A while back I was asked by Lacey & Drew of Schoolhouse Life if I wanted to be a speaker at their upcoming Homestead Open House Summit. I was taken a back, me, a speaker. I was so pleased that someone thought I had anything of value to say. I told her I was flattered but politely declined feeling like I didn't have much knowledge on the subjects they were covering as we were new to this, we aren't living on our farm fulltime. I didn't want to appear that I was trying to be someone I wasn't. Lacey said to me that I did have knowledge on the subject even if it was only a limited amount especially when its come to what we have done so far on the farm. And you know she was right. I don't have a plethora of information but I do have some knowledge. I have been gardening for a long time in some way or another and have definitely had my experiments with it. I have grown food and taught myself a variety of ways to preserve it. My husband has built a corduroy, we have learnt how to raise pigs, albeit not all the ways but we did raise 4 successfully from piglet to kill. We have lived in a camper for four months with our children living off the land and starting our homestead. So Lacey was right we did have something to offer and I think the fact that we are new to this with young kids starting off at the very bottom with no home built, no help, no knowhow can be a boost to others who feel they don't know the first thing about farming or gardening or living with children in a camper in the forest. I have found in the big wide world of social media that there is so much knowledge out there but sometimes that knowledge doesn't resonate with you. For us, we see, watch and learn from a lot of farmers, homesteaders or off-griders and they certainly all have something for us but one thing they have that we don't, is a home, usually a barn, some have a farming background or their kids are older. For me I have found the advice is great but it's not always relatable to me.
So after a few back and forths we jumped in and said yes. Saying yes was also the kick in the butt we needed to finally get our Youtube page going and our website store up. It has been something we wanted to do but never sat down and made the time and now were forced too. I am so happy that we decided to speak even though it was a bit stressful and I wanted to share all the things. Saying yes to being a part of this has taught me so much and I have realized how much more there is to learn and how much more I want to learn. It has prepared me for the kinds of things I want to do and focus on for this years growing season. It opened me up even further in regards to food preservation, permaculture, animals and more.
One thing I am passionate about learning and teaching is accessibility and relatability. What I mean by that is whatever I am teaching whether it be gardening, food preserving, sourdough baking, seeding etc, I want whoever is learning to be able to have access to it. Not just the learning but knowing that the learning is for them. You don't need fancy tools or ingredients or special wood for garden boxes. See a lot changed in our home when we went from a family of four to a family of six. The biggest was me staying home full time and not bringing in any income. All of a sudden those "extras" that I bought for a variety of things became "luxuries" that were out of reach. On our farm we couldn't afford anything for a garden and we couldn't put it into the ground so we very quickly became creative. Wanting to still do the things I do and be creative but with no budget to do so. I learned that I like many others don't do certain things or watch certain videos or simply won't learn if it doesn't relate to them or their household. I started viewing everything I was doing differently and all the people I was watching and learning from differently. I wondered who is their audience? I asked myself who is my audience? What kind of audience do I want?
As I thought about "audience" I was taken back to when I took a sourdough class while the teacher was incredible and the things I learnt were amazing and not to be dismissive of the teacher but I felt out of place. Her house didn't look like mine, she didn't dress like me and she had all the fancy tools. I mean she deserves all of this! Everything she has done she has earned herself through hard work and I am very happy for her and her business and I didn't not take her class because of this. I took it but I didn't feel like I could relate. I had to figure where I belonged in this. I realized that I wasn't alone in this thinking. I have had people send me messages about a variety of things sewing, cooking, baking, gardening and sometimes felt stuck cause they didn't have this or that.
When someone feels out of place they may not continue to learn or learn at all. I would like to change that. So when Lacey of The Schoolhouse Life asked me to speak I wanted that message to come across that yes this is for you. Yes you can garden with next to no money. If you can't grow food and still want to preserve you still can! I don't want people to not learn because they can't relate. I know I am not the poster child on this subject and I don't want to be. Anything I teach is because I felt something was lacking for me and maybe someone out there as well. I don't want to dismiss anyone out there gardening with fancy tools or beautiful greenhouses, preserving with the latest gadgets etc, I am still watching and learning from you and you are all valid teachers. I do believe there is room for all of us regardless of what we do and don't have. Each story is unique no-one will have the exact same experience. I know that someone living down south won't relate to a Northern gardener but they may relate on the fact that we both garden with multiple children. I know that my videos for The Homestead Open House Summit aren't epic like some of the other speakers but I am learning and I am me. I really enjoyed making the videos it was a bit of a time crunch but it gave me a steeping off point. This opportunity has shown me a path that I would like to explore and hopefully as time goes I can put together better videos that others can learn and relate with. I have also learned that some people like videos with kids and others do not and as much as I want my kids to behave and rather not be there they are and I need to embrace that, the chaos of it and just be us.
So after all this I hope you are able to check it out you can. The videos we did are on how we built a corduroy road, our first year raising pigs, our farm and future, tomato identifying and seeding, growing feed sack potatoes and food preservation. There are also some amazing speakers all of which I am equally excited to watch covering topics from animal husbandry, composting, permaculture, food preservation, sustainable buildings, gardening, regenerative designs and more. If you aren't able to make the Summit during the dates you can still purchase after the fact. If you have purchased and want to upgrade to the all access you can. You can find all the info here.