Thursday, February 10, 2011

My homestead-y life

Everyone who knows us knows that Allen is really the missionary, and I'm just a support person. This was actually a bit different when we lived on Guanaja and ran a community center - there I led worship music, taught lots of Bible lessons, and did other missionary-type stuff. Now that we work in Lempira, my contributions to the ministry mostly involve office work.

I've been quite content with the support person job (plus, with 6 kids, there's been plenty to keep me busy), and Allen has always done enough work for any three or four missionaries, so I figure it all balances out in the end.

Now that we're living out in the country, I've been gradually adding new activities into my life. Still not missionary activities, though. More like homesteader activities. I don't think we're actually going to consider ourselves "homesteaders" - I'm not exactly sure when one crosses that line. But we're definitely more homestead-y than we've ever been before.

Some examples:

- We now raise cattle. We have a bull, two cows, and a calf.

- I have a vegetable garden which is actually producing food that we are eating. This is huge for me. When my family talks about what each person in the family has as a special skill, my unanimously agreed upon skill is killing plants. So, the fact that I am able to keep the garden going is amazing!

- I make homemade laundry soap. This has been a major financial savings, even though we have to import the ingredients. When we get our annual container shipment I make sure to have enough supplies on there for a year of laundry.

- We have been canning food for a few months now, and we're really enjoying it.

- I bought and use cast iron pans. I'm not sure why this feels like a homestead thing, but it has been a new skill for Rachel and I to learn.

- We've been keeping chickens, for the eggs. We're currently chicken-less, however, until we get a new coop built.

What's in our future?

- Well, I didn't get to milk our cow, after she gave birth at Christmas. Things have just been too busy, and we don't have things set up for milking yet. I feel kind of guilty about this - seems like a waste to own a milk cow and not milk her. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to take this on.

- Once the cooler, rainy season starts, I'm hoping to start some berry bushes. I don't know how successful this will be, but that's just another experiment, like the vegetable garden. Fortunately, seeds are pretty cheap.

- I'm also thinking that we need some fruit trees - local fruits, like citrus and mangoes, at least at first.

I'm sure there's more on the horizon. I'll keep you posted.

7 comments:

Beth said...

Trish
I am vicariously homesteading with you! I feel like you guys are a mix of Little House on the Prairie and Paul's missionary journeys! I really enjoy reading your blog and experiencing your successes and struggles with you. If you don't milk the milk cow does she stop producing? I am such a suburban girl!!
Love and hugs from all the Webb's

The Reader said...

I enjoy reading about this! Do post more on these topics when you are able. I'd especially love to hear if you find a difference to what you cook when using cast iron vs. whatever you used before. Was it worth the switch? I'm contemplating same as many of my pans wear out and need replacing, but scared of the learning curve!

Jamie Jo said...

For me having fresh milk would be top priority. Way over laundry detergent. Nice to read about your life today.

Laurie Matherne said...

Whew! I get tried just reading about your life. I enjoyed as a child living near my grandparents who did most of those things, except for soapmaking. I would love to have a veggie garden again. Or have some animals. I imagine you sleep well with all of that work!

Randall and Rachel Beita said...

Fun!! I don´t know where you find the time though. Glad to hear you are doing well.

Missus Wookie said...

Trish - I keep meaning to tell you and forgetting - but you've reminded me ;) have you ever looked at gardenorganic.co.uk? They are currently looking at tropical veggies and fruit growing.

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/international_programme/ip_research.php

Might have some ideas you can use.

mideastmom said...

Um, if you're not considered homesteaders, I think the definition is entirely too narrow. You've earned it, in my book.