flashback to the 70s when my dad was just a little lad living on the farm in Walters, OK with his parents & brother. pretty cute, huh? I love hearing stories from him & my grandparents about this era of life.
ok, now fast forward to last year.
let me draw some parallels here because I think they are worth drawing. notice the tractor is the same model. he’s still wearing overalls. it would seem not much has changed in the last 40 years! that’s not the case, though. let me tell you about the in between.
when my dad was 8 years old, my grandparents picked up the family & they moved to the city to go to a Truth-teaching church. the church we still go to today. the church my parents met & got married at. my grandparents say that he was so torn up about leaving the farm. I can’t say I blame him, but we’re all glad that my grandparents made that choice. God’s will > any earthly thing.
you know what they say: you can take a boy out of the country, but you can’t take country out of the boy.
my mother started going to this same church when she was 11. my grandma started hanging out with my dad’s parents a lot. my parents became close friends. and, long story short, eventually more than friends! they got married in 1994 & five years later had me & my siblings in quick succession.
as toddlers, me & my siblings had the typical illnesses- ear infections, strep throat, etc. what else do you expect from the SAD (Standard American Diet)? but my parents also were starting to develop health problems. my dad began praying for knowledge & wisdom on how to deal with them. when I was 6 or so years old, my grandma introduced us to this thing called Isagenix. it’s a multi-level health supplement company, and though now I know that their products really aren’t great for you, it was a step in the right direction to learning about health & wellness for our family. my parents started cleaning up our diets, we stopped drinking soda, my parents lost a lot of weight. it was really cool because my grandparents also started Isagenix- everyone’s eyes were being opened to what health really is all at once. my grandfather quit smoking cold turkey after FIFTY years of it. looking back, it’s a pretty profound thing that we were all on the same journey. or maybe I’m just a sap.
anywho. at the time, we lived in a regular ol’ neighborhood with a large backyard. dad still dreamt of having a farm, so eventually we started a garden & got chickens and rabbits. I wasn’t super into it, to be honest.
around that time our neighborhood was starting to get a bit… trashy. plus, mom wanted a bigger house & dad wanted some land. we began the house hunting process. I didn’t care to move. after living in the same house for thirteen years, it made me sad to think about leaving. but I think there was a small part of me that loved the idea of tending the land. in May of 2013 we made an offer on our current house & a month later moved in. ironically, it was the very first house we looked at an entire year before, but at that time it was too expensive. God has His perfect timing. in October we bought some chickens & then in December bought Zacchaeus (our LGD) and two Nigerian Dwarf goats (Ginger & Liesel - Liesel died a few years ago, but Ginger is still with us). at this point I wasn’t really into the whole homestead thing. it was fun, but I thought that’s all it was - fun. I took care of the chickens (I still do!) but didn’t care that much.
at the beginning of 2014 we decided to leave private school & go back to homeschooling (I was homeschooled from pre-k through fourth grade, fyi). I felt a little lost. a lot of my self worth was based on my academic abilities & when I was homeschooled again, there was no one to compete with. silly, I know. I actually wanted to go to public school - which now is the LAST THING I would ever do (more on the education system later, heheh). I was also getting over a bout of disordered eating. I actually went almost vegan, then high carb low fat, then Weston Price style. I didn’t know what it meant to be healthy anymore so I went to and fro looking for the answers. also silly.
that summer dad bought two ewes (our girls Mama & Lynley) on a whim while the three of us kiddos were on vacation with our grandparents. mom thought he was crazy & so did I! ! but I’m so glad we got them. February 2015 was our first birthing season. we hit the learning curve HARD. 4 of 9 babies died. & still to this day, we haven’t had a 100% success rate. we lose at least one kid every year. we also bought two ram lambs to bottle feed- one to be our herd sire & the other for the freezer.
it was at this time that I started to gain a bit of interest in this farm deal. I was actually looking for a ‘healthy animal cracker’ recipe on pinterest when I ran across this one. I recognized the word ‘homestead’ in The Elliott Homestead because that’s what my dad had been calling our little farm. as soon as I clicked on that link I was instantly absorbed in Shaye’s words (this, this, & this were some of the first posts I read- they really struck a cord within me). she talked about why they grew their own food & raised their animals, what was wrong with the food system, & her purpose as a mother. suddenly I saw the purpose in what my family was already doing & it answered my questions about health, too. GROW YOUR FOOD so that you know exactly where it comes from. EAT WHOLE FOODS because that is what God gave us. TAKE CARE OF ANIMALS because God commanded us to be good stewards of the earth. guys, I was hooked on homesteading after this. I was all in.
the summer of 2015, a family at our homeschool co-op was selling their dairy goats. we bought two (Trixie & Sapphire- love those lassies). the next spring we butchered one of our sheep (Sherlock) for the first time. that was quite the mental ordeal for me. it felt wrong to take the life of one of our creatures. but once the deed was done & we were skinning, eviscerating, etc., it felt completely normal. like that’s the way it should be. since then I have become increasingly comfortable with the slaughter process.
I think that pretty well sums up where we are now. of course, a lot has happened since 2016- namely, life, death, & many important lessons. we are still collecting eggs, milking, butchering, growing, & learning. learning A LOT. and, as you can see, my photography has improved a bit.
2018 was filled with trials. it opened our eyes to many things that we are now diving into as a family: Biblical cosmology, what a birth certificate really is, & the deceptions being perpetuated in our world. and most importantly, really digging in & making sure we are applying the Word instead of just going through the motions. time is short, my friends.
now we find ourselves yearning for more land so that we can all build houses of our own to raise our future families in. it’d also be pretty great to not have a mortgage (“death pledge”). & we would love to be off grid. but that’s not where God has us right now. maybe in the future ;) we love where He has us right now.
wow. if you got this far, thank you for reading! I wasn’t even planning on doing this today, but something seized me & it just felt necessary. can’t wait to share our adventures with you.