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Homestead Conference 2023

New to the world of homesteading, although it has always been a dream, we were excited to have the opportunity to attend the 2023 Catholic Homesteading Conference. The conference was organized by the Catholic Land Movement, and hosted at the beautiful grounds of Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine.

The 3-day event was packed with lectures, discussions, and hands-on classes. The topics ranged were varied and seemed like it had something for most everyone in attendance. There were hands on lessons for butchering both pigs and chickens, a demonstration on how to build a cattle-panel greenhouse, a class on how to fix aspects of old farmhouses like plaster walls, homeschool meet-up with a focused discussion on teaching reading skills, arts & craft activities for littles, and lectures on different topics such as what to look for when buying land and setting up a homestead, as well as how to foster a homesteading community.

The chicken butchering/processing class was high on my list for attending. I am glad that I did so, because while I have cleaned, de-feathered, and cooked chicken once as a kid, it has been years and I never did the full living-to-dinner experience. The entire process was demonstrated and narrated, then we were given the opportunity to do each step as well. I am a hands-on learner, so having the ability to see it happen, then repeat it myself with real-time correction and explanation was really appreciated. I had watched a bunch of youtube tutorials on processing chickens, and talked to other homesteaders, but I can hands-down that I am now comfortable with doing the entire process myself after attending this conference.

The class that Mike enjoyed the most was the cattle-panel greenhouse demonstration. He walked away from the tent not only having seen the process for that greenhouse method, but having had the opportunity to speak with other homesteaders about building various greenhouse designs, and trouble-shooting different hurtles. Mike has scoped out an area of our land that shows promise for building a small cattle-panel greenhouse and is talking of potentially starting the project by next summer!

In addition to the above, the weekend was centered in faith. Each lecture/discussion/hands-on class started with a prayer, there was the opportunity to attend Liturgy of the Hours, and there was Mass and Confession offered on both Saturday and Sunday. One of my favorite activities of the weekend was when as a group we took a walk in the woods down to a contemplative ravine that had several statues. We started praying the Rosary when we entered the woods, and we finished the last decade on our knees in front of a statue of Mother Mary.

Additionally, there were some wonderful in-depth lectures in different aspects of how the homesteading lifestyle and our Catholic faith align. I really enjoyed one of the lectures given on the topic of Faith and Drudgery. There were also many pop-up discussions that I was involved in that I quite enjoyed.

It was a wonderful weekend, and we will be keeping an eye out for when and where the next conference will be held.

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