Take the next step on your journey

Informal interviews with homesteaders, cooks, gardeners and employees will help you take the next step on your journey to a simpler life. Escape the chaotic, stressful world for about seven minutes and learn how to live a satisfying life, enjoying time with family and friends.

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Stacy Lyn Harris: Cooking Up Wild Game and Southern Charm

Stacy Lyn Harris is a best-selling cookbook author, blogger, speaker, wife, and mother of seven children. She regularly appears on cable and broadcast television series as a guest chef and sustainable expert as well as contributor to various national publications.

In this episode Stacy Lyn talks about her journey to the simpler life and she delves in to the “Why” of the homesteading lifestyle.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Welcome to Solutions for a Simpler Life. This is Glenda Lehman Ervin with Lehman’s on the square and Kidron, Ohio. We’re glad you joined us. Welcome to Solutions for a Simpler Life. This is Glenda Lehman Ervin your host, and today we are happy to have Stacey Lynn Harris author, cook, chef, mother of seven. Is there anything you don’t do Stacey?

Stacy Lyn Harris: Laughter Well there’s probably not much I haven’t tried but I don’t do everything everyday. So it makes it a little bit easier. So I do do a lot of stuff but it’s never all day every day.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: And I’m sure there’s a seasonal flow to it to.

Stacy Lyn Harris: There is truly. Absolutely.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Well why don’t we start at the beginning. Tell me how you got started on your journey to a simpler life.

Stacy Lyn Harris: Well I never dreamed ever that I would live a lifestyle like this, ever. So I grew up with my parents who wanted me to do career oriented things and I did and I graduated from law school but I married a man who really zloved to hunt. And when I say he loved to hunt I mean his passion for it is probably more than I’ve seen on any television show of any place I’ve ever been. It is just a complete insertion of that life is what he wanted and what he really loves to do. And so he wanted me to you know I would go along with him on some of these hunting trips and you know different things but I didn’t just like absolutely love it. But anyway we got married and almost didn’t because his dad told him, “Look if you can’t give this up then you know maybe you shouldn’t get married.” That’s how much he loved it. Every day, every night for the whole hunting season, all weekend long. Just this big huge passion. So anyway I decided we did get married and I decided I wanted to get on board with him. And so I started thinking of ways that I could cook this meat because that was one way I could participate in his world. And you know it was tough and gamey and I just didn’t love it. And I started thinking well how can I make this good because in Scripture Abraham’s last meal that he wanted it was to have venison. And I’m thinking if that’s what he wanted, he had goats and chickens, he had everything available to him but he wanted venison. So I was like OK this has to be good. So I looked at old ancient recipes and I started delving into how to cook things that are foraging beings. And not just the processed you know not like we have it now, not fattened up with grain. Just the stuff that eats from the wild. And that meant that I had to go back several several years. And so I found cookbooks and it told me really what I found out is that you use different cuts of meat for different… You prepare them differently. So in doing that, I found a passion for cooking just in general. And I thought why not go further than that? Why not do a garden now? So we did a garden and that started that process and then you know it failed and then we were able to study a little bit and realized that we needed different plants and heirloom plants and you know we got those and we started saving seeds and one thing led to another and the deeper… The smaller you walk into it as you get into the deeper and deeper and deeper you go and you cannot help it it’s just addicting. It’s a wonderful lifestyle and it’s been great for our family.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: So it really was a learning journey for you. You didn’t come from generations of expert farmers and gardeners.

Stacy Lyn Harris: No, no. Now my dad farmed but I didn’t grow up with him. And he farmed… Actually his piece of property isn’t really that big but his garden is big and his garden is bigger than mine. And we don’t need you know we only produce what we need and maybe a little bit to give to other people but for the year and then we’ll can everything and his garden is actually bigger than ours. But he gardened but I never really took much note of it. But as I’ve gotten older now I call him and I say you know, “How are your squash doing this year? How are your eggplant?” He’ll call me and ask me questions. And we live probably about 45 minutes away from each other. And it’s so much fun interacting with your family and it’s kind of brought me and my dad closer because you know there’s just that bond there. When you are raising vegetables and you’re working through problems in your garden.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Well sure, and I believe it’s brought you and your children and probably your husband closer together too. They all have kind of an area of expertise I think you told me.

Stacy Lyn Harris: They do. They do. And everybody kind of has a purpose and brings things to the table.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Litterally, right?

Stacy Lyn Harris: So they all do. And they all feel like they’re a part of something bigger and that they’re actually helping other people. And you know so who’s better to help than your family?

Glenda Lehman Ervin: So how do you avoid burnout because you do do a lot and you have seven children and you have a husband that works full time off the farm, right?

Stacy Lyn Harris: Yes. So a couple of things that I’ve learned is mainly to have realistic expectations. And that is a huge one. You’re not going to have everything work great in your garden every year, although this year it’s pretty good. I mean our garden is doing really really good.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Batting 900 are you?

Stacy Lyn Harris: Yes but next year we may lose all of our squash to squash boars or you know something may happen to our tomatoes and sometimes you’ll have blossom and rot. You don’t know what’s going to happen. And so it’s just to have expectations that are realistic and also to expect interruptions and unexpected things to happen. And I think people they think, “OK if I do this then my result is going to be that.” And it’s not always that way and especially with gardening, raising kids, families, relationships, it’s just not that way. So the expectations are huge. And then the other thing is like no two days look the same. That was a really biggie to me. And you know life on a homestead homestead is different. And if you have chickens, you may have sick chickens one day, and that means you’re not going to be in your garden tending to that. Or you may have you know some plants that fell over or a big storm came in and you’re going to be doing different things every day. And as my kids have gotten older they’re different. And I’m kind of having to adapt my life a little bit around them and when they were younger I could call the shots and I knew when we were going to do what but now that they’re older I kind of have to be more flexible to that. So there’s always unexpected things that come up. So that is true. And then no two days are going to be the same. And another one is to schedule things three times longer than they’re going to take because everything takes longer than it seems that it’s going to take. So and I’ve also learned to page people every once in a while if there’s something that I’ve got coming up. If there’s something that I can only do, things that someone else could do is if you have the ability to do it just pay somebody else to do that to free up a little bit more time in your life.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Sure. So don’t don’t be afraid to sub something out. Do you ever barter?

Stacy Lyn Harris: Yes. And that’s a great thing to do if you have a small plot of land is have one person grow like two or three things somebody else may do the livestock and then you barter back and forth and it’s a great thing to do.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Sure. Which is exactly how it was done a couple hundred years ago.

Stacy Lyn Harris: Yes.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Before we close tell me how important determination is when you’re a homesteader.

Stacy Lyn Harris: Oh my gosh. Well determination is definitely a byproduct of homesteading. It’s gonna happen if you continue homesteading and you don’t quit, then you’re determined because you’re gonna have failure, you’re going to have all kinds of things that go wrong. And you’re going to have to be innovative, and creative, courageous, and you’re gonna have to research, and you’re gonna have trial and error. But eventually you’re going to have success. And every determined person will be successful because you can take the smartest those talented but if they don’t have determination they’re not going to make it. There’s too many naysayers, there’s too much that can go wrong. And so determination is huge. And it is a byproduct just like happiness and independence are byproducts of homesteading.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: And they’re all learned skills too, so there’s hope for everyone.

Stacy Lyn Harris: They are, they are.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: Well thank you so much. This has been delightful and we hope you come back to Lehman’s someday.

Stacy Lyn Harris: I will! I had a great time thank you.

Glenda Lehman Ervin: This is Glenda Lehman Ervin with Lehman’s, where we stand for a simpler life. Thanks for listening. For more visit lehmans.com.

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