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“It truly makes us realize how lucky we are”
From the Valley
CHASCA AND THATCHER took advantage of the beautiful, warm weather over Easter weekend to get to work preparing the hillbilly homestead’s new flower gardens.

RISING SUN - From where I sit at my dining room table, working from home, I can clearly tell spring has officially and truly sprung.

My face feels a little tight with the tinge of the first-of-the-year sunburn, and the grass in the neighbors pasture is turning a stark shade of green. The rain that was forecasted for the week has decided to change to only clouds and having the doors and windows spring open just feels magical.

We took advantage of the 75-degree Easter weekend we experienced in rural Rising Sun. Yes, those of you who aren’t currently residing in Crawford County, you read that right–a whopping 75 degrees.

We’ve quickly learned that there is always more work to be done, when you live on even just a hobby farm. And after coming out of a cold and muddy winter, it feels nice to be able to accomplish a few things.

Chasca has a fleet of lawnmowers, like any homesteader should apparently and he decided to fire up his ancient Simplicity. Although not the tool for the job when it comes to serious mowing (which at our house takes three hours with his zero turn Dixon), it almost does the job well when it comes to lawn sweeping.

“It’s stuck on Turtle most of the time, I need to figure out a way to get it stuck on Hare instead,” Chasca mused about the slow-moving machine.

Despite its propensity to only move slow, Chasca was able to gather up two sweeper loads of debris that I managed to rake out from the corners of our homestead where all of the giant oak leaves gathered over the fall and snowless winter.

We also celebrated the warmth by cleaning up our prolific raspberry patch. Even our neighbor stopped by to gaze in wonder. “Wow! Those look great, and you only planted those last year,” she exclaimed.

Thatcher especially was excited to plop the Golden Raspberry roots in the ground and shared with her that “These will be perfect for shakes and smoothies any time of day during the hot summer weather!”

I was particularly excited to plant the ‘Latham’ variety that we found during a rare trip to Walmart. Being that we live on Latham Road, they seemed only appropriate. They’ll

join in with the two other mystery varieties we were given by a dear friend after Chasca’s dad died. We planted them at our old home on the hillside in the bright sun and hoped for the best. They took off like wild and produced berries in abundance the same year we planted them and quadrupled in amount the following year.

So when we moved (a year ago in two weeks!), we dug up a few canes, taking great care to ensure that enough would be left to continue a prolific garden for the next people enjoying the property. And now looking at the healthy stalks we are excited to dream about what the humble little patch will become.

It felt a year ago, when we dove into this bigger idea of a homestead that we had to get everything and anything all done at once. And we tried to. And in some cases we succeeded and in some we failed miserably.

It felt really hard to admit that things weren’t working, because it all seemed like it should and we couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t.

We laughed, we smiled, but we cried and argued too. And in the end we discovered ways to communicate and come together closer because of it.

I was interviewing a friend recently, who is two years ahead of me in a similar situation. Working hard to make this wild homesteading dream a reality and 

 I think she summed it up well when she said. “It was so hard the first year we moved here. I had no chill, the first day we moved in I bought all of these animals and just went crazy. And then I found myself stumbling (literally and figuratively) and falling, and crying every day and wondering ‘Did we buy the wrong property? Are we in over our head?’ And then we made it through that first year and things got easier. Our first lambs were born and we started to feel like all of our hard work was paying off.”

Doing anything this past year should be considered a really excellent accomplishment for everyone. We were all under a lot of pressure and had to adapt on the fly and I think we should all be proud of ourselves now that we are hot stepping onto the other side of things.

I am especially proud of my own little family to have accomplished all that we have in the past year. I continue to develop more dreams and ideas to keep things rolling along into the future. And to realize that you share a common goal and dream with your family after spending so many days together, it truly makes us realize how lucky we are.