MORE Was My Catalyst

MORE Was My CatalystHave you ever thought “There’s got to be more to life?”  Yep, that’s where I was at September 2013.  I was working a full-time job with a minimum two-hour commute daily and an elementary child in before and after school care (known as Latchkey here in our school system).  I was dissatisfied with my job and just knew that there had to be more than just going to and from work to pay bills and spend money on things.  I wanted MORE quality time with my family.  MORE time to garden.  MORE time to take care of my health (I had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in February 2013). I wanted to feel like I was making a difference.  At the same time, I started perusing Pinterest where I kept coming across homemade laundry detergent posts.  And from there I started finding other homemade items.  This led to finding homesteading blogs, including Trayer Wilderness which quickly became one of my favorites.  My eyes OPENED!  That was what I had needed.
So I made a plan.  I made a list of pros and cons to quit my job to be a full-time homesteading Momma.   I ran budget numbers…over and over and over.  Then I presented it to my husband.  It took several months to convince him but we had many great conversations about what we wanted for our family of three.  From there plans and goals were developed.  It took us about three months to get everything in place in order for me to quit the job that I  thought I’d retire from.  This included paying off as much debt as possible. In May 2014 I gave my notice and my last day was the first week of June.
 More Was My Catalyst Garden
Part of the preparation for me being home was getting the garden in.  In previous years I had planted a garden, but could never keep up with it.  So the weeds had taken over.  So it was a ton of work to not only plan what and where to plant but to till it, mound up raised rows, and put cardboard down in between all the rows .  In addition to a garden, we wanted to put in an orchard right away because it will take several years to see a harvest from it.  The orchard included apple, pear, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, mulberry, and fig trees as well as blackberry, raspberry, and elderberry bushes.
 MORE Was My Catalyst Orchard

Other goals included increasing our food storage thru canning and dehydrating, neither of which I had never done before in my life.  All the tools to do this were purchased before I quit my job as that was part of the plan.  So, there I was with a water bath canner AND a pressure canner.  My first foray into canning was water bath canning making strawberry jam and sauce and strawberries in syrup.  I also dehydrated strawberries (which were excellent in oatmeal and cereal).  Blueberries were next on my list.  By this time, I was becoming a regular at the farmers market.Finally I was brave enough to use the pressure canner.  I was tense the whole time but I successfully canned chicken broth.  I haven’t bought broth or stock since!  In all I successfully canned and dehydrated 106 jars of food.  Not bad for six months and just learning!  I also learned so much from all the homesteading and preparedness blogs that I knew 2015 had to be even better.

What was your reason?  What led you on your journey?

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Michelle is a stay at home Mom to a wonderful daughter and wife to a terrific husband. She is also a homesteader, gardener, scrapbooker/cardmaker, crafter, 4-H leader for a crafting club and a shooting sports club, as well an active CERT member. Additionally, she's also a freelance copy editor and virtual assistant at mdh-services.com.

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14 thoughts on “MORE Was My Catalyst

  1. Wow! What a fascinating story. I liked how you guys weighed it all out, made a plan, and went for it. Thanks for sharing. I’ll admit I’m jealous of your fruit orchard!

    • Thanks Rhonda! The fruit orchard was definitely an investment. I feel blessed that we have the space for it.

  2. Now the puzzle is solved. I knew you worked full time nd had a long commute, also if I remember correctly you frequently traveled for your job. Then I’d see your FB posts about canning, baking, gardening etc. I thought you turned into Wonder Woman doing all you were posting. For years when the kids were home we gardened and my summer was consumed with keeping up the garden then canning and freezing. I knew how much work it entails and couldn’t figure out how you were doing it. We also had chickens some to put in the freezer and the hens for eggs. I canned every thing even catsup. Nothing like home grown and canned food. If you are interested I have the EASIEST and TASTIEST sweet corn recipe. I got it from a friend that came here from a MN farm of several thousand acres. Defiantly corn country. Everyone I’ve shared it with has told me they’d never go back. One even started eating corn after using my recipe. BTW your article is excellent, good luck homesteading.

  3. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? Very inspirational and encouraging. Enjoy your adventure and here’s to discovering what’s around the next curve and in the road. 😉

  4. Note: A latchkey kid is actually a child who has to get home from school on their own, unlock their door, and latch it closed behind them. Then they take care of themselves the rest of the day until their parent gets home from work. They weren’t fortunate enough to have after school care or it wasn’t even heard of yet.

    • While I agree with your definition I believe the purpose of the program that the school system designed and named as latchkey is to prevent children from experiencing being home alone during the time between school ending and the parents arriving home. Thus the reason for the name of the program. I remember growing up and not having that option so I went home to an empty house. I completely understand how fortunate kids enrolled in an after school program are.