Welcome back to my Friday series, Highlighting Homesteaders! Every Friday I introduce you to backyard homesteaders, urban homesteaders and homesteaders with acres. This will give you a chance to see what others are doing, be inspired, learn something new and just meet a fellow like-minder homesteader.
Today I am happy to introduce you to Jenn of Little House on the 100. Yes, they really have 100 acres…I can hardly imagine. I think you’ll be surprised and interested to see what her family does with all that land. So, get ready to meet Jenn!
Highlighting Homesteaders – Jenn of Little House on the 100
- Homestead Name and where are you located?
The name of our homestead is Little House on the 100 Farm and we are located in South Central Kentucky. We relocated to Kentucky from Michigan in 2011. The name of our homestead was originally Little House on the Hundred Acre Wood after two of our favorite shows – Little House on the Prairie and Winnie the Pooh, but that name was too long for most of my social media links, so I shortened it. The climate here in Kentucky is mild. We have a short winter with days that can sometimes reach into the 50’s or 60’s. We have received record snowfall for the past two years, but it comes and goes fast. The summers can be very humid and hot with severe storms rolling through occasionally. Spring and fall are the best times of the year in Kentucky.
- How much land are you working with?
We own one hundred acres of land that is mostly used to hunt whitetail and small game. These are our main meat sources throughout the year. We are a hunting family and every fall you can find us in a tree stand most days of the week.
- How long of you been homesteading? What got you started?
We’ve been on our homestead for a little over three years now. I got the itch to start homesteading after moving to Kentucky. We were living in a brand new house on seven acres after moving to Kentucky but decided we would rather be land rich and house poor. We started looking for land and found a piece that was one hundred acres with no house. It did, however, have a three-sided 40×60 tractor shed on it and my husband convinced me we could convert that in to a house. Trusting him and his skills, we decided to go for it.
The very first thing that started my adventure toward homesteading was when I become aware of the chemicals in our foods. I decided to start trying to eat more naturally grown foods. I read and researched a lot of books and slowly started adding skills like making bread, rolls, biscuits, and canning vegetables and fruits to our homestead.
- What gardening method do you use?
We use the garden method that our grandparents and parents used. We till up a piece of ground and plant the vegetables right in the ground in rows. We try to leave enough room between rows to work up the ground for eliminating weeds but we still weed around the individual plants.
- Do you compost? And what’s your method?
We started composting last year by making a DIY compost out of a Rubbermaid tote with newspapers and some dirt from our land. We have plans eventually to build a tumbler compost. I also plan to make a countertop compost out of an old coffee container with holes drilled in the top and a carbon filter glued to it.
- What kind of livestock do you have?
We do not have any livestock at this point. We have talked about raising pigs someday and possibly beef cattle. We would have to invest money for shelters and fencing for them since our place is not set up with extra storage buildings. We are planning on getting chickens this spring if everything goes well. We are not sure about the investment in livestock since we can walk out our door to hunt wild game and it provides us with more than enough meat for the winter.
- Tell me about your homesteading indoors?
Homesteading indoors consist of trying to make bread and bread products from scratch. I also am a canning addict and put away a ton of canned goods every summer and fall. I have switched all our cooking pans over to cast iron and stainless steel. I make body cream out of coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. I also use essential oils for medicinal purposes and try to avoid OTC medications if possible, but I do not hesitate to use them if I need them or see a doctor if needed. I am not anti-healthcare but am more ‘be proactive at home to avoid it in the first place.’ We also homeschool and that’s another way of not relying on an outside source for our family.
- What have been your greatest challenges?
Some of the challenges we have encountered are having the financial ability to do all we want to do and the time to do it. Some of the things we would like to do will require fencing and shelter which are not free. Since I homeschool our son, I am also limited on the amount of time I have daily to invest into things I want to do and learn. It has also taken awhile for my husband to be completely onboard with all my dreams and plans for the future. I think he is slowly coming around.
- What are you proudest of?
I am most proud of the fact that we have chosen to live differently than what society tells us. I love the fact that we were looked at as odd when people find out we built a home inside a tractor shed. It is a great home and actually quite nice even if it is on the small side with less than 1200 sq ft. I am proud of this adventure that we were brave enough to step out and do even though it involved moving nine hours away from our family and friends. Simplifying our lives and putting first things firsts is a mission of ours.
- What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I would say to go to your local library and check out as many books as you can on living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. You can also follow many bloggers who give great tips everyday on new things to try. I would then encourage them to start doing things one at a time. Start making your own bread and once that is mastered, make your own chicken broth, etc. You don’t need to have land or animals to do any of those things. If your dream is to someday have land, I encourage you to get out of debt and start saving. Never stop dreaming!
- Bonus Question – In regards to your homestead, what are your hopes and plans for the future?
I would really like to see us get an orchard with fruit trees established along with berry bushes. I want to look into more, and better, ways to process and cook wild game. Chickens will be my number one goal this coming year and that will help to provide our own egg source. My main goal for now and into the future is to be less of a burden on our planet. I would like to be less of a consumer and more of a giver. I want to recycle more and take what God has given us and treat it how it deserves to be treated. I want to blog and help others to learn that they don’t need to do what everyone else is doing and that it’s okay to be different. I want to grow our handmade crate business and keep giving to people in need and teach my son to be a giver and not a taker. Mostly, I want to live a life that glorifies God and all He has let me use during this short life.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Jenn and the series Highlighting Homesteaders. I am thrilled to share this community with you – we all have something to learn from these awesome homesteaders!
Where you can find Jenn: