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Homesteaders of America

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The Lost Skill of Serving Your Family

Serving your family is just as much a needed skill in today's society as is chopping wood, building fences, and being self-sufficient. And it's almost looked down upon in our society of "everyone can do everything". But I think there's something to say about the touch of a woman. The gentleness, even the toughest of women can exuberate. The quiet spirit when making coffee before the sun rises, or kneading bread in the dead of winter.

Have we lost the joy of serving and tending to our families?

Maybe it looks like making your husband his dinner plate in the evenings, or teaching your children how to put their clothes away. Maybe it looks like sewing your husband's ripped jeans, or even the simple act of freshening up before he gets home after a long day at work. Sometimes it looks like preserving summer's garden bounty while your babies play in mud puddles—it looks like sweaty kisses and hard work with your hands in the dirt. Other times it looks like laying in bed with your son, talking about all the frogs and lizards he caught today, before his precious eyes fall asleep. Or maybe it's the simple gesture of rubbing your husband's back after a long day outside.

But more importantly, it means that you put your family first—before your career, before your wants, and before your homestead or feminist world views.

The Task of Raising Warrior Sons

I can remember when I was pregnant, vividly remember. I remember praying every single night that my child would have a kind and gentle and sweet spirit. I can remember when he was two, and he would just go along with whatever his cousins would tell him to do. I can remember when he was four, and he had such a gentle, quiet spirit that would break so easily over the littlest of things. He was so loving, so kind, so gentle. 

This year, he turned seven. Over the past two years, there has been a shift inside of him like never before. We've dealt with it for some time now, but this year was tougher. That gentle spirit became a warrior lashing out at everything. It became a fighter. And here I was, stressed to the max on trying to learn how to deal with it. I wanted to conform him back into this tiny box he was in before. The kindness, the quiet little voice that went along with everything. The little boy who loved to cuddle with mom. The little boy who was so quiet and peaceful no matter what.

Yeah, no, not happening. I gave up. I stressed out. I gave up and I didn't want to deal with the attitude anymore. Not long ago, I prayed my heart out again. I prayed for guidance and understanding. I prayed for strength to get through one more day of attitude from this strong willed child. And do you know what happened? I realized that maybe my job wasn't to control him and conform him into who I wanted him to be, but to nurture, train, and encourage who God wants him to be. 

Homestead Homemaking Series

Homemaking isn't something I often found joy in. In fact, you could say that I have lost my joy in homemaking. But there is greatness and beauty within it. On my journey to re-learning old skills and rekindling the joy of raising a family and loving my husband, I want to take you along for the journey. 

There are so many women who are struggling with joyful homemaking, because they find it oppressive. I am often faced with the question, "why am I the only one who has to clean up after everyone?" and that's something I used to ask myself as well.

Seasons of Change | A New Direction

I sit here at my desk and look out the window. My hands are bitterly cold because, let's face it, this old house needs new windows. This past week the weather was spring like. The daffodils have completely bloomed and, in fact, they are beginning to lose their brightly colored flower heads because they've been open for so long. Our weather this year has been a complete whirlwind, much like I have felt within myself. The seasons are changing with every new day that comes, but what season are we in?

Scientifically I'll tell you that yes, we're still in the season of Winter. Though the symptoms of a new season have been springing forth in an untimely manner. But don't let it fool you, Winter is still here. I'm reminded of this as I look at the weather for next week, as it calls for 8 inches or more of snow here in the central Virginia area. Spring, you fool, it's not your time yet. Winter must have its last breath before your season begins. We rush into the seasons—planting seeds, flower bulbs, getting the garden area ready. But not yet, not yet....whispers winter.

My heart whispers that often, too. As a new season will begin in my own life soon—a season of taking on new projects, writing books, loving life—my heart still whispers, not yet, don't rush it, not yet.

But here I am, writing to you, tell you that changes are coming. The symptoms of a new season are upon me, but haven't come quite yet. In the meantime, I'm preparing, and here's how.

Starting a Medicinal Herb Garden | The Fewell Homestead

When you begin your homesteading journey, you typically start because you want to become more self-sufficient. It often looks like getting a few chickens, maybe some goats. You then venture into dairy cows, beef herds, turkeys, large garden plots, canning and preserving, and other expeditious skill sets. But the one thing I most often find surprising is that many homesteaders quickly bypass the thought of creating one of the most important additions to their  homestead—a medicinal herb garden. 

If you're homesteading because you want to take control of your food—knowing where, how, and why it grows—and because you want to become more reliant on yourself than a system, then taking control of your healthcare is just as important as taking control of your own food system. In fact, inevitably, on a homestead, at some point or another, you're going to need a doctor, stitches, or come down with an illness that needs medical attention. What then? The argument is quite good in the case of growing your own medicinal herbs and venturing into holistic healthcare, because just as you need food and water, you need good health in order to keep your homestead running.

Where do you begin? How do you even start a medicinal herb garden?

It's the question that homesteaders often ask, normally out of fear of getting it wrong or growing something that could poison your family. But starting your herb garden isn't as overwhelming as you may think.