When I started Gazing In, so many years ago, it was Fall of 2008, in October. Blogging was barely a thing yet. I had started the blog so I could talk about my home recipes, and have a place that was just mine. At that time, I was an outdoor writer, writing about backpacking, hiking, and the outdoors at the Blog of Trail Cooking. I was successful with that, but it chafed at me. For one, much of my readership was male. Two, you can only talk about hiking so much before you go crazy. I was lost, and wanted more freedom to talk about the other 80% of my life. And for the last 8 years, it has been that. Through 2 kids, carried and born, to seeing them both enter school, and watching my oldest son graduate from high school this past summer. Through changes in our diets, from a typical American diet to Plant-Based, to severe food allergies with our youngest.
But two years or so ago, I had a change in my life, it was that moment when I knew I wanted to be a farmer, a homesteader. I wanted to take the land we owned, and to make it healthy. Knowing where our food came from was suddenly a lot more important than writing sponsored posts about diapers…..
And I set out to do it. I wrote about it a lot here, and then a few months ago, I knew I needed to separate that content. It had slowly taken the site over. But I wanted more, I wanted a place where our homestead could grow:
Never Free Farm is my where my creativity lies now. And she takes a lot of my free time, I will admit. There is always rocks to pick out of the ground, weeds to be pulled. The farm inspired me to take back up soap making, start a store, sell locally, and to start teaching locally how to preserve food to others. I feel a pride like nothing else when people visit our homestead and are excited. When I met a local friend the first time in person, she came to my house for a canning class. She commented how she didn’t like strawberries, because they hurt her mouth and tasted odd. She hadn’t had a non-commercial organic strawberry in decades. And she tried one of ours – and hearing her happiness – the taste, that her mouth didn’t hurt….that made what we do worth it. I want to bring that happiness to others! Produce in stores isn’t how it can be!
Instagram changed me as well. I love posting photos more than I do blog posts. The past year, outside of canning, I haven’t been as inspired, with my cooking. We were so busy with the homestead in summer and early fall, I was glad we had simple meals to put on the table, quickly. I didn’t have the time, nor the desire, to spend an afternoon developing and shooting recipes. I was happy to pick a basket of produce and get chopping. Then after dinner, when it was cooler, we’d go work outside till dark. The thought of spending hours to create food just wasn’t there anymore, my focus had gone to things like studying essential oils, creating balms and drying herbs.
But I think most is…..if it doesn’t inspire me anymore, it’s time to hang up the apron and move on. What does that mean for Gazing In? I don’t know. For now, the site will be dormant, though I will leave all content up. 8 years is a lot of “me”, and as I think back….when I started the blog, it was a personal recipe collection. And I am OK with it staying that way!
Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, followed me, left comments and gave me support over the years. I call a number of you actual friends now, having met in person at blogger conferences over the years. I’ll be on the farm if you need me…….