Name: Jj Starwalker
What are some physical features that make your home distinct?
A homestead is more than just the house and land. Homestead is an attitude, a can-do, get ‘er done, makin’ do and doing-the-best-you-can-to-be-self-reliant mindset in a culture that’s increasingly moving toward a “let George do it” or “buy a new one” approach.
It can be, in my mind, a town lot or a backwoods, off-grid place that — except for attitude and 24/7 occupancy — might challenge the definition of a camp.
Homestead is in the heart of the folks, in their intention and attitude every bit as much as in the building(s) and land.
Our homestead in Corinth doesn’t look like much. We have no unique nor historic home or barn, just an older single-wide trailer and four acres of old potato field grown up over the years in devilish runner grass.
Oh, and there is what started out as a two-car garage but now serves as wood shop, storage shed, garden shed and very occasionally — when we can make the space inside — auto, truck or tractor shop.
We moved to Maine from North Carolina seven years ago looking for a four-season climate and affordable land. We found a five-season climate (yay, mud!) and after six months of looking, landed here.
One need — unrestricted broadband Internet — did restrict our location a bit, as I run an Internet-based business at www.DutchHexSign.com.
Initially I ran a market garden and partnered with another farmer to offer produce and eggs at three farmers markets on Thursdays and one on Saturday. My focus has changed, though. While I have no issue eating “imperfect” vegetables, supplying my table and the pantry totally with the seconds and unsold produce got old after a while.
Now I am focused on a more homestead-minded garden to supply our needs. Of course I always over plant to make sure to have enough and share with friends. I find it quite liberating to be able to grow what I eat and eat what I grow, primarily in season with canned and frozen goods put by for winter.
We also have chickens, turkeys and ducks for eggs and meat. My goal is to have them all “self-replicating,” and last year they did just that! My freezer is full of poultry, the culled turkeys and extra roosters from the broody hen’s clutch and from eggs mechanically incubated by a friend.
We are in the process of building permanent housing for the fowl and for the milk goats that are on my wish list from wood recycled from a torn down barn. Fussing Duck Farm will, I suspect, always be a work in progress.
Whether you bought a farmhouse built in the 1800s, or designed and constructed your own, we’d like to hear about it. What’s your home’s story? What makes it different?
Has your homestead been passed down through the generations? Do you know the history of the land on which it was built? Does it have unique characteristics, such as a fireplace made by hand out of field stones, a secret passageway, or rafters reused from an old barn?
Send us stories about your house and land, and we’ll do our best to feature them. Email editor Erin Rhoda at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, town and story.