Heritage of Homesteading, Self Sufficiency in my History

I definitely have homesteading in my DNA; let’s be honest most of us do. When I think about my grandparents’ generation or my great grandparents’ generation, most of them gardened, raised some source of meat, and had home food preservation. The generations before us were homesteaders out of necessity. I remember my father telling me stories that his grandmother told him about surviving the Great Depression. He told me stories about how she shared one pair of shoes with her siblings and how they made clothing out of flour sacks. As our society has developed and our prosperity increased, we have shifted away from homemade and more toward convenience. I will not slam convenience – there are certain things at this point I either don’t have the skill to do or the time to commit to learning. So in other words, I will be buying my kids’ shoes.

Hettie cooking

My dad loved his grandmother fiercely and would often tell me stories of spending summers on her homestead. He admired the way she cooked from scratch and could wring a chicken’s neck. I am named after her and have always been honored to be given the name of one of my Dad’s favorite people who walked the earth. My Mom described admiring her Grandmother who cooked for all the farm men and then joined them working.

My homesteading family in the early days

     My parents continued a path of partial self-sufficiency during a time where most were moving away and opting for convenience.  My mother was a very talented woman with a heart of a pioneer.  My parents decided early on that my Mom would not work outside the home during my childhood.  My Dad also had big dreams of living on a farm.  So somehow my parents fell into that category of, “we just bought 20 acres and a cow, now what ?!”  With the combination of limited income, farmland, and my Mom’s pioneer spirit, my parent’s became Christian hippy, homesteaders.  I grew up with home sewn dresses, homemade bread, and picking green beans. 

My Mom and I fishing on our family farm

I’ll be honest, my brothers would have voted me least likely to homestead. I often was jealous of the city lifestyle, I wanted air conditioning and cable TV. After getting married and starting my own family, we lived in trailer parks and subdivisions. Funny enough I had all the city life I had thought I wanted and felt like a part of me was missing. I remember being newly married, living in a cute little pink trailer (in a very crowded trailer park)and having the desire to have flowers growing in our postage stamp yard. I missed being able to go pick a tomato when I wanted one. My husband had homesteading in his roots too, but had grown up as a “city boy”. My Dad would always say, you could tell how much my husband loved me by all the wild ideas he would help me try.

One of my homemade dresses in front of a cedar tree cut from our farm

So in my cute little pink trailer, with my homesteader husband’s help, I began experimenting with container gardening.  My husband would comment about how impressed he was with the amount of food we could produce with our limited space.  He noticed the reduction of the grocery bills during the growing season.  I still had the benefits of my parents’ homesteading efforts and was often gifted home canned goods along with home grown beef.  

My Dad and I in our backyard, apparently I have always liked red socks

     In 2017 I lost my parents suddenly in a tragic accident. It was a long difficult painful year without a harvest.  I really thought it would be the end of homesteading for me.  I will blog more about my journey to now; it was not all sunshine and roses.  I will end this blog saying, I am thankful for the spirit of my parents and those before them.  I am thankful I can grow green beans, make my own candles, and raise my own popcorn.  My homestead is alive and growing, just like my life. 

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6 responses to “Heritage of Homesteading, Self Sufficiency in my History”

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your parents. I love that homestead part of you (your inheritance) didn’t die but stayed in your heart. Now we can all benefit from your momma’s teaching. Especially some of us city slickers that are really challenged at it. Learning lots and having fun reading your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Hettie. I am so sorry about your parents. My dad tragically lost both of his parents at the young age of 31. He was never the same. He says I remind him of my grandma and her “life of the party” spirit. It sounds like you still see your parents in a lot of ways- green beans and fresh air. 🙂 I love that for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I was blessed to have them 43 years ❤️

      Like

  3. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sweet Cuz, I’ve so enjoyed your stories. I think our Granny Gaines was a pioneer woman, and I knew Mr and Mrs Handley. Loved their two story log house

    Liked by 1 person

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