When I first became interested in homesteading, I came across The Prairie Homestead blog and instantly became a big fan. Jill is down to Earth and practical with the advice she gives. She makes everyone feel like they can homestead, as long as they are committed to working.
For me, it is a dream come true to have her as the first Homestead Blogger in this 20 Questions Series. I think you are going to find true value with her responses and see why I looked to her for homesteading inspiration, knowledge, and tips.
By the way, if you haven’t played 20 Questions before, it is a game where you ask 20 random questions to someone. Pretty straight forward right? This series has an added twist of being focused specifically with homesteading, so if that is something you’re interested in learning more about be sure to subscribe via email! You don’t want to miss a single update with this series!
20 Questions Homesteading Style – Jill @ The Prairie Homestead
1. Please introduce yourself & your blog.
I’m Jill Winger, founder of The Prairie Homestead blog. It’s my mission to take the idea of “back to the farm” beyond shiplap walls and antique decor.
I help busy people escape from the rat race and create a more meaningful life by weaving old-fashioned skills and values into their modern routines.
How did you start your homesteading journey? How long ago was that?
We started this lifestyle 10 years ago after we purchased a run-down property. It wasn’t our intention initially, but the idea of homesteading and self-sufficiency quickly captured my imagination. We’ve been in the thick of homesteading ever since!
How big of a property do you currently have for your homestead? Do you think that is ideal for you or do you dream of changing that one day? Why?
We have 67-acres of Wyoming prairie land. It’s been sufficient for our current homestead needs, but my husband Christian and I are big dreamers, so we dream of owning an actual ranch in the future with much more land. However, homesteading with what we have now has been an amazing first step towards those bigger goals.
What is your favorite thing about the homesteading lifestyle?
Oh man, where do I start! It feels amazing every time we sit down to a meal that is 100% homegrown. It’s a quiet sort of victory that never gets old.
I also love the manual labor that comes with this lifestyle– it’s real and tangible and keeps me grounded in a world that is sometimes can feel so superficial with all the technology.
What is your least favorite thing about the homesteading lifestyle?
Having animals die is never fun and can be so stressful. However, it comes with the territory, so one must be willing to accept it as part of the process.
What does a typical day on your homestead look like?
It really depends on the day– in the winter, we do chores (feeding, breaking ice), and the most of the days are spend indoors. Summertime is much busier and a larger chunk of my time is spent in the gardens and barns. I love how no two days are ever really the same.
What animals do you have on your homestead, and what is their purpose?
Horses for sheer enjoyment and also handling cattle
Hereford cattle for beef
Brown Swiss cattle for milk
Icelandic and Wyandotte hens for eggs
Cornish cross chickens and occasionally turkeys for meat
Hogs (every other year) for meat
Barn cats for taking care of mice
Dogs for security and companionship
What is your favorite thing to grow? Why?
Beef! 😉 Truly, I’m much better at growing meat & dairy than I am veggies, even though I’ve had a stellar garden the last few years.
Are you a seed saver, do you order seeds, or a combination of both?
Not really. I’ll save the occasional bean or pumpkin seed, but for the most part, I just purchase heirloom seeds from Baker Creek.
Are there any animals or plants you don’t have currently, but hope to one day?
I really would love to add some bee hives someday soon!
What are some of your favorite things to make?
I’ve been on a homemade candle making kick lately, and I sometimes will make batches of lip balm or lotions. But I make food more than anything! It’s my favorite.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned on your homestead?
Poisoning my garden with hay mulch tainted with an herbicide was definitely one of my biggest disasters thus far! It taught me to be much more careful in what I add to my garden soil and space. I have the full story on my blog, but it took a lot of work to recover from that one.
What is your favorite recipe to cook from scratch?
All things bread! It’s gratifying to all the senses and I love the hands-on feel of it.
What homesteading skills are you thankful for learning?
Learning how to cook from-scratch with simple ingredients has been life-changing, and has saved us SO much money over the years, not to mention, our palates have greatly improved over the years and we appreciate good food so much more.
What homesteading skills are still on your list to learn?
Beekeeping and I really would love to master cheesemaking someday. So far my attempts there have been dismal.
What is the funniest thing that has happened on your homestead?
There isn’t any one particular instance that sticks out in my mind, but I always get a kick out of our somewhat bizarre, unorthodox to-do lists sometimes. Some days are utter chaos with business/homeschool/and homestead projects all rolled into one and I know to the average big city person, it would seem insane that we CHOOSE this life on purpose!
When you are having a hard day/week, how do you keep yourself motivated?
I’m a big believer in failure. So when something does fail big, or we have a disaster, I just remind myself it’s a necessary part of the learning process and keep on trucking. I see too many people quit the first time something gets tough, and it makes me sad to see them missing out on the victories that come later.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their homesteading journey?
Stop overthinking and just start somewhere. Your initial tries will not be ideal, heck, they might even be disastrous. But do it anyway. Push back against the temptation to get stuck in paralysis by analysis and just dive in.
When it comes to resources, what are some of your favorites?
What are you most excited for in 2019 on the homestead and for your community?
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