A year and a half ago, my husband and I decided we were ready to take the plunge and leave apartment life in the city. He was ready to be a homeowner and have more privacy. But for me, it was more about the land. I missed the big yard, fruit trees, and garden that I grew up with in Pennsylvania. I missed seeing the journey of food from planting to harvest to preservation. I missed getting my paws dirty and performing work with tangible outcomes.
It had been about a year at that point since I had come to the realization that I wanted to get involved in the food system. As a teacher in an urban school I began to see huge differences in attention, focus, and even academic achievement between my students who ate primarily natural foods and my students who ate primarily processed foods. Lots of my kids, believe it or not, truly had no idea at all where their food came from, and some had never even had a home-cooked meal before. I love teaching, but I felt like I had to switch gears and find a way to teach both children and adults about the importance of good food.
We lucked out when we found our home – a small but recently renovated 1860s farmhouse on about six acres of land, including a few acres of woods, a creek, and lots of big old trees, perennial flowers, and rhubarb. When we moved in that winter, we immediately got to work on turning the land into a homestead. We added nine fruit trees and a large bed of strawberries, and we had ambitious plans for a 3,000 square foot vegetable garden…
…until during our first spring in our home we found out that we were going to have our first baby. What a wake up call this was for me! I am a dreamer, and this was a much needed reason for me to reel in my plans for that first year (and the years to come). I decided to sit down and write down some big questions. Why did I want to farm in the first place? What were my goals for the property? How was I going to use farming to support my family? When did I hope to get my operation running? How would I balance my role as a mother with my role as a farmer?
So here we are in the dead of winter, new baby in tow as we get ready for our second season. My husband has encouraged me to write about life on our homestead, including parenting, natural living, and farming on a small scale. I hope sharing this journey will allow me to find some sort of balance between all of these things.
How do you balance your role as a parent with your own aspirations? Let me know!