Imagine if you could learn from the experts on how to manage your time to increase your productivity and find joy while meeting your homesteading goals. Well you can. Welcome to the Happy Homestead Interview Series.
Every Monday I invite homesteaders who have conquered this challenge to share their stories, from realizing they could homestead where they are to building a homestead that meets their families needs, dreams and goals.
If you want to quit your job, and purse your homestead dreams wholeheartedly, read on to learn how you too can have a productive and happy homestead to discover your homesteading purpose, find success and live the life you want to.
Homesteading Blogs leading the way in 2021
If we’ve learned anything, this decade is all about leading a more self sufficient lifestyle that helps us connect with each other, our food and our planet.
I’m interviewing the best homesteaders that I know that are leading the way of living a handmade homegrown lifestyle to sustain their families while still enjoying a simple happier life.
AN INTERVIEW WITH SHELBY DEVORE OF Farminence
Today I’m extremely excited to share with you my friend Shelby, she is a master at gardening and homesteading. Shelby DeVore is the founder of Farminence. Shelby has 20+ years of experience raising livestock and gardening.
In this Interview you’ll learn from Shelby
- How to homestead with many animals
- How to get a lot done in a typical daily routine including homesteachooling
- Her secrets to staying motivated
1. How and when did you start your homesteading journey?
I was raised on a small homestead/hobby farm. We always had chickens for eggs, raised pigs for meat and had a massive garden each summer.
I’d help my mom out in the kitchen canning jellies, tomatoes, relishes and pickles. I enjoyed growing my food so much that I continued doing so after I moved out.
I even managed to grow a vegetable garden on my patio of my apartment in college.
2. How big is your property and what does your homestead look like? (what do you grow and raise?)
We live on 14 acres. It’s pretty hilly and wooded, so it’s hard for us to raise cattle without haying them out all year long.
We do have some established silvopasture and are adding more. We raise meat pigs, Nubian goats, pygmy goats, meat chickens, layers, turkeys and keep bees.
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We also have a Jersey milk cow, a couple of semi-retired horses, our dogs and cats. We plant a large garden each year (close to 1 acre). We grow almost everything you can think of.
It’s a family affair, so we all help with planting and picking and tending the garden each day. We do have some fruit trees on the homestead also. We have a large blackberry thicket, several apple trees, a couple of pear trees, pecan trees and blueberry bushes.
3. What are your biggest struggles or least favourite parts about homesteading?
The biggest struggle for me is managing it all. My husband works an hour and a half from home, so he isn’t always around to help when I need it.
With that being said, my kids are a tremendous help. My son, (almost 10), is able to help out a lot more than he could a couple of years ago.
It’s very humid in the summer here, so in the summer, I try to get as much done before 9 a.m. as possible. It’s downright miserable after that!
4. What does a typical day look like?
I get up pretty early. Most days I get up at 3 a.m. to work on my blog. It’s much harder to be productive with my blog once my kids are awake. I work until about 7 a.m. on my blog.
I get my kids up and they start getting ready for the day. I homeschool them and we start school at 8. If we need to feed hay to any of the horses, cows or goats, we do that before we start school. We also let the chickens out before school starts.
In the summer, I get out to the garden just as it’s starting to break daylight. (I was serious when I said that I didn’t like working in the heat and humidity!)
We finish school up anywhere from 11-2. After lunch, we get a little break. I spend time canning food or catching up on blog and housework.
In the summer, we may lounge around the pool for a while. Around 4 p.m., we start feeding and getting all of the animals settled for the night.
During the summer, we go out to the garden to check on plants and harvest in the evening before supper.
5. How do you stay motivated?
It can be hard to stay motivated on a homestead. It’s hard work and it’s easy to give it up and just purchase your food from a grocery store.
But, it’s a lot harder to give up when you know what homegrown food tastes like. My kids don’t like to eat store-bought chicken anymore because they think it tastes like water.
I’ve actually been embarrassed before because we were at a friend’s house one night for dinner. We grilled some chicken legs and my daughter asked them if the chicken legs were chickens that they had raised.
When they said they bought them from the store, my daughter said they weren’t going to taste good. Lovely, right?
Homestead fatigue is real. So, we try to travel frequently, even if it’s just for the weekend. We try to go out of town a few times per year. This really helps refuel our batteries and keeps us from getting burnt out.
6. How do you celebrate success after finishing a project?
I always like to add something fun and neat to the homestead. So for me, adding new fruit plants or a new type of animal is fun already. Not all homesteading projects are fun though.
For example, last year we planted our garden and I was massively pregnant with our third child at the time. It was questionable whether our garden was going to get planted or if I was going to die in the process.
So, when we finished getting it in to the ground, which took two days, we took our boat out to the lake.
Harvesting animals can be a lot of work also. We take larger animals like cattle and pigs to the packer since we don’t have the facilities here to harvest them.
We do harvest birds here though. Harvesting a lot of birds is a job. That’s definitely a job that calls for a glass of wine after!
NOTE FROM DIANA:
Most homesteaders find the greatest joy in completing projects but don’t forget to celebrate your successes no matter how big or small. This makes the journey memorable and not just about the destination. For more celebration ideas grab our cheatsheet here.
7. What advice would you give someone who wants to start homesteading?
It’s always good to prepare yourself, but I’m not sure that anyone is really prepared for homesteading.
Start with a garden (it’s less likely to hurt your feelings if a tomato plant dies than a pig).
Garden for a year or two before you add livestock. Then add chickens. Chickens are the gateway livestock. They’re easy and can be almost 100% self-sufficient.
Don’t buy all of the animals and start a massive garden all at once. There’s a huge learning curve and you’ll burn yourself out.
Oh, and don’t worry if you feel like you’re winging it. A lot of homesteaders feel that way and you just have to make your homestead work for you.
If you could speak face to face with yourself when you first started your business, what pearls of wisdom would you impart?
Be patient. Homesteading, blogging and homeschooling kids is hard work. Things might take longer than you expect but you’ll get where you want to go as long as you are persistent.
What are you most looking forward to for 2021?
So many things! I’m definitely hoping that we will see an end to the pandemic. I’m also very excited to plant a garden this year without being pregnant.
Planting and tending to the garden last year was pretty tough. I also can’t forget that I’m coming out with some surprises this year for my readers. I’m probably most excited about that!
Shelby DeVore is the founder of Farminence. Shelby has 20+ years of experience raising livestock and gardening.
Before starting Farminence, Shelby was a high school and college agriculture teacher. She also coached numerous FFA teams, managed a commercial greenhouse and has two degrees- a B.S. in Animal and Dairy Science and a M.S. in Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Shelby currently lives on a small farm in West Tennessee with her husband and three kids.
Thank you Shelby for participating this this blog series. Keep up your hard work, you inspire us us!
READ MORE INTERVIEWS IN THE SERIES
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