Hey, y’all! I’m Cory and I’m excited to introduce myself! Well, actually not really. I’ve never been great at introductions; I never know what to say and usually end up rambling on and on… so here we go! I’m a wife, Christian, mom, educator, educational consultant, speaker, perfectionist, pie lover, art maker and proud Texan, born and raised. There! Oh, and I also run a half-ass homestead.
I met my husband Brian (also known as Brian Sr. or Sr.) in college while he was in the Army stationed in Texas. We went on one date and didn’t spend a weekend apart despite living nearly two hours apart. We got married less than 3 months after that first date, just before Brian shipped off to the Iraq War for 14 months. We’ve been married for 13 years this year and together we have three children, Brian Jr (10), Ella (8) , and Grace (5). You’ll get to know these guys more in future posts (the kids are planning to create their own pages #ProudMomma).
So, why am I writing about my half-ass homestead? Who am I to talk about homesteading, or half-assing it anyway? Well, I grew up with two of my four brothers in semi-rural home with a couple of acres on a red dirt road outside of Houston, Texas. My parents are DIYers and entrepreneurs and had their own business, which meant they often didn’t have much money to spend and even less time. But that never slowed them down.
At our house, we always had some sort of project happening at home whether home renovations, landscaping projects, or the latest project car of my Dad’s. Now our land was by no means a farm but we had plenty of animals to keep us entertained and busy. It was quite an adventure. There were the poodles and malamutes we bred, and often dressed up; our crazy outdoor cats with extra toes; Blitz our shetland pony that thought he was a dog, liked to swim and had a slight drinking problem; Jake my stubborn Palomino-Welch horse who liked to buck and nearly killed me, more than once; the hens that laid our eggs and lived in the old storage shed; and the mean old rooster that terrorized the coop until one day he attacked my Oma (German for Grandmother) and became dinner. More on these adventures in future posts, I’m sure.
In addition to our daily home, our family always had a home away from home on more land–whether a hunting lease, our own ranch in Eden, Texas, or my Opa’s (that’s German for Grandfather) ranch in the Texas Hill Country. We spent every opportunity we had on a ranch tending to livestock, hunting, fixing fences, working on the camp house, riding four-wheelers, and spending time as a family around a campfire.
I feel these experiences have prepared me well for a homestead lifestyle. I can mend a fence, plow a field, dress a deer, shotgun a beer, ride a horse, assist with birthing a calf, wield a power tool, and shoot a riffle like nobody’s business. I can also can food and bake just about anything. You know, at one point I dreamed of having my own ranch with rolling hills full of livestock and a garden that produced enough that we barely needed to go shopping.
However, that life, at least for now, is not the reality especially on the income of an educator and military veteran with three kids. Regardless, we are living our best life, especially since moving from Texas to our 1+ acre home here in Ohio in 2018. Why move? My husband is from here and begged to leave the blazing Texas heat. Just his luck to fall in love with a stubborn Texan. I even vowed to never leave The Great State when he proposed–a condition he agreed to for the first year or so before the heat wore him down. It took him about 10 years to sweet talk me into moving—though if you talk to him he’ll tell you it was my idea to move (even if this were true, he planted the idea). Despite the stress and anxiety of moving a family of 5 across the country and starting a new job, it was the best decision WE ever made. We’ve enjoyed the more mild summers, four seasons, SNOW, and year-round green grass the Mid-West has to offer. I mean it’s amazing; the plants don’t automatically die here come June! Until recently I could kill anything green with out trying. Now, not only do I not kill the plants, I’ve been known to accidentally give special care to weeds I didn’t know were weeds (I’m still learning).
We’re blessed to have a home in a wonderful neighborhood full of friendly neighbors and younger families like ours with children the same age as ours. We’ve become great friends with our neighbors Tarin and Clint who have a daughter the same age as our Ella and a son a two years younger than Grace. The kids run back and forth between our two yards almost daily, we have spontaneous family meals together, and I can always count on Tarin to join me in a glass of wine or three. Last year, Tarin I started talking about wanting to start a garden. After a few more conversations and a little research, not much money, and no real time do do it all, we were suddenly marking off a not-so-small plot of land on the border of our adjoining properties.
Our city friends refer to our little plot as a “farm” – though it’s far from it. This year we’re raising chickens and expanding the garden crop. We’ve learned a lot in the past few years and more each day. I don’t plan to give you advice but I will share what has and hasn’t worked for us. But more than the lessons learned are the adventures and stories that come from living the half-ass homestead life while raising kids. We can’t wait to share it with you.