Hey friends, we are diving into The Top 10 Priorities for your homestead and how to make it all work. In this one, Lacey and I had a ton of fun with, we’d love for you to join us, listen to some of these. Try and guess what Lacey’s top one priority is in this episode. I think my favorite one so far is learning how to save seeds. Go ahead and dive into this episode, we’re excited to share with you.
Welcome friends to the podcast today. We’re talking about the top 10 priorities for homesteading right
now in these kinds of times. This is from somebody that just joined our group and we both thought this
was a fun one to list out what those are.
Good topic, yeah. It was hard for us to come up with a list of 10 so it might be a little longer than that,
but it actually is maybe a little shorter too because it’s categorized. But yeah, I mean, I think if you’re
trying to be self-sufficient and you’re looking at what can I do just to be more self-reliant this is a really
good thing to think about.
So, Lacey laid out this list. Lacey, is this list in order of importance to you or is this just a list of…
No, it’s in the order of importance. So should we start at the end or should we start at the beginning?
Yeah, I feel like we’ve got to build out to what the most-
… important is. You guys, listeners, if you’re listening right now go ahead and guess what it is and…
What the most important thing is.
What the most important thing to Lacey is.
To Lacey, it’s everyone whether you know it or not.
If you know Lacey, you know what it is, it’s an easy one. Okay, so number 12, I’m going with this one,
number 12 because we couldn’t do just 10.
Well, nine and nine through 12 kind of go together.
Nine through 12.
Okay, we’ll just list those out, it’s to learn to hunt or produce meat which then puts us into chickens’
eggs, meat, goats meat and milk and sheep.
I was listing off what they do for you.
Yeah. So chickens make you eggs and meat, right?
Goats can make you meat and milk.
Right. And sheepLacey:
And then sheepDrew:
… can make you meat and wool.
Yeah. Well, I felt like wool wasn’t that pressing for most people.
Right. It’s going to be a bad situation if you’re having to shear your sheep and make clothes.
Yeah. I felt that we’re not that desperate, though.
No, but that would be pretty cool.
We do have lots and lots of yarn which is nice because who knows? If I have to start knitting all our
clothes we’d be set.
Or spinning and then knitting. Okay, so sheep, I think is one of our favorites. It’s also a incredible pain,
it’s a joy and a heartbreak, some days back to back. Sheep try really hard to die. I read her saying a little
while ago that a sheep is sick about a day after it dies, which is just it feels that’s true sometimes. So
you’ve got two kinds of sheep and we’re going to now go super deep into all of these animals.
I tell you, we’re already waiting for that right here.
Yeah, I’m waiting. We’ve got two kinds of sheep. We’ve got wool sheep and meat sheep. Meat sheep are
called hair sheep.
Wait, this is really confusing because hair sheep is the name for sheep that you grow for meat not wool.
Right, because they have hair and not wool and then you got your wool sheep which is very confusing.
For a long time people ask me what I had and I would say hair sheep but I thought that’s because there
is wool, very confusing. So it’s just like chicken. We’ll then go to chickens, with chickens you’ve got layers
and you’ve got broilers. Broilers are the meat chickens layers are the ones that are laying.
I will state for wool sheep though you can use them, they’re dual purpose so you can use them for meat
and for wool which is a twofer, right?
Right. And that’s where I was going. Like with chickens I think that wool sheep don’t give you as much
meat per, I don’t know.
Per bird or per sheep as a meat one does. So it was just kind of over the years of genetics have been
selected for meat or for wool orLacey:
Yeah. So get familiar, what are you interested in doing? Do you have to eat meat? If so, then you need
to have a plan for that.
Right, exactly. And I think a hard lesson we learned with chickens is it’s really hard to get a chicken with
a good quality amount of meat on it that it also lays eggs. You’ve got to get a meat bird if you want to
get meat from chickens.
Or you’ll have a very, very chewy dinner.
Yeah. Chewy or stockpot lots of soups with a hint of chicken in them.
With a hint of chicken. I will say I will point out too, that even though if you’re trying to be self-sufficient
and live on a homestead these are things that you would definitely want to do. If you don’t live on a
homestead you can totally rely on providers in your community that do. And connecting with those
people, the people who are local because what we’ve seen I think during this time of COVID, we’ve seen
there’s a lot of system breakdowns where we’re relying on things that are coming from far away and
there’s a whole system of delivery that has been interrupted.
And what we want to do is we want to eliminate as much of that system as we possibly can and get back
to the point where we’re either growing our own or we are buying from the person who grows. I always
say, and we even made bumper stickers, if you want one let me know. It says, “Know your farmer and
know your food.” And that’s really where I think self-sufficiency lies, is when we know our farmer and
maybe it’s us, and then we can know our food.
Totally. Well, I was going to say the thing that I think also is important is vegetarians. I know some of you
are probably wincing right now if you’re the vegetarians out there on the whole meat topic. But when
you’re buying meat from someone who’s doing regenerative agriculture, if your reasons are climate
change for that there’s a lot of good that’s being done in the regenerative agricultural movement to
bring better soil health, better earth health, sequester carbon, that kind of thing. Just to give that some
consideration, I heard somebody else say that even carrots are vegetables, have a connection to the
earth and are transmitting and that kind of thing. If you look at it that way, an animal, a carrot, it’s all
alive, which that’s a challenging one and still a process.
I think it was Michael Pollan who talked about that, thinking about the health and the environment of
his meat and then also his vegetables too. There’s a good quote that I’m not saying right, but it’s
important to think about all of the things we eat, right?
So that brings us to the next which would be learn how to improve soil health. On the list we’re at eight,
we’re counting down. So learning how to improve soil health eventually will give you all the power, you
will wield all the power. It turns out this soil was developed perfectly for this earth and we stripped it of
all the goodness because we weren’t thinking ahead and now we can do that. And here’s the good news,
is that this earth heals very, very quickly. It’s so intuitive and can fix itself if we’ll just sort of facilitate
that healing. So, improving soil health this is important if you have a home garden and it’s important if
you just want to know about how your things were grown, improving soil health is the most powerful
thing that we can do.
It is. And I still every time I think about it, there’s that quote from Lewis and Clark where they could tie a
blade of grass around their waist while sitting on their horses in the plains, the grass was that high. And it’s just the idea of the grass has not evolved in that amount of time to be short grass. The grass that’s
growing out in our pastures now has that potential to be that high and to be sequestering that much
carbon and making the earth that much better. That’s kind of, I don’t know if that’s a goal because I
don’t know that I want grass that high, but if you doLacey:
But you do if you want fat sheep?
That’s true. If you want fat cheap that would be amazing.
I mean, the truth of the matter is that’s just a representation of what’s above is a representation of
what’s below. And so we really want to just stop taking all the nutrition away and just let that replenish
and let that regenerate. So yeah, soil health, and that’s something we can do in our gardens too when it
comes to mulching and to growing things that improve soil health and that kind of thing.
Then moving on to how to save seeds I feel like is a really important skill and it’s something that will just
take us one more step away from relying on someone else. Now, this is something we do just for fun at
this point, we don’t really rely on it heavily but it is something that I’ve learned a good bit about over the
years. And there’s good ways to store your seeds, there’s good seeds. When do you harvest, how do you
prevent them from cross-pollinating so you get true to the seed plantings? Some things are good to use
on your seeds, some things are not as good. So it’s a learning process for sure but it can be a really
satisfying thing too. One really good example for us is I’m a sort of a seed stealer and anytimeDrew:
I was going to say Lacey is a seed smuggler.
I’m a smuggler, that’s right. Anytime we’re out in somebody else’s garden and they have something on
the vine that I can take with seeds in it I will. Generally they don’t notice, sometimes I ask, sometimes I
don’t. But one time we were in a garden at a local battleground that was having a…
It’s like a revolutionary war.
Yeah, a revolutionary war. They had a garden there, it was like a demonstration garden and I stole one
of the beans because I thought, “Oh, that’s a fun bean so I stole one. One pot, I stole one pot so it
probably had about eight to 10 seas in it. Well, then last year I grew those for the first time and we
probably got eight to 10 plants and probably, I don’t know, 50 beans. And this year we took the crop
that we got from that which was about half of a pint Mason jar, and we planted a whole row of these
beans and now we have…
It’s about a 50-
A whole row of these beans.
50-foot bean row.
50-foot bean row. And so we have a whole bunch of beans. And so just think that that all came from one
bean pod is pretty, pretty amazing.
And the cool thing is that’s an heirloom that goes all the way. I know there is stay-in period.
Specific. Yeah, for sure.
Specific. So that’s like a seed that’s been saved since revolutionary times and we’ve got it still going. And
as you said those seeds and those plants from your property, you start growing plants that grow the
best on your property and your soil and harmonize with your life and your wellbeing. If you get deeper
it’s like you’re living on the farm and everything starts becoming this closed loop that all synergistically
works together so I love seed saving for that reason.
And I love seed swapping and sharing. Last year in the spring time we had a seed swap here and it was
super successful, we loved, it was my favorite thing ever and it kept us from having to really buy a lot of
seats last year because everybody brought their excess and there was plenty to go aroundDrew:
Yeah, that’s a lot.
More than enough to go around. So of course watch for that to be on our schedule too, if you’re local
we’d love to invite you to that.
Okay, number six, learn how to grow perennials. This is one that I feel people wait too long on. This
should be the first thing you do.
Now, I think this is more important than how to save seeds.
Yeah, okay. This is the first thing you should do when you move onto a property because they take a
while to get established. There’s fertilizing and making sure they have water and a lot of specifics but
once you get these going this is what we hit into this year, was we were walking out in our yard and we
would pick some peaches and then get a handful of blueberries, a few raspberries this year and then
down to grapes and blackberries and it was just this walking. And it wasn’t a ton, it was a handful at a
time. Next year I’m convinced we’ll be even better but…
We put up a lot though. We were able toDrew:
… put up a ton of blackberries and I mean, Blackberry jam, and so there were a lot of things that came
into fruition this year that we’ve been waiting for. For the last seven years or so we’ve been planting and
cultivating, and it doesn’t have to take that long but blueberries and things like that will sometimes take
a little bit longer.
And we’ve still got things coming like pecan trees and hazelnuts.
Someday we’re going to have a hazelnut farm like you wouldn’t believe but…
It’s kind of a joke because we have hazelnut bushes that are now six feet tall and still no hazelnuts. We
haven’t figured that one out. If you’re a hazelnut expert or know about that in North Carolina hit us up,
we’d love to get some more information from you on that. Okay, number five, Lacey.
Growing. Learn your zone and your native species and how you can use them. This fits in with the
perennials but it is a little bit separate. So just understanding what zone are you in, getting familiar with
the plants and natives in your environment so that you can really be able to walk around and notice,
“Oh, hey, there’s plantain. I can eat that if I need to.” Or, “They’re standing in line and I know what that
is at a bowl as well, I can make salad with that.” And those are two really specific that most people
actually can grow in their area. And then there are the local trees and what fruits do they provide, what
roots can you eat? And just getting familiar with these different things that maybe you’re not going to
turn to on the regular but in the case of an emergency it’s really nice to know.
This year we learned about sassafras, which we have kind of always known but we actually went out in
the woods and found it on our property.
I will say.
… This time and harvested it.
And the kids are so excited about that.
Yeah, the kids love it. Every time I go in the woods now they’re looking for it. And that one tastes like
root beer if you don’t know.
That’s what they used to make root beer out of.
Then you can pull the plants out and two on the roots right there and they have a root beer flavor to
them. It’s a really cool plant.
It is. And I mean, it’s just one of those things where again, when we increase that diversity in our ability
to understand the diversity around us, instead of just planting a crepe myrtle which those are beautiful,
but what are the other trees that people always plant? PapayasDrew:
Brown papayas. Plant an Apple tree, plant a pear tree, plant anything that’s going to give you something
and is going to be beautiful at the same time. Look at your native plant nurseries and find things, and
not only will you be happier because they’ll grow easier, then you’ll be even more in tune with the
natural world around you and you won’t have to worry about them dying because they’re not native. So
yeah, natives are really, really important and I think understanding and getting to know the native
species around you and the zone you’re in is important. That was number five.
Number four is no folk crafts. And by folk crafts I mean making baskets, bowls, spoons, things… Again, I
feel like this one might be times are going to have to be bad if you’re having to make your own spoons.
And when we first had corona lockdown, the kids have been dying to make spoons and everything was
all down so there’s absolutely nothing do. I was like, “Let’s go out there and we’ll make some bowls.”
And I was like, “Man.” We were hand-making these bowls with a carving ax, basically. I was like, “Man, it
would be bad if you had to carve all your own bowls.” But on the plus side your arms would probably be
stronger because they stepped pretty quick into making it absolutely.
There are other skills that you can learn that might be a little bit more relevant like even fixing clothes or
I feel it’s a super… It’s not as hard as it seems like it is and it’s really once you learn how to can that can
save you a lot, money, time also getting you this best nutrition that you can’t get from somebody else,
from your local farmers getting buying local and in-season is really only possibleDrew:
Even glass jarsLacey:
Glass jars. Yeah. I mean, there’s so many reasons that it’s a better choice than just buying canned goods
from the store. Yeah, and also freezing and preserving in other ways, whether it’s fermenting or drying,
dehydrating, that kind of thing, these are all know-how things that will sustain you through the year in
the months where you can’t grow what you need to eat. Another thing that I thought of is maybe having
a greenhouse and learning how to garden in a greenhouse. Maybe building your root cellar, these are
Root cellar if you like definitely.
It can potentially increase your self-sufficiency, so yeah. Actually that’s number three.
I was going to say at number two, I’m sorry.
Yeah. So that canning is huge, freezing is huge. I try not to be as reliant on a freezer as we have in the
past because freezers will stop working. The power can go out, the freezer can freeze over, there’s lots
of reasons and then you lose everything in there.
If you got a freezer you also have to invest in a generator. I mean, depending on… We have two freezers
right now that areLacey:
You could not fit a penny in there and they are so cool.
No, no. Yeah, yeah. They’re so cool. And ultimately it’s really better if we can just can a lot of those
frozen goods, whether it’s meat, berries, all of these different things that we have in there we could
potentially take out at any time and then preserve in a different way if we needed to but because of
convenience it’s really nice to have… We drink a lot of smoothies, it’s nice to have fresh frozen fruit in
there. And it does preserve a lot of the nutritional value if you eat them within a period of time. So yeah,
we do freeze a lot but food storage right now we’re really thinking about a root cellar situation because
if you grow your own potatoes you have to have a place to put those where they’ll last, potatoes can go
bad pretty quick. Like tacos…
Right now here I’m sitting on the porch.
That’s right. Also pumpkin’s and squashes and things like that are… You grow one pumpkin vine, you
have 12 pumpkins and you need a place to keep them so that they don’t rot. So yeah, this is not that far
off from what our grandparents did so we’re just kind of turning back the clock a little.
Or the Asian lady on YouTube that we follow.
Right, yeah. And she puts us allDrew:
Do you guys watch her? If you don’t you should. I don’t know her name, but her videos are amazing.
Okay, number two.
The water source.
The water source.
I feel with water source the other important thing is water filter.
That’s what came to mind because our water source right now is covered in a nasty greenLacey:
And full of leeches.
Yeah. But we have a Berkey Water Filter which if you’re ever interested in getting one let us know. We
actually have affiliate links that we can send you for that. But they don’t run on power so it’s gravity-fed
and it literally can filter out anything. It’s like a…
You can take upon water, put it through there and you got good clean drinking water.
Yeah, I mean, that’s a saver right there for sure andLacey:
It gives me a lot of comfort knowing that because we’re on a well, we have been without power for
extensive periods of time, extended periods of times after ice storms or hurricanes and if we didn’t
have… And actually at the time we didn’t have generators so we were reliant 100% on getting outside
water and bringing it in. And knowing now that we wouldn’t have to do that is a real comfort.
Yeah. Yep. Okay, and then number…
Ta bada bada bada.
… One. Did you guys guess it yet? This is your last chance? All right, Lacey.
I feel like it’s been littered throughout everything and it’s likeDrew:
I feel like there’s a lot of spoilers here.
A lot of spoilers. Okay, so the number one… And if you’re listening I feel like you’re already you had a
good start with this, is build a community. Yeah, I think that’s the number one. The number one thing
that people need to do is build a community.
I completely agree with this. So our friends, other farmer friends in the area, we’ve got a great
community and we’re always looking to grow that so if you want to move out near us we’d love to have
you out here. But we go housy on things like trailers or chicken pluckers or wood splitters, different
things like that that you don’t need on a daily basis but you do need and it doesn’t make sense for
everybody to own their own and have to keep it all up themselves and that kind of thing.
I guess it’s true of almost all equipment ever.
I really wish we could do it with automobiles too. I mean I feel likeLacey:
Oh, yeah, I wish it was so.
We got in a car wreck and one of our friendsLacey:
We did do it, yeah.
One of our friends let us borrow their car but then another friend said, “Hey, you can borrow mine.”
Another friend said, “Hey, you can borrow mine.” I was like we should just have one central parking lot
where you go and you pick out the car you want and drive it and then put it back. I don’t know.
So we’re even maybe on bandwagon with a commune situation, but-
We think community living is the way to go. But then there’s other layers that are too. This year we had
a really good peach year. We had tons of peaches and so we were able to share a lot of our peaches
with our friends and then in return we got pumpkins and we got other things from them that we didn’t
grow as well. So it’s this give and take and it’s building up again that diversity of your community so that
all the holes are filled by one person or another. And it’s just been a really beautiful thing to watch that
all play out in our lives especially this year as we had just a little bit more of a need to call on each other.
So I think this is huge and this is something that you should do locally and globally as well. I think the
times we live in we can all be a resource for one another and sharing knowledge and sharing resources
and sharing just support for one another. And that’s one of the things I love about our Facebook group
and our podcast and our email list and everything is we just get amazing feedback from people asking
for support, offering support and it feels really good to have that in our lives, it’s been really important
for us and I know it would be what we would call on the most should things get worse, right?
For sure, yeah. So that brings our the next point is, join our community if you haven’t already. Get on
If you are on Facebook or Instagram connect with us there, it’s The Schoolhouse Life with Lacey & Drew.
We have a Facebook group or The Schoolhouse Life on Instagram or Lacey…
Of Schoolhouse Farm.
Of Schoolhouse Farm on Instagram.
And if you’re local check out the events that we have going on, we would love for you to join us at these
events. And the real goal of our schoolhouse is to build community and to give people a chance to
connect to that community and feel like they’re a part because everyone has a role to play and, yeah.
And for sure we do some online stuff so if you’re a global connect with us on our global events.
And also leave us a review. We’re really trying to build up the reviews on this podcast so it would mean
a lot for you to just go ahead and check those five stars.
Let us know, yeah.
Tell us how much you love it. And tag us on Instagram, Lacey’s Schoolhouse Farm on Instagram. Tag us
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