Our little family of four lives on a five acre plot in rural Northwest Washington. We currently have 27 chickens, two turkeys, a horse, two doelings with the intent to milk, two barn cats and a sheepdog. My husband and I have always believed in teaching our children to respect the land and to respect themselves and others. To us, this means being aware of what goes into our bodies and teaching our children to live thoughtfully and with purpose. This is the Homesteading Life.
Very little goes to waste on our homestead. We grow much of our own food in raised beds and plan our meals accordingly. Canning and freezing our food for the colder months cuts down on what we have to purchase. Whatever food waste is created in this process is either composted or given to the chickens and turkeys to eat. Our poultry flock provides us with eggs and meat. Their manure is composted for next year's garden.
The entire family is involved in this process. Our (not so) little Farm Boy collects eggs and takes the compost to the chickens each day. Our little Farm Girl feeds the chickens and feeds our sheepdog, who helps to guard our flock. Both children are frequently involved in the cooking and canning. We all do farm chores together until all the chores are done. They know where their food came from because they helped to harvest it or raise it. They both understand that all animals are treated with respect, no matter what their purpose is, as pet or food.
There is beauty in living simply. Even though we work hard to live this life, it is immensely satisfying to know that we are teaching our children values that they are unlikely to learn elsewhere: The importance of clean eating, the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle and the power of family.
Kelly is a licensed mental health counselor and stay at home mother. Aside from homesteading, she enjoys crocheting, baking, and riding horses.