Hi, I’m Shannon.

I am wife to Stewart and Mama to Elijah, Abram, Annabelle, and Ruth. We live on an off-grid homestead in Texas surrounded by an agrarian community. I work as a freelance writer and cookbook author, sharing my love for traditional foods, fermentation, and sustainability. Stewart works in web development and design and does much of the physical aspects of building our homestead.

Nourishing Days began in 2009 as a way to share some of the real food, natural living adventures I was taking and also to connect with others. While real food, sustainability, and fermentation have always been present in this space, I began detailing the joys and struggles of moving off-grid to start a sustainable homestead in 2011. The real food and fermentation continue as well.

That’s the short story.

The long story is this: After five years of prayer and seeking out a homestead and community, we took a jump in 2011. Stewart quit his job, we sold or got rid of nearly half of our stuff, and we packed up our two young boys (and this pregnant Mama) and moved from Michigan to Texas.

We arrived to two bare acres of eroded soil on the heels of one of the worst droughts Texas has seen. We moved into a camper, dug an outhouse hole, and began our journey of stewarding the land. We lived in that camper – along with a makeshift cabin that made 300 square feet in total – for 2.5 years.

In that time we began the process of regenerating the soil; building infrastructure like fences, chicken coops, orchards, and gardens; and then beginning work on a new, more permanent 400 square foot cabin. We continue to build onto that today with a larger kitchen space in the works.

We utilize solar panels to run laptops, a very small solar freezer/fridge, and a few lights and other things. We haul much of our water or utilize solar power to pump it. We’ve washed laundry by hand, and at other times I’ve taken it to a laundromat. We’re working on procuring more animals, planting perennial fruit and nut trees every year, and are always expanding the gardens.

The goal is to create a sustainable and nutrient-dense food system on our little plot of land while working alongside each other, our children, and our community.

We are, in many respects, complete greenhorns. We didn’t come into this with a ton of money, so we’re working and building incrementally, to avoid debt as much as possible. It’s not pretty, it hasn’t always been easy, but it has been incredibly edifying and rewarding. Because of the work necessary to regenerate our land, it may be a very, very long time before we are producing much of our own food.

We’re okay with that and simply hope to be molded by that process while carving out a life beside our children and community.

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