I am really enjoying getting to know all of these writers better from all over the country. This week we talk to Jenna with www.flipflopbarnyard.com. She and her husband Derek are homesteading somewhere close to the east coast with 6 children , yes I said 6. They are working toward a more sustainable life and sharing the adventures with all of us. I always enjoy hearing about families where everyone is involved with being more as Jenna puts it connected to the land.
I think you will enjoy getting to know a little more about Jenn and Flip Flop Barnyard.
I just turned 31 in August.
Do you consider yourself a prepper, a homesteader, or a mixture of both?
I'd say a mixture of both with a heavier lean towards homesteader. I am all about raising our own food and preserving our own food. This enables us to stay prepared with food for any kind of emergency.
On your site you claim that you are not an expert at anything. What challenges have really tested your skills?
This is a hard one, we are learning as we go and there are new challenges everyday. We have learned to raise and butcher chickens, we are learning how to raise pigs, we are learning to build a barn and saw all of our lumber with a chainsaw mill, we are getting a milk cow and will be learning all about that, and we are learning new techniques for fencing. With each new task come new experiences and learning curves so the biggest challenge is finding the most proficient method of completing these tasks. It is very fun and rewarding to learn new things.
What do you think the greatest challenge our society faces?
Being disconnected from the land and where food comes from. We live in a fast paced society that relies on convenience for almost everything. Any glitch in the "norm" sends people into an uproar. I truly believe that people need to learn how to be prepared and to deal with life when things aren't so easy to come by.
In what section of the country is your homestead? i.e. Southeast. Midwest, mid Atlantic etc.
We are close to the East Coast.
You are homesteading with 6 children. How involved are your children in the homestead?
Very involved in everything. We do assign them age appropriate tasks. They participate in everyday chores like feeding the animals, checking for eggs, gardening, and cooking and sewing. They are also involved in butchering the animals when it is butcher time. We want to teach them how to be as self sufficient as possible and to not rely on retailers and corporations to provide for their basic needs.
I love the fact that you state you cover a little of this and a little of that. Why do you think being a generalist, when it comes to homesteading, is better than being a specialist?
For our family, we are working towards growing all of our own food so we need to have a very broad set of skills. We also like to build and make as much of the items that we use as possible. This has involved tree cutting, wood working, welding, a little metal working, and many different aspects of crafting. I do think that this can vary from person to person depending on what type of situation they live in. If they have limited space and resources I think being an expert at a few things is a good idea.
Did any of your family members try to discourage the lifestyle you have chosen?
No, we have been very fortunate to have nothing but support from family. A lot of people tell us that they wish that they could do what we are doing.
If you are a prepper what preparations have you made or do you feel everyone should make?
We are working towards being more prepared, not where we want to be yet but getting there. I think that food and water are very important, we are working a lot on the food aspect with growing our own but need to work more on the water aspect. I also believe that people should be prepared with firearms and ammo. Training and safety is first and foremost. Firearms are a great means of providing meat for your family when you have no other options, they are also a great form of self-defense and homestead defense. I also think it is a good idea to have access to and be proficient with a bow. If for some reason you need to hunt but can't use a gun or have no ammo you can still use a bow.
IF you are a homesteader tell me a little about your homestead.
Right now we are actually living with my parents on 3 1/4 acres. We also have access to a couple of neighboring acres that my cousin owns. We are currently on the hunt for our own house and piece of land. Where we are, we are able to keep laying hens, three pigs, and raise meat birds from time to time. We also have 2 ponies for the kids to enjoy. Within the next couple of weeks we will be adding a milk cow to the mix. We are doing a lot on not so much acreage.
How long have you been homesteading, prepping or both?
This month is our 3 year mark for starting our journey in all of this. It has grown and evolved so much and I look forward to seeing how the rest unfolds for us. I see the last 3 years as being a time of homesteading and gearing more towards prepping.
What do you think your best asset is in helping others achieve self sustainability?
Sharing our knowledge and encouraging others to work toward being self sufficient no matter where they are. Like I said, I'm not an expert at any of this but I have learned a whole lot about each different aspect. I can post articles about what I'm doing, how-to do things, and answer questions that come my way.
How important is your Faith on your homestead?
Our faith in God is the core of our family, our homestead, and our very lives. Without Him, we have nothing. When I look at all that we have, all that we've done, and all that we grow, I know that He has provided it for us and without His blessing none of this would be. Teaching our children to Honor God in all that they do is so very important to us.
If you could tell every person one thing what would it be?
Be connected to the land, to your food, and most importantly to the One who created it all.
I hope you will take time and swing by Flip Flop Barnyard and say hello to Jenna, please be sure and tell her The Rural Economist sent you. As you can see from these interviews, there are people of all ages and all areas of the country who are trying to help you achieve your
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes
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