Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

BACK TO THE FUTURE OF THE LAND: This week HOMEGROWN chatted with new member Tasha, a Maine mom and grad student whose research compares the 1970s back-to-the-land movement with today's homesteading renaissance. And did we mention she's a homesteader herself? Read more about her studies, her garden, and her general awesomeness below, then check out her blog, Multifarious Raymonds, for more news from the homestead.

What is Meet Your Neighbors? We can spend a fair amount of time tending our online gardens, but it’s easy to forget there’s a real person behind every quiche recipe, chicken inquiry, and hoophouse design here on HOMEGROWN. Well, nuts to that! MYN gives us a chance to meet over the back fence and shake hands.

Views: 197

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on January 14, 2014 at 6:50pm

Good evening, Tasha! So, you’re chatting with us from Maine, which, comparatively speaking, isn’t all that cold right now. Are you enjoying the reprieve by doing anything you wouldn’t usually be doing this time of year?

Comment by Tasha Raymond on January 14, 2014 at 6:57pm

Evenin'! I guess the only thing out of the "norm" that I've really been able to accomplish is stirring the coop up. Until two days ago the shavings - and everything else - was frozen solid. Aside from that, it's a mess out there. Everything's covered in ice and we have a layer of water on top of that, thanks to the rain we've been having all day. On the plus side, the melting has uncovered some of the wood that we haven't processed, so we might be able to get that moved into the woodsheds before snow comes again Saturday.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on January 14, 2014 at 7:00pm

Here's to more wood! The real benefit—as opposed to just the beauty or the novelty—of a fire is something I didn't fully grasp until I moved to New England. Speaking of the chickens and the woodpile, we should make sure folks know that you’re a homesteader, the mother of a 2-year-old, an English teacher, and a grad student. I guess the question is: How?

Comment by Tasha Raymond on January 14, 2014 at 7:06pm

Well, the easy answer is, "I have no idea." Hah! There as many days I find myself asking the "how" question. To start with, our homestead is just in it's beginnings. We only have a small flock - 9 chickens - and a handful of gardens (10x8, 6x4, 8x4, 10x6, 10x12, and this spring we'll be adding in a 30x10). While we do as much as we can, we're trying to take it slow and not overburden ourselves.

Currently the teaching thing has been put aside so I can stay at home with the little man. My wonderful husband has been able to support us on the one income while I work on grad school part time. My entire degree is self-regulated, meaning I can choose the courses and what I'm working on, which has made it possible to take all but two courses online. For the first year there was a lot of  baby-on-one-arm-book-on-another feeding sessions. Now I normally find time while he's having "boy time" with Dada.

It's absolutely crazy, but it works amazingly well!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on January 14, 2014 at 7:11pm

Hats off to you. It's pretty awesome that you guys have such a full plate and are making it work. By the way, I love that you call those gardens "starting small." You're an inspiration, lady! OK, next question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did you love homesteading so much that you wanted to research it as a grad student, or did studying the movement make you want to walk the walk? (Some quick background: Tasha is comparing the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s with the current homesteading revival. Learn how you can help her out and share your know-how.)

Comment by Tasha Raymond on January 14, 2014 at 7:19pm

First off, thanks for adding the link in. The more eyes, the better!

It was kind of a hand-in-hand thing, really. Before my husband and I bought our house we were living in an apartment and were slowly starting to steer towards home-done and home-grown out of budget concerns. (This was well before I started learning about GMOs, was introduced to Rachel Carson's works, or even realized the fuel consumption used to transport goods.) We started out with container planting, going so far as to retrofit an old home audio speaker box to grow out tomatoes in. At the same time I had joined a crafting forum in order to sharpen my knitting and crochet skills. I met a handful of people online doing this "homesteading" thing and just thought, "Well, shoot, that looks like what we're doing, but on steroids." That's all it really took to get me curious enough to start planning out what I wanted in a home.

I'll admit that starting the homestead kind of did drive me to look towards doing my project on homesteading in Maine. While I had originally wanted to focus on the economical and cultural impact of the Civil War on Maine, I figured that the homesteading concept would be fun enough to keep me going long term - as  I only take one class, if that, a year - and self-serving as well. The more I've learned about certain aspects of homesteading, the more we've been adapting and able to do. It's been a great paring, actually.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on January 14, 2014 at 7:26pm

Talk about practicing what you preach—or maybe in this case, read. The two—life and studies—matching up so closely does seem like a great formula for keeping the motivation going for both long term. Nicely planned! Now, since we're having this chat here, on HOMEGROWN, could you talk a little more about how food fits into the picture for you and your family? (Also, can we start a campaign to increase usage of the phrase, "Well, shoot"?)

Comment by Tasha Raymond on January 14, 2014 at 7:34pm

I'm completely on board with that type of campaign! :-)

As people will probably gather from my previous answer, a lot of our homesteading revolves around food. Especially with the gardens. We spend countless hours seeding, weeding, and harvesting, not to mention enjoying the fruits of our labor. I love to cook, so it's been super gratifying seeing the full process from beginning to end. There's nothing better than scanning the garden to see what dinner will be instead of staring at the grocery list.

Our son's been a big pusher for us to keep working on adding more homegrown food on our plates. Because he's spent his time outside with us, my son can tell you where each food was grown last year, which is awesome because I normally have to go look at my map! He can tell you what food grows in the ground and what one is a plant. The first time he noticed chicken nuggets in the store and I told him it was chicken, he clucked like he does at our ladies. It was great to see that he's making the connections that we want to teach him all on his own. (For reference, I grew up not knowing that the chicken you saw on farm shows was the same thing as what came out of the oven. That's a townie for ya.)

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on January 14, 2014 at 7:38pm

Girl, nobody can call you a townie now. You and your kiddo are one with the dirt! (And the leaves and the seeds and the roots and the hens.) One last question and then we'll let you get back to the wee one and the chickens and the homework and the woodpile: What’s for dinner at your house tonight? And before I sign off, thanks so much for taking the time to chat, Tasha. We're so lucky to have you here on HOMEGROWN!

Comment by Tasha Raymond on January 14, 2014 at 7:42pm

Dinner tonight was supposed to local source steak, mushroom rice, and asparagus. But the steak never thawed, so the back up plan was pasta with sauce. A bit on the low-key, but better than fast-food by far!

Tomorrow the steak will be eaten!

It's been wonderful chatting! Homegrown is quickly becoming my favorite place to hang! Night, ya'll!


You need to be a member of HOMEGROWN to add comments!



HOMEGROWN.org created this Ning Network.



Join us on:


  • Add Videos
  • View All


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2023   Created by HOMEGROWN.org.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Community Philosphy Blog and Library