal is perfect. But, with just a little study, we are certainly capable of picking the best. Don’t settle, wait if you must for a few months. My experience has been that you’ll know within a few minutes if the farm you’ve just arrived at could possibly have your future milk cow. I find that farms either have a good breeding program or they don’t. Meaning, if every udder you’re seeing is poor attachment and cleft, with teats below the hocks, don’t expect to find the only diamond in the rough. It’s when you arrive at a farm and every cow you see looks great in conformation, that you just might find the one for you!

Kent Weigel, Ph.D., did an amazing job with this information, so a huge thanks to him and his team! Now I have the cow I never dreamed of before this study!

Happy cow shopping!!!

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Detox Your Medicine Cabinet

In this video I cover the CRAZY risks of an over-the-counter, read TYLENOL or ACETAMINOPHEN that is in MUCH MORE than we even know. I cover what it does, and I cover how to replace it! Contact me for more info! My passion is helping others on their health journey. A little act of kindness costs me nothing, so please enjoy this video and share my time to find a new healthier you <3

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How We Got Here

068Homesteading. We never would have been picked for this growing up, let me tell you! Somehow, when my husband and I reached our twenties, we radically changed. We started seeing everything around us differently. Wondering where it all came from, and questioning whether it would last. How long could we go on the way we were, responsible for nothing we were set on consuming in our lives? We came to realize that we could not only grow our own food for less than what we paid for it, but that it would also be GMO and chemical free, ethical, and nutrient abundant. We became aware of alternative ways of building, where one could become free of payments that would otherwise be lifelong, if they could empower themselves to employ different systems than what are typically offered in building. Radical thoughts called for radical changes which called for radical moves. That was end of 2009, beginning of 2010. Ever since then we have slowly but surely come this far. Every step of the way has been a true joy, an in every way, absolutely essential to where we are now. We first started a little community garden at our efficiency apartment, getting together with like-minded neighbors, exchanging ideas and dreams, and getting some things in the ground. After our first daughter was several months old, we made a drastic decision to leave the city. The environment we wanted was outside those city limits. We lived with my husband’s parents, angels they were! We loved it there! We even put footings in the ground on the land adjacent to them, which was our land then. It’s just that G-D had other plans. You can read more about that here.

Now, here we are! What blessings we have known, what miracles we have seen! You know, when you decide to go in a direction that is within G-D’s will, I believe He meets you, step for step (and sometimes 2 for 1, HIM).071 We have clawed our way to get where we are, and we plan on doing just that in the times to come. Constantly trying to get where we think the Creator of all things wants us to be. The reason we choose this lifestyle is because we think it is how HE made us. Being sustainable and self-sufficient are bonuses.

We have three beautiful girls, and one unknown on the way. Yes, we believe in natural childbirth and natural medicine, but we are so grateful for modern medicine, too! We have chosen to have all of our children at hospital. More on that here. My husband and I are also on a strikingly similar page about how many kids we will be blessed with. You can read that here, if you are interested.

080We are very blessed to live in a little community. A unique thing happening all over the world, and we are blessed to be a part of one. We have eight families living here, seven of which live on property. We all own our own land, built our own houses, have our own ideas about how a thing should be done, and we have but one rule in our HOA (if you want to call it that, but it is not even that formal): keep the commandments of G-D. Everything else is up for interpretation around here, because all of the families that intentionally left where they were, for a better life so-to-speak, know that there’s more than one way to do a thing. We all have our own hardships, but we are beyond blessed to have one another to share them with. Because when you’re a past city-dweller trying to dig your hands in the dirt, things can get crazy.

Also, NONE of this would be possible without the Father. We don’t take credit for anything we’ve done, because one way or another, or even all together, we know it is all from HIM. Unmatched orchestration of even057 the smallest of things, to produce something that is so beautiful and awe inspiring, and we will never forget it.

The truth is, none of us claim to have anything figured out, and that is especially the case with my family. We are just out here, trying to live a life that is pleasing to G-D, good for the children, good for society, good for the earth, and lastly, good for ourselves. All success is a bonus, because for our family, we have come to know (and desperately try to remind ourselves), it is not about the destination, but more so about the journey getting there. Enjoy our successes and our failures, and maybe they’ll all be beneficial somewhere! Many blessings to you and yours, and remember: with G-D anything is possible, all you have to do is believe it and walk after it!

 

 

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