Back Acres Homestead: The Preface
Every good book sneaks a special page in between the cover and Chapter One. It’s highly underrated and usually doesn’t take long to read. This page is known as the preface…
According to dictionary.com, the word preface means “a preliminary statement in a book by the book’s author or editor, setting forth its purpose and scope, expressing acknowledgment of assistance from others, etc..”
Some people choose to skip it and go straight to the beginning of the story. They don’t care as much about the “what” and “why” as much as the “who, when, and how.” For others, the “what” and “why” portion gives them a whole new depth and perspective to the tale they are about to read.
If you’re in the “skipper” category, don’t be ashamed. I too enjoy getting straight to the meat and potatoes section of a good book. So, I will not judge if this particular blog post is not for you, though I hope you still continue on. For the rest of you, you’re about to get a glimpse into the reasons and seasons behind Back Acres Homestead. You will also learn about the progress that we’ve made towards this dream so far…
Like An Arrow…
There’s a quote I hold near and dear to my heart…
“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”
If you’ve glanced through the Back Acres Homesteading or Messy Masterpiece Bio pages, then you already know it took chronic illness and the global pandemic for me to reach my breaking point. Past traumas resurfaced, old wounds reopened, and everything I knew was called into question. This included my identity, my past, my country, and my faith. As much as I tried to run from it, I kept finding myself face to face with things I long forgot.
I didn’t know it then, but I was about to realize that all those years of “backwards” were actually pulling me towards something…or should I say someone.
…Being Pulled Back…
Now, before your mind jumps to a tall, dark, and handsome hero riding in on a white horse, let me clarify. It’s not that kind of story. The person I am referring to is actually a wild, untamed, 5-year old girl with dirty bare feet and frizzy hair. She…is me.
All those years of feeling pulled backward, I was definitely being pulled back in time. Not to my pain and traumas of the past like I thought, but to the most authentic version of myself that had been buried underneath a sea of societal expectations, judgements, and perfectionism.
As a little girl living in the country, I had no fear. My favorite hobby was sitting outside singing to the birds, playing with the bugs, and learning everything I could about animals. But unlike the Disney princesses you see in movies, I hated fluffy dresses and much preferred running around in just my underwear. Talk about free spirited!
Suddenly, the longing I felt when looking out over the open countryside started to make sense. Not only was this little girl my past, she was also my future. The homesteading siren song has been sung.
…I’m Ready to Launch
Homesteading is not something that happens all at once and it is never complete. However, we’ve made some major progress in the last two weeks! Here’s the a snapshot of what we’ve done so far and the projects that we are working on right now…
In June of 2022 my husband and I purchased 2.57 acres of land in the country for our future homestead. In October, my husband and I planted 16 evergreens in order to start our western windbreak. Last week, we assembled our temporary 12’x20′ garage and did some Spring yard maintenance. We also placed an order for 125 trees through our state’s DNR nursery to plant around the boundary lines for more privacy. Those should be arriving in a week or two.
We have finally settled on a home builder with the goal of building Spring of 2024. We will be meeting again toward the end of the year to finalize the floor plan and design. We’ve decided to act as our own general contractor to reduce cost and have some flexibility for DIY projects. There’s a TON of work to do in between now and then, but we are super excited to get started!
Is a homestead really a homestead if the goal isn’t to be a self sufficient as possible? My husband and I have spent the last week designing and mapping out how that would look for our family. We decided it will be done in 4 phases over the course of a decade (or more if needed). Each phase contains a different theme and group of companion plants. Once complete, we will have a massive 60’x100′ garden. This will include an orchard, summer garden, autumn garden, and an annual raised bed area. We will also have a greenhouse, compost pile, and rain collection system. And let’s not forget about the critters! Speaking of…
Since February, we have been in talks with our city council about allowing us to get quail on our current property. After two and half months, the city kindly granted us permission! Unfortunately, the chicks we plan on ordering require a 10 week preorder. This means that by the time we receive the chicks and get them to egg laying age, their season would be cut short by winter. This means that the majority of the quails prime egg laying age would be spent in their dormant season since quail have a relatively short lifespan. With that in mind, we’ve decided to postpone until February of 2024. In the meantime, we will be getting our hutch ready and learning all we can.
A preface wouldn’t be a preface without the acknowledgement of the people that helped get me here. If you’ve supported, guided, been a shoulder to cry on, or someone to laugh with, I’m talking to you. Whether you’ve sat with me in the dark or celebrated the light, I’m talking to you. Have you rolled up your sleeves and got your hands dirty with me? I’m talking to you. My heart is overflowing with how grateful I am for each and every one of you. It really does take a village. Not only to raise kids, but to thrive as an adult.
God knew what He was doing when he made me. Even if I forgot for nearly 3 decades. I’m so grateful to have the chance to see this plan all the way through. From the preface to the final chapter…