Somewhere In Between

Erica Gassmann, the mama behind Mother Farmer Maker, lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband and three year old daughter where they raise both laying and broiler chickens as well as have a garden full of flowers, herbs, and veggies. The following is an excerpt of a previous Instagram takeover.

Hi, all! My name is Erica Gassmann and I will be sharing my homesteading life here for the next few days. I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband, Will and our almost-three-year-old daughter, Rose. My husband is the Vegetable Production Manager at @dickinson_farm where he grows ten acres of organic veggies and trains apprentices to become farm managers themselves. The farm also raises beef cattle and lambs on pasture.

We are fortunate to have some space on the farm for our personal homesteading habit. We have ten laying hens who provide delicious, nutritious eggs (and endless entertainment for Rose), as well as broiler chickens for meat. Rose and I have a little personal garden where we’re growing some flowers, herbs, and veggies. We preserve as much food as we possibly can to keep us eating well all year long. I also dabble in beekeeping and herbalism and I’m hoping to do a lot more of both in the future.

To be honest though, most of my days are spent parenting, cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry and homesteading happens somewhere in between. Our life is messy and exhausting, but it’s exactly how we want it to be. I’m excited to be here to share our messy life and our journey through farming, homesteading, and parenthood with you all. It’s been a wild ride, that’s for sure!

One of my goals for this year is to up my herb game, so I’m growing and drying new-to-me herbs and experimenting with different ways of using them. Most will be dried for tea and oil infusions, but I’m also going to try my hand at some tinctures this year. I would love to get to the point where I’m able to provide the majority of our household medicine cabinet (and supply our excessive winter tea habit). A girl can dream, right?

 

Rose and I did a silly little painted number craft this afternoon with rocks we collected at the creek yesterday. She is turning three on Friday and she’s super interested in learning to count and read (she’s OBSESSED with books). I have plans to homeschool her and I’m excited to start exploring our options for nature- and play-based curriculums (I’ve been eyeing up Little Oak Learning, Peaceful Press, and Oak Meadow). I have this grand romantic vision for what our homeschool experience could be, especially homeschooling on the farm, but I’ll admit I’m a little intimidated and unsure if I’m “qualified”. I’d love to hear how other homeschool mamas pull it off! Any insight into managing a homestead while homeschooling? I’m all ears, mamas!

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a mother has been trying to find space for myself – emotionally, mentally, and physically. The first few years of motherhood were a blur of breastfeeding and diapers and now our days are full of intense toddler energy and endless messes. It’s hard to find time for myself in between (even just posting on Instagram this much has been tough). I am forever grateful for being Rose’s mama, but I also need to be Erica. Can you relate?

 

That’s the true purpose of this garden. We don’t technically need these vegetables, since my husband grows more than enough for us on the farm, but I *need* this garden in so many different ways. Having this tiny patch of dirt to dig in is deeply therapeutic for me. Growing plants provides a sense of purpose that I haven’t found anywhere else in my life. Feeling connected to the land keeps me grounded and I am forever in awe of the generosity of nature.

 

Growing food and raising animals makes me a better mother, of that I’m sure. The space nature provides for me to just be me has been life-changing. We all deserve to feel wild – mamas and children alike. And now I get to share the gifts of nature and the space it holds for us with Rose. I hope she feels that connection as deeply as I do and knows she can depend on nature to allow her to just be herself.

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