March 26, 2010

Agrarian Lifestyle Wannabe

If given an opportunity I would love to try an Agrarian Lifestyle. This would mean to me that we would live on a small acreage, grow our own fruits and vegetables, raise chickens and goats.  I'm not sure if I would homeschool or not - that has never appealed to me.  What I am looking for is the ability to gain more independence in my life by not relying on a grocery store for our food supply and to frankly live a more simple lifestyle.

Now, I am not foolish, having a garden and raising animals for food is very hard work.  But our food would be cheaper and healthier.  Simple to me means getting rid of the distractions in our lives and focusing more on family. 

My DH is not even interested in this lifestyle at all.  So this is not going to happen for me and that is okay.  I love my DH and wouldn't impress upon him a lifestyle that he has no interest in living. 

What I am doing is bringing elements of an agrarian lifestyle into my "little old house on a corner in a small town".  Our yard is too small for a garden, but my plan is that by the summer of 2011 I will have a couple of raised beds to grow tomatoes and other vegetables. 

I am making my own laundry soap and dishwasher detergent.  As soon as the weather is warmer, I will hang the clothes out to dry on a clothes line.

I bake our own bread and buns.  My next step is to save for a wheat mill so I can grind wheat into flour. 

I am relearning a skill I had as a teenager - sewing.  My goal is to make most of my clothes.  I plan on sewing curtains and other items for our house.  No more searching stores and the internet, I will make my own.  A future goal is to make my own patterns too.

I want to learn to knit and crochet and would love to make my own pillowcases and embroider on them.  My mother used to make rag rugs for our house and I would love to learn to make these also.

Making my own soap and candles has always interested me.   

All of these skills I can use in our "little old house on a corner in a small town".  (Yes, when I was growing up I watched Little House on the Prairie.)  I can add these elements of the agrarian lifestyle without pulling up roots and actually moving to the country and homesteading. 

I have a friend that has a large garden and grows her own vegetables.  She and her DH have planted fruit trees so they have plenty of apples, cherries and pears.  Last year she added chickens to her plan.  Now she has plenty of eggs and when the time comes - chickens to eat.  She runs her own business in town and on the weekends and evenings she lives on her little homestead on the edge of town.  I'm sure that down the road, she will want to pull back from her business and invest more time into her homestead. 

Last year I came across a website about the West Ladies.  This is a family living out the agrarian lifestyle in Tennessee.  I ordered their dvd's - Homestead Blessings.  These are wonderful dvd's of a mother and her grown daughters sharing different skills such as:  Herbs, gardening, bread making, cooking, canning, candle making, soap making, sewing and dairy delights.

I am drawn to the way this family interacts with each other.  They work together and have such a close relationship that is easily visible. 

Via Netflix this week I ordered and watched "Inherit the Land" and have on my queue  "A Journey Home."  Inherit the Land profiles several families that have left their busy city lives for the country and the agrarian lifestyle.  A Journey Home continues that theme by focusing on one family. 

Both of these movies and the Homestead Blessings dvd's are produced by Franklin Springs and are available on Netflix.  Unfortunately Netflix does not carry all of the Homestead Blessings dvd's. 

I love the feeling of being in an old fashioned homestead type of home.  I love antiques, old houses, old fashioned aprons and skirts, good down home cooking and simple things.  It makes me feel happy and secure. 


Moderate Means said...

Thanks for the DVD ideas - I need more things in my netflix queue and those sound interesting.

We have similar dreams - I'll pass on the goats and homeschool though ;)

I'm actually going to a demo today for a company that makes 'old-fashioned' non-powered machines and I'm hoping to learn about candlemaking, as well as how to make my own pop. I think I'll happily spend hours wandering around!


Martha said...


On Netflix, under Homestead Blessings, they have their dvd's on soap making, bread baking and candlemaking. Be sure and get the candlemaking one. It was extremely well taught. I think once you see one of their dvd's you will be hooked.


tammyyarbrough said...

Square foot gardening. Check into it! There is a lot to be said about producing something from your own blood, sweat and tears. I love the Agrarian Lifestyle idea,too- it's the rest of my family who think I'm nuts! (They may be right!!) ;) I think it certainly takes a whole lot of dedication, and once you choose that way of life you can't turn back- kind of like going Vegan?

Ashley Jones said...

You sound just like me! I already make my own soap, crochet, and make foods from scratch. The only thing I'm missing is a home (I lost my job in Nov 2012). I'm a single mom of 3, so we are staying in my mom's apartment temporarily.
Thanks for the Netflix ideas also; this is one thing I spend money on every month, and I rarely watch t.v. so when I do, it is about things that really interest me.
Thank you for being an inspiration! I will definitely be cruising around your blog a lot! :)