Jill Puckett is a member of the South Hall Georgia Chapter of Ladies Homestead Gathering where she serves as the Community Director. She has been a member for three years and also serves on the planning committee for LHG retreats. Jill served her country for seven years in the Army. She was a UH60 Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and was stationed state side in Colorado Springs and Texas as well as abroad in Korea, Germany and Iraq. She brings a wonderfully unique perspective to our organization.
As part of a military family, we loved to garden and to explore nature all around us. After graduating from high school, I joined the Army and followed in my Dad’s footsteps in Aviation. I loved being a mechanic on UH60 Helicopters and flying all over the world. The one thing I knew deep down is that I wanted to be a mom and set my roots down and create a sanctuary for my family.
Fast forward 13 years since leaving the Army and I have a husband, three kids that I homeschool, a dog, two cats and six bunnies. We have created something for sure!
My involvement with LHG started through my friendship with Esther Arkfeld. We had fascinating conversations about her dream to transform their property, her desire to become an herbalist, raise chickens and create a homestead. The word homestead reminded me of the book series Little House on the Prairie (which I love as much as Anne of Green Gables). Hearing her family’s ambitious dreams and her encouragement to do stuff in a yard in a subdivision planted a desire and dream in me to achieve a homestead in a manner that worked for my location and my family.
“It’s amazing how a group of women can come together and share ideas, share products and sources, and encourage one another in whatever capacity needed.”
Esther had been attending LHG Gatherings in different locations and had participated in several workshops. She was creating this community that I slowly joined in on with her. When she asked if I would be a part of her Chapter for the South Hall area, I was thrilled to finally see what it was all about. I was instantly in love with the group, the organization and the community that has been built through the founder, Cyndi Ball’s, vision. It is amazing how a group of women can come together and share ideas, share products and sources, and encourage one another in whatever capacity needed.
My families’ homestead consists of discovery. Being a homeschool Mom, our yard and home is a living classroom. We planted sunflowers last year and spent a morning watching the bees feed on them. We read about and observed a huge Praying Mantis which led to discussions about camouflage in nature. My absolute favorite has been picking up a jar full of Black Swallowtail caterpillars and watching their cycle of life, transforming into butterflies. It was incredible to sit with my coffee and devotion watching these guys eat, turn into chrysalises, then morph into butterflies. The kids would name them before their release into the world. It was something my kids will not forget. It was intense and beautiful.
“Each of my children (and myself) have their own bunny to feed, check on and love.”
Our next big project has been adopting bunnies into our pet population and experiencing what they can offer our family outside of being pets. Each of my children (and myself) have their own bunny to feed, check on and love. They are learning a huge lesson in responsibility to care for all living things through experiencing the bunnies.
My goal in homesteading is to teach my kids to appreciate the life God has given us, share it with others and protect it. We are working on Bat conservation, growing a pollinator’s garden native to Georgia, and being as organic and pesticide-free as we can. Through these efforts, we have seven baby toads jumping around our garden and insects that are new for us to study.
“We sliced our grocery store tomatoes and planted them along with Lima beans, Great Northern Beans and Blackeye Peas from a bag of soup beans.”
We like to grow vegetables but with a new puppy, we didn’t trust major results. The kids and I started a potted garden from grocery store produce. We sliced our grocery store tomatoes and planted them along with Lima beans, Great Northern beans and Blackeye Peas from a bag of soup beans. We grew corn from popcorn as well as celery and romaine lettuce from the bottom two inch scraps. It has been amazing to watch these grow and produce food as well as seeing how we can use stuff at the grocery store to grow our own food. Anyone can garden. This is definitely the conclusion we have come to learn as a family.
“I finally feel my roots are down and they are drinking water.”
We have loved this experience and are excited for the future ahead of us. We would like to move and have land we can build on. We don’t know when that will happen but when it does, I am more than confident I will have the support of the LHG community here in South Hall, across Georgia and across the U.S. Through LHG, I have grown as a woman, a wife and a mother in many ways and developed relationships that I have always wanted but could never find. There’s a reason it’s called Mother Earth!
Thank you, ladies! I finally feel my roots are down and they are drinking water. I am home!
So, what’s your story, your goals, your ambitions in homesteading? Tell us more about your journey.
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