Missouri Homesteading

The Unqualified Homesteader

fleer feed in lewistown mo 63452

Lewis County Missouri Homesteading

“…Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” —1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

I have been sharing our family’s adventures with friends since the inception of the Slee Family Homestead of Ewing in 2016. Never in our wildest dreams did we foresee the life-changing direction our move across the river would take us, but as Proverbs 19:21 explains, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

the morning egg gathering ewing missouri homestead
fresh produce on the table
preparing for winter on the slee family homestead northeast missouri

To the great consternation of my excellent husband Jordan, who dislikes Facebook and balks at oversharing personal details, I habitually discuss the various details of our first-generation homesteading experience on social media. Topics vary from home-building, homeschooling, fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower gardening, cooking, canning, and preserving, foraging, and caring for our assortment of creatures that have grown to include guardian dogs, farm cats, chickens, ducks, peafowl, meat rabbits, dairy and fiber goats, llamas, and bees. Whether my subject matter involves the mundane, exciting, ridiculous, disgusting, or lovely side of things, my goal for posting within my little circle of friends has always been

  • to be both uplifting and real,
  • to share the knowledge we’re gaining,
  • to inspire and embolden people to pursue new interests,
  • to facilitate a chuckle here and there at the absurdity we sometimes deal with (Jordan thinks everyone is just laughing at us, but I maintain they’re laughing with us),
  • and above all to point people to Jesus in the process of it all.

Small though my influence may be, I have been heartened to continue sharing our experiences thanks largely to my friends’ and acquaintances’ encouragement via comments, questions, messages, and conversations, as well as from the deep conviction that this back-to-the-basics lifestyle is an amazing blessing from God, and which, when coupled with a whole lot of hard work, brims with wholesomeness, purpose, health, and joy. Now I find myself excited to be on this new adventure of contributing my homesteading reflections to the Lewis County Scoop.

Slee Family Fall 2023

If you’re unfamiliar with the scope of our family’s antics, I’ll sum it up as concisely as possible and ask that you join me for future articles as I elaborate. It looks something like this: a self-employed contractor husband and his homeschooling, homemaking wife and our five young children build a homestead from scratch with virtually zero experience in rural living, animal husbandry, or agriculture. In each new pursuit we are the definition of underqualified and uncredentialed, yet here we are, embracing the chaos of our work-in-progress, growing in self-sufficiency, and expanding our homestead year by year into something pretty marvelous.

pick wild mushrooms on homestead in Ewing Mo

Our approach to learning as we go is the embodiment of the philosophy we strive to teach our children: you don’t have to be “an expert” to tackle new things; rather, you are inherently qualified to do your research and learn by doing. Sometimes you work harder, not smarter, because you just don’t know it all yet, but through lots of reading, time, trial, and error, and if you’re so blessed, the guidance of experienced mentors, you soon find yourself empowered to face new challenges and opportunities without fear or hesitation.

Slee Family outing on farm near Ewing Missouri

Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” and Proverbs 1:5 says, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning,” This suggests that wisdom, far from a state of knowing it all or showing up to life fully credentialed, is a process that involves a pervasive curiosity, the humility of a heart in tune with its own shortcomings, and a spirit of lifelong learning. At the Slee Homestead, we have come to understand that our life on earth is temporary, yet intentionality, focused work, and practical pursuits are tools which can help prepare us for eternity and shine the light of Jesus in our community.

quality time on slee family homestead in northeast missouri

Like the pieces of a giant puzzle that we haven’t seen in its totality, life’s experiences compound to give us a glimpse of the awesome Creator of this incredible world. Meanwhile, life’s lessons help us learn to live with perseverance, love, joy, appreciation, and hope. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Whether it’s the diligent tending of a garden or the birth of a new litter of kittens, my prayer is that each snippet I share reflects the goodness of God and inspires others to experience it too. And remember, it’s not the preexisting qualifications you bring to the homesteading game that count, it’s your determination to try new things and grow as you go!

To learn more about Shannon visit our Introduction of her as she heads up her column “Homesteading without Credentials” here at The Lewis County Scoop.

shannon slee ewing missouri

To learn more about Shannon visit our Introduction of her as she heads up her column "Homesteading without Credentials" here at The Lewis County Scoop.

shannon slee ewing missouri

The articles published on The Lewis County Scoop (www.LewisCountyScoop.com) website are opinion pieces (Op-eds) and represent the personal views and opinions of the individual columnists. These views do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies, or opinions of The Lewis County Scoop or its legal entity, Lewis County Scoop, LLC. Read Full disclaimer here