Homesteading family earns national recognition - - Columbia, South Carolina

Homesteading family earns national recognition

Homesteader Eric Slatt and his chickens Homesteader Eric Slatt and his chickens

KERSHAW, SC (WIS) - At the Slatt family home, they know their livestock by name, not number.

"You're caring for your land, you're caring for your animals, as it provides for you," said Wendy Slatt.

Wendy and her husband Eric are homesteaders, living almost exclusively off two acres of land in rural Kershaw.

"Being a homesteader, once you get a process going it just perpetuates itself," said Eric.

It started as a romantic ideal four years ago when they left the world of office work for a Civil-War era house. But it became a necessity when Eric lost his job.

Now Wendy cooks and preserves what they grow. And Eric maintains a family of Guinea Hogs.
There are also ducks, honey bees, chickens and turkeys.

"These guys were around in the 1700's," Eric explained about heritage breeds. "These are the great-granddaddies of the white turkeys you see in the store."

Speaking of the store, they go about once a month for cooking oil, salt, sugar and flour--anything they can't grow or raise.

The Slatts said once you've had homegrown nothing else compares.  

"It's astounding to me the difference between what food is actually supposed to taste like," said Wendy.

Eric does most of the building and maintenance and he does it all by hand. The biggest piece of equipment is a roto-tiller. He does have a few farmhands though--his children, Sarah, Ben, Mary, Rebecca, Emily,  and Esther, their dog.

They're heritage breed, too. Mary was born in the house.

The Slatts have done this homesteading thing so well, they'll be featured in next month's Grit magazine as one of the top three homesteaders in the country.

Eric does have part time work, but the Slatts also sell some of their produce at local farmer's markets. Their next challenge is to use milk from their new dairy cow for butter and cheeses.

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