Living Off The Land, Our Year Long Adventure

We’re normal. Mostly.

We have three children and I’m a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t do much staying home.

I homeschool them.

Danny works full time as a farrier, shoeing and trimming horse hooves.

We have a farm where we raise grass fed nouveau beef and bush raised heritage pigs.

We direct market the meats.

We raise a few heritage chickens for eggs and meat, just for our selves.

We butcher the chickens ourselves

We take our animals to the butcher.

I bring the carcass home to do cutting, curing, and smoking for our family.

We host prairie haute cuisine dinners in our pasture with one of Canada’s best chefs.

We built an oven out of clay and stone from our pasture for this annual event.

We put in a sizeable garden, also for the dinner. About 100 ft X 125 ft. I love garden veg. I love the romance of growing your own and storing it for the winter.

Unfortunately I hate gardening.

We love good wines and whiskies. Dancing all night long. Fine dining. Getting together with wonderful friends, eating and drinking too much. We have a help yourself moto in our home. Mi casa et su casa. Friends bring their knives, wine, cider, homemade charcuterie, and another interesting “need to share because it’s cool” items  when they come because we cook, eat, and drink together.  One even brings his gun. He likes pigeon.

So we’re normal. Mostly.

Given our mostly normal life we’ve decided to try living off the land for a year. What does this mean? Well we had called it buying nothing for a year with exceptions for business and hygiene, salt and sugar. Many “what if’s” arose. So we’ve revamped the plan to make the purpose and goal clearer.  We will live off the land for the year with the exception of salt and sugar. We will grow and raise everything we can here on our farm, what we can’t or have a wreck growing, we can purchase it directly from someone who does grow it.

This means no coffee, chocolate, bananas, imported wines or cheeses, no Starbucks, no eating out (unless someone else is buying 😉 ), and many other things!

This idea was born after reading my great grandpa’s biography. The trials and tribulations they went through just to find peace in Germany, then WALKED as a family to Russia, then had to leave everything behind to move to Canada for the hope of a better life. They arrived in Manitoba with nothing. They built a home from the trees they cleared off the land, they cleared rocks and trees without animals or machines. When the homestead was finally set up Gramps left to find work in a lumber camp gone for months at a time. Granny was left pregnant with two little ones and a farm in the literal wilds of the Manitoba Interlake. She’d give birth alone or if the kids could fetch the nearest neighbour a couple miles through the bush in time. Repeatedly Gramps would be home long enough to get Granny pregnant and then have to leave for work again. It was a hard life for both of them. Gramps had no choice but to leave to find work and Granny had no choice but to keep the farm and family alive. After they were settled they dealt with the Spanish Flu, infants dying, and their sons having to go to war, they  and all the pioneers seemed…unstoppable.

*Insert Kimmy Schmidt theme song.*  Oh wait…that’s “Unbreakable”….

The point is we are sucks today. Pathetic when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Without a grocery store and a plastic card most of us would starve.

So what does living off the prairies in Alberta, Canada look like..?

We will soon find out.

Starting August 1st, 2015. Follow us as we prepare, plant, harvest, store, butcher, and bake.

6 thoughts on “Living Off The Land, Our Year Long Adventure

  1. The other thing that amazes me about our ancestors is that they seemed to be a lot happier than most of us – even though we have so much more than they ever could have imagined.


    1. Seemingly so! I’ve been reading a lot of the history books from our small towns and the ones I’ve read say exactly that. Most of the entries were from the 1970’s when the last of the settlers were still around and they too commented on the happiness with so little and compared to “today’s” abundance. Imagine if they could see 2015!


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