Episode 55 Amy & Stacy from SEPP
What is SEPP?
I am glad you asked. SEPP is short for Sow Edibles Permaculture Podcast. Yes, you got it. This is a podcast about another podcast. Really more about the people behind that other podcast called SEPP. In their podcast, Amy and Stacy are sharing their journey of becoming homesteaders and building a self-sufficient homestead farm.
I am a consumer and lover of podcasts -ever since I discovered the superpowers of a smart phone. As long as I can remember, I preferred to be surrounded by the spoken word rather than music. That used to mean I had to be close to a radio, a cassette recorder (do you even remember those?), or a DVD player. Sure, in theory, those were portable. Remember the guys with boom boxes on their shoulders walking down the street? Honest, I never was that bad! But back to the smart phone which set my curious mind free to explore, explore and explore. The big wide world of knowledge and entertainment is available wherever I go and for however long my battery will last.
My learning style is binging. When I get interested in a subject, I read, listen, watch videos and take courses with great gusto. Well, Permaculture, Sustainability, Family and a Healthy World have been high on my list of interests for a long time. On a fairly regular basis, I do searches using a keyword reflecting one of my interests just to see if I find something new or interesting. That is how I found SEPP. And boy, is this podcast interesting!
Amy and Stacy
Amy and Stacy fulfilled a long standing dream of living a sustainable lifestyle by buying a 100 acre farm. Neither comes from a farming back ground – more a backyard gardener type childhood. Certainly, they didn’t grow up building houses from scratch, installing solar systems, chasing pigs through the woods and all that comes with the homesteading life. They met in college. Amy was studying to become a teacher and Stacy to work in finances. Both were in agreement that they wanted to live a life in accordance with their values which included to be gentle on this earth.
Stacy mentioned that it didn’t make sense to him that we use chemicals on our food, which then poison the water we drink – really, does that make sense to anybody? Amy and Stacy wanted to be part of the solution and bought a small house with a big yard to be able to grow food using organic principles. But a location change for work made it necessary to move and they found themselves in a small townhouse with a shady, postage stamp-sized yard. Almost as opposite to the dream of living on the land as one can go. Stacy’s advice to our listeners and readers is:
“The best you can do is being happy with what you have.
If your goal is to love people and to treat people with dignity and to make other people happy, you can do that every day and you can be happy every day doing that.”
Both Amy and Stacy were and are still living by their own advice. While they made their home in that small townhouse, located not in the best of neighborhoods, they covered all their expenses with Amy’s teacher salary. Even though she was an award winning teacher, a teacher salary leaves one far from the lap of luxury. But both wanted to save Stacy’s salary to be able to fulfill their dream of buying land when the time was right. It took 10 years. They used those years to learn many of the skills they would need on their dream homestead. Thousands of hours were spend gathering information about building, energy, animal husbandry and more. Even that shady small patio became an asset. They turned it into a propagation area and grew enough tomatoes to share with their neighbors.
Three Generations Together on the Homestead
Sometimes, when things take a little longer than we originally planned, life changes. That was true for Stacy and Amy as well. They had three children. And that is a big change! For some, starting a family puts all other plans on hold and often is the end of the big dream. Not so for this couple. If anything, having children made their desire to live on a farm and create a very healthy environment even stronger. But raising children takes a tremendous amount of energy and work as does creating a homestead.
Enter the grandparents. Stacy’s mom and dad – and you are going to meet them on the SEPP podcast as mom and dad- were ready to sell their “empty nest” house and find a smaller place for themselves. Dad has been a long time bee keeper and mom and dad had been gardening as long as Stacy can remember. Amy felt from the very beginning very close to them. The search for a farm was on and the children love their grandparents and vice versa. Of course it made perfect sense to buy and work that homestead together! Now, all of them work as a team, taking turns with the children, the building, the farm work, the house work and all the other tasks. Soon, they all will be living on the land. Close enough that the kids have an easy bike ride to reach mom and dad, but far enough that each family has their own space as well. Sounds like the perfect setup to me.
Amy loved being a teacher and cared deeply for her students in school. But she also saw that the way most schools are set up at this point in time can be limiting to some children. Both Stacy and Amy agree that each child is an unique individual and learns in different ways. Children of the same age are not necessarily ready or interested to learn the exact same material. Plus, a farm, a homestead, has so many learning opportunities! The decision to homeschool their children was an easy one.
Before you ask the question homeschoolers get all the time: “But what about socialization?” I will give you the answer. Socialization, as any other skill, is usually best learned by those who are already pretty good at it. Their kids have already four adults in their life on a daily basis. Then, there are neighbors, during the building process a variety of trades people and professionals, farm customers, people attending workshops and a huge homeschooling network. During my homeschooling days, just as Amy and Stacy do now, we went to regular park days meeting with kids of all ages. Then, there are art classes, swim classes – you get the picture. I do believe that homeschooled kids actually have more chances to practice their social skills than most school kids have.
That said, it is a very individual choice to homeschool or to send your children to school and all are good choices as long as they fit with your life plan.
A Word of Advice
A word of advice: Start listening to SEPP at episode 1 and make your way up to the current episode. That way, you experience the up and downs of life on the homestead right along with Amy and Stacy. If you are thinking of moving to the land someday, this podcast is a must. It will save you hours of research. Or maybe you even find out that it might not be the lifestyle you are seeking. Then the time spend listening will save you lots of money and grief.
I am not planning to move onto a bigger property and am quite busy with my small urban homestead, but I really enjoy listening to the pig adventures, or to what it takes to plant a thousand trees even though I will never do it. I think you will like it too.
Whatever you do, remember Stacy’s advice
Be Happy with What You Have
All pictures are kindly provided by Amy and Stacy
To find out more:
The Website http://www.sowedible.com/