It has been about 2 weeks since I posted and that is due to the fact that we live WAY out in the BOONIES and did not have internet or telephone until now.  You know you live in the Boonies when it takes the telephone company 2 weeks to service you because you are too hard to get to!

Needless to say, I am glad that I can finally get online to post some photos of our new life on the Homestead Camp.  No longer will we be referring to this place as Shackville, for it is surely not a shack but a beautiful rustic Homestead with a pure potential of being a learning center—a camp!

I LOVE my kitchen!  This past week, the girls and I made some curtains for our long windows.  We ripped down the fabric instead of cutting it for the frayed edge look.  Next we hand sewed rusty rings to the top of the panel and finished them off with straps made of burlap.  When you take down the burlap straps the curtain simply covers the window as it should.  Simple.  Rustic.  Perfect for us!

We have been making lots of cheddar cheese and yogurt, biscuits, farm fresh meals, as usual.  I never like to take any of this for granted because it is like a miracle when you can raise much of your food right in your own backyard.  We are blessed.  We have been enjoying lots of meals sitting around the table as a family, chatting about the garden, the chickens, and what ever else is going on at the moment.  ++

Here is the WALL.  I have my hutch and a salvaged shelf from the rubble outside.  I cleaned it up and put my canned food on there.  That is a handy shelf.  Most people walk in and look at the mystery jars filled with meat and raise and eyebrow or two.  Oh well, when you have enjoyed canned meat like we have, you simply cannot go back to your old ways.  Canned meat is so handy to have.  I fix meals in a fraction of the time!  That is what homesteaders refer to as FAST FOOD.

My brain is always envisioning things.  I usually have a paper close by to put my thoughts into drawings.  Here is my drawing of my vision of our future cabinets.  I always felt it needed to have a cobbled together look.  We are working with the barn feel, so nothing else will do.  And, the beauty is that all the material is just things we find HERE, laying in piles of scrap and rubble.

The middle cabinet will look like an old shop cabinet.  It will be framed in rough barn boards with corrugated galvanized metal for the doors, and don't forget the big castor wheels below.  This cupboard will hold my big canners and stock pots.  Beside it will be a chest of drawers made from old wooden crates I salvaged here in one of the cabins.  The next central cabinet will have doors that will be made from barn wood and chicken wire as the middle of the door faces.  The legs will be from an old foot stool we found.  On the other side the top drawer is an old suitcase front, the handle stays!

Over on the other side the middle cabinet is open and more decorative, made from old painted wood.  Well, lets just say, we are having fun with this!

You could not contain my excitement as I sifted through the piles and found all this gorgeous hardware.  When I look at these treasures, I see random door handles, and drawer pulls.  Not one will be alike!
Here you see the wood crates and suitcase that will be used for drawers.  The old oven door will become a cupboard door and the old wood cook stove ash drawer will be used as a drawer in my kitchen.
Here is all the old pieces of wood we found in the top of the barn and metal that was laying out in the fields.  One man's junk is another man's treasure!
Vision becomes reality...
Here is my husband working on the design of the cabinets.  I can't wait to see the doors and drawers!  All will be finished out with a concrete counter top that my husband will make from scratch.  I am so blessed with his amazing abilities.  He is also learning custom cabinetry from Grady Rowe who is an expert, in my opinion in this form of art.
Our living room is complete with couches and the baby grand.  There is music filling these walls maybe for the first time in the life of this barn.
Here are the custom doors that Mark and Grady made from old wood.  These doors are sure big and sturdy.  Perfect look for a barn house —or what my husband likes to call the "Bouse".
Our bedroom.
Here is our master bathroom.  The dresser is an antique from Mark's side of the family.  It has always struck me as a vanity sink.  I never could get that picture out of my head for the past decade of owning this beautiful piece.  Mark is still working on the drawers so that they will slide in around the plumbing.
Ahhh, the laundry room.  We have no dryer so the wooden drying rack is in full swing!  These drying racks are second to none and about the most useful thing in any persons home.
The first floor bathroom is all put together.
News from the Barnyard...
The ducks are enjoying the creek and truffling around the dirt for bugs to feast on.
The rooster is leading his flock of hens all over our barnyard, checking out the best places for grubs.  Thankfully, they keep the bug population under control.  We just ordered 60 meat chickens, 10 barred rock hens, 10 Americana hens, and 10 more Buff Orpington hens for laying eggs.
A couple days ago we finally brought Marilla Moo to the new homestead.  She is very curious these days and we are happy to not have to drive far to milk her each day.  It really feels like home when you can hear the "Moos" and a few cock-a-doodle-doos.
Here is Mrs. Moos new milking stansion.  The chair is for Miles.
Our garden is looking really good.  The kids and I are out there mulching and weeding about every day.
Mark just worked on staking up the tomato plants the other day.  That was a big job, but went quick when all of the kids pitched in.  I call it Harrison Power!
One night we had a huge bonfire.  If you look hard enough, you can see my husband on a tractor beside it, keeping it under control.  It makes the tractor look like a little toy.    The next morning he was sifting through the rubble for metal and restacking the things that did not fully burn.

Things are moving along in a great direction.  I am planning on getting my video cameras going to do more video work.  Thank you all so much for your prayers, God has been so merciful to us these past few months as we prepared a homestead for all to enjoy!  Keep us in your prayers for the camp.  We have a lot to do to prepare the cabins for campers.

We have to build a bath house and renovate each of the cabins and make the bunk beds.  Having this camp will be our future.  Teaching homesteading, ministering to families, is what we feel called to do!  To God be all the Glory!

Just for a reminder…

Tea Time Talk Show Tuesday Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on facebook from the keeper of the homestead page.  

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66 thoughts on “Settling Into the New Homestead

  1. How Wonderful
    What progress you have all made and such a testimony to hard work perseverence and the Lords hand
    The kitchen looks so warm and inviting it really is the heart
    Happy New Home♥
    God Bless you all and those who come to you

    • Thank you so much Fiona, it is a blessing to hear from you and I hope one day to have you join me here at the camp and we shall enjoy a cup of tea together. God bless you!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I just love it when I get feedback! Blessings to you, Alecia!

    • You are not only so sweet, you are such an encouragement to us! Hope you noticed that I put a plug in for those AMAZING Homestead Drying Racks. They seriously are a life saver to me!

      • Just stopping by again today to soak in the beauty of your new home. I truly love it! It is just *perfect*! The floors are just stunning too! My husband is just like your husband in the way that he can do just about anything (and what he can’t do, he learns) and we have been fixing our house up slowly over the past almost 15 years of marriage. 🙂 Such a blessing it is for you to have him (as I am to have my man). I hope you, your husband and the children enjoy your new home to the fullest. 🙂

  2. Oh Erin! It’s wonderful! I love your kitchen. Your living room and bedroom are incredible also. I am SO happy for you!!! Love you!

    • Thank you so much, Lori! I am truly blessed. Thank you for your prayers through this whole thing, I felt the overwhelming grace and mercy of God every step of the way. God is so good!

  3. Oh Erin, it looks beautiful! Thank you for sharing your progress and your dream! You get those cabins ready, and I will find a way to come. It sounds wonderful! And as for the drying rack- we LOVE ours!!

    • Thank you so much, Michele, for your words of encouragement. When those cabins are ready, I hope you get to be one of my very first campers! I will love finally meeting you! I am so glad you love that rack, they are pretty amazing! I must say!

  4. Awesome. I would say living in the Boonies is well worth it. My hubby and I have dreams of this some day and I tell you lately I think I can’t wait till some day. I live in the big mean city and I just want to wake up each morning to the peace and quite of the boonies. But for now we continue to work were we are planted and learn new skills so that when some day comes we will be ready. Thanks for sharing your life you are an inspiration.

    • Your day will come, until then, enjoy the beauty of the city. There is also so much at your fingertips to enjoy with that! Thank you for taking the time to write here and offer feedback, it is a blessing to me!

  5. Erin, I love it! Would you mind if we would (someday) stop in and see this? It`s so amazing and I`m happy for you and your family! God bless…

    • I would love it! We just always have an open door policy. Our walls are always filled with love and people! God bless you!

  6. Wow, it is wonderful! Your family has done a wonderful job, along with your husband who is so talented. I am glad you finally got your internet and phone! I was beginning to wonder about you and the family.
    I am looking forward to your next post already 🙂

    • I know, I am happy too to be able to share with all my lovely readers, like you. It has been awhile since I first met you and I hope you can come by again, my doors will always be open! Have a blessed week!

  7. Erin, I am so happy for you and your family. You are living the dream I have had all of my life but now, age has caught up with us so, I will just enjoy watching you delight in this new adventure. I know it has been a struggle at times for you, through the years, but it looks like you have now have what you have dreamed of for a long time. God bless you and yours and please continue to post the pictures of your homestead! I absolutely love it!!! 😉

    • Thank you so much, Linda! We are living the dream. It is not always easy, it is a lot of work but we are by the Grace of God, living each day to the fullest and thanking God for each and every thing. Thank you for taking the time to chime in, the feedback is such an encouragement to us.

  8. Absolutely blessed every time I hear from you. Your joy is such a joy to me! I live for your shares about your home and family. I am on the west coast, it is doubtful I will ever be in your boonies, but if ever you travel in Olympia, Washington, my guest room will be ready for you. Just let me know you’re coming. 😊

    • I am blessed by your message, it is such fun to read all these comments. I am glad my joy is becoming contagious! That is as it should be! Some day, Lord willing, I would love to go back the upper west coast because I have plenty of loving families such as yours to visit and fellowship with. I would love that. Thank you for being open to hosting us. If you are ever in this area, my doors are also open to you! God bless you!

  9. Erin,
    This is just beautiful! I am so amazed. The master bath shower is stunning!! I love the way it turned out. I never would have thought to use the steel that way. Beautiful! Did you seal it or just leave as it?
    The kitchen is so cozy and warm. You and Mark have a real talent and a good eye.
    I have a question about your mulch in the garden. It looks like hay, is it? I have heard of mulching this way but have read different opinions on what to use, hay having weeds, straw being to sterile. What is your preferred choice? Answer if you have time, I know your busy! ;O)
    Love the new “bouse”. ;o)

    • I just love my showers as well, the galvanized tin roofing works amazing in the shower. Galvanizing metal actually seals it from rusting, so it is already ready to go. Besides, if it should wear and weather, rust or look older, the better for my rustic look!!! LOL
      No we did not seal it, but we did put metal flashing behind it and caulked all the screw holes and corners with a grey caulk. It really works well. It seems to clean really easily with a scrub brush and a little soap. I am smitten!
      Thank you for saying that about our kitchen. I love it. I am so excited about the new cabinets because they are going to be so artsy. Grady moved away just suddenly, so it is up to Mark and I to finish them. I am so excited to learn how to do cabinetry. I know I could be a fast learner. I will have to do a little filming of us working on it, because it would be fun to watch that years from now, or share with all of you!
      This hay mulch has had 2 years to rot down, so it is better, more nutrient rich than fresh hay or sterile straw. We literally find it works the best. Later this year, we plan to cover everything with lime and then a layer of 2 year manure we had stored up, and top it off with wood chips to rot down until next spring. That should give us some pretty fertile ground, even better than what we have right now! As for your question, I would like to recommend letting any mulch compost for at least one whole year. It will prevent it from seeding out. If it is mixed with other compost, as we had ours, it decomposes and the seeds are allowed to do their thing plenty of time before we spread it on the garden, thus preventing further weeds later. I hope that helps. You could use grass clippings if you do it often and do not have your grass seed out. That is the key, to having weed free mulch, never, NEVER cut and cover with grasses that have had a chance to seed out. Clipping your grass frequently will help.
      Oh, thank you for taking the time to write to me, it means so much to me because I love helping others so much any way I can!
      Love to you, ~Erin

      • Thanks Erin, that was very helpful. We do use grass to mulch new beds for flowers but not in the garden. I can get hay, so we’ll try that. Do you let it sit out in the weather/rain all year? And it doesn’t mold? Just answer if you have time. I’ll do some searching online.
        Thanks again, and everything is just lovely.

  10. Congratulations to you on the fruits of your labor! What a beautiful home (and life) you are building. I was introduced to your blog earlier this year. I casually stop in when I have a chance and am always inspired by what I read. It wasn’t until today that I realized we are fellow Tennesseeans! Of course, now I selfishly hope you will one day open your camp to outsiders so I can be inspired in person. 🙂
    Many blessings,

    • Thank you so much, Melissa! We are so thankful for our life and for our new adventures ahead! Really, you are from TN????!!! That is great, please stop in sometime to see us in person, we are people persons, and love to meet new friends! The camp is very much on our hearts and in our deepest prayers. We know it is possible, we are ready, but there is much to prepare. I think I ought to have some camps for helping us get it ready, that is a thought! 🙂
      Many blessings to you!

  11. So proud of you and your family! You have been on a busy journey since the last time we spoke. Yahweh has taken your far. my friend,.and leaving behind the piles of sand the world has brought your way! You have been an inspiration to us all and I pray the BEST for you! Hope we can still connect..or maybe a visit! LOL Blessings and sweet Shalom!

    • Wow, Adriana, it has been awhile. God has been so good, you are right. We are so thankful! We are striving ahead and forgetting all the years the devil meant to pull us back. Pressing on to what the Lord has for us ahead! Thank you for taking the time to comment, your words are so encouraging and uplifting. I appreciate you both as a friend and as a fellow believer! I would love you to come for a visit, are you kidding, that would be great! Blessings to you!

  12. very neat! you are successful at the homemaking thing for sure! we live in lightly suburban style of town, though very Iowa farm…style of town. I have a small squarefoot garden plot for vegetables, basketmaking, toy and supply materials (reuse repurpose steams and leaves from garden)…. go to to learn how to use nature to build home and make good use of supply (yes husband has native american gene’s though not culture)….. blessings on your journey through life! ps. living in suburban landscape…..I find there is greater need to lead people to God’s word. people are thirsty for truth.

    • Thank you, Laura, I truly appreciate your comment! I grew up in suburban neighborhoods. Our family generally had a nice sized garden in the backyard but we had no farm animals, of course. There is a lot you can do in the suburban landscape, especially now-a-days. There is a growing awareness for eating fresh food and many people are eager to find out how they can get started. I am so encouraged to see that you are having a square foot garden, I bet that feeds your family and is fun to work in. Wow, basket making is great as well. My adopted mother, Evie Newman makes her baskets from the willow branches that grow near the creeks and they are quite lovely. I would love to see what kind of things you make. How fun! Yes, people do need God’s word more than ever to stand firm in their faith with a growing world of sin and depravity. It seems more and more things come out to distract our younger generations and we just have to be diligent in finding better things to focus on. It is a pull, but with Christ, we can be anchored in all that is good. Many blessings to you and yours!

    • I will definitely share all I am able to share each step of the way. Such a grand adventure. I am loving it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I love getting feedback!

    • Sorry I accidentally hit submit. 🙂 I not only would love to meet you in person but I would love to live in the area you live in. We started with friends that lived not far from you on Lagoon Rd. Amazing job on everything. Your husband reminds me a lot of min . Maybe I’ll have the pleasure of meeting you one day! Blessings!

      • I would love to build this community up with more like minded families. Really, I know right where Lagoon road is!!! That is not far from us. I would love to meet you one day, please let us know if you are in the area! If you ever want to consider this community, as long as you can find work and how to make an honest living, it is the greatest place to invest your life! Have a blessed day!

  13. All your hard work definitely shows. You have made a beautiful home. I love your spacious kitchen.

    • Thank you, Linda! We love it and this kitchen is one of my biggest kitchens yet, I am excited to do some cooking videos and cleaning videos, not to mention canning or butchering videos all from my kitchen. I think it will be great for filming!

    • We certainly are! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and come and visit the blog anytime!

  14. Wonderful to see your beautiful home. So much hard work and love has created a perfect place. I pray you will be happy and healthy in it. God Bless, Diane x

    • Thank you for the blessing, we are so encouraged by all the love, prayers, and support from all of you. Thank you for taking the time to offer me feedback. God bless you as well!

    • Well, sometime you will have to come and enjoy it with us! Thank you for taking the time to write here, the feedback is so encouraging.

  15. hello my mate Erin. Well you did it girl, not only have you and your lovely family built a home but you have built so much love within that home and so far away as well. Just reading your comments which are filled with not only praises but also such a pouring out of love from people who although you have never meet, you have touched their hearts. I know how they feel , even myself being way over here in Australia, I am so happy for you all and admire all the hard work you all do. Your ability to make a cabin a cosy welcoming home is something to be admired. Good on you Erin and all the family!!!!!!. Lots of love Vicki xxoo

  16. Dearest Erin and family
    I just showed your homestead photo’s to my three children and there first words were: “A family like us”. Living in the city it is so hard to find fellow families with the heart of Christ.
    They want to move there immediately. I had such a laugh. Wouldn’t that be great.
    Amber’s words was, “So imperfect, yet so perfect.”
    My son Casper loves to work with is hands a Mone’ loves cooking.
    My husband is an amazing teacher.
    We thing your life is a fantasy. With hard work and lots of love.
    God bless you and thank you for sharing and inspiration for life.
    Much love from the east.
    Talita, Amber (16), Mone’ (13), Casper (10)

  17. I have been so blessed and encouraged by your posts and this journey. I have had an unquenchable desire to start a small homestead for our family and slowly become less dependent on the grocery store and fast food. My husband though has a completely different idea of comfortable so I am still waiting. I truly wish we lived closer so we could come help and learn the art thst is dying all around us. Praying maybe one day we can come learn from you and find a community minded community like yours to live out a dream like this. I too have a vision of a homestead but mine includes housing the homeless and having them learn how to parent, how to be a Godly wife, how to handle their finances and how to provide good healthy meals from their own efforts. But first I need to learn some of those things but finding help and guidance is so hard. Everyone is just too busy doing their own things to help others learn. I look forward to the day I can live out the dream God has placed inside of me several years ago. Thank you for sharing your journey with the rest of us, it is truly and encouragement and a reminder of that dream.

  18. How wonderful- Our family is so excited for you- glad you are now connected with the web world- again- I to love to see and read your post you keep me encouraged and I keep your book by my bed- anytime I am feeling down- It’s my go to– Thanks for sharing your life- Now all we need is to have tea together- Have a blessed day-

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