Hello, my name is Gabe (I hate those stickers).
On the surface, we’re your semi-average American family – mom, dad, two kids, and two dogs, nestled on a few acres. We live in Geauga County (northeast Ohio, about 20 miles outside of Cleveland). It’s pretty farm-y out where we are (big Amish presence), but we’re also close to the suburbs.
Under that surface, we’re anything but – toss some chickens into the mix, a bee hive, a bevy of vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and a desire to live as close to the land as possible, and we get not-so-average pretty quickly. I’m always on to something new, and in general, S goes along with it, though not without some eye rolling along the way. It’s not always quick, not always pretty, and certainly not easy, but it’s always fun!
How Did We Get Here?
My grandparents and parents always had vegetable gardens growing up, so I guess that’s where the seed was planted, no pun intended. When S and I were married and moved into our first home, I started a small garden out back.
We were pretty “health-conscious,” though I say that with quotes because we were pretty much exclusively following the current mainstream thoughts about what “healthy” really means. We didn’t eat fast food and made almost all our meals at home, but that often consisted of something like baking frozen CAFO-chicken tenders in some kind of marinade (bottled), cooking Rice-a-roni, and steaming some broccoli.
We didn’t really start evolving into who we currently are until the last few years, and it kinda coincided with moving into our new home, though part of it is just that we were growing up and figuring out our own way in life.
We started with a dog and a vegetable garden. I keep adding fruit and vegetable gardens (just about any place I can find a sunny spot) and dogs – okay, just one more dog. We added a beehive last year and chickens this past spring. We get almost all our food from local farmers or the backyard – it’s been a while since we’ve even been in a regular grocery store. We follow a traditional diet; as in, real food that our grandparents would recognize, WAPF-type stuff.
We freeze and can whatever we can get our hands on – being in Ohio and trying to eat seasonally means we need to save something for the winter, because snow doesn’t contain many calories. We make as many of our own household products as possible – cleaning things, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. I like to forage around and use what the land has given us to supplement our regular cuisine.
As a result of this ongoing adventure, I think we’re more appreciative of what we have, and in awe of how earlier generations lived, and frankly, that our generation is even here. We’re so spoiled today – if you tossed our generation into the 17th century and the future of the human race was dependent upon us, well, I don’t know if anyone would be here right now.
If you’d have asked us five years ago what our home would look like today, our answer probably would have been a lot different than things actually turned out. Things just keep building on each other.
Seriously, if anyone’s just getting started, be careful. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.
We’re not the biggest homestead, we don’t have the most animals, and we’re not the most “live-off-grid” people (we still have computers and cars and all that), but we enjoy our lifestyle, and hope that, if nothing else, you’re entertained, and maybe even learn a thing or two!