It’s taken me days to write this post, which is a testament to the fact that KIDS + HOMESTEAD= a serious lack of extraneous time! This lack of time has brought me all the way to Friday, without a new post, so naturally, this will become a “Seven Quick Takes”!
1. These kids! This homestead! It’s a truly wonderful combination. I love to see the kids love nature here, in a way they weren’t able before. The girls fill their satchels with fairies and snacks and take to the woods for hours. They fuel their imaginations with nature and fresh air.
2. Learning! We are learning all the time out here and the kids learn right along side us. We didn’t know much about homesteading when we took this plunge and we’ve learned so much along the way. It’s not just the knowledge we’ve gained that’s important, but the lessons we’ve taught this gang of kids. Hopefully, they’ve learned that it’s never too late to learn new things or start new adventures. And, it’s ok to fail! I’m looking at you, weedy garden. I trust that the kids see these things, see us not letting failure be a barrier, and learn from us.
3. We don’t raise our animals as pets, but as a food source. That said, we believe that they deserve a happy, healthy, natural life. We feed them well, we give them warm, clean shelter, and when the time comes, we butcher as humanly as possible. The kids are involved in all steps of our animal care and they really do love the animals. They see how the animals serve us and we, in turn, care for them. This connection to creation and to our food is so important.
4. The animals, but also the (sometimes failing!) garden give these kids a strong connection to their food and from where it comes. I remember watching a Jamie Oliver show a few years ago, where he’d go into schools to talk to them about food. The children were so disconnected from their food sources that they couldn’t name vegetables or tell from were french fries came. I thought I was doing so well on this front, until yesterday. Avila picked up a red pepper and proclaimed “Hey! We can make ketchup!”
5. Work hard, play hard. The kids have really learned the value of hard work. They don’t always love it, but they are generally willing and always please with the final result. When Christopher first started chopping wood, it was a difficult task that took loads of concentration. He dreaded it, as the learning part wasn’t very fun. Now that he’s become a proficient ax wielder, he truly loves splitting the logs, loading the wheelbarrow, and stacking the wood for our fires. He is proud of his beautiful stacks of split wood and the important contribution it is to the family.
6. We can always climb higher. Literally and figuratively. Of course, kids are always quick to scope out the best climbing trees. There is a particularly beloved Maple Tree that all of the kids love to climb and the heights to which they climb can frighten this mama heart. In that same way, this homestead life is always challenging their imaginations to reach higher heights, to stretch and grow.
7. Team work! Come what may, we are in this crazy adventure together. We are a team, sometimes a slightly insane team, but a team none the less! We need each player to pitch in, to add reason, and mostly just to make us laugh and have more fun. That’s the most important lesson that I hope they carry with them in life.
(For more quick takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!)