A homestead is a dwelling and the property connected to it that a family uses for their living purposes. Some people use their homesteads to grow food for their family; some have animals to provide dairy foods or meats, or even fibers for textiles. It's not the extent to which you develop self-sufficiency that makes it a homestead. Nor is it the setting, as homesteads can be rural or urban, or anywhere in between. It's not the size that matters either. In my mind, a homestead is a matter of the heart.
At Maple Grove, our desire is to manage the resources God has given us to honor Him and to improve the quality of life around us. We use our homestead to keep free-range chickens for nutritional eggs and to grow fruits and vegetables for canning and freezing. Homesteading to any degree takes some commitment and adds responsibilities to daily living. I have found, however, that living closer to the land and working with it encourages a simpler lifestyle that somewhat replicates a time when life was a little slower and less stressful.
There's always much to do on a homestead in the spring, summer and fall, but what do you do in the winter months if you live in a snow belt? Well, here's what we do at Maple Grove:
We watch the snow blow . . .
and grow . . .
We feed the chickens . . .
and let them free-range (yes, in the winter too) . . .
We compost the garden . . .
(that's how our garden grows) . . .
and browse the seed catalogs . . .
We burn the firewood we split and stacked . . .
and sip tea by the fire (ahh) . . .
We gobble up all those good fruits and veggies we canned . . .
and are amazed at the taste of all that freshness in the middle of winter . . .
We appreciate God's creation . . .
and count our blessings . . .
May God richly bless you in the new year ahead.
Happy New Year from our homestead to yours!