Homesteading with Chicken Tender
Jill (the Real Food Forager) has a great on-going series on her site called “Home on the Range…” Each edition features a different homesteader answering the same set of questions, and they make for very inspiring reading.
As Jill says, “… from urban rooftop gardeners to rural ranches and farms, from beekeepers to goat herders, from container gardeners to egg gatherers. All are welcome.”
Today’s feature will be from Chandelle who blogs at ChickenTender.com. I hope you enjoy hearing her story and seeing her homestead!
What led you to become a traditional, urban, or suburban homesteader?
I never saw a real farm or had any concept of where food was grown until I was in my early 20s, but I knew I wanted to grow something of my own from the time I was in grade school. For a long time I had no idea what that entailed; it was a nebulous concept that came from an intuitive place.
Over the years my passion for this way of life has become more concrete. When I came out of college I was frustrated to realize that I knew nothing of practical value. I was incredibly skilled at filling in little bubbles with a #2 pencil, but as far as providing for my own basic needs, I was completely helpless and dependent on invisible others. I also found most of the “work” expected of my generation to be one-dimensional and too often destructive. I wanted to be a part of something that requires my whole being, serves my community, and supports the living systems of the Earth. I found that I was happiest with my hands in the soil, so food production came naturally.
What do you love about your homestead?
My homestead is in its infancy. My partner and I both work full-time (and then some), so most of our homesteading is done in the evenings, on the weekends, and during the summer. As a result our homestead is developing slowly. My garden is just barely coming along, because it’s such intense and time-consuming labor.
So for now I’d say that my favorite thing about our homestead is actually its location. We rent a tiny one-room cabin on a huge amount of undeveloped acreage. This place constantly takes my breath away with its beauty. Land is very expensive in Northern California and we could never afford to buy a place like this, so I feel blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to live here. It brings me so much pleasure to watch my chickens pecking around under those rolling hills, and to see the endless wildness that exists beyond the edges of my garden.
What would you change?
I wouldn’t change anything, necessarily, since we’re just starting out here. But some plans are on hold, mostly because of fencing. The land here is grazed by cattle, so we have to put up electric fencing around anything we grow, which is our primary financial challenge. I would love to plant more perennials and put in a small orchard, but they will have to wait.
I’d also like to have a more hospitable garden environment. Right now our efforts are purely utilitarian, but eventually I would love to have a garden table and chairs, and birdhouses, and trellises for vining plants, and flowers, and magical play areas for the children.
Do you have a homestead you want featured on Jill’s webiste? Click here for the details.
This article originally appeared on RealFoodForager.com. It is partially posted here with permission of the author.
Photo Credit: Chicken Tender
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