Thursday, September 11, 2014

Meet the Homestead and Preparedness Writers Janet with Timber Creek Farmer

This week I would like to introduce you to Janet with Janet is a true homesteader. Raising fiber animals (goats and sheep), plus the more common backyard animals of chickens and ducks. Janet strives to produce as much of her families own food as possible as well as uses her homestead to help her make a living. Janet is also one of the hosts for From the Farm Blog Hop on Fridays and Simple Saturday Blog Hop. Both of which I try to participate in each and every week.

Janet is an active member of the Homestead Bloggers Network and Prepared Bloggers Association. I am really happy that she was willing to give us the opportunity to get to know her better.

How old are you?

Do you consider yourself a prepper, a homesteader, or a mixture of both?
Mostly I consider myself a homesteader. That said, I believe prepping is part of being a successful homesteader. We raise livestock on a small property, surrounded by acres of hardwood timber. It is necessary for us to have water and food available for the animals, to be ready for any emergency. They can’t just wander off and munch on pasture somewhere else. We are surrounded by suburban developments.

What do you think the greatest challenge our society faces?

I really feel our society is growing way too soft and incapable. In our area, most people do not know how to do anything. They call a repairman for everything, they eat out for most meals, they are disconnected from where their food comes from. We need people to learn skills. Actual skills that would help them to survive should something happen to our infrastructure. Even tasks such as changing a tire, building a fire, building a fence, caring for livestock.

On your site you you have homemade yarn for sale. How long have you been spinning?

Funny story on that. We have been growing fiber on our sheep and fiber goats for many years. I can process it to roving but I never learned to spin. I send it to a local fiber mill to have the yarn spun, then I can knit, crochet, weave, needle felt, with it or sell some. I feel like our product is constantly being improved and evolving as we learn more and add more fiber animals to our flock.
I raised sheep for a couple of years, but I raised them to train work dogs. What are some of the most common challenges when working with sheep?

I actually resisted getting sheep for the first few years. We started with fiber goats, Pygora, which is a breed developed from Angora and Pygmy goat breeding. Pygora is a recognized breed now with breed standards. I was worried that sheep would be less hardy and harder to take care of. In reality, I have not found that to be the case. I am currently building up our sheep flock, which now numbers 4. We have 10 Pygora goats too.

You operate an Etsy store. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of starting their own business?

I do still have the Etsy store open, but I am planning to cancel it soon. I recently moved the shop contents to my own website and added the shopping cart feature. This will enable me to add some additional complementary products such as knitting needles, crochet hooks, spinning accessories, handmade jewelry, and hand painted wooden decorations. Basically anything that fits our farm theme and personality will be able to be added to the shop. I did not do particularly well on Etsy. I think the competition is strong, there are many people selling handspun yarns and it is limiting in many ways. I do feel that moving the shop to the Timber Creek Farm website is the right move for our family’s talents.

Check out this beautiful farm theme pewter and silver charm bracelet.

And this listing for Timber Creek Farm homegrown yarn

If you prefer to buy finished goods you may be interested in these hand warmers.

Did any of your family members try to discourage the lifestyle you have chosen?

I wouldn’t say they tried to discourage us, but they do not understand why we want this type of lifestyle. We raise as much of our own food as possible, cook from scratch, stay home most of the time, raised our children to be self sufficient, and have a lot of physical labor to do each day. We don’t travel a lot, our choices for entertainment run more to Tractor shows, farm theme festivals, and visiting nearby historic battlefields and areas.

If you are a prepper what preparations have you made or do you feel everyone should make? 

I get asked this frequently. The answer has to vary depending on each family. I recommend two things. Have enough water and food for everyone in the family for a month. Secondly, if you don’t feel comfortable at that level, continue to store up some more until you can rest easy. If a few months of supplies makes you feel secure, then that is your answer. If it’s a year’s worth, then strive for that. I think its important to keep the worry in balance though.
If you are a homesteader tell me a little about your homestead. 

Our homestead farm is part of a family tree farm. It was not previously farmed for livestock and crops. We cleared some of the brush areas and put in paddocks, built a barn and other storage buildings. The chicken coop was a garden shed that we repurposed. The duck house was my design and the new rabbit building was designed and built by my husband while I was away visiting our daughter this summer. All the animals have pretty nice accommodations! We usually have two large garden plots going. Our growing season can be long but the middle of it is often too humid and swampy for much success. So early spring and fall are our best chances for harvest. This year we had a cooler than normal summer and most things we planted produced well.

How long have you been homesteading, prepping or both?

We started when our kids were small, twenty some years ago. We wanted them to stay closer to home and not get into the habit of just hanging around and using video games and TV as entertainment. Although all of them are not interested in farming, they all are able to pitch in when we need help or have to go out of town. Our oldest has chosen to stay on the farm and runs the pig operation.
If you could tell every person one thing what would it be? 

Just do one thing to make your self more self sufficient. Then do one more.

What do you think your best asset is in helping others achieve self sustainability?

I look at it this way. All you can do is plant the seeds and not be judgmental. Our way of life doesn’t make us better than anyone else. It is our choice and how we need to be in order to be able to sleep peacefully at night. I am happy to discuss our lifestyle but I don’t push. Kind of like my faith. I just live it and that is the best way to get people interested in what makes us unique. Having integrity and being humble are what I strive for personally. Because really, “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

I really hope you enjoyed getting to know Janet with When you go by her site be sure and tell her The Rural Economist sent you. The photos are links to the products from the shop. They are not affiliate links.

Janet is just one of the many writers who are trying to help you achieve your
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

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