I’ve always thought I was born in the wrong time period. Give me a wood-burning oven, a butter churn and a spinning wheel, please.
Now, I’m not giving up my indoor toilet or Pinterest account anytime soon, but I have always desired for a life close to the land. A quaint home, an orchard, a barn, a root cellar, and a garden bigger than most homes; this is the stuff of which dreams are made.
I grew up in the woods- building forts and catching bugs with my cousins. No dolls or dresses for this girl! We climbed big pine trees to get up on the chicken coop roof, picked wild blackberries, and carried a stick when we walked down to grandma’s house to fend off her crazy goose. I had always helped my parents in the garden, but it wasn’t until I learned to cook in college that I really started to appreciate the incredible produce coming from our own backyard.
Being a responsible and conventional child I never really considered being a steward of the land, a “homesteader,” as a possible life choice. Figuring that someday I would probably need a “real job,” I pursued Chiropractic. I am so grateful that I made this choice, as I am who I am because of it.
I have practiced Chiropractic with an emphasis on natural medicine for over five years. I have had many patients who came to me in tears because they had already been to seven different doctors- only to have them come back to me in tears again because after two weeks the symptoms they had wrestled with for years were starting go away. What an incredible gift; to help someone struggling to live, full of despair and feeling defeated, to become well again.
Almost all of the life-altering, miraculous improvement I saw in my office came largely in part from eliminating an allergen from the person’s diet, usually gluten or dairy, or from the Paleo or full-fledged Autoimmune Diet. Seeing on a daily basis how soy, corn, wheat and other grains were affecting people’s health so horribly- I had to jump into it myself!
Being a Chiropractor, I used my hands and arms intensely every day and I came to realize over the past years that this profession was very hard on them. Not willing to give anyone less than 100%, I knew something had to change. I reduced my Chiropractic practice to part-time and with the purchase of our first home, a 19-acre homestead in Western Wisconsin, finally realized my long-time dream of becoming a homesteader.
We live off the land as much as we can: growing a large garden, canning, dehydrating and storing produce in our root cellar. We forage for wild mushrooms, butternuts, hazelnuts, wild blueberries, black raspberries, and anything else we can get our hands on. We hunt deer and rabbits. We raise chickens, ducks and honey bees, and have dreams and plans of hogs and sheep.
We still go to the grocery store, usually twice per month. We buy pastured beef and pork from local farms, as we need it. Some things we order online or pick up when we go to “the big city,” things like oils, some nuts, spices, chocolate and coffee. You know, the necessities of life!
The brawn around the homestead is Karl. I have a hard time describing him in words because they just never seem to do him justice. To sum him up, he’s extraordinary. He’s my fiancé, my best friend, and together we make this life possible.
If I could bottle up Karl’s will power and sell it, I’d be a billionaire. In May of 2012 I recommended he give the Paleo diet a try, so…he tried it, felt better than he ever has before, and hasn’t looked back…not even once. And he makes it look easy. He’ll tell you that Paleo is easy because I cook all his meals and keep him “full of meat.”
We’re quite the pair.
And by the way, Karl has lost and maintained 70lbs following living a real food lifestyle. His co-workers call him the incredible shrinking man.
Karl grew up spending summers on his grandparent’s farm where he canned peaches with his grandmother, buried cow skulls back in the woods, and worked the fields with his grandpa. He has homesteading in his blood! He is now a software nerd by day and small-time farmer by night!
We follow a Paleo Diet, which you can read more about here! To sum it up, we try to eat whole foods that are more nourishing than harmful to our bodies. Happy plants and animals = healthy us. We eat gluten-free, grain-free and only consume the highest quality, pastured dairy products and natural sugars on occasion.
And please note: we don’t intend to be preach-y or convert anyone to the way that we eat. Everyone is welcome. No judging here. We just hope that you find something interesting or inspirational.
We love our 100-year-old home, our farm, our “homestead” and all the history that came with it. We love the small town we live in- where everyone waves, people hold doors for each other, and the cute old man working at the hardware helps you find exactly what you are looking for.
There is a real contentment that comes with this lifestyle, and we hope to share that with you.