I’m a country girl at heart. I spent a significant portion of my formative years living on two farms. My parents and some close family friends were part of the back-to-the-land movement in the 70′s and early 80′s. I watched them experiment with raising their own
livestock, and growing their own gardens and fruits. We drank goat’s milk and sang Kum-Bah-Ya. (Okay, I have no idea if we sang that, but it completes the picture, doesn’t it?)
I watched my Dad cut firewood, repair things, and build various useful items … rabbit hutches, cold frames, a goat pen. I grew up thinking that if anything needed doing, you figured out how to do it. I played in the haymow, helped my parents can tomatoes, and absorbed all that closeness to nature. When we moved permanently to the city on my 12th birthday, I was like a fish out water. I became ungrounded and never again felt at home. I slowly lost all hope of ever living in the country again, and eventually my dream just faded away.
More than 20 years later, I stumbled on Jeff Ball’s book, The Self-Sufficient Suburban
Gardener, which reminded me of my childhood experiences. Soon I was absorbed with the
exciting idea of being able to grow some of my own food, even in the suburbs where we lived at the time. Rather ironically, we already had a small, neglected orchard and an overgrown herb garden which the previous owners had planted that we could experiment on. A copy of the book City Chickens set us off on a homeschooling adventure raising our first batch of chickens, and we’ve never looked back.
After getting a start as a “Suburban Farmer,” we finally moved back to the country. I now live on 10 mostly wooded acres in northern Michigan’s AuSableRiver Valley with my very tolerant husband Jesse, who puts up with my desire to grow things and build things and see just what I’m capable of doing. With my children, J.J., Cecily, Danny, and Betsy, I have taken on many self-sufficiency projects, experimenting with a variety of ideas and projects to find out just what I enjoy, what I find rewarding, and what I don’t mind leaving out.
My life is now filled with four lively kids, chickens, elderberry tea, barn cats, dandelion jelly, snap peas, apple trees, lots of garlic (!), my beautiful Missouri Fox-trotter gelding Saxton, and all the flowers, berries, and compost I can handle! Now I also have a podcast dedicated to my passions and I have once again found my stride!
Many thanks go out to my husband Jesse for being so tolerant and forbearing! Thanks for looking the other way when I start another crazy project! Thanks too, to J.J. for pushing me into podcasting about one of my big passions, and for all your hard work to make it happen! Thanks to Cecily, Danny, & Betsy for playing along with me and enjoying my brand of “fun” doing all kinds of new things! Thanks, too, to my Mom and Dad for the love of farming and gardening you somehow managed to osmosisize (is that a word?) into me – cause I sure hated weeding! And thanks to my many friends and mentors who have encouraged, or tolerated, my many and varied interests in small home farming. ~Erin