I’m going to answer a question that we often get which is “how did we get into homesteading” A lot of people get into homesteading because of the food and for us it actually had nothing to do with the food.
How did we get into homesteading?
When others answer this question they often answer that they wanted to know more about where their food came from and they want to be more sustainable. They want food security.
Where all of those things are definitely important to us they’re not how we got into homesteading. We got into homesteading in the spring of 2020 while we were visiting the Sedalia Center in Big Island, Virginia. I work part time for the Sedalia Center in marketing and we often volunteer there. This particular visit we were working in the front flower bed. It desperately needed some attention but was covered in poison ivy. Jamie is highly allergic to poison ivy and being that we had a newborn, were in a different state and in the middle of a pandemic we did not feel comfortable working in the garden and getting poison ivy.
So I turned to Google and started researching natural ways to get rid of poison ivy. The center takes a natural approach to gardening and does not use any pesticides or anything that will harm the earth. The first website/blog I came across was Tenth Acre Farm.
Amy Stross introduced me to permaculture. Real quick, permaculture is intentionally designing the landscape to steward the land and provide food for your family. Amy had so many valuable resources on permaculture and growing food I became completely wooed by the idea of growing our own food and having beautiful landscapes that also provided for us. I went down the rabbit hole and I went deep deep down the rabbit hole!! I did figure out a way to kill poison ivy so, I did accomplish my goal in that respect. And I fell in love with permaculture and growing our own food.
After Tenth Acre Farm I found Homestead and Chill. Deanna is very big in gardening with touches of permaculture. At the time she was gardening on less than an acre and it was just amazing!! And again I became completely wooed with the idea of growing our own food, providing for our family and just living a better life.
I remember laying in bed and sharing all of this stuff with Jamie. Everything started to align, it became clear that permaculture and homesteading was what we were supposed to do. It just felt right, it felt it was kind of like a calling. This is what we were supposed to do! When we got home from that trip we had a garden and we had planned on planting it and growing, but we were a little more determined. We didn’t grow much only tomatoes and zucchini that year.
We also didn’t amend the soil. We didn’t really know much about amending soil or anything like that. We started our seeds and we planted our garden and we had an amazing zucchini harvest and we had a mediocre tomato harvest during that summer. I also started our sourdough starter and drove right into making bread. I had several failures but in the end I kept trying and we now eat some amazing sourdough bread. Oh the flour that was used that summer. Lol
Then fall came and we had collected so many resources. We had learned so much and had some BIG plans! I remember ending 2020 and my biggest goal being that I wanted to grow enough tomatoes the following year that I could can tomatoes and we wouldn’t have to buy sauce for making pizza. Sourdough pizza had become a Friday night tradition.
We planned, it started with four raised beds then turned into eight raised beds. Over the winter I discovered cut flowers and we decided that we were going to add cut flowers to the garden. We were going to do veggies and cut flowers, we were just gonna grow everything and grow all of this stuff. Looking back on it, we grew a lot in 2021. We grew a lot of flowers, we grew a lot of veggies, we grew a whole hell of a lot of tomatoes. So I did accomplish that goal and our dreams just kept growing.
We learned a lot and our dreams kept growing and growing and growing. So as you can see our start into homesteading and farmhouse living and permaculture was not because of our food, the food was a byproduct of poison ivy!! Which is not conventional but funny.
Our Vision and 5 Year Plan
I don’t remember when exactly it was but we have always had the dream of moving to Big Island, Virginia which is a very royal community in central Virginia. We just love it there and we feel that we have been called to move there, even before we got into homesteading. We were down there for an event, Jamie and I both realized that we were meant to be there, we were meant to move there. We really felt like we fit in there and we created a five-year plan for ourselves. That plan included a lot and it built on a lot of the things that we were already doing.
We both knew that in order to move we needed to be self employed or at least working from home. I had already left the classroom at that point and was running the daycare so that was easy for me. But I knew that I didn’t want to open a daycare when we moved. So I pursued my marketing and social media management avenue. Jamie at the time was working for a family-owned company doing bookkeeping which he loved but staying there was not going to get us closer to our dreams. He started thinking about branching out on his own and doing bookkeeping on the side and we really started to build those businesses. I grew the daycare so that he could come home and then we could both pursue creating our own businesses. All of that came completely tumbling down in 2020 when we had to close the daycare and then we’re not able to open it again because of financial reasons. It was hard, it was really hard. That is about the same time that we discovered homesteading and permaculture.
Finding homesteading and learning so much about it, in the season of life that we were in, was perfectly fitting. It put all of the pieces together for us, so we created a new plan. It was still our five-year plan but it just kind of changed a little bit.
We both started pursuing really hard being self-employed and doing things for ourselves. In a nutshell, as hard as 2020 was, it definitely was a blessing for us. It really catapulted us into what we were and what we feel like we are called to do which is homesteading.
We have a new plan and new goals and a new vision.
We still want to move to Sedalia, Virginia. We want to buy a farm. If we can’t buy one actually I don’t think we necessarily want to buy an established farm, we want to build a farm. We want a farmhouse, if that can’t be built as soon as we are ready to move that’s fine. We are okay with living in our camper, we are definitely flexible on living situations. I do have my dream house in mind and what I want it to look like but it’s not something that I have to have like right now in order to move.
We would need a barn or two and land that’s a mixture of open space and forested land so that we could harvest the trees to burn and heat our home. The first thing we would build is a huge garden, we want to be able to grow more, more than we can grow here. We want to be able to provide for our family and have some to provide for others.
We also want to expand on all of our cut flowers.To the point where we could have u-picks on the weekends.
We want farm animals. Probably start with chickens and maybe move into goats or a cow.
I think it would be awesome to turn the farm into a destination where you could come for u-picks, fresh produce and maybe even small events. If the property was right it could have a small pumpkin patch and strawberry field.
As we grow the farm would grow. As our kids get older and we feel like we could take on more things. All of this together would be Hummingbird Acres | Farm & Market. If you want to know more about the name of our farm and website you can read that story HERE. It has a special meaning to us.
We are super excited for the future and what the future holds for us. We have found property here and there over the past year that we really love but something just isn’t quite right about it, whether it’s the timing or just the vibe we get when we walk on the property. We haven’t quite found the right property.
We are content staying here a little bit longer. I can’t say that I don’t get a farm sick every now and then dreaming about what our future holds but we are using our current homestead as our classroom to learn as much as we possibly can. So that when we are able to start our dream farm we have tons of knowledge and tons of experience behind us.
We are excited to share everything that we’ve learned, our adventures, our journey and our homestead with you guys. We can’t thank you guys enough for being here with us, for listening to our stories and just supporting us along the way. If you have any questions or words of encouragement please hop on over to Instagram and send us a DM, we would love to hear from you.