This growing season marked 10 years of being on our site. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by!
Sometimes I forget how the yard looked when we first arrived. What I do remember thinking that it already had some great features – a corner lot with a Siberian pea shrub hedge on the west and north side, a few mature trees that were already habitat for birds, a small perennial bed that had some pollinator species. When I look back at pictures of the flat grassy area with a junk pile where the food forest now stands, or the compacted lawn near the deck where our pond and kitchen garden are, or the front yard that we transformed into a native plant pollinator garden, I realize how much time, energy, (and compost/manure/wood chip!) it actually took to get us to where we are today.
That junk pile in our yard was converted into six months of fresh fruit every year and a place of connection for community members, family, and friends. Those compacted lawns became pounds and pounds of veggies, not to mention habitat for birds, bees and other pollinators. Thinking back to how far we’ve come gives me hope that the transformation of people’s yards and gardens holds so much potential and possibility.
It goes without saying that those ten years brought many successes but also many failures. This is the agreement we enter into when we take a relationship to the land and engage in the practice of growing our own food. It is a journey, at times frustrating and overwhelming, at other times, magical and life-giving. I’ve planted things and moved them, dug holes and filled them back in again, grown pounds and pounds of tomatoes and garlic and pears and cherries, had years when I’ve gotten bumper crops of winter squash, and other years where the voles have taken all but a handful. Needless to say, having a homestead takes time, patience, dedication, work and a whole lot of grace.
So check out my video below to learn my Top 10 Lessons after 10 Years on our Homestead. This is an opportunity to learn from my mistakes! Of course, there are countless other lessons to share but that would have required several hours of viewing ;-). Hopefully, some of my top lessons will help you as you implement your site designs.
And if you want to benefit even more from the lessons I’ve learned, remember that my Resilient Homestead Program starts next week!