I grew up on a small farm in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. My granddaddy farmed hogs, chickens, cattle, watermelons, and canteloupes, tanned hides, brokered in ginseng, cured and sold good old fashioned country hams, and tended a good garden. When he died, the farm became more of a hobby farm with only horses, cattle, and the country ham business. I always kept my little garden though.
As a kid, and really up until college, I had no knowledge of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizing with anything other than poop. Our hams were never treated with preservatives. Our gardens had occasional bug holes in the tomatoes. Our farm was the happy place you read about in childrens’ books. I religiously attended my 4-H and FFA meetings.
When I got to college, I decided to major in agriculture in order to start the process of going to vet school. If not vet school, I would at least be a farmer. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was being thrown into a world of corporate agriculture-sponsored education that I would spend years learning about, followed by years of challenging and changing that indoctrination. In a way, I would like to thank Monsanto for my education; without knowing what our youth are being taught about “real” agriculture, I wouldn’t know where to start in researching and debunking the myths that are considered “traditional” agricultural principles.
Fast forward to today. I still live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, albeit on a different farm now. I married the love of my life, who happens to be a conventional farmer. I have a darling little boy who was born in June 2012. My husband farms crops – corn, soy, wheat, sorghum, and a few others – yes, GMO – which are sold as bulk grain, cattle – yes, corn-fed, though antibiotic and hormone-free – which are either sold at the stock sale or as on-the-hoof freezer meat, and has a recycling and composting business.
I have a full-time job in town with our local government. Any spare time I have is dedicated to getting back to the basics of traditional homesteading – enter “Sweet Sustainability”. Because of course, when you have no time whatsoever on your hands, what do you do? Start a blog, apparently!
Through this blog, you will be able to follow my journey of transitioning from a mainstream Pringles and hot dogs, Pantene, produce from Mexico, paraffin candle gal to one who is more concerned about the health and wellbeing of my family. Think homsteading is too hard for a working mama? My journey is happening one small step at a time. Yours can too.
About The Blog
Real Food: It’s really great that the phrase “real food” is becoming more commonplace these days. 100 years ago, “real food” was simply called “food”. Removing preservatives, artificial dyes, and lab-created chemical compounds will do wonders for your health. My family began this process a few years ago with baby steps. Sure, it’s hard to wean yourself from Cheetos and Diet Coke. But if everyone would begin nourishing their bodies with real food and natural skin products, we would see a dramatic decrease in cancers, brain disorders, reproductive problems, and diabetes, among other contemporary illnesses. Grandma was right – you most certainly are what you eat. In this section, I will post topics that are very relevant and important regarding the food you’re putting in your body, as well as recipes that will begin your journey into a real food diet.
Part-Time Homemaker: I’m not super crafty. But practice makes perfect, right? Whether its repurposing, reusing, or making something brand new, here you’ll get to see my latest projects.
Natural Mommy: Parenting is different for everyone. As long as you are doing the things that you feel are truly best for your child and not taking an easy way out for convenience’s sake, you are doing it the right way. Our way involves more natural practices. Here I’ll tell you all about parenting Tabb-style.
Garden Glory: There is something about dirt under the fingernails that just screams accomplishment. I’m still a learning gardener – I’m not a professional by any standard. Each year we try to grow a little more food than the year before. Whether you have a tomato plant on the front porch, a bed of homegrown flowers, or an acre spread of heirloom veggies, good for you for taking the initiative to get your hands dirty!
Project Conventional Farmer: My husband is what you would call a “conventional” farmer. He plants GMO corn and soybeans and sells them to the grain elevator. He does grain-fed beef. However, he is keenly aware that these practices, while providing an income for his business, could be improved upon. Most conventional farmers don’t know where to start. Aside from that, some are resistant to change. Here you can follow Lyle’s journey into more sustainable practices on the farm.
***Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to give medical advice or treat any illness or disease.***