Do you have homesteading roots or is this new?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by katydidagain, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

    Jun 11, 2004
    NE FL until the winds blow
    Just curious.

    My paternal grandparents maintained a dairy farm until their deaths in 1968; it'd been in the family for over 200 years then. I vividly remember summers in upstate NY (above Troy--Hoosick area). During the Depression my father and 3 uncles were sustained by all manner of livestock and gardening--no goats ever but every other normal farm animal--they missed cocoa terribly but survived. My grandmother ran a country store where she sold eggs, penny candy and feed through Agway. (Sweet memories of playing amongst the musky feed bags remain with me yet.)

    When I was 8 (42 years ago, oh my!), my father helped me hatch out eggs for a science fair experiment and we did 2 batches more later with mixed leghorns, Rhode Island Reds and a huge white breed--what a group of crazy chicks! They became my pets--followed me everywhere and free ranged before the idea got hold--many nights they roosted in the maple tree beside the house when I couldn't get them back to their home or was too lazy to bother. When they were done laying, Mom arranged to have them "freezered"; none of us 6 kids could eat a one and they ended up trashed. (Yes, they all had names!)

    My maternal grandparents were sligntly more removed from farm life; mama's folks homesteaded in Albuquerque while papa came from Mississippi farmers. She was a teacher; he was a professor. But I know all the stories--including that of my 95 year old Great Aunt still keeping chickens, gardening, etc. til the day she died.

    Education interrupted farm life in my family. PhDs, lawyers and eggheads became professionals with careers. Me? I'm the oddball CPA who fell into the real world because I passed the test but my heart has forever been on the farm. Immaculate spreadsheets pale in comparison to the thrill of seeing a tiny seed push up through the earth or an impossible rooting take hold.

    Is it in our genes? I'm skipping at least a generation in my dream but what about you? Did you have a farm experience growing up or find your "way" despite your past?

  2. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2004
    On one side my grandparents were German immigrants who lived to farm and on the other, Welsh immigrants who got out of coal mining as soon as they could. My folks lived in a woods so farming skipped a generation. However, my mom kept hoping I-d marry a farmer from a German background -- funny how that worked out!

    We live on DHs family farm. He leases this farm from his parents and operates two other farms on shares, one with a cousin and one with an elderly neighbor.

    We don-t know how long we can stay here, though. The suburbs are coming to get us and we almost can-t afford to buy the farm. We will have to seriously think this through, whether we want to spend that kind of money in a suburban sprawl environment. Which is kind of too bad because part of the farm has been in DH-s family since before the Civil War.

    southern Indiana, Arkansas or Missouri sound pretty good ...


  3. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    I was born with dirt in my blood, but no one knows where it came from.

    My paternal grandparents were immigrants from France and Ireland. They met shortly after they both arrived in America, married and had a bunch of kids. They were not involved in any type of agricultural business at all.

    My maternal grandparents were both raised in small communities (Gillette, Wyoming and Glendale, Arizona). They met during the granfather was in the CCC and ended up in Wyoming where he met grandma. They married and hightailed it to Los Angeles where they stayed. My grandma was an avid rock hound and did other "non-city" types of things, but she loved living in LA and never considered leaving.

    Now my great-grandmother was quite a character. She was a newspaper reporter and traveled the country by train to cover stories. This was around 1900-1910. I'm pretty sure that this was an unusual occupation for a woman at the time.

    In her travels, she fell in love with Wyoming and wanted to homestead, but she could not do that as a single woman...had to have a man back then. She went back home to Eldon,Iowa (i've been there, but if you blink, you'll miss it), found a husband and drug him back to Wyoming to homestead.

    I never heard any stories from my grandma about life on the homestead. My grandma was the youngest and when she was to get married, my great grand-parents sold their land and moved to town. My grandpa helped them move their house...they cut it in half, put it on a truck and hauled it in. It is still there. My mom showed it to me once years ago.

    My grandma is gone and so are most of her siblings. I have one great uncle left, but he has alzheimer's and I can't ask him anything. I have no idea what they did on their homestead, but I wish I knew. I ought to get the address to that house in Gillette too so I can show it to my kids someday.

  4. BrushBuster

    BrushBuster Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    grandparents on my mothers side owned a farm mostley cows hogs and sheep that i worked on all my young life. i lived there up until last november when my home burnt. still work part of it but the biggest majority has been chopped up and devided between the kids. grandparents on my pappys side was run off the blue ridge mountains when the shenandoah national park took it. now they did live off the land! they had 16 kids in all. i remember 1 time back in the early 70's
    some people from the park service came down and tape recorded her talking about how things was done when she lived there before the park came through. that tape is supposed to be up there in one of the visitor centers or somewhere that people can listen to it. maybe i'll go find it one day
  5. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Manitoba, Canada
    I grew up on 100 acres of the prettiest land on earth, smack dab in the middle of Muskoka -- lake country in Ontario. My mom and dad taught me pretty much everything I know about being self-sufficient. Idiot that I was I took off for the bright lights big city, thinking it had more to offer me. In a way, it did -- I met and married my DH -- who had never lived in a city smaller than 200,000 souls. I've converted him and we're happy to strive towards living the way my parents taught us kids was best -- having done the big city professional thing, I'm happy to stay at home, tend my chores and homeschool my kids. We've come full circle -- but it's definitely in my blood.

  6. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2003
    Missouri, Springfield
    well my grandfather and grandmother had a small (2 acre) homestead that they raised my dad on. So my dad is fairly versed in it. I myself have 0 experience, but that isn't going to keep me away. :)

    Dad has become "Citified" as he gets older. He still lives in the country but doesn't even have a garden :O Still has all the knowledge though. I get the feeling he really didn't like it.. But to each his own..
  7. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    My paternal great grandfather was in the Greek navy and jumped ship when they put in in San Fransisco. He moved to the San Juaquin valley, bought some acres and married an American woman. My brother is still farming those acres, along with my dad, and my 3 aunts. When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to move away into the city.

    I moved to Seattle after college and maried. Now, 16 years later, my husband and I have 30 acres in Wa state growing cider apples and making hard cider.

    Blood really does tell.
  8. Gayle in LA

    Gayle in LA Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    My dad's parents were Mormon and raised their 6 sons during the Depression on a small ranch in Nevada, with the garden and small orchard and mixed livestock, and subsistence hunting, and canning everything. I guess that's where my dad got his love of gardening, and he didn't can but he froze lots of garden produce, and grew GREAT tomatoes. My mom is a couple generations removed from Nebraska farming, so she never was into all that stuff. In middle age I found myself turning into my grandmother, discovering a love for gardening, canning, and even crocheting JUST LIKE HER! lol
  9. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    NE Ohio
    All of my grandparents grew up on farms, dirt poor. Both of my grandfathers started out as coal miners. They scraped together all they could, and eventually, both families moved to the city for what they considered a better life, and indeed it was easier and cleaner. My parents grew up being told that the city life was better, and they both want nothing to do with "homesteading" as we call it. I don't know what happened to me. Perhaps it's just my nature to do the opposite of what they want, or maybe it is still in my blood. Last night, we were working in the garden, and a neighbor boy came and asked to play with my son. I said no because we still had chores to do. After he left, my son whined about doing chores, and I told him, "this is a farm, in the summertime, we work". He threw down the hoe and said, "Then I don't want to be a farmer when I grow up!". My heart sure sank. I hope he didn't mean it!
  10. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Jun 8, 2004
    Got it in the blood....

    One grandfather was a German immigrant...raised apples, strawberries, and ran a country store. His wife broke horses for a living...until she married him!

    Other grandparents did more homestead type, raising food for the family.

    Both my parents were Army, met in Germany. When they got out, they homesteaded. I grew up handmilking cows , butchering chickens that quit laying, and gardening.

    Now, here am I..starting late, but starting...

    My kids are pretty much grown, but my son stops in every week or so...when he and his roomie run out of eggs or chicken!

  11. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2004
    In the piney woods of the great state of Texas.
    My roots think that they have sprouted a big nut tree.
  12. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    My grandparents, and my uncle, all worked the family farm in the Finger Lakes region of NY. After Grandpa died, my Grandma and Uncle (he'll be 73 in August) kept the farm going until about 10 years ago. Grandma passed away and Uncle sold the cows but stills lives on the farm. Small dairies just aren't profitable-and the max he ever milked was 50 head. I spent summers are with Grandma-On-The-Farm (that's what we called her) until I was 11-12. I was as tall as Grandma when I was 9, she was only 4' 9" and weighed 80 lbs when she was sopping wet. I helped her in the garden, she had a large, beautiful garden. She grew parsley just because I liked to chew on it when we were working. We also had matching straw hats that had scarfs that tied under the chin. I remember when I was quite young her telling me that I must avoid the sun, we had the same pale coloring with freckles, so that I wouldn't wrinkle as I grew older. I've been careful and I do look younger than I am! I learned about gardening, and chickens from her. She and I would wash "milk dishes" too. The big Surge milkers and all the parts. When I was older they had a bulk tank, but I can't remember the milk cans very well. I know they sat in a well filled with very cold water but that's about it. I helped Uncle do chores too...we'll, kinda. I played with the calves and taught them to drink milk out of a pail. He said that I did him a favor because they were easier to send to the sale if they were used to being handled. My parents moved into a house across the road from the farm when I was 16. It was my job to care for the calves, and do milk dishes. Grandma really shouldn't have done them that long-she was 73 then. Grandma married a first generation German-American. The rest of my family (both maternal and paternal) is Irish and a bit Native American (someone in my mom's family "married", we're not sure if it was done legally, an Indian woman.

    My maternal side of the family raised horses. Well, my g-grandfather did. He raised carriage horses and had a milk delivery business. He died young and left the family penniless. My mother grew up very poor. These were wild Irish immigrants...several had serious drinking problems and ended up dying in Willard (an infamous sanitarium). They lived in an Irish settlement "up Fall Creek" in Canisteo NY. I'm sure that they gardened and homesteaded out of necessity, but I don't know much about the family. There are so pretty wild legends/stories about that side of the family.

    So, homesteading is in my blood. I don't think either of my daughters will choose farm life. Hopefully, I can be Grandma-on-the-farm to my grandchildren some day.

    Stacy in NY
  13. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    I'm one of the lucky ones........I was born and raised in the country. :)
  14. Gina

    Gina Active Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Florida. For now
    My paternal grandparents were farmers. Many of the men on that side of the family still farm in northeast Arkansas. On the maternal side of my family, they don't farm or homestead on any significant scale but most have small veggie gardens in the summer and have lived most of their lives in the country. I grew up in the country then moved to the city as a teenager. As an adult, I'm ready to go back to the country and start my own homestead.

  15. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 8, 2003
    Considering I was born in the middle of the city, living in the country is a newer way of life for me, but we've lived outside the city since 1991.
    However, my maternal Grandmother lived outside of a small town on 3 acres and I spent summers with her and loved it. She canned and gardened and small town life appealed to me. She raised my Mom and siblings on 80 acres pretty much by herself since my Grandfather travelled with a construction company and they finally divorced when Mom was nine.
    My Dad was raised out in the country of a small town too. So, even though they raised me and my brother in the city, most of my family lived in the country or in small towns. I grew up around country people and I loved it.
    My Mom is amazed at how I've taken to living in the sticks and the fact that I love to raise farm animals! :p
  16. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 26, 2003
    South of DFW,TX zone 8a
    I grew up on a farm. One ggf was a railroad man. All of the others, as far as I know were farmers. Of my paternal family I am the first in a direct line in 6 generations in this county to not farm for a living. Not because I didn't want to. I did get two degrees in Ag. Ed. and taught Ag for over 10 years before switching to other disciplines which gave me summers with my children.

    I still live on what remains of the home place but development will probably force me out. If it does I plan to relocate to another place where I can still live the country life.
  17. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

    Dec 13, 2003
    Floyd County, VA
    Mother's family were butchers and farm workers until they moved into the factories. Father's family where Dairy Farmers and my Grandfather had a small homestead with chickens and a pond but he worked in the factory.

    I grew up on three acres in the country (not really a homestead) until 10 when the family purchased an old greenhouse establishment with a house in a small town at an estate auction. Never had a greenhouse business, but not all of them got torn down and I loved gardening and raising guinea pigs till I left home at 18. My dream was to become a vet, but that was not acceptable for girls back then so I became a teacher then a computer wizzard. Just now moving into a lifestyle I only ever dreamed about over the years.

    I have to say homesteading has been in my blood all along.
  18. StinkerBell

    StinkerBell Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    For me this life style that I am getting ready to step into is very very new.
    But for some reason it is a burning passion in me.
  19. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    SC Kansas
    My maternal grandparents were farmers. Raised cows and crops. I used to help Grandad with some of the chores and remember really enjoying that. We travelled abroad (missionary kid) and I saw people raise every imaginable livestock without the benefit of modern equipment or store bought feeds. I always wanted to raise my own livestock and have a garden and live away from the hustle and bustle of the large city. My wife has no farming background at all, but is just as excited about our 5 acres and homesteading as I am. My kids are learning a world of useful information that they would not have in the city.
  20. jim/se kansas

    jim/se kansas Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    I was raised here in the small town of Altoona, Ks 475 strong. My mom and dad were poor but I didn't know it at the time. Small farm with chickens, cows and pigs. A large garden from which we ate and canned.I walked to school and had the best time of my life. Now I pastor a church and have a small farm and the grand children love coming and staying the weekend so the can get the eggs, milk a cow or goat, hold a baby bunny or chick. Homesteadig is a new term for the way I was raised, just a small farmer.
    Blessings, Jim