I have wanted to “homestead” most of my adult life. We all have our passions, and growing food is one of mine. I also wanted to be able to stay home with my child whenever that child entered my life. While I wholly support all of the fabulous ways modern families can be families, being a stay at home parent really called to me personally and, I feel so fortunate that thanks to my partner's support I am finally getting to live that dream – even with all the real-life bumps along the way.
Here is where the mini-farming comes into play. Mini-farming is different than hobby gardening. To me, the goal of mini-farming is to have your own food production reduce the expenditures in your total home budget (so, you can’t just replace your grocery spending with garden spending, you actually need to be spending less money overall) and maybe even bring in an income (think farmers’ markets and cottage industries) – in the very small setting of a backyard homestead. My biggest inspiration for this type of living came from the fabulous book, Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett Markham.
Not gonna lie, I have a major crush on Mr. Markham. No, I’ve never actually met him. Yes, my partner knows. And yes, I have almost all of Brett’s other books, too.
With this mindset, mini-farming could hopefully offset my lack of income being a stay at home parent. When my partner and I were expecting our child, I looked into the costs of daycares – and it was jaw-dropping. It would take the majority of my income from my job at the time to pay for a daycare that wasn’t skeezy. That really helped us make the jump to me staying home, and raising both our kid and our food.
We’re now a year-and-a-half into it, and I’m still psyched. I’ve been getting myself back into shape after a crazy pregnancy (I was on partial bedrest for the last 2 months) through digging in the dirt with my partner. My tiny toddler, Taylor, has been discovering the world through mud pies and plant life cycles. We’ve been eating home-grown organic goodness since last March (no e. coli contaminated romaine in this house!). I have grand hopes and dreams for our future, but most of all we are enjoying living in the moment right here in our own tiny homestead.
|Taylor discovering the brilliant colors of Carl's Glass Gem corn in our first summer harvest|
Up next, I’d love to share the planning process we went through to get things up and running during our first year. Here in Utah, we have long, dark winters and the only thing that has kept me sane is planning the following summer’s garden. Oh, and yes, I also started an indoor grow area. And cold frames. And quick hoops. And there is a greenhouse in the planning phase. And chickens… Okay, so, I come pretty close to “gardening” year round now – no matter how deep the snow is….
Anyway. Stay tuned, and feel free to share any comments below!