Beginning the Homesteading Journey
by Tammy Maroon
Photos by Tammy Maroon
I am beginning the homesteading journey also! A few years ago I began reducing the processed crap I bought - prepared food in cans, jars, bags, etc. and mainly cook from scratch. I still have a few things I use like spaghetti sauces, condiments, etc., but with the production of my first organic garden this summer I want to begin making my own EVERYTHING and canning, freezing and dehydrating them.
I recently watched the documentary "Food, Inc." and literally became gut-sick over the crap that is in our industrialized food. I had no idea about genetically modified seeds and even thought that the "fresh" produce I bought from the grocery store was for the most part, okay.
My husband thinks I've gone radical, and honestly - I have. I threw away all the "crap" in my pantry and fridge - I don't even consider it fit for human consumption now. I bought some organic chicken meat to cook and still haven't recovered from sticker shock so that turned into the whole discussion on getting our own chickens for fresh eggs and meat.
I had told my children about my "Granny" a true Oklahoman, old-fashioned homesteader with a 2-acre garden she hoed and tilled by hand herself. As a kid I'd go with her out to the chicken coop. She'd search for a plump hen and wring its' neck, tie some twine around its' feet and it would hang upside down from a hook behind her garage where she'd slit the neck and let it bleed into a bucket for a few hours.
It was out of sight if company came to visit, but it wasn't really that gross. Also behind the garage there were some cinder blocks and on top of them she had a hot plate she'd plug into an extension cord with a big pot of water on it - she'd bring that to a simmer, not a boil and after the chicken was done bloodletting, she'd dunk it a few times in the scalding water, shaking off the excess water as she carried the chicken to the back porch where us kids would sit on the steps and help pluck it.
Helping her with the chickens and picking vegetables and canning foods are some of my fondest memories of her. One thing is for sure, that lady was always working doing something. Most of our children are grown, but I want my youngest to learn some of the old ways - the best ways, actually. How to truly live off the land and not just be a consumer. Mainly, I want us to eat healthy. Well, there are so many reasons and I'm sure mine are familiar to you as well. We've always been frugal and live debt free as well. Our motto is we buy used, we take good care of things and get as many miles out of them as possible. If we can't pay cash for it, we don't get it - period.
I know I began rambling back there with memories of my "Granny" but just wanted you to know that I share your focus in life, although I'm starting this journey with very little experience and just plan on winging it. I've canned salsa, but will have to learn everything else. In a few weeks when we get the chicken coop in good repair we'll be getting double duty chickens for egg and meat usage, but that's all new to me also.
I was able to pick up some beet pulp from Farmer's Grain today. Which was great because now I can let the goats out of the pen so they can browse and eat other greens on the property, then with the "candy" they follow me back into the pen. The pen they're in was full of dense foliage and in just one week they had pretty much cleared all of it. There was one wall in the shelter that was pretty shaky and it came down in the storms on Monday. Then when it started raining Thursday and Friday, and the poor goats were miserable - the shelter and the straw was wet and they definitely didn't like it. So I replaced the wall.