Featured Farm Sticker Swap Member – @camerachickhomesteads
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November 19, 2021
@camerachickhomesteads Located in Pennsylvania, USA
I’m Diane, or @camerachickhomesteads, on our mini-farm called Shale Hollow. I’ve been doing this “homesteading” thing well before it was a verb, at first out of necessity and now because I’ve figured out how good it is for both my physical and mental health.
I’m a Mom, wife, and have many other hats as well. My job is as a portrait photographer, but I also have a handcrafted store, because again, it’s all things I love doing. I’ve got about a million things I’ve taught myself or been taught to do, but some of the main ones are knitting, soap-making, hunting, and reading fluff books.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned how to be who I really am, which changes depending on my mood, haha! My interests keep me from getting bored, and so do the kids and critters. I’m glad we could give the kids this lifestyle, and hope I’ve shown them that learning doesn’t have to be boring, and that it’s ok to be who you really are. I’ve become incredibly grateful for what seem like small things each day.
My parents taught me the value of animals at a young age, when we “adopted” our first horse from an older gentleman in the community who was moving to a retirement home. He was an awesome human and his horse was equally awesome in the lessons he offered, even while safe, and I value the friendship even in the years since Uncle Frank has passed.
I think at first, being able to be frugal and provide fresh, healthy food for the kids was what drew us to the lifestyle. Young kids and one income make things tricky, but it didn’t pay me to go back to work, and I’m BEYOND grateful for that. Our daughter had some sensitivities to commercial cleansers, so that began my soaping journey, another friend taught us about commercial chicken raising and gave the kids their first chicks, so those things really got me thinking about how else I could expand what they were learning.
The current chapter of life for me is very much beginning a stretch of transitions as the kids grow up and move on to other things outside the house. At the moment, that’s also kind of my five year plan, to roll with it, make a plan as we go, and be able and willing to pivot when needed based on their needs and the household’s needs. I hope to keep selling things from the farm, and expand into some goat milk products as well, but also to keep growing and learning. Hopefully as the kids develop their own lives, I’ll be able to continue with all the animals and such.
Oh, and we’re in South Central Pennsylvania, nearish to Harrisburg, Lancaster and York. It’s a great place to be, except in winter, it’s just COLD! Maybe someday I’ll get to live in northeastern Texas.
The family and I love to sneak away occasionally, and we’re really fortunate to have a farm sitter right now who makes that possible. Because of the kids’ Scouting experiences, we’ve learned to backpack (NOT as hard as it sounds), and have slowly started to travel. Two of my favorite places to visit are the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, and Assateague. I’ve grown up both places, and am thrilled that the kids and hubby enjoy going, too.
Hubby and I are high school sweethearts! We’ve been married twenty years, and have certainly gone through stuff. I’m grateful to have grown with him over time.
I’m one of those whose a huge introvert, but so grateful for the no-pressure connections that I’ve made through social media. I’m quite happy in a quiet space, either working on things, or even being still- a skill I’ve developed as I’ve learned to hunt white tail deer. I feel most alive when I’m with the animals, with nowhere to go, and just my to-do list to keep me company. I’m so grateful for a simple life. I’m also grateful for the friends who reach out, and try hard to be that friend to people, too. I’m a huge empath, and have found that I’ve got to be pretty careful with that. Slowly learning to protect my energy a little differently!
I’m also quirky, as you’ve figured out if you’ve followed my Instagram for any length of time, and while I can kick butt and get things done if needed, I don’t love roles where I’ve got to be the leader. Oh, and purple is absolutely my favorite color, but I love color in general. Like a song with a lilting rhythm, it makes me happy.
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