In the early 1940s, my Popa and Mom bought some land and built a small home. Popa had a job in the local tread mill but still worked each evening making the land they had "profitable".
Popa worked and cleared the land. The land produced honey, vegetables, fruits, hay and meat.
I remember large gardens and constant canning all summer. The gardens were rotated so the land was not completely striped of its nutrients. Once the crops had given their bounty, they were left and plowed under in the spring adding organic matter to the soil. Cover crops were used to supply nutrients to the soil during the winter growing season.
I remember Popa nurturing the pastures. He feed them twice a year--in the fall and in the spring. He rotated his cattle and kept the numbers down to make sure the grass was never over-grazed. Each spring new calves where born with some staying to produce more calves the next season, some sold, and some became meat for our freezers.
With summer came hay bailing time! It was hot, hard work but necessary to keep the cattle full through the winter. The fields were so well taken care of that only one field was needed to supply all the hay needed for winter. Many years, Popa sold hay that was extra.
When he passed away, so did the farming.
His cattle were sold.
The gardens were much smaller and then non-existent.
The pastures became over grown because of the lack of nurturing.
This past year, my husband and I decided to reclaim the farm.
We knew it would take work, but because of the years of nurturing that Popa had put into the land we realized that we could easily get it back into production again!
So this winter we started clearing, bush-hogging, and fence repairing.
We are starting to add fertilizer to the pasture with chickens.
We are hoping to add cattle once we get the fences repaired.
We are looking to get hogs to clear parts of the pasture that have become over-grown and are too rough to get a bush hog on.
We are re-claiming gardens that have been dormant for years now.
But we want to use the land to heal itself. We want it to produce what we need and what it needs for itself.
We want the land to also produce a living for ourselves and our family.
We want our boys to learn the responsibility for preserving the land that God has given us.
So we have started our new venture...
Our new lives...
We want to use this land that we are responsible for to produce all we need. We want to be less dependant on corporate America for our food. What we can't grow ourselves, we want to buy from our neighbors.
We want to KNOW where our food and fiber comes from. We want to know the faces behind what products we buy. We want our boys to know that every product that comes into our home was produced by a person--not a machine. We want human contact with our producers!
We are also realist. Not every thing we buy will we be able to do this with. There are things, like bananas, that we will just have to depend on face-less producers to bring to us.
This will not be easy but it will be an adventure!
I will share those adventures with you and look forward to you sharing your insights with us.
Let the adventures begin....