Note: The Lanes became a part of the Build It Up family one year ago. They are hanging in for another Backyard Gardener year and we are so happy to have them with us! This was written by Backyard Gardener Cassi Lane.

As I sit and write our second blog for Build It Up, I can’t help but reminisce about our first site visit from Taylor and Shae early in 2016. All that was in our backyard at that time was a small fenced area where we had attempted and failed at beekeeping and another small fenced area where we had attempted and failed at gardening. As we walked our backyard with Taylor and Shae, we mostly just had a lot of dreams and the strong desire to homestead. In one short year, we now have a hoop house with tomatoes (started from seeds we saved from last year) and strawberries growing.

We have a chicken coop with 6 chickens, a duck house with 9 ducks, garlic growing (who knew you could grow plants in the winter??!:)), pepper plants started from seeds saved from last years crop, all kinds of berry plants, and a 37’ x 50’ garden we are working on getting ready for Spring planting!

When we started we had no understanding of why organic and local is better. As I sat in our first workshop last year on how to plan a garden, I was confused and lost as what to plant and how to organize planting. With lots of trial and error and with great teachers all year, we were able to come with confidence to the first workshop this year with a garden plan in place. Our lives have been transformed in one short year.

Our kids have learned a vast array of life skills in homesteading in such a short amount of time. They’ve eaten so many fruits and veggies, and even some meat!, that they’ve had a hand in growing and raising. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of whining about the chores this new lifestyle has added to their lives, but they’re able to connect hard work with rich reward when harvest time rolls around! We are loving our new life! There’s always something new to learn, or to try, or to build. There’s always another challenge to overcome. At the end of the day, though, there’s nothing better than the satisfaction of serving your OWN food at the dinner table. As we look back at how much transformation one year has brought to our lifestyle, it makes us excited about what another year in Build It Up will mean to our family!!