Discover more from Plow in Hope
Welcome :: An Introduction or Reacquainting
Silly, fickle me. Here I am writing again. After a 3-year hiatus, when I’m through typing, I’m about to click publish in my own space again.
Some may know me from the decade I spent writing about our first homestead, Reformation Acres. It was on just a couple acres but was born out of a desire to cultivate a work ethic in our children and have something to build together as a family in a culture that encourages fracture.
As important as those things were, more important was the desire to place real, whole, and nutritious food on our family table. We knew that good food is the foundation for growing healthy little bodies and minds, but we didn’t know where to find it. It was still a few years before the regenerative agriculture movement made its way to Ohio and our only choice was to grow it ourselves.
Fifteen years ago I couldn’t find solid information on the internet about how to get started homesteading, nor was there any community to encourage beginners so I started writing about our own muddling efforts. I tried to make sure everything I shared was useful, trialed information. But the space also served as a journal of our efforts and a way to untangle the knot of thoughts jumbling together in my mind.
The years passed, our family grew to 10, adding 3 more little daughters. We moved from the incessant noise of a state highway to a larger, quieter space in a more agrarian community. Eventually, the Lord guided us to the secluded 43 acres we currently call home and fully intend to, one day, settle under the earth and make our final contribution to improving the soil here. We’ve even chosen our family plot under a dignified and perfectly symmetrical specimen of a sycamore tree in the meadow. I’ve dubbed it the “Sick-no-more Tree.”
With this final move, we have about an acre homesite where we built a little woodland cottage. We steward 5 acres of pasture and 2 acres for the gardens & orchard. The rest is a woodlot that serves as a place for play and exploration for our children and restoration for our souls. (The free fuel to heat our cottage in the winter is a secondary benefit to be sure.)
We are raising 2 dairy cows, the Queens of our Homestead, a beef mama to milk-feed a calf, plus pork, poultry, and eggs for the freezer. We have been 100% self-sufficient in our meat supply for 7 years. This year, with the addition of the second milk cow, we also supply 100% of our dairy. The gardens have not reached that level yet, because let’s be honest, plants are simply more fragile than animals. They are more susceptible to adverse weather, insect infestations, & nutrient deficiencies. I’m not complaining, by no means. We grew over 2,000 pounds of produce this year. But with 7 children still at home, I go through more fruit than we can ever grow.
While our homestead evolved and time passed, writing became more burdensome. It started to come with bills to pay and with that audiences to reach, SEO (search engine optimization) to consider, every-changing algorithms to slave to, pins to resize and forever redesign. I felt like I was a homestead blogger who wasn’t even homesteading.
And if there is one thing I can’t bring myself to be, it’s a hypocrite.
In 2018, my oldest son turned 18 and moved out. The full weight and realization of how short time is with my children hit me with all the force that moment can bring with it.
I didn’t want to waste another minute pursuing my “brand” (as these things had come to be called.)
Ever mindful of the desire not to live a life filled with regret, I closed that chapter to focus on my family, making sure the children had a decent education, base of faith, & reason that will serve them faithfully as adults, and get back to experiencing the joy of homesteading… instead of just writing about it. The online homesteading community had grown exponentially, my voice certainly wasn’t needed anymore. It was time to let it go.
I realize my voice still isn’t needed. My children still require much of my attention, but I’ve come to realize how valuable the writing process is to me. Not the SEO-style writing for the Google algorithm, but the journaling, soul-spilling type.
And while it isn’t needed, perhaps there may be some value gleaned from what I’ve learned and am discovering as a mother and homesteader who is living so counter-culturally in today’s world.
Besides, once again, I find that type of agrarian author is rare in the noise of authority, brand, and algorithm. No one has the attention span to consume words in an age of memes, reels, and voyeurism (homestead or otherwise). I get it. I struggle with it just as much, especially at the end of a long day.
Here I will journal my wrestlings, realizations, and observations. I will share information, whether it be about gardening, making cheese, raising livestock, recipes (culinary and herbal-y).
This platform affords me the opportunity to write, rant, and share knowledge without fighting an algorithm or censorship. My intention is to set the former behind a modest paywall after 24 hours so that I can maintain a modicum of privacy. The latter I will share freely because what good is knowledge if it is locked away in our own minds? Each article will be sent to you in a newsletter should you choose to subscribe.
You’re welcome to join me if you’d like. May my posterity one day be blessed by what I write and in knowing about the story that brought them to where they are.
For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. - 1st Corinthians 9:10