We Made Some Mistakes Along the Way: A Beginning Homesteader’s Journey


Woman With Chickens In Yard

I found MOTHER EARTH NEWS for the first time in the checkout aisle of Whole Foods. It was one of the special edition magazines that had all these great stories from people who had started or built their own homestead. I had never read anything like it before. The scope of my magazine knowledge prior to this had been gossip and beauty magazines. I soaked it up, and started dreaming.

Quietly at first. Then, I started talking to my husband about it. It turns out that he had picked up my copy and liked it, too. We discovered that we would both like to “do more for ourselves” and try our hands at growing things. So, we started a garden. It was about 6 feet by 12 feet. Not bad for a little sub/urban property just outside of Trenton, New Jersey.

First Tomatoes

It thrived. I had the best year I have ever had for tomatoes. I had so many tomatoes I threw a tomato party. We had tomato-and-mozzarella appetizers, fried green and red tomatoes, homemade salsa and chips, pasta and homemade tomato sauce, and baked green tomato pie for dessert. It was marvelous.

Then, as years passed and my tomatoes never did as well, my husband confessed that he used Miracle Gro on our garden that summer. Yup, it was a blow to my ego. But I took it in stride (though I still argue that we had the best growing conditions that season). Now dedicated MOTHER readers, we dove deeper.

Then Chickens

In 2010, around Easter, my husband mentioned that maybe we should get some chickens. This seemed like a good idea but I’d never had chickens before, and it seemed like a big undertaking. As I mulled it over, he showed up with chickens. Twelve of them, three days old. Turns out, a farmer (two hours) down the road just happened to be selling some. Who knew?

6/12/2019 7:30:41 AM

Rololong - didn't you know? That's how all the great ones got started. Socrates, Descartes, Confucius. All had chickens.

6/11/2019 4:03:09 PM

Fascinating blog. I didn't know you could turn into a philosopher by simply raising chickens. Or buying fix-me-uppers. I look forward to subsequent issues. Maybe some of that philosophizing can rub off on me.

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