Chasity and her husband Shannon live on a small homestead in Georgia. Together they have four wonderful children, a sweet son in law, and a precious grandson that they adore, and another grand baby on the way! They raise Nubian goats, kune kune pigs, chickens for eggs and meat, ducks, geese, turkeys, and bees. Chasity tends a garden each year and does her best to “put by” lots of good, wholesome, food for her ever growing family.
Most days, just like her mother and grandmothers, Chasity can be found in the kitchen. Making breads, sipping coffee, and working on ways to stretch a dollar. She loves to crochet, cook, bake, take pictures, spend time with her family, grow plants, tend to her animals, and laugh.
If there was ever a statement made about me, “Chas, you were just born in the wrong time” is said often. Sometimes it is said because I love to don an apron. Most days I can be found in an apron. Another reason it is said because I love to do things the “old fashioned way” such as cooking from scratch or milking my own animals. In today’s modern world, these things have become odd and different, but I embrace them emphatically and I hope the joy I have in doing all these old fashioned things can encourage others to love their home and their homestead.
I didn’t necessarily start out knowing I was going to be a homesteader when I grew up, but many things in my life paved the way for me to become one.
My grandparents had a lot of influence in my life. I was very close to both my maternal and paternal grandparents.
On my father’s side my Popa Fred was always bringing in new animals to the small barnyard right beside our home. Goats, horses, cows, chickens, you name it. He loved to trade and barter and there were always new animals arriving. Nannie Black, his wife, could almost always be found either in the kitchen or in her flowers. She loved both. She was extremely frugal, always looking through sale papers, saving her tomato seeds on old napkins, and taking cuttings of plants she loved and rooting them in any window that had a little bit of light.
On my mother’s side, my Nannie Red was a fiery woman (which was perfectly expressed by her home-dyed red hair), who loved to garden and grow her own food. She had a gorgeous orchard and sprawling grapevines. I remember often plucking those huge grapes when they were oh so ripe and enjoying them with my cousins.
My dad was an avid hunter; if he wasn’t working, he was hunting. He found great joy in the woods and the solitude. He’s always been quiet and it seemed that he and the woods got along well in those ways. Occasionally, he would take my sister and I with him on a hunt. As I look back on those times now as an adult, I can see that he was sharing something he loved with me and it warms my heart.
I remember my Moma and her girls (my sister and I) going to spend the days with either of my Nannie’s and working alongside them.
Because we were kids, we didn’t get to do TOO much, but there was helpfulness that was allowed on occasion. I remember being allowed to shred the cabbage for kraut days. Or add the teaspoon of salt in the green bean jars when it was canning day. Or shucking the corn and trying to do my best to get rid of all the silks or “hairs” as we used to call them.
We continue this tradition a couple times a year at least with canning days at my mothers house now.
As the years rolled by and I became a wife and mother myself, I learned that with a family that was growing in number and size that I needed to look back to my roots to make the most of our little home… slowly making it into our homestead.
We wanted our children to learn the value of work. We wanted our children to learn the blessings of home and family. We wanted to be able to watch our children make the accomplishments of learning and growing rather than sending them somewhere else. We felt it was our responsibility, they were our heritage. Which is exactly why we settled upon the name of our homestead… Heritage Acres Homestead. Our acreage may be few, but we prayed our heritage would be strong. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, Psalm 127:3a
As the years passed by we gardened, we raised chickens, we raised ducks, goats, and on as the time flew by. We would go together to pick up our raw milk from a kindly older man who looked a lot like Santa Claus. We went to Shannon’s grandparents to pick the blueberries when they were ripe to fill our freezers. We learned to process our own meat chickens when the kids were just tiny little things. It was a family affair… all of it. Seeing the children develop skills, learn to work, and learn responsibility… we knew that our little homestead was right for our family. Now, our children are all older, and almost grown. They may not make the pictures on my instagram all that often anymore (by their choice, not mine 😉 ) but they have skills. Skills that are instilled in them. Skills they know. Memories that I see now, they cherish. It was hard. But it was worth it!
Recalling a recent chicken processing day my son and nephew had a job to do, but as soon as they finished they came by to check and see if they needed to help us. On other occasions, all the children still at home sacrificed a Saturday morning to help speed the process. They helped build the tiny barn, the goat shelters, the raised beds… they helped fill the soil, pull the weeds, and plant the seeds. They help feed the animals and give the babies bottles. Shucking the corn or breaking the beans are family affairs still.
And that’s it friends, those are big blessings for me. To see everything come to fruition. They may never want a homesteading life for themselves one day. They may choose something completely different… but it is something they will know. Something they will hopefully appreciate and I wouldn’t be totally surprised if a few of them decide to homestead in some capacity. But regardless, I’m grateful for our decisions and our family and I wouldn’t change one thing.
Happy homesteading friends!!!