A modern homestead in Welcome Lake
Like Todd and Sue, many seek to reconnect with the land and simplify their lives. “It’s the only way you’ll absolutely know what’s in your food,” Sue said, “and the taste and quality is hands-down unparalleled. There’s something very satisfying about sitting down to a meal that consists entirely of products you grew yourself or raised on your land.”
After attending many farming and homesteading conferences, reading a variety of books and websites, and watching tons of YouTube videos, Todd began modifying the infrastructure at Augusta Acres. With the help of his Kubota tractor, he has plowed, tilled and planted gardens and pastures. He has built a wood-heated greenhouse; raised-bed gardens; an open-air abattoir; chicken, duck and turkey coops; hog shelters; top bar beehives; and, with the help of a friend, a sap house.
“I really don’t have a favorite thing to do around the homestead,” Tod said. “I like it all. When it’s maple time, I like to syrup. When it’s berry season, I like picking berries. Sometimes, I just like to go down and sit on a bucket and watch the bees. I like the variety that homesteading offers.”
When the first guests of the maple tour arrived, Sue left the sap house to take the couple on a short walk through the sugar bush, and Todd added more wood to the fire. The sap rolled to a boil and filled the air with a sweet maple smell.
“It’s not all fun,” he said. “I never look forward to butchering or processing the chickens, but it has to be done.”
According to Todd, Sue has come a long way since they first started processing their own meat chickens. “She’d just leave for the entire day or not set foot outside of the house.” That started to change after Sue helped plan an educational, backyard chicken processing workshop for the Transition Honesdale Skillshare Project. Now, she recognizes that their efforts to provide their poultry with an excellent, natural environment—healthy, non-GMO feed, plenty of pasture, everything a chicken could want—are part of a reciprocal relationship. “All in all,” she said, “they live great lives and only experience one bad day.”