Paige is the Mama behind Grass Grazed, a homestead in Durham, NC where she lives with her husband and five children. Fairly new to the homestead life, we’re excited for her to share her experiences for those that may be itching to take up this crazy but rewarding lifestyle that we all love! The following is an excerpt of a previous Instagram takeover.
This is story all about how my life got twist turned upside down…
My introduction into farming has been more of a crash course. After 13 years in the military, our family decided to go into farming full time. My husband served in USASOC – special operations. If you’ve ever seen a military themed movie, these are the guys who go on super secret missions, jump out of planes, bust down doors, taking down names and the bad guys. You know, the cool job. Well for him… But not so cool for our family. He would travel every month for weeks at a time. On top of that he would deploy every 6 months. Sooo… yeah. It was rough on ya girl.
At this time we had 4 kids and another one one the way… deployment babies are a thing y’all. I never wanted to ask him to let go of his dream job, but after so long, he and I both knew we had to make a change. We started to look into next steps outside of the military. The opportunity to farm opened up and it just made sense, both professionally and for our family!
When I was a kid my nickname was “Mama”. People would often comment on how I would be the one to have a big family and follow in my Mom’s footsteps. I am one of 14. (Yes ,14 children… we drove a church van.) Well, in hindsight, I guess they were on to something. I never knew I would have 5 kids, let alone 1000’s of animals under my care! But here I am, doing the thang.
We have been living at our homestead for less than a year now and time is flying. When I told my parents we were going into farming full time, they were surprised, but also proud to see someone take up farming again. Being a homestead mama takes things up a notch. It’s like motherhood to the 10th degree. My kids are now involved in every aspect of my day: chores, cooking, cleaning, as well as the business of farming.
And this, friends, can be a challenge… A task that will take you 10 minutes can easily take you 30 when little ones are involved. Here are the biggest working-with-kids tips that I’ve learned so far… Delegation is necessary. Don’t try and do everything yourself because you just can’t. Growing up in a big family, I learned a lot about delegation. I essentially worked my way out of many jobs. I am a firm believer that kids are capable of a lot more than we think. The challenge is teaching AND having patience to endure through the learning stages. I’m always on the look-out for ways to keep my kids involved: feeding the pigs, gathering eggs, sweeping the kitchen floor. The key is finding age appropriate chores that they can develop over time. Why? This does two things: 1) it relieves some of the work off me and 2) it gives them a sense of responsibility, ownership in the farm.
Take time to explain the why.
Deuteronomy 11:19 says “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The unique thing about this passage is that it encourages teaching at all times, always looking for that teachable moment, whether we are relaxing, eating, walking, and on and on. I try to take the time to explain the “why” to my kids throughout the day because, living on a farm, anything can happen. When I take to the time to explain, 70% of the time it yields a better result. This can really help with the big concepts like safety, animal welfare or personal responsibility. Now, I’m not advocating for an explanation session for every task. Cause ain’t nobody got time fo dat. But what I am saying is… take the time to teach as you go about your day. It is valuable for you and a treasure for them.