Homesteading? How did I get here?

My father recently said to me that he never expected to have a farmer in the family. To this, I replied, “I never expected to be the farmer in the family.”

Growing up, my interests always had me around the water whether it was working at the pool or surfing. My future plans had me very interested in the navy. I was going to be a sailor, or maybe some sort of weapons engineer. And that’s what I did. I had absolutely no expectation of working land in order to produce food or keeping honeybees. I didn’t expect to accumulate a workshop full of tools or start carving spoons. So how did I get here?

My wife and I enjoyed going to the farmer’s market each weekend for our groceries. We wanted to live a low impact life so even when we went to the grocery store, we refused to use the plastic bags we were offered. Our furniture was all hand me downs (although that was probably more due to the fact we were just starting out). Living in our 15th floor apartment that overlooked downtown Halifax, I got bored.

Working at a desk, following a routine of wake up, eat, go to work, come home, supper, and have a quiet evening before repeating just wasn’t exciting me. Kaleigh had been showing me how you could buy green onions, put the cut stalks back into a cup of water and they would regrow. I thought this was amazing. We tried it with lettuce and celery as well (although they didn’t work as well).

Walking through the building’s garage one day, I noticed an old pallet in the garbage pile. I decided I was going to turn it into a planter. I hauled it into the elevator and then into the apartment. My only tools at the time were a hammer and a handsaw. I disassembled the pallet on our carpet living room floor and built, what I thought, was a masterpiece of a planter. I used a garbage bag to cover the inside and filled it with dirt. Then I bought a package of lettuce seeds and eagerly planted them.

Nothing really happened….

Those lettuce seeds didn’t grow until last year (3 years after being planted, on a new property). But, nonetheless, I was hooked. I bought two cherry tomato seedlings, planted herbs, and started thinking about the garden I would someday have.

Four years later, I am not only managing my roughly 120 square feet of raised bed garden in my yard, I also am learning how to manage 1800 square feet in a field setting. I am growing everything from tomatoes to salad greens to pumpkins!

Our family has moved to more of a homestead style of living where we are learning how to preserve the food we grow, how to make money from our property, and how to approach homesteading ventures such as chickens.

Someday, we hope to have property where we can set up a full homestead and focus our lives, careers, and family on that lifestyle.

Until then, we will continue to work in our normal careers and learn as much as we can. For the other aspiring homesteaders, just remember, you don’t need 50 acres of land, three cows, and a tractor to pursue a simpler, lower impact life. You can learn to harness the power of nature in your 15th floor apartment, in your front or back yard, perhaps even in a neighbour’s yard. Start small, and do what you can.

Thanks for joining us on our adventure and I hope that I can encourage you to join us as we learn how to live a lower impact, simpler, family and nature focused life.

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