At lunch one day a former colleague of mine once asked…”If you didn’t have any bills to pay and could do anything you wanted, what would you do?”
What was my answer? You guessed it – I would start a farm.
Everyone at the table had a good chuckle including myself. Yeah, what a silly idea. Me, who knows nothing about farming.
“No, really,” they asked. “What would you do? Wouldn’t you want to move to the Bahamas, relax and sit on the beach all day?”
Actually, I would. For maybe 23 minutes. And then my fair skin would burn to a crisp and I’d be headed to the local real estate office to find out how I could purchase farm land in the Caribbean.
Despite my homesteading dreams, I likely would have stayed at my communications job forever. The work was enjoyable, the pay was good and the people I worked with were awesome.
But then I got pregnant. After my one-year maternity leave, I realized I couldn’t go back full-time – I wanted to stay at home and raise my kids. It was during this time that I started to dream. To think about what I really wanted to do with my life.
Well, here I am, 7 years later, on the brink of bringing my silly idea to life. Of course, I do face some serious challenges and lack of knowledge is definitely one of them.
So I’ve decided to turn this obstacle into an adventure. You see, secretly I’ve always wanted to be like Frodo from Lord of the Rings – to embark on a great quest where I set out to battle evil and save the world. I suppose I could just play a video game, but I don’t think I could sit still long enough. So instead I’ve decided to embark on a real world adventure.
Unfortunately, my homesteading quest does not involve saving the world – I am going to attempt to learn 52 new homesteading skills in one year.
When I first thought of the idea of creating a website, I imagined I’d just share some things we were learning. But as the weeks passed, I realized how much I enjoyed tackling these new projects and the idea of a challenge took root.
I know this isn’t going to be easy. With two kids who love to “help”, a husband who works full-time off the farm and home renovation projects to complete, let’s be honest – this is going to be challenging. But as they say, if you’re doing something you love, it really doesn’t matter. Right? Well, actually, I prefer not to think about it for too long. Let’s just get started!
Since I began this blog four weeks ago, I can cross off learning to: make fermented pickles, plant raspberries, dry herbs and make the perfect pie crust.
That means I now have 48 weeks and 48 skills left to tackle. I hope to learn to:
- milk a goat or cow
- make my own yogurt and cheese
- keep bees and harvest honey
- compost with worms
- grow my own salad greens year round
- keep chickens for eggs without killing them
- properly prune a fruit tree
- and many more… (38 to be exact)
If I can do this, so can you. Raise your pitchfork, shovel, trowel or whatever farming implement you have on hand and join me in my quest. Or just follow along. That’s great too! And, as always, thank you for reading.
PS. If you happen to know an expert in any of the above homesteading areas who would be willing to take on a trainee, please let me know in the comments section below or send me an email.
Aunt Kathy says
I love reading your blog Kimberlee. You’ve challenged me to come up with a list of things to try…maybe I’ll just do one a month (might be more achievable)! Ernie aka Uncle Ernie lives on Bunker Hill near you and he has raised bees, turkeys and chickens. He might be able to give you some idea on them. Keep up the great work
Kimberlee Bastien says
Thank you very much Aunt Kathy! Learning new skills can be frustrating and confusing at first, but definitely worth the effort. I’ll be in touch with Uncle Ernie. Thank you again!
Hi. We have also just decided to start attempting to homestead. Could you please send me your motivation list.
Kimberlee Bastien says
That’s great to hear Lauren! Very exciting! 🙂 If you subscribe to my blog, you will receive the list of all of the 52 homesteading skills I learned organized by month and week. Is this what you are referring to? If you haven’t received this after subscribing, please send me a message and I’ll try and find out what’s going on. Thank you!
Hi Kimberlee, I stumbled across your blog when I was revisiting Rick’s Funny Farm online where I bought *my* ducks as well. I am so excited because you are now my virtual support system. Our story is similar in some ways and I took this to mean the universe is pushing me to purchase that herd of dairy goats I was looking at. My husband says “nice try”. “Slowly but surely is important to remember. ” Well, I guess so. Sometimes.
Re :vermicomposting: The book Worms Eat My Garbage is an oldie but is excellent and will make you feel like an expert. You can probably find a second hand copy somewhere for cheap.
Gotta go because I have a child crawling on me and another threatening to throw the full potty.
Nice to meet you,
Kimberlee Bastien says
Hi Marianne! Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I think the “slowly but surely” is definitely a good idea. I tend to jump into things before I’m ready, which gets us into all kinds of trouble. Thank you for the book recommendation. I will check it out for sure. Thank you again and good luck with the homesteading and your ducks! 🙂