My friends, I would like to show you around my new shop that opened Saturday! My daughter and I (and a beautiful array of angelic friends) have been scrubbing, painting, creating, preparing, and decorating this glorious 1800’s store front. Welcome to Pumpkin Hollow Farm Homesteading Supplies and Classes. If you are ever in Pueblo, Colorado, do come by! 687 S. Union Ave. Facebook.com/pumpkinhollowfarm
I would cordially like to invite you to the Colorado Springs Home and Landscaping Show this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you love decorating, improving, gardening, and events as much as I do, you will love this show! HGTV, inspiration, ideas, and of course, White Wolf Medicine will be there! And yours truly is one of the guest speakers. I will be speaking all weekend about how to create an Apothecary Garden, how to create a Tea Garden, and about High Altitude Farming; Tried and True Tips.
So, if you already know me and Doug, come out and say hello. If you haven’t met us, come out and introduce yourself. I would love to meet you. Maryjane Rose will be there Friday and Saturday as well helping me spread Farmgirl cheer!
Colorado Springs Event Center 3960 Palmer Park Boulevard at Academy with Free Parking!
Show dates, times, and ticket prices are as follows:
Colorado Springs Home & Landscaping Show:
Friday, January 20, 2017 1 pm – 7 pm
Saturday, January 21, 2017 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday, January 22, 2017 11 am – 4pm
Adults $6, Youth 16 & under free!
So, what would be the perfect homestead size? 5 acres? 20 acres? 100 acres? A river running through it? Near a library? I am starting to wonder if instead of always thinking, ‘THAT would be the perfect homestead’ and then being frustrated because it is out of my reach, that perhaps I should look around where I am at. I may very well have the closest-to-perfect-possibly-at-this-time-in-my-life homestead.
We spend a fair amount of time at my friend, Nancy’s homestead because for our new business and lifestyle venture, Farmgirls-From the Homestead. (http://facebook/5farmgirls.com) The goat’s milk is at her house (cause her goats are there!) so we make soap over there…and cheese….and go over there to view baby barn kitties and baby goats. Very sweet. She has a lovely forty acres, a red barn, horses milling in the fields. Idyllic.
We started discussing our seemingly endless design of ideas for this year’s business venture ranging from multiple farmers markets, incorporating the idea and products into my current shop, The Garden Fairy Apothecary (http://gardenfairyapothecary.com ), teaching canning classes, bread baking classes, homestead tours, and Farm to Table dinners, all of which we will do this summer and fall. We discussed the Farm to Table dinners for her property and found a level area that overlooks the hills and would be quaint and ethereal for a Farmgirl fancy dinner. She mentioned that we could do one at my house too. I was thinking….but I live in town. Who wants to go to a Farm to Table dinner on the driveway? But then it hit me…I live in town. How many people live in town but are still interested in homesteading and making their way more self sufficiently but, like me, cannot and may never be able to afford acreage? I live a mere three miles from Nancy, I am not in the city of Denver, but I do live in a neighborhood, on a busy street, with neighbors. And a large garden, and a small orchard, with chickens, soon to be goats, and checking the zoning, alpacas. I can turn the garage into a barn. I could turn the yard in front of the porch, who’s grass has long since left us, into a magical apothecary garden and bee garden. Swirly paths of bricks and oregano, sweet scents of rosemary and thyme, carpets of chives. I could host the Farm to Table dinner in the driveway, next to the raised beds, in view of all of the farm animals. I could place a long table in the back yard and eat with the chickens (not eat the chickens, I said, eat with the chickens!) and have a nice view of the fairgrounds. Perhaps a rodeo will be going on.
I mean, I may not be able to get the alpacas, and in some areas folks can’t even have chickens, but there are so many options we can do. Bee hive? Chickens? Goats? Garden? Balcony garden? Community garden? Use less electricity? Preserve food? Use less water? Walk more places instead of driving? Crochet your own scarf? Bake your own bread? Smoke your own fish? Grow your own herbs? Plant an apple tree? The sky is the limit. And even in smaller quarters, there is always something we can do to be more self sufficient and homestead.
Here on this homestead, I can have all the things I want, not have too much to keep up, and walk to the library. The best of both worlds.
For centuries women have tended the home and the family and on the side sold things made by their hands to help support their family. It seems to be an innate instinct in us. Many homesteaders are entrepreneurs. In this economy it can be scary out there. What can we do to make sure we can put food on the table? What can we craft, make, sell excess of, teach? There are many opportunities to start a homestead business. I have always told my homeschooled children that I would rather them make a smaller amount of money and work their own hours taking pride in making things from their own hands then to be cooped up in a cubicle day in and day out unappreciated!
Over here, we are trying to reinvent our business. (Doug and I will be doing markets as well.) Trying to be resourceful to appeal to the public and the community so that we can put food on our table while helping those around us. Nancy is looking for the same thing. We absorbed everything Joel Salatin told us in an intimate gathering and farm to table dinner last summer. We have read books. I have actually exhausted every single farming book available to me in the library system. (Can someone please publish another one? I need something to read!) We feel the need pulsing through our blood streams to become farmers. There are no books specific to us. We are not in our early twenties. We do not qualify for the term “Greenhorns”. Pity, it is such a fun name! Most of the farmers are older and are retiring. There are only names signifying possible craziness when two middle aged women want to become farmers. But boy do we look cute out in the garden! What we do have is collective business experience, a youthful exuberance and tons of energy and ideas, and two daughters willing to tag along and help! We have computer savvy husbands with two sets of extra strong hands. We have support. We have creativity and a great collection of cute farmgirl clothes and aprons. Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to wear my bonnet at markets! Somewhere it will fit in!
Many great businesses have been started by resourceful women…and men. The local businesses on your street need their community in order to survive. What you can do is support these businesses. The same people you see at the bank, at the grocery store, in your church. These people need your help. I wish I could tell people, even people that shop at my store, that every time they go purchase herbal medicines and salves at the big health food store, they put me that much closer to going out of business. Every time one goes to Cost Cutters instead of the single mom cutting hair, she can’t pay one of her bills. Big corporations pay their bills just fine. We small businesses are often cheaper, you get more, you get more quality, and yet we are forgotten in the shadow of a big store. Granted if no one in my neighborhood is crafting shovels and I need one, I go to Walmart. I won’t lie. But there are so many shops on our quiet Main street that could supply a wealth of what people are looking for. Farmer’s markets help bring the people together. I don’t know about all the tents of people selling stuff they bought. Packaged pancake mixes and magical weight loss mixtures, but those that make and craft and grow. Those are my heroes, the ones I want to help.
Nancy and I are making rich soaps, all organic ingredients. Made from her goat’s milk. We have made them beautiful, simple, clean. I am making my famous lotion, renaming it Farmgirl Face and Body Cream for the markets. I have made soy wax candles in darling coffee cups. I have made aprons, double stitched and darling, a staple for any farm girl. I have planted rows and rows of greens. Nancy has planted even more rows and rows…and rows of greens! We have herbs growing. My dining room is overflowing with over-wintered herbs for cooking. Our spoiled rotten (but adorable) chickens are all laying and we will sell our combined rations of fresh eggs with their beautiful orange yolks. Nancy and Faleena will be busy baking muffins, breads, pies, and other goodies. Emily is hand roasting organic coffee beans and designing the packaging. She is also selling cups of coffee at the market with fresh goat’s milk and sugar. Emily and I spent an afternoon developing many medicinal tea blends and packaging them. We have organic green and black teas to offer as well. Medicinal honeys add a sweet touch to administering medicine and our collection of extracts that have been our staple for years will be there as well. We have fresh preserves, jams, beets, zucchini and more that we have sat in hot kitchens canning. Emily is making organic baby food. Faleena is spreading the word about us in the media world. Doug has made us a darling logo and is making our labels and banners. Steve tilled up the soil for Nancy. We are set! We are ready! Come out and say hello to us at markets! (And you can certainly go “like” our page on Facebook.. https://www.facebook.com/5Farmgirls?ref=hl ) Farm to table dinners….classes….the ideas are endless.
What homestead business could you start? What is your skill and passion? And what business could you support to keep your local economy, nay your neighbors, strong?