Bonnie from The Not So Modern Housewife and Danielle from The Rustic Elk are our hosts for the Beyond the Homestead Podcast.
We are here to encourage you in your journey to self sufficiency and share our own stories and experiences with others.
In this episode, we're getting to know a little bit about Bonnie and Danielle and how we hope this podcast will help you to grow and learn.
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Starting a homestead, and leading a self sufficient life is overwhelming. Where do you start? Can you even consider yourself a homesteader?
We're here to pull back the curtain on self sufficient living and talk about what it really takes to live this life. The good, the bad and the crazy.
I'm Bonnie, a k a. The not so modern housewife, wife, mother and coffee addict who enjoys teaching others where their food comes from and enabling them to live more sustainably.
I'm Danielle from the rustic elk. Wife, mom to three farm girls and passionate about helping other ditch the consumer mindset and learn to become more self sufficient through foraging, hunting, growing and preserving their own food.
Join us as we put the simple back into old fashioned living and inspire you to produce organic food in your backyard no matter where you live.
All right. So just to learn a little bit about us, we wanted to talk about kind of how we got started and why we do what we do. So first question is, why did we choose to start living more sustainably? Um, what are some of the I guess, trigger moments that led us to wanting to live this lifestyle.
I chose to start living more sustainably because we moved into town after we lived in the county for our entire marriage and we had two small kids and yeah, and the food cutting recalled. And I just happened upon a blog post about cast iron skillets, and I don't know. It just made me more aware of what we were doing and what we're eating, or I didn't know about what we were eating, and I wanted to become more aware of it. It just opened up a whole new world for me.
For me I think that I probably had a few different things that led up to it because I was dealing with some health issues. Um, but I'd say what really started to make me more aware of what I eat is going to culinary school. I started to learn a lot more about the science of food and how you know how we source food. Um, how we cook the food, how it all impacts the nutrients and what we put into our bodies. And so I wanted to really learn more about it, and then Of course, um, I really started to doubt where my food was coming from. And so I started shopping more locally, buying from local producers, but then ultimately wanting to produce more of my own so that I really know where it comes from and making sure that it's the highest quality possible.
Okay, the next question is what motivates us and keeps us going.
The screaming Children in the background?
Yeah, it is the screaming children in the background that keep me going, anyway.
I know they make us crazy, but yeah, that's probably the biggest thing for me is I've met so many people that are so clueless about their food and where their food comes from and who are really baffled that there's actually people like us who still want to garden and can and, you know, have chickens and things like that. Um, so I really want my kids to know where their food comes from, but I want them not relying on processed foods. I want them to, have a love for healthy food, nutritious food. Um, and then also, you know, this lifestyle teaches them a lot of responsibility, and so I think it over all ends up turning them into more well rounded adults someday.
Yeah, I was one of those people that had no idea that homesteading was a thing, that people grew food, and I I grew up in the city, so I had no idea that I always thought that my food I knew that people farm to grow the food. But I always thought my food just came from the store. It was somebody else's responsibility, and I didn't want my kids to grow up that way. And so that's what keeps me motivated because I don't want them to grow up thinking that food, which you need to sustain life, is someone else's responsibility because it's it shouldn't be. It should be your own responsibility, and you should know where it comes from, what's in it and how it's grown so that you can survive.
Exactly. Well, this kind of leads into the next question is, did we grow up farming?
Nope. Not me. I I mean, I grew up in Indiana. I've lived here, unfortunately, my entire life. But we grew up in town, and I married my husband in 2004 and he had spent some time in the county but we not Neither one of us really grew up in a farming area at all. No agriculture just in the middle of town. So we bought our first house, and it was an 1896 farmhouse on three acres, and we had no idea what we were doing. And we were told a 1,000,000 times that we would hate it. And then we didn't. And we moved to another house that was still in the county, and then we ended up moving into town. And that's when I decided this is not for for us. We need to actually move to the county and do something with our land instead of sitting here like bumps on a log eating everybody elses food.
Yeah, for me. Um, I think my life story is probably an example of God's twisted sense of humor. Um, I I did grow up in a farming community, but my farm, my family, was not actively farming. Um, I had uncles that were farming. Um, and my dad was actually my dad helped my uncle like when he was in his twenties, but before I was born with, um, some of his like commercial pig farming. And even he was in commercial poultry production at the time. Yeah, um, but it wasn't something that I really wanted. Like, um, when I was a kid, we had a really aggressive chickens, like, you see, all those funny memes about roosters chasing kids and that was pretty much my childhood. And so when I grew up, I did not want chickens. I did not want pigs because I grew up around commercial pig farming.
Um, in fact, kind of By the time I went to college and got my business degree, my mindset was um I was tired of having dirty jobs because, like my first couple jobs were milking cows and cleaning horse stalls and things like that. And so I wanted to get a business degree and go and work in office. And then I actually got my business degree, and went and worked in an office, and I was absolutely miserable. And I missed my farm jobs, um, and moved to Florida, met my husband, uh, I guess I forgot to mention I grew up in central Ohio, but my husband was very much grew up in the city, um, in Orlando, down the road from Disney World and Universal Studios and was farming and raising our own food was completely foreign to him. Um, so we ended up buying five acres in the woods because I had horses and we needed the acreage for the horses. And then when the economy took a turn, that's when we ended up having to kind of look at how could we save money? Uh, and so I started looking at like raising chickens and having a garden for that aspect. But it's kind of it's interesting, because what I grew up with was absolutely not organic. So I'm having to re learn a lot of things that I learned growing up. And then, of course, this is all foreign to my husband, so I'm having to kind of teach him along the way as well. Our last question here. What is one piece of advice that you would give someone who is new to homesteading?
Go slow, don't jump in feet first like me because it's so easy to get overwhelmed with all of the different aspects of it, and then you want to do it all at one time, but it never works out that way, and it will end up an epic failure almost every time. And you will wish you had taken your time or you'll get frustrated and want to quit.
Oh, that's so true. I've met so many folks who they just want to go and buy a piece of property. But they've never even owned livestock. Um or and it's not that owning livestocks. Necessarily requirement. But I think I don't think people value like internships and volunteering nearly highly enough. You can learn so much from going and volunteering at like a local farm. Or there's a lot of like CSA co-op type of situations where you can go there and learn to garden and grow things on their land without you know, you're not. It doesn't cost you anything, so you're not having to go and take a class on something. But then also, you're providing them free labor and a lot of times, you know, getting free food out of the deal. Um...
And you can utilize like community gardens if you don't have your own property or you don't have the ability to dig it up or you don't want to. They're they're they're popping up all over the place.
I know down here in Florida, we have a big problem with, like, the homeowners associations, and they make it illegal for people to have a clothes line or even have a garden in their yard. Um, and it's completely insane. But I'm seeing a lot of community gardens popping up for those folks because they can't do it in their own yard. And so they want, you know, they need somewhere else that they can actually grow. And the nice thing with that is a lot of times you have other experienced gardeners there that can give you tips. You know, when you're struggling.
I couldn't grow house plants when I started, so...
I still can't keep a houseplant alive. What are you talking about?
That's probably true. I just I just killed a bunch of plants .
And my husband's trying to grow fodder inside, and it's just it's actually the fodder has done better inside than it has outside. But, um, we have no space for the for this stuff anyway. Uh, yeah, I think I don't really have any other advice that I would give aside from that is, um yeah. Don't you know, Try not to get too far in over your head and try to utilize, you know, whatever resources are available in your community. Even I know I'll go to Farmer's Markets and talk to other growers and see what's working for them. Um, talk to them about, you know, what are they struggling with? And there's so much that can be learned from the older generation or people that have been doing this for a lot longer. And, uh, I don't think I don't think people take advantage of that nearly enough or they feel like they're inconveniencing them by asking. But a lot of times at least, the the folks that I've met and and there's a lot of really good folks out there, they want to share that knowledge. And just people are too afraid to ask. Yeah, I guess. I guess I just did Think of one another. Piece of advice is never give up. Um, I meet so many folks who think they have a black thumb because they've killed stuff in the past, I will tell you I have killed more plants than I have successfully grown and You just have to keep trying. You have to keep experimenting and figuring out what works. Um, and really having a a growth mindset towards this whole process because a lot of it is so much trial and error and so. That's yeah, that's a big thing of why I want to do this podcast. One thing I want to pass on to folks is, um that, you know, mistakes happen. You can't let that stuff get you down. And that's one thing I want to share is the real life struggles of what this life entails because it's not all sunshine and rain, sunshine and rainbows. Um, there it gets very discouraging. And there is just a lot of crap we have to deal with on sometimes a daily basis. And you've gotta have a sense of humor you got. You've just got to see it for what it is, because otherwise you will make yourself insane.
I have a mutiny going on in the background, so keep meeting myself, you know? And it sounds like I'm not talking like you're just gonna do it all yourself.
No, I will edit as much as possible. and
no, no, no. You're you're fine. In fact, you could even include this in less
Include the mutiny. Why not? Yeah, but because it is part of the real life,
Yes. Yes, definitely. But yes. Um, touching on what you said about not giving up. I want to give up, like, probably on a weekly basis. A lot of times
I can attest to that.
Yeah, so but you can't. And you know, when I sit down and I really think about it, it's all worth the struggle and the headaches and the heart aches. And it's worth all of it. It's worth all the people telling you that they want to shove me in their freezer.
Yeah, there's that.
Yeah, It's because my kids can grow up and know responsibility and know what failure is. And I think that knowing what failure is an important part of growing up. You're not always gonna be successful. And if you think that you're gonna always win and everything then disappointment is that much harder.
Yeah, well, and I think too, you know, there's a lot to be learned from the failures. We can't be afraid to fail, and not all of us are gonna be able to be 100% self sufficient. Like I have zero desire to go 100% off grid. Now, we would love to have a home that is solar powered. Um, but I have no plans for composting toilets. I have no plans of getting rid of my fridge or my freezer or getting rid of my internet. Um,
Well, I mean cause there's how you know, at a certain point, we have to recognize that uh, we can't be silent, because otherwise, how do we teach others? Um....
But, yeah, you have to figure out what level works for you and, you know, and then...
And take your time getting there.
Well, right, right. You know, because yeah, because you get overwhelmed, and then all of a sudden you have You know, you can't afford your feed bill, and have all these animals that need taken care of and you just you shut down. And then now you're you basically lost money because you have to sell everything at a loss because you just can't deal with it anymore.
But yeah, and then you processes that make it a little bit easier. Um, you know, like I have most of my garden set up on automatic timers because it's just way too time consuming me to go out there and hand water, everything every day. And I'm still doing a lot of hand watering because I have all the seedlings. But you better believe that if I can rig up a mister system that waters my seed tables for me. I'm gonna do it and there's no reason to feel guilty for that. There's no reason to feel guilty for not being able to do it 100% and not, you know, not producing all of your own food all by yourself because it was never meant to be that way.
Well, that's a myth. People think that they I think, anyway, it's a myth. I mean, no one ever in the history of humans really has been 100% self sufficient. It requires others. It requires a community.
Definitely. Yeah, because, you know, you look at I mean, really, if you truly look at history, family farms were exactly that You had multi generations living on that farm and everyone shared the load.
Yeah, and then a lot of people still, had to utilize their community for other resources that they weren't capable of growing themselves. Or, I mean, I don't think anybody grows coffee. And I'm pretty sure that the Ingalls family went to the store. If I recollect.
Exactly well, right because they.
And buy coffee and fabric. Right. Right.
And they didn't. I mean, they had, what, one cow, and they would raise one pig every year, so I don't think they were breeding their pigs. I think they were buying a piglet from somebody else. Or they were catching a wild pig and raising it. You know, something along those lines.
Oh my. I don't think I would do that.
Well, so the wild boars are an issue in Florida. And so I do know some folks that do that, Um, I know some folks that end up domesticating them and breeding them, but honestly, I've had, like, wild crosses, and there's so much fat on them. Great lard, pigs. But if you want a pork chop, there's not much meat there, so
Yeah, but now our pigs aren't fat enough.
Well yeah. I, That is one reason why I like breeding my own pigs is because I can control the breeding program and so I can have a nice mix so mine aren't excessively fatty, But I'm getting enough lard to be able to render my own lard and cook with it. There's a nice little layer of fat around the outside of the roast, so they're not super dry, and they have really good flavor. Um, but I am not. I have no desire to raise the heritage breeds cause the ones I have raised, I'm just It's not worth the effort for me, But that's another conversation
I know, I know. I know that ultimate sacrilege. Hey, at one time Yorkshires were considered a heritage breed too. They've just been overly bred. But that's not We'll talk about that another time. Because I know Danielle has her opinions about heritage breeds. I'm gonna get burned on a spit.
Alright. Oh, so, yes, there we go. Our first episode in the books. Um, I hope you guys will join us in the future. We're gonna be talking a lot more about our different opinions on various subjects.
That's okay too, to have different opinions. Like what someone considers off grid or self sufficient or any of those things. It's totally okay. Nobody's opinion is one hundred percent the same.
Yeah, because that's the thing, that, like I think more folks need to realize is we develop our opinions because we figure out what works for us. It does not mean that we're attacking your way of doing things. It doesn't mean that we think we're right and you're wrong. It's just this is what works for us. Um and that's part of the whole trial and error process and learning as you
just, you know, if we're not trying to learn, then we're falling behind, Really? In my opinion, So anyway, um all right, that is gonna be it. I hope that you guys will join us in the future and check out Maur of our episodes. Please subscribe and make sure that you leave us a review so that we can continue to reach more folks.
Oh my. I
am absolutely putting the evil laugh at the end of the