When I stumbled upon The Morris Tribe–a homesteading blog written by Kelly Morris–I thought, “Kelly and I could be sisters!” I say that because the first thing I read of hers was her e-book Just Get ‘em Fed. As you regular readers know, I believe that we should do everything in our power to feed our families a healthy, homegrown, organic diet. But sometimes, it just don’t work. And when I read in Just Get ‘em Fed, “Life is too short to agonize over every bite,” I knew that Kelly and I were kindred spirits.
So, I am pleased to have Kelly here today, in interview format anyway. Maybe someday we could do a joint podcast and cut up like the guys on the radio do. But until that time, I’d like to share with you what Kelly has to say about the Morris’ homesteading and homeschooling.
Before you get too comfortable though, remember this is just part 1 of the interview. Since Kelly had so much great stuff to share, and I generally like to keep my posts short and sweet, I’m saving the questions about how the Morris’ use their homesteading lifestyle as part of their homeschooling for the next issue of Lessons from the Homestead. So if you don’t subscribe, you better do it today.
I’m so glad to have you on Everything Home, Kelly. Can you tell me a little about your family, where you live, and what your life is like?
First, I want to thank Carol for this interview! I have been a big fan of Carol’s for quite a while now and was honored to be asked. This year Mark and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! I am truly married to the most wonderful man on the planet! We have 9 children, 6 biological and three siblings adopted from Ethiopia about 2 1/2 years ago.
We live in a small town in Ohio after many, many years of dreaming about getting out in the country! I’ve been homesteading for many of those “waiting to get out to the country” years in the suburbs!
Today, with just under 10 acres, we have miniature donkeys, goats and chickens that keep us quite busy. We managed two large gardens in 2011 which was just wonderful.
My days are like many moms, laundry, cooking, cleaning and homeschooling. There is no time to get sick if your name is “Mom”, that’s for sure. Every day, as I manage my family and home, I try to look for ways to be more healthy, more natural and to use less energy. Simplicity is my personal goal.
How many children do you currently school?
Prior to our adoption of three Ethiopian siblings in 2009, I homeschooled all of the children. It was my intention to homeschool our new children as well. It soon became apparent that this decision wasn’t what was best for our adopted children or the family as a whole.
Our plans to move out to the country accelerated as we not only needed more room, but the assistance of a small local public school to help with ESL and special needs. Being a homeschooler is one thing, “special needs” is quite another, one that I’m not wired for. Coming to terms with my limitations as a mother as well as an educator was difficult, but with a lot of prayer, my husband and I knew that it was time to reach out and expand our options.
To answer the question, at this time I have two children at home to be schooled, Meredith and Isaac, 10 and 7 respectively.
What comprises your homestead? Animals, gardens, fruit, meat, eggs, dairy, hunting, foraging, etc.
Wow, well let me think….I’ve already mentioned the miniature donkeys. We have 4 dairy goats, whom we love dearly. This year, we raised a brood of Golden Comets (chickens) who should begin to lay in March 2012.
The last two summers have consisted of a primary focus on perennials to sustain our family. We have a vineyard with several types of grapes, blackberries and raspberries. We also have a large strawberry patch, quadrupled from the year before. I also put in about 6 blueberry plants.
A small orchard of about 10 apple, pear and plum trees grace our property, we’re hoping to get a decent crop this year as it’s year 3 for most of the trees.
Our asparagus will be in its third year in 2012 and I plan to use that for bartering purposes. Granted, we’ll eat some of it, but my family doesn’t care for it that much.
Foraging is something that I’m realizing will take years and years to fully understand, but I made a point to begin identifying the trees and herbs on our property last year. We have a number of wonderful mulberry trees which we forage from. There are also a number of “greens” that we love to partake of as salad during the summer months. It’s just amazing how much food is out there!
Deer are everywhere and we will certainly begin to hunt at some point. We also have a large pond and I would like to experiment with the idea of raising our own fish, again at some point. Sustainable forestry is also on the list of future endeavors.
Do you homestead solely to provide for your family or do you provide products for others?
We provide for our immediate family for the most part, other than occasional sharing with friends and neighbors.
My mission and passion “The Morristribe: One BIG Family’s Homesteading Journey” is to educate and equip others with the knowledge they need to provide for their family. “A Year On A Homestead” video series was designed to take folks, month by month, through life on a homestead and train them in the skills few of us grew up learning.
Is there anything else you’d like to share along these lines?
It’s important to understand that homesteading isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle. Homesteading, when embraced with the right spirit, can and should alter your lifestyle and habits. That’s a good thing!
Sometimes I miss those days of being able to casually have a latte with a friend with little notice, but I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle as a homesteader for anything in the world. It’s a great way to raise a family.
Thank you so much, Kelly, with sharing with us today.
And don’t forget, if you want to read about how the Morris’ integrate their homesteading with their homeschooling, subscribe to Lessons from the Homestead today. It’s delivered free to your inbox every month and is packed full of ideas and encouragement for the homesteading homeschooler.