Beyond the beautifully curated frames of the Holy Family Homestead Instagram account, there’s a story of love, dedication, faith, and intentionality as they start to homestead. Theresa and her husband Nick, met at a home school, high school Dave Ramsey class. Little did they know where their journey would take them, nor how much of an impact this class would make on their future decisions together.
Homesteading was a dream that Theresa had since she was a child, but she would not have called it homesteading back then. Inspired by Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and other stories of people living a simpler way of life, she knew that one day she wanted to have her own garden and can her own food. While she didn’t live on a farm herself growing up, there were many farms in her area. Living around farmers, seeing the farm kids growing up and doing 4H and having all their animals, further inspired her dream. Their childhood appeared so purposeful as they took care of the animals, spent time outdoors, and learned a lot about responsibility from a young age because of their lifestyle. Theresa never strayed far from this dream. In high school, she worked for a local landscape company and learned a lot about zones and gardening that would help her in her future homesteading endeavors.
After completing that fateful Dave Ramsey class, Theresa and Nick were best of friends through the rest of high school and started dating after graduation. They got engaged and were married once Nick had completed college. He continues to work as an accountant, but Theresa quit her job as a chiropractic assistant once her first child was born a year later, to stay home full-time.
Although Theresa and Nick both dreamed of owning land, they knew they couldn’t afford it right away. Six months before their wedding, they bought a home in town and renovated it. Three years later, the market got very hot. While they initially were planning on staying in their house longer, they jumped at the chance to make a larger profit. This allowed them to buy their current property, with just under three acres, before land prices started to increase as well. Throughout this process, they stayed true to what they learned in the Dave Ramsey class and continued to live debt free, which really helped to set them up for success. Theresa shared that it made them feel confident in the sacrifices they were making for the long-term goal. They are so looking forward to the day when their home is completely paid off too! Living as a one income family may have slowed them down a bit, but they also wouldn’t have been able to do the homesteading tasks if she wasn’t home to do them.
Before they bought their property, Theresa didn’t let her postage stamp size yard and “in town” home keep her from learning and practicing her homesteading skills. She focused on homemaking and living frugally and did a lot of research on homesteading topics. Even now that they have some land, she continues to perfect those skills. For those who are still waiting for the chance to buy their own property, it’s still possible to start where you are. Theresa encourages you to start slow – there are things you can do with minimal cost. Try your hand at gardening – even if it’s just in pots. Just get your hands wet and discover what it is you want to do. Learn to can, even if you don’t have a garden of your own. Go to your local strawberry patch, pick some berries, and make some jam, or buy produce from a local farmers market. If your town allows it, get a few chickens. These beginning things aren’t that much of an investment. As Theresa says, “worst case scenario, you learned a lesson and lost a few dollars.”
Since purchasing their “mini-homestead,” Nick and Theresa have grown it to a large garden, some fruit trees, and egg-laying chickens. Theresa’s vision of a homestead as having a garden and learning to can, has grown to wanting to be self-sufficient and provide most of their family’s food needs on their farm. Their plan is to continue to grow their homestead and move to a place with 10 or more acres. While they are hoping to add meat chickens to their homestead this summer, they want to have the ability to expand to pigs and cows in the future. They want to be able to have a year’s worth of meat in their freezer and a pantry full of canned goods so that they don’t have to depend on our country’s food system – especially with all the shortages and “supply chain issues” lately. Along with adding meat chickens this year, Nick and Theresa are hoping to extend their large garden to ¼ acre. They are well on their way to meeting their goal of becoming self-sufficient.
With all this homestead work and now two little ones to take care of, Nick and Theresa rely on their community for support. Their family lives a couple hours away, but they have a sweet neighbor who is also an experienced homesteader. Since moving to their property, they’ve been able to forge a strong relationship and even trade produce and homemade items between households. Nick and Theresa have already had the opportunity to learn many homesteading skills from their neighbor, as well as more about the community around them. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your neighbors – you never know what kind of relationship might grow.
While there are many challenges that can arise while homesteading, Theresa has found that you can solve most of them through YouTube. It has even helped instill confidence when they weren’t sure about doing something new. Nick wasn’t sure about raising meat chickens quite yet. Then he saw a YouTube video on it and realized that they could do it too! Theresa has discovered many YouTube channels, but two channels have helped and inspired her the most – Farmhouse on Boone and Homestead Rescue. Check them out – you may just discover a new favorite as you start your homestead!
Nick and Theresa’s story is just getting started. They have big dreams and high hopes for their future. They have already achieved so much in only four short years; I can’t wait to see where the next few years take them! You can continue to follow their story on Instagram (www.instagram.com/holyfamilyhomestead).