Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Barn Chicks Blog - Interview with Jill from The Prairie Homestead

Today, I'd like you to meet Jill from the Prairie Homestead. I recently found her blog and enjoyed visiting. She makes self sufficiency look easy. Jill gives lots of information on their experiences as they live off the land.
I hope you enjoy this interview. Stop by her blog and check it out!

1. Tell us a bit about your homestead.
We bought our homestead in 2008. It's 67 acres of Wyoming prairie, and we were blessed that it came with a barn, chicken coop, and shop. It was originally homesteaded in 1910, but had some rough ownership in the previous years, so it has been quite the project for us! Our weekends are filled with clearing brush/trash, fencing, building, painting, roofing, mowing, planting, and dreaming. We are 35 miles from the nearest grocery store, but we wouldn't trade it for the world.

2. What animals do you have?
Horses, dogs, cats, chickens, dairy goats, and most recently a milk cow. I was a horse person (and also a Vet Tech) long before we ever became interested in homesteading. We are animals lovers anyway, so it's not been much of a sacrifice to keep homestead critters!

3. How do the animals get their names?
Usually, if we purchase an animal with an existing name, we just keep it. Otherwise, we like to choose rather original names. I just think it's sad to name a dog "Spot". ;) Our dogs are Powder (after gunpowder), Slater (a road in our community), and Chet (from the movie, Monte Walsh) for example. But, we don't name the chickens... I just can't keep them straight!

4. How did a compost pile start your way of living?
When we purchased our land, we didn't even know modern day homesteading existed. We just wanted a barn and room for our horses. But of course, with having horses comes lots of manure. We didn't have a tractor at that point, so I began to research ways to manage our manure pile. That research led to information about organic gardening, then chickens, then goats, and the rest is history!
5. Do you cook, can, or garden?
Yes, yes, and yes! I love to cook using traditional methods and whole food ingredients. I garden to help cut back on our grocery budget and keep our food as local as possible. I also love to can applesauce, tomato sauce, salsa, and pickles for the wintertime.

6. What's your favorite recipe on your blog? Hmmm... That's a toughie! Right now, I guess I'd have to say my Soft Homemade Pizza Crust (http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2011/04/our-most-favorite-pizza-crust-ever.html) Mostly because we use it on a weekly basis, and it's my go-to, need-dinner-quick, recipe. Plus, it satisfies my cravings for take-out pizza, which is non-existent out here on the prairie. :)

7. What have you learned about frugal living? Lots! But I guess the most important thing I've learned about practicing frugality is that you must learn how to think outside the box. So often we have a "just buy it" mentality, when all we really need to do is get creative. Use what you have, build it, make it, or sometimes you can simply do without. It's really the Great Depression mentality that our grandparents had, just being recycled in our generation.

8. Are you happy to be raising Prairie Baby into a simpler life? Absolutely! It is one of my greatest joys. I love that she could care less about what is on TV or the latest cartoon character, but she gets SO excited over playing with the animals or digging around in the dirt. My husband and I were both raised in town, so we are very thankful to be able to raise our kids in the country. I am looking forward to the day that Prairie Baby can help me do chores and take care of the animals!

Isn't she adorable?

9. You said that your mission is to inspire others to return to their roots. Have you seen this happening? It's hard to gauge how far reaching your blog posts are, so I can't say for sure. However, I know that I have an awesome little community of fellow homesteaders/country folk over at The Prairie Homestead. I love seeing people excited about simple living, real food, and getting back to the basics. I hope that as the blog grows, so will the sense of community.

10. What's your favorite thing about living in the country? The peaceful atmosphere. I love the quiet, the fresh air, and looking out my front door to see nothing but grazing cows and miles upon miles of prairie. On the rare days when I head to the "big city" to do some shopping, I instantly start missing my wide open spaces... If I stay in town too long, I start to get grumpy! :)

11. Have the blizzards, tornadoes, grasshopper plagues, and rattlesnakes made you a stronger person? I don't know about stronger, but they have definitely made me more flexible! It's humbling to know that everything you have worked so hard for could be gone in an instant. It really makes you trust that God knows what He is doing. Also, I have a much greater empathy and appreciation for the old-time homesteaders. I threw a fit when my garden got hailed out last year, but I could still go to the grocery store and get veggies if I needed to. What if your garden was your only option? Wow.
12. What's in the future for your homestead? We really want to keep improving our complete self-sufficiency. Currently we are working on back-up/alternative water sources if the power ever went out for an extended period of time. I am currently learning to make a variety of cheeses and dairy products so we no longer have to purchase any of those items from the store. We also plan to start our own meat production this year (grassfed beef and hopefully pork). Someday we dream of being completely off-grid, but that is still a ways off.

Thank you to Jill for this interview. I wish you all the best on you prairie home. Give that Prairie Baby a big hug for me!


  1. Love it...as always! Off to check her own blog out and get to know her better. I love the prairie photo.... if I didn't live where I live, that's the kind of place I'd choose ;)

  2. So cool! I look forward to reading her blog! I too can't wait until my little one is old enough to help with chores :) And I hope he loves animals as much as we do!

    I need to try that pizza dough recipe too!!

  3. How interesting! This is a huge step to go back in time and leave all the town-life behind. I look forward to learning more. We are 35 miles from a "big" town, but the IGA is still just about five miles away for emergencies!

  4. oh my gosh, that prairie baby is adorable!!! just want to pinch those cheeks! sounds like a great farm and family life! wonderful!

  5. Great interview and good luck to them on their self-sufficiency for the future. JB

  6. Very nice thoughts and I think she has a wonderful baby.
    The wide open spaces are wonderful.

  7. I enjoyed the interview! I checked out her blog and I like it! Thanks!

    And the prairie baby... way too cute!

  8. I'm going to have to check out that pizza recipe!! :) Funny, I just ran into the Prairie Homestead blog the other day and really enjoyed it! :)


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