Letting Go of Pretty and Perfect

After yesterday’s post about my fun new Origami Owl charms this post feels a little hypocritical.  One of the hardest parts of embracing the homesteading lifestyle (for me) is letting go of pretty.  I’m a type-A personality and I want everything to be just perfect from the beginning.   I used to spend tons of money buying all matching organizing totes or pretty matching sets of things because I love the way it looks, all nice and neat and pretty.   Homesteading is about using what you have and to do that you have to appreciate the functionality and practicality of a piece more than it’s beauty.   That means not everything is going to look Pinterest worthy all the time.  I’m finding that an attitude of gratitude is helping me let go of pretty.   When I look out and see my new garden beds or walk into my chicken coop I have to remind myself to be grateful that I was able to create something so functional for FREE.    Has letting go of pretty and perfect been a struggle for you?  How do you deal with re-adjusting your vision?

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Blog Bling

Friday night I escaped to town kid free with a friend to attend a Paddle Party.  Get your mind out of the gutter!  It wasn’t a kinky gathering, it was a kind of auction put on by a local group of direct sales women.   For a quarter a bid you try to win products being auctioned off that vary in value from $20 to $100.   It’s a lot of fun and some of those ladies spend the big bucks trying to win.  I only bought one paddle and used less than a roll of quarters so I wasn’t surprised to find that I didn’t win during the auction. Lady Luck was just waiting for the raffle portion of the evening to visit me.  I won 2 raffles!  One was a cool little toy from Discovery Toys and the other was a $20 gift certificate to Origami Owl.  I ❤️ Origami Owl but it’s not exactly cheap so $20 doesn’t go far.  I was so excited when I saw the new catalog had farm charms!  I already had a necklace at home so I had to use my gift certificate to get a little red farm house, a tiny spade, a spoon and fork, and a chicken.  A chicken y’all!   They are adorable.  I came home and told my husband about my blog inspired charms and he just shook his head.  I think he might be considering having me committed. 🙂

If you need to get yourself some of these super cute farm charms you can order online from my Origami Owl lady Aimee Johnson at https://charmed.origamiowl.com/ or whoever sells them near you.   I’m excited to wear my blog bling!

What the heck is homesteading?

I’m sure some of you are wondering “What the heck is homesteading?”  Homesteading USED to refer to a piece of free or cheap land granted to an individual or family to work and farm.  That land would provide for that family almost entirely because store bought good were rare and expensive in areas where homestead plots were granted.  Wikipedia defines homesteading as:      

              “a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.”

Modern homesteading looks very different than the old days.  Now farms are smaller, and people are using the term to reference any attempt to live less dependent on store bought food, government utilities, and other commercial goods.  City people with a patio full of container garden plants are embracing the homestead spirit.   Suburban families are turning 2 acre yards into mini-farms where they raise small animals and big gardens.  Country families are running hobby farms and exploring solar energy and milking cows.    A lot of people don’t realize that the current trendy movement of backyard gardens and chickens was encouraged by the government during World War II as a way ease the demand on the national food supply and increase morale through “Victory Gardens”!  
                                                                     

For me homesteading means that we work to raise as much of our food as we can, we use what we have on hand before we buy new, we handle as many repairs and projects as we can ourselves, we make money through selling items we grow or raise, and we live in a thrifty way to make our dollars stretch as far as they can.  I’m working on embracing the homesteading mentality and dragging my reluctant husband along for the ride.  I am appreciating the skills I learned as a youth watching my Grandma more and more.  I wish I would have paid more attention as she was canning!  I picked up a lot of DIY skills from watching my dad and working on projects with him.  Thank goodness for YouTube, too.  Nothing strikes fear into my husband’s heart quite as fast as seeing me gathering tools for project and hearing “It’s ok honey, I watched a YouTube video!”.  Our new home and property has been a treasure trove of items to re-use or upcycle.  Keep an eye out for a post about my finds that led to building raised garden beds for free!
Leave a comment below and tell me what homesteading looks like for you!  

*photo credit to http://www.nationalww2museum.org

How perfect is this shirt?

You guys I think my husband NEEDS shirt!  I was scrolling Facebook when I saw it and I may have laughed so hard I snorted.  Don’t judge.  I won’t post the link to buy it because the site looked a little sketchy to me but I found it at this Facebook page: Funny Tee Shirts.  Have a great weekend, I’m off to the local small animal swap to eye the ducks.

We bought the farm…

My husband and I looked for 10 long years before we finally settled on a property to purchase.  We saw some crazy properties during our search!  There was one that we called “The Very Brady Special”, stepping inside took you right back to the house on the Brady Bunch, complete with mini-bar and built in stereo and weather station.  “The Redneck Surprise” seemed to have a lot of potential, right up until we opened the door to the “pool room”.  The pool room was a section of unfinished basement with a large plastic walled above ground swimming pool set up on the concrete.   My favorite was when I went back with a friend to peek into an empty house we were considering and she exclaimed “What on Earth is that?!?”  “That” turned out to be the pile of moldy rubble in the hallway floor that used to be the ceiling.   One time the realtor wanted us to come look at this place she thought really had potential but said the kids couldn’t come in- no one under 18 could come in due to the overwhelming amount of animal urine!  Gag! Needless to say, we didn’t even waste our time looking at that cootie factory.  

By the end of our search I was giving the realtor specs on properties because we’d been in more houses than her.  To be fair we had some pretty unrealistic qualifications for ideal place.   Outside of town (but not so far we couldn’t have high speed internet), at least 3 bedrooms, a full dry basement, move-in ready except for minor cosmetic repairs, large yard, and a small price tag.   We finally found our place on a online yardsale site. 

It was for sale by owner and the couple selling had been here for 30 years.  The ad said it was 4 bedrooms, 1 full bath, one 3/4 bath, one half bath, a full finished basement, on 2 acres with a wet weather pond and 2 outbuilding.   We drove out and took a look and were pleasantly surprised. I saw a future homestead, my husband saw a nice house with room for his man-cave. He saw an empty shed, I saw a future chicken coop.  He saw a wet weather pond, I saw a little work turning it into a perfect duck pond.  He saw a huge yard to mow, I saw plenty of space for fruit trees and garden beds.    Obviously when we looked at it we saw two very different visions!   

We all liked it and felt like it could be “home” so we made an offer and bought the farm! Except of course my husband didn’t really realize we’d bought a farm.  😀  7 months later my husband is starting to see my vision and he’s a little scared and a lot confused and really reluctant to join me in my mini-farming adventures.  Luckily he’s pretty used to my crazy ideas and DIY nature so he lets me do my thing and always pitches in when I need a helping hand!

Who is the Reluctant Farmer’s Wife?

I’m a thirty-something, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom.  My name is Amanda and I’m married to the reluctant farmer.  He probably should be called the very, very, reluctant farmer.   He grew up in “town” and is pretty convinced that there is no reason to farm if grocery stores exist.  On the other hand I grew up in the country and I have a big dream of turning our two acres into a homestead that can mostly sustain us, at least as far as food goes.   We have two fun, independent, unique kids who love everything that has to do with animals or getting dirty.  They’re taking to farm life like ducks to water.    We live in rural Missouri with our dog and an ever growing number of farm animals.  This blog is part garden diary, part homestead journal, and will be about all our adventures in turning our home into a homestead while homeschooling.

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