A Sustainable Way of Life

Nine years ago, my husband and I purchased property just shy of 2-acres on the coastal side of Washington state. This soon to be homestead was initially a single family home nestled in the woods on the side of a mountain. No garden, poultry, goats, or seasoned homesteaders were to be found. Instead, you had two individuals who had a goal of consuming a cleaner diet and a healthier lifestyle.

My husband and I sought a sustainable way of life, however, neither of us came from a homesteading or farming background. Justin was a union carpenter by trade and I was a stay-at-home mom caring for the two youngest of seven children.

With no one to teach us how to garden, preserve the harvest, or raise livestock, it fell on my shoulders to learn everything we needed to in order to succeed. I spent countless hours learning about soil, compost, and what could grow on a mountainside homestead. Even more time was dedicated to learning how to raise livestock and preserve food. Though, in true homesteading fashion, when we failed, we failed miserably, and when we succeeded, it was glorious!

In the course of eight years, we went from being a family of consumers to a family of producers, roughly owning 75% of our food source. It took us eight years to get to this point, and as you know, achieving this on two-acres was not an easy task! On our property we maintained –

  • A garden, which we practiced hard succession planting practices, growing foods which we could preserve, ferment, or store fresh.
  • Poultry was raised for eggs (for ourselves or to be sold) and broiler birds and ducks were raised for meat.
  • Rabbits and dairy goats were both raised for meat and the goats were also milked.

Within a few years, our little homestead had reached its full capacity. I knew there had to be a way to grow our homestead even further, so I reached out to our neighbors and bartered for the use of their land. For example, our pigs were raised on the adjacent property to us in exchange; the pigs were used to clear their land. I helped another neighbor harvest his small orchard in trade for a small portion of the harvested fruit. I grew vegetable starter plants for a third neighbor in exchange for a space in her garden to grow corn. I quickly learned the importance of community, bartering, and foraging, which just so happens to be the necessary skills needed to live a sustainable life.kneading homemade dough

A Sustainable Way of Life

By the end of our eighth year, we were quite satisfied with the skills we had learned, yet, we had outgrown the little Pacific Northwest homestead. Justin and I knew it was time to move on and find our forever homestead,

Together we took a leap of faith and purchased a very neglected 40-acre farm in middle Tennessee. On December 15th, 2021, we began our journey to bring the farm back to life, and luckily, we had the necessary skills to achieve this. However, as it goes with homesteading, nothing is as easy as it seems.

We instantly began working on the infrastructure needed to house our small and large livestock, and I needed to learn how to grow food in a very different growing zone than I had been used to. In order to swing back to owning our food source the pantry needs to be filled with home canned goods and the freezers need to be filled with meat which we raised. In addition to this, the greenhouse needs to be constructed in order to grow fresh food throughout much of the year.canning jars of food

Though our focus is to feed ourselves and live a simple homesteading life, there is always more. Our new farm would be a place of refuge for all who seek to create a sustainable way of life. For this reason, Acorn Creek Farmstead was established. Here on the farm, we offer hands-on workshops and infrastructure tours for those who need guidance to create a sustainable life. In addition to this, the farm store is available to anyone who seeks to consume a healthier food option, but does not want to homestead, as we do.

Perseverance, hard work, and forgiveness has gotten us to this point. What keeps us here is the drive to consume a clean food source, the ability to work our land as our forefathers once did, and the understanding that we shall always teach this life whether it be online through our website, A Farm Girl in the Making, or on our farm at, Acorn Creek Farmstead

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Teri
Teri
1 month ago

You brought back memories of buying my first milking goat and having to teach myself how to milk. Took me 12 hours to get the first squirt!!

Susan McDonald
Susan McDonald
1 month ago

How do you manage the start up cash flow?

Jeanne
Jeanne
1 month ago

Yes been there done that. During covid was able to make and deliver food for people who couldn’t get it or flat out wasn’t any. So easy to live off the land if your forced to.

Karen D.
Karen D.
1 month ago

Love this article. I would love to do the same thing, but the reality is I am single and don’t know if trying to achieve this would be prudent at my 66 years. I will always have a small garden, preserve what I can find on sale. This is a lifestyle that sustained humans for generations.

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