My Journey to Sustainability & How I Can Help YOU!Kelly2020-08-16T13:38:02+00:00
I am so happy that you’re here! It’s great to meet you!
Do you have a few minutes for some coffee with me? I would love to get to know you!
I’m Kelly….wife, mother, farmer, beekeeper, food preserver, chicken mama and as of late, Nana.
I live on 10 acres in southwest Ohio with my husband and children. It’s our mission to grow as much of our own food as we can, become financially independent and to be good stewards of the earth.
But our story began about 30 years ago!
I had become disillusioned with my career and my life. Even though I made very good money, more than most men at the time, I was depressed and stressed out. The money and the glory just wasn’t worth it anymore.
My lifestyle wasn’t good for me and it wasn’t sustainable. Something would have to give.
I longed for meaning and purpose in my life. Fulfillment. Joy. Peace.
I wanted to be free from debt
I wanted to raise our own food and provide for our own needs
I wanted my children to know where food comes from
I wanted to go back to the basics of life
Did this kind of lifestyle have a name?
Back then, the internet wasn’t in everyone’s home like it is today. I went to the library to look for “back to the land” books.
It was during that process that I discovered a word that would change the next 30 years of my life.
Homesteading: A lifestyle of independence, providing for one’s own needs including food, water, power and clothing.
YES! This was exactly what I had been looking for! I was on a mission to learn all that I could about homesteading!
Here are some of the books that got me started down this path and I highly recommend them. They are on my personal bookshelf.
After my husband and I married, it became quite apparent that we had a debt problem.
A big debt problem.
It would take extreme measures and 3 1/2 years to pay off over $100K of debt, you can read that story here.
During our debt-reduction time, I became
The term “urban gardening” wasn’t really something I heard people talking about at the time, neither was “edible landscaping“. However, there was a guy who worked at a local nursery that I shopped at who “colored outside of the lines” a bit. I think his name was John, anyway, and he lived on a smaller lot that we did. He explained to me how he had ripped his landscaping out and planted vegetables all around his house…BOOM! YES! THAT I could do.
It took a bit of doing, and we had to hire someone to grind up all the roots of some very old taxis bushes, but we got it done. I amended the soil with compost and started to plant. The house faced east, and the coveted south side of the house was largely blocked by the next house and large trees. But I kept at it, and was able to grow crops that require a full day of sunlight like tomatoes and peppers. Lots and lots of trial and error took place, but in my 13 years at that house, I planted and canned every year, making our own marinara sauce to boot.
It became regular practice for us to visit Amish country in northern Ohio, where I became a student of the Amish. If you aren’t aware, the Amish live without the use of electricity. I found it fascinating that a modern day sect of the population could actually do this! So we visited, and I studied them. We went to every field trip I could find, bought every book about the subject I could get my hands on. Lehman’s, known as THE non-electric store is in Holmes county as well, and once again, I studied and asked a lot of questions.
I put what I could into play, a clothesline being one of my first non-electric ventures. I bought a small umbrella one, that I could take down when I wasn’t using. I don’t think the neighbor were super thrilled about it, but I made sure it couldn’t be seen from the street and let it go at that. We didn’t have a HOA, but at the same time, NO ONE on the street had a clothesline.
I wanted to drill a well, but soon found out that there were ordinances against that. I wanted chickens and bees, but hit the same wall with ordinances. (Interestingly enough, that same area NOW allows 4 hens!)
Living in urban and suburban areas will limit you as to what all you can implement, but don’t give up! Many cities are changing those old ordinances, just check to see what yours are and get involved!
Finally, after years of dreaming and wishing, we were able to purchase a 10 acre farm. If it weren’t for our very frugal lifestyle and staying out of debt, it wouldn’t have happened.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would live in the country! Never stop dreaming and praying!
I hit the ground running with all the knowledge I had acquired while I was living in the suburbs! It didn’t take long to get dairy goats, chickens, bees, plant the orchard, build pastures and out buildings, etc. I love, love, LOVE country life. All of it.
So, while I live in the country now, I have over a decade of experience gardening and producing large amounts of food in the suburbs. I am also somewhat of expert on “urban gardening” and teach classes on the subject. No matter where you live, there is much that can be done to make you more sustainable!My passion is to teach others how to be more self-reliant as well as more sustainable! I hope you’ll come along for the journey!
54 Ways to Be More Sustainable