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LHG HERSTORY :: Esther Arkfeld

03/22/2017 1:52 PM | Amanda Stephens (Administrator)

When I initially read the question in the January LHG newsletter, "Tell us about one of your homestead goals for 2017 and why you chose that particular goal," my heart sank and tears welled up. It was the first time it truly hit me that I won't be tending my garden this year or keep my bees or grow more herbs...That morning I cried and my heart hurt. 

I'll give you some history to explain why I felt so much sadness. The past 5 years have been filled with planning and building our "forever" home, we created a garden and made a chicken coop, added bee hives, we raised and butchered our own meat chickens, I delivered my son in the peaceful quiet of our first homestead and watched my girls play in the dirt and catch bugs to their little hearts content. There were sooo many "firsts" here... To go back even more, I am married to a born and bred farmer. Although he currently is a physical therapist, any free time he has is spent outside and it is what makes him tick and I love him for it. Every year we drive our family up north to the family farm and for weeks he'll spend every waking moment out in the field with his father and brother harvesting the family crops. 

So fast forward, on our drive back from the harvest this last October my husband and I decided it would be best for our family to move to Iowa...I know, Iowa...when I tell most people that's where we are going they look at me with a puzzled look...Why would we give up our newly built home on 6 acres? the garden? the bees? The plan to add goats? The homestead life after all the time we invested? We came to this decision because it will allow my husband to follow his passion for farming and join his father and brother in the efforts. It will allow us to live on a larger homestead where the possibilities are endless. And it will allow our children to be close to our extended family and open up a whole new world for them. 

Immediately after deciding we would move to Iowa I turned to my husband and said "but can I still come to my LHG retreats?". The thought of not having my LHG ladies close by is a difficult one and weighs my heart down. LHG was the gateway into what is my life now. It allowed for so many of my dreams to be made reality...and for a while made me feel understood. For years I sat alone dreaming what it would be like to have a homestead but I felt like such a weird bird...and now through the friendships and contacts I have made, these things are a reality. It has empowered me and given me the courage to try new things. Especially tackling the pressure canner...that took some convincing but it has quickly become my favorite tool :) 

When Cyndi encouraged me to start my own local LHG community I was so excited. Now, almost a year and a half later, we have a lovely group of ladies where we all feel at home with our dreams of homesteading and spur each other on with new ideas and adventures. Thinking of leaving them hurts deep inside...

And although my morning started out with sadness of the thought that those things won't be a part of my 2017 homestead goals, a small nudge inside me said "chin up girl, this isn't the end". That small nudge made me realize that this could be the year of setting new goals and to look at the positives. And when I see all the lovely spring and summer posts on our community pages of all the exciting homesteader adventures and projects each of you are doing I will be taking notes and inspiration. 

This year I will take time to plan for our future homestead. Plan and research the things I wish I could have done last year if only I didn't have to weed the garden or check on the bees.  So with that I'll say a heartfelt goodbye to our homestead of many, many "firsts" and look forward to our next homestead and the many new adventures and experiences to come...and hope and pray that one day soon a new Iowa chapter will be in my future where my homesteader heart will feel at home again.

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