Big Sycamore Farm
The early homesteading days
|Posted on December 7, 2017 at 11:45 AM||comments ()|
Where do I start? How do I tell our story? How do you go from Atlanta to rural Tennessee living. If I knew ahead of time of all the challenges that we would face, I would have surely run the other way. I can only tell you what I have learnt and hopefully a soul or two out there, searching to find meaning in life, a simpler life will be inspired to take the leap. To find yourself.
We undertook an almost impossible task of taming a rough piece of forested land into something usable. We built a small home, got a few chickens and goats, and started a small home garden.
We chose to live off-grid. We had a small gas generator that would power a water pump for the house, run the washer and refrigrator at intervals. The unfinished house was bitterly cold that first winter even though we have a beast of a wood stove. Some nights we had as many as 10 blankets on the bed.... By the next winter we had our insulation installed and the walls closed up. Life got better .... We got wiser :-)
I learnt about life without a tumble dryer.... About doing laundry on sunny or windy days. Some winter days I hang it all over inside the house.
I learnt what life without cheese was like. HUH? In fact, we learnt to live without many food items we would normally hoard in the refrigerator. Because we ran the generator for just a few hours in the mornings and another few hours in the evenings, we could not keep highly perishable foods anymore.We kept things in the freezer compartment, and learnt about growing and eating fresh food.
I learnt so much about life and death the first couple of years. I was absolutely unprepared for it. We lost a baby goat at it's birth. A very traumatic experience as the kid was stuck the wrong way during delivery. I learnt about predators. We lost too many hens to a sneaky fox and a lone cayote the second summer. I learnt about the joy of baby chicks.
I learnt about swimming in the river on hot summer afternoons to cool down. We would take pool noodles and wade into the water at the boat ramp down the road, and just hang out there for a few hours. You have to keep your ams and legs moving... otherwise the small fish might come and nibble on you! I have a small mole on my leg that was taken for a tasty bite several times! That is cause enough to walk on water right out of there!
I learnt about plumbing, electric wiring, building stuff, fencing, and so much more. I learnt about hunting and butchering. I learnt about snakes, bugs and mice in the house. I learnt about keeping chickens, turkeys, ducks, quail, meat rabbits, bottle baby calves, cows, goats, pigs and naughty piglets.
I learnt that manicures don't do well when you work with your hands. I learnt that it is a lost cause to keep the car washed. I learnt that the dishes will never be done, the floors always needs sweeping (life with a husband, a toddler, a dog and 4 cats!) And I learnt that all of that is OK.
Best of all....
I found myself. I am a homesteader.