The Prairie Homestead: Interview with Jill

Come meet Jill from The Prairie Homestead as she shares life with us.  After you get to know her a bit, be sure to go visit all that she’s doing on her blog.  Oh, and be sure to sign up for the Pantry Paratus giveaway on her site today!


 

Your kitchen was recently featured in Cheeseslave’s kitchen tour.  I was inspired by its’ beauty and by your creativity—like your beautiful spice drawer! 

Jill's Spice Drawer

What role does creativity play in your life, your home, and your blog?

 

I’ve always been a person that MUST have a creative outlet. And as I’ve grown older, I’ve also discovered that creativity is a way for me to learn to be more content with what I have. I’ve come to enjoy finding creative solutions to the challenges I face in my life- especially ones relating to homesteading in a severe environment and living in a small house.

 

What is “on your plate” so to speak?  Hubby, home, family church, etc?  What kinds of systems do you have in place to balance all of life’s demands?

 

My plate is incredibly full right now. I can’t believe people used to tell me I’d be bored as a stay-at-home-mom! In addition to being a wife to a very busy hubby and mama to an active toddler, I cook all of our food from scratch, grow a garden, maintain our dairy animals, run my blog, ride horses frequently, and volunteer in various capacities at our church.

Jill's Rooster

 Balance is currently the lesson I am struggling to learn. Some weeks are better than others. So far, my best tool is simply making lists of what needs done each week/day. Simple, yes, but it truly helps me to stay on target and prevents meltdowns. 😉

 

Your blog is so informative and readable, and the readers are certainly engaged and communicative.  What is your motivation for sharing the wisdom you’ve learned along the way?

 

I didn’t grow up in the country. I don’t have a family ranch to inherit, or parents that taught me all the tricks and tips of homesteading. For the longest time, so many of the skills of “country life” seriously intimidated me.

 

I had this mental block that told me that owning cows was over my head, or that learning how to milk a goat was something I’d never be able to do. I’d built up things like canning or butchering in my mind until I figured that they were coveted skills that only a few could master.

 Jill's Cow

Until one day I just decided to just take those plunges (after some serious pushes from my adventurous hubby!) and I discovered an amazing thing: IT’S NOT THAT HARD! 

 

Truly, anyone who sets their mind to it can do this stuff. And that is why I blog- to encourage folks like me to take the plunge, and just do it!

 

When did you start your blog, and what changes have you implemented as you’ve gone along?

 

I started my blog in the November of 2010. It has changed a lot! It started out as a simple journal of my everyday life, and has quickly morphed into something completely different. I’ve found that I love sharing my discoveries (and failures!) with my readers. I am so thankful for the online homesteading community built around The Prairie Homestead.

 

When it comes to homesteading, what is the activity that makes you, well, giddy?  What gives you the most passion and excitement around the homestead?

 

Wow. This is a tough one! It really depends on the day. I have these little moments that just pop out of the middle of nowhere sometimes. It might be while I’m hanging laundry, or heading out to the barn with my milk bucket on a still summer morning. I almost have to pinch myself, since sometimes I can’t believe this former city girl is actually in the middle of the lifestyle I only dreamed of for so long!

 

But, it’s important to note that there are definitely days of drudgery too. Some mornings it’s hard to get out of bed to milk, and some days I have to push myself to get outside to weed the garden. But, I think that’s totally normal in any “profession”. You have to take the good days with the tough ones.

 

Okay, follow-up question—if you could hire someone to do it for you, what would you hire them to do?

 

I would hire someone in a heartbeat to do all of my mowing/watering in the summer time!

The Prairie

 I don’t really mind either of those tasks, but they are incredibly time consuming, especially during a season where there is SO MUCH else to do!

 

Your house and land has been a work in progress for you!  If you were going to do it all over again, would you pick the same place, and why?  What aspect of the job did you underestimate before digging in?

 

They most certainly have been [a work in progress]! Initially I was going to say I’d pick a place with a bigger home, but on second thought, living in a small house has taught me things I doubt I could have learned elsewhere.

 

I think we’d choose this place again. It’s been such an amazing experience for us and so empowering as we watch the land transform before our eyes.

 

We probably slightly underestimated the sheer amount of work we were buying at first, but it’s been well worth it.

Old pump jack

 

I  had been looking for a good shortening-free pie crust recipe for awhile, and so I was extremely excited to try yours (and a reader’s tip to freeze the butter and then grate it)! 

Jill's Delicious Pie Crust

Have you always been a baker, have you always use healthier whole foods, and did you have someone in your life teach you how to create such yumminess? 

 

This is a rather surprising part of my story for many readers. I HATED cooking for the longest time, and although my mom faithfully tried to teach me, I fought her my whole childhood.

 

It wasn’t until I met my hubby that I started to enjoy cooking, but even then, I did NOT use whole foods. My mantra was “the cheaper, the better.” We ate a whole lot of bologna and ramen noodles… Gross, huh? It’s only been the last 2-3 years that I’ve come to have a passion for whole, natural, and traditional foods.

 

I’ve taught myself basically all of my cooking skills. My teachers have been various blogs, cookbooks, cooking shows on TV, and lots of trial and error. So if anyone out there is struggling to begin their real food journey, let me encourage you: if I can do it, then anyone can!


Thanks Jill, for sharing your life, heart and homestead with us! 

–Chaya

About Chaya Foedus

Flour on the ceiling. The ugliest vintage apron collection you've ever seen. And an affinity for old-fashioned kitchen skills that center on health, preparedness, and family meal-time. I am passionate about helping people find their kitchens and then teaching them what to do once they get there.

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