The Journey to Homesteading

Kayla is a homesteading, homemaking mom of 5.

She is passionate about waking up early, drinking too much coffee, finding something new to DIY and helping her family take the steps to self-sustainability through homesteading on their land.

 

Farming? No thanks.

This was my mindset for the first 26 years of my life, did I love animals? Yes of course, did this mean I could foresee myself saving all their poop in order to fertilize a garden?… uh no. You see I had always loved convenience, I mean I didn’t even know how to really cook a meal, why would I when I could just buy it premade and tasting great. Until I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I started to think about how little time I have spent raising my first child, how many moments I had missed working 13-hour days in an office, there must be a better way, a trick to this life that would allow me to be present here, I couldn’t continue living to work.

 

Over the last 3 years we slowly started to move further from city life and more up north where we could buy more land for less and work toward a dream of having simply more time, I feel like we move through our lives and we take “time” for granted, like we expect that it is free and it I just ours, so we move through it sometimes feeling as though we have done nothing truly with it. We lost my brother-in-law over the last 2 years at the age of 34, to young, to much still to do. His loss shaped our future, it made me think about time, how it isn’t promised, isn’t owed and shouldn’t be expected, so we should make the most of every second.

Here we are, making the most of each day, we landed on our property here in Northern Ontario last year and have officially broken one year of living here. Since leaving the city we have added quite a few things to our homestead including 3 beautiful children of the young and wonderous ages of 1, 2 and 3, having young children at any point or stage in life is a lot, but having 5 kids 3 of which are 3 and under with a farm is an entirely new ball game. People always say to me, you certainly have “your hands full” and yes, we do, our hands are full of dirt, vegetables from the garden, animals, eggs, flowers and so much love, Our kids from the most part love life here.

Do we have bad days, hard days? yes, absolutely. Living in northern Ontario definitely lacks fun in the winter, and our winters seem to stretch for quite some time, the reality of this especially with 3 younger children is very minimal time with my livestock, my husband and I rise before the sun and before our little ones to get out at do the morning chores as fast as possible some mornings this meant doing the work at the coldest point of the day -35 and colder with windshields, some days are just to cold to bring the kids along. Even with the cold our kids are optimistic and enjoy helping where they can from helping wash waterers, fill them inside when the outdoor taps freeze and prepping leftovers for the pig when the fridge is quite full.

 

Homesteading was the outlet I never knew I needed for life, it is where I truly feel free, I am a control freak to some degree and homesteading is somewhat satisfying to that part of me in a sense that I can control finally what I put in my body, how it is grown, how it is made, what it eats and how it is processed, I have found a place where I can control even the small things to some degree, It is also where I found peace, this may seem like a minor thing to some but I have lived a life full of anxiety, depression and mental instability in some way or another, but here with the animals on the farm with my family I have truly found mental peace.


Every day is not a “walk in the park” and I think that is what I like the most, each day poses some learning experience or challenge, even more so as a mom to five, three of my kids are under the age of three and although they are very enthusiastic about the farm and the animals, they do not always understand the work and why it is so important to do and that sometimes we have to sacrifice play time to fill some feeders.

Homesteading with kids has been the biggest challenge I have had through adjusting our lives to this life style, it is not always so simple as waking up and just doing the chores, most days I am up well before the kids in order to get things done as some days they do not or can not come outside to do the chores especially in the winter when it is negative 35 in the morning and I can hardly breath myself, or when I can manage to bring them out but they last 15 minutes and it takes a minimum of an hour to get chores done. I have finally found that happy medium with my kids and my farm where I cannot manage things successfully and it feels oh so good.

 

I think the key to success I’m learning when it comes to farming with a large family, is to let go, let go of the idea that life needs to be on a schedule, that life needs to happen when you are prepared for it, because life doesn’t work that way, life is messy and it happens when we aren’t prepared for it, your days will always look different in this lifestyle and adapting in the moment is the best advice I can give, when you let go of the idea that your life needs to pan out a certain way, you let go of stress you never needed. Not everything planted will grow, not everything we love will live forever, not every moment of this will be successful but in failure we are given opportunities to learn, and if failure is just an opportunity to be successful then it’s not failing at all is it?

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