My husband and I were brought up in the city and had no experience with country living. When we first got married, all I knew how to cook was macaroni and cheese from a box, canned ravioli, and Hamburger Helper. We would have starved without a nearby grocery store.
After we started having children we wanted to move out to the country, plant a garden, and work toward becoming self-sufficient. We bought an old farmhouse on three acres and fixed it up very nicely. I met some Amish folks and began taking lessons on cooking, butchering, sewing, and canning. We spent one year’s tax refund on our first milk cow. We could not believe how fun and economical this lifestyle was. We started raising chickens, collecting eggs with our little children, and making healthy meals. The first year we started canning with the Amish, we canned about 500 quarts of everything from tomatoes to green beans to applesauce to meat. I found that we were spending less time in the car going to the grocery store and more time as a family working together.
There is no greater joy than building relationships with your children by working together for everyone’s good. We wanted to share our joy. Since we are professional photographers, we decided to create a DVD teaching what we had learned. For over a year every new project was recorded on camera: raising chickens, boiling down maple syrup, making bread, growing a garden, and many other homestead projects. The Homesteading for Beginners DVD series is the result. Everyone who watches it says it inspires them to try to reacquire some of these lost skills that our forefathers knew well and relied upon to survive hard times. Modern families would do well to learn these skills and get back to the basics. When jobs are lost or power is failing, it would be helpful to know how to provide food for the family.
Homesteading for Beginners comes in two DVDs and will show you basic skills for homesteading. The first DVD is a good teaching tool for children and parents, but is geared to keep children captivated. It is a basic step one for those who know very little of homesteading. Our second video is aimed at an older audience and goes into greater depth. Both DVDs introduce milking a cow, making butter, cheese, kefir, planting a garden, butchering chickens and more.
Through all the homesteading we have learned that there is a real need for community life. Until two generations ago everything centered around the community. People would come together to work, to survive, and to learn from each other. Our family desires to help bring like-minded families together in their homesteading adventure. We created a website and forum that others can join to encourage one another. We will be offering a platform for trading, buying, selling, and getting to know others in the same season of life. It will be an opportunity for people to learn, be creative, write articles, ask questions, get the products they need, and build family bonds.
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My family loves these DVDs. They revolutionized the way we eat and live. They were so helpful and funny we watched them again and again. Thank you!!! We look forward to purchasing the third DVD as soon as it is available!
Those DVDs sound inspiring! It's amazing how many people can't cook these days. It's great that some are going back to the ways of our grandparents.
Another great resource is Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" about their homesteading experience.
To be sure I am understanding this correctly, you guys were able to raise your chickens and a milk cow on just 3 acres?