Brooke is currently the President of the Statham GA Chapter of Ladies Homestead Gathering. This is HERstory:
My homesteading journey started with trying to find a unique gift for my husband for Christmas several years ago. Like many wives after many years of marriage, finding a gift that is truly a surprise and something they would not buy for themselves was challenging. For years, he mentioned that he had always wanted to learn how to keep bees. It just happened that a beekeeping course popped up in my Facebook feed. It would be one Saturday a month for six months, so I signed him up and purchased a veil to wrap up for Christmas morning.
After several months of attending Cyndi Ball’s beekeeping course, he convinced me to take one of her other classes offered on the farm. I took bread making, followed by honey harvesting, soap-making, and wild harvest jelly making. Cyndi finally convinced me to come to one of her “homesteaders’ meetings.” I was very reluctant. I did not farm. Yeah, we grew a small garden and I made jelly, sometimes but I was by no means a farmer.
I went to one meeting. I felt like I had stepped into a different universe. These normal looking ladies were using words I had never heard before: Kombucha, kefir, wild crafting, fiber arts. What in the world I had walked into? I sat in the back of that meeting and only said hello to Cyndi. I felt completely out of my element but also intrigued by so many smart, educated women with such varied interests. I continued coming to meeting after meeting. I sat in the back taking notes many months in row and going home to explain to my husband my new fascinations.
We finally decided that we would try keeping chickens. Who doesn’t like free eggs, right? We ordered our chicks online and planned for their arrival by reading any book or blog I could lay my eyes on. I finally had an ‘atta girl to share at the next meeting. I was giddy to share with these amazing women my first little step into homesteading.
Since then my homestead has changed a lot. In six years, we have added rabbits, meat chickens, and my personal goal, dairy goats. We did get bees and expanded our garden area. We bought two more acres and planted an orchard. We installed a hoop house and my husband quit his job to work our farm full time.
We are learning everyday what being a modern-day homesteader means. To us, it’s growing and preserving our own food while teaching our four kids where their food comes from. It’s teaching our community about knowing their farmer and taking their health seriously. It’s showing our children the miracle of birth and the sadness of death. These are lessons not taught in our schools but in our own backyard. I may not be changing the whole world, but I am changing the world around me.
Thank you, Brooke!!! Every year, the Statham Chapter, GA offers a Statham Homestead Trail and Brooke’s farm, Maple Park Homestead, is part of this tour. To follow her on-going journey, look her up on Facebook and on her website.
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