Farmgirl School; Homesteading 101 (now available on Amazon!)

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I never guessed back in 2012 what this would become.  I set out to chronicle our adventures in homesteading.  To create a template and how-to that we wish we had.  We weren’t able to find information on how to farm high altitude, or how to bottle feed a goat, or how to do any of the hundreds of things we did by trial and error on Pumpkin Hollow Farm.

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Those years on the homestead were some of the best times of our lives.  Re-reading the manuscript was like reading about an old friend.  I laughed and recollected.  I finished the book with a smile.  As if I had read it for the first time.

Our Lady of the Goats

This book is priceless, I tell you, it has everything a new homesteader could possibly need to get started on their journey.  Organic gardening, high altitude farming, canning, dehydrating, root cellaring, freezing produce, back yard chickens, bottle feeding goats, taking care of ducks, candle making, soap making, herbal remedies, recipes, homemade gifts….goodness, the list goes on.  The textbook we needed, but in a humorous storytelling method.

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I am so excited to see this book in print!  It is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/152077494X?ref_=pe_870760_150889320

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Wishing you many blessings on your homesteading journey.  See you ’round the farm!

Lughnasadh and the County Fair

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Lughnasadh (loon-ah-sah) is one of the Gaelic harvest festivals of old.  The word is from old Irish text and is a Pagan holiday celebrating the first of the harvests.  A harvest festival is always a welcome holiday in this farmgirl’s mind!  Tonight is also a full moon and I can just imagine my grandmothers of old times dancing under the moon celebrating the harvest of grains and other summer bounties.

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I study all religions and see the similarities in all of them, the same God with different names, the same holidays, many customs “borrowed” by other faiths, and the joy in all of the different ways to honor the great Creator.  Paganism was not a religion pre-Christianity since everyone from childhood was brought up with great respect for Mother Nature and the holidays were based on the agricultural calendar.  Paganism reminds me greatly of the Native American ways of worship a continent away.  The Christians use many of the same elements and traditions as the early Pagans.  I was always brought up thinking that Pagans were Atheists, this is not so apparently.  I love the various celebrations.

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Did you know that the local county fairs were originally the celebration of Lughnasadh?  The first harvest festival, showing off goods and livestock, morphed into what we now know as the county fair.

There I am on the Swingers, again 11 years old!
There I am on the Swingers, again 11 years old!
The ride that bankrupted Grammie and Papa!
The ride that bankrupted Grammie and Papa!

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This year’s county fair was more fun than ever with rides and a two year old who loved everything from the young people competing with their horses to the motorcycle ride she would not get off of until we were completely broke from buying tickets!

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Our friends at the annual Dutch oven cookoff.
Our friends at the annual Dutch oven cook-off.

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So tonight, the holiday brings with it a bright full moon, a promise of more crops, and a sense of peace.  The traditional way of late is to enjoy a beer (grains) and a bit of bread (or pizza?) and celebrate and have gratitude for the harvest.  And maybe a little dancing in the moonlight is in order!

Heading Home (moving back to our favorite place)

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There are things we have really missed since moving out to this homestead in Calhan.  We miss the people of Elbert County.  We are there quite often for this or that, our bank is there, our daughters work there, but we are also far away.  I love going to the grocery store and it taking two hours because I know someone in every aisle and stop and visit with them.  I love knowing everyone in a restaurant.  The ladies at the bank ask how the kids are.  I miss the smiling faces of the girls at the library.  I love Elbert, Kiowa, and Elizabeth and their shared camaraderie and all the people they hold.

Our wonderful, long-time friends are letting us move into their guest room this week.  We will be two blocks from our friend who has sweet Isabelle the goat.  Back in a small town where we can walk to the convenience store and the library, take in the sunrises, and wave to folks walking by at dusk.  A place to garden and a place to paint.  Friends to laugh with.

We are heading home.

Homestead Hysteria

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“Tell God your plans and hear him laugh.”  I know, this has happened to me so many times.  God saying, “You go ahead and think that, I’ll get back to you!”  And of course the end result is always lovlier and more than I could have wished for.  So, when does planning your homestead border on hysteria?  When is dreaming crossing the line of not being happy with what you have?  When contentment gets thrown out the window in lieu of penny pinching to make five more dollars towards an impossible dream?  How does one get a homestead?

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In my mind is this piece of land ( read my post https://farmgirlschool.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/the-hundred-acre-farm/ ) that is elusive to me.  I am being pulled in every direction but perhaps all in the same direction!  We said, “We need to live where it is very cheap, buy outright, live somewhere with a smidge of humidity so that we can actually grow stuff, and we’ll live happily ever after.  Maybe in Kansas.”  “How about the kids?” Doug says.  I say, “They will follow us!”  Uh, yeah.  Ok, so now we have a daughter living down the street, a daughter and sweet boyfriend twenty minutes away with the most adorable baby ever, and a son running around here somewhere who pops in regularly.  I love my town.  I love going into the bank and everyone so excited over Maryjane’s arrival.  The librarian made her a little sweater.  Everyone knows everything and it is comforting because everyone knows if you need help, or will celebrate with you, or will support you in your endeavors.  Screw it, I’ll get a greenhouse, I want to stay here.

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We own a business that almost in its very design has to be charitable.  Therefore, in these times, we give away a lot of medicine.  One cannot hold back medicine from those who need it.  We are not out to make a million bucks.  We do not sell wholesale for fear of lessening the quality of our products.  Basically, we ain’t buying land!  But we live simply and we can pay our bills.  So, we could rent.  We have a lovely house here.  Just darling.  Chicken coop, backs to the fairgrounds, old beautiful house.  Really nice.  It holds me at length.  Taunts me.  The water here is exhorbant.  I cannot have goats or alpacas or sheep!  The house continues to fall apart and I have to find the money to fix it as hard times have hit our landlords too.  I am at that very point of hysteria!

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Need a house.  Preferably a house that can be cordoned off into two; a walk out basement, something!  So that Bret and Emily, and Bret’s severe allergic reaction to my very lovey kitties can be prevented.  Land.  Irrigated.  Barn.  Please.  Someone has to have this for rent!  Affordable to herbalists.  In Elbert county.  In Kiowa.

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Or, do I bite my lip, trust all works out, keep on with this house here and use the land my friend offered me to plant my farm?  It is a drive but it is irrigated land so that my water bill won’t be $300 and in a great location.  Hold off on animals.  Wait.

I do wish patience were a virtue of mine.