By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
“I knew what I was getting into from the start; I was marrying a country girl Queen who was born and raised homesteading in the mountains of West Virginia,” said Nathanael Rogers, married to Holli Owens Rogers, daughter of Doug and Sandy Owens of Limestone. H. Rogers was born and raised in Tucker County and like many of us, came back to the mountains she calls home. She recalled after having their first child, the young couple decided they wanted to raise their children in the same manner she was, living off the land with what God provides. “I give God the glory for directing and providing the way back home. In 2015 we went searching for the perfect place in Tucker County. Despite our best efforts to buy other houses, God led us right where he wanted us,” H. Rogers said.
Homesteading is defined as a lifestyle of self sufficiency and characterized as subsistence agriculture. This often includes tasks such as home preserving food and small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for either home use or sales. Modern homesteaders often utilize forms of off-grid living, such as solar and wind energy with many also raising their own food and stock.
Rogers admitted, “I didn’t have a lot of experience with it, but I did always like the idea of being self-sustainable/off grid living and I was determined to do everything I could to help make our dreams come true.” “It’s been a lot of hard work on top of my fulltime job and having to commute over two hours a day, but it is definitely worth it. I’m thankful for all the assistance/tips we’ve received from my wife’s parents, Doug and Sandi Owens, in helping us get off to a good start with our little homestead,” he added.
The Rogers, now consisting of Emma who’s four, David who’s two, and newborn Jonathan Blake, live on two and a half acres they have cleverly named Little Acres Homestead. “We decided to call our farm “Little Acres Homestead” because we don’t have a whole lot of land, but we are determined to be good stewards and make the most of what we have,” explained N. Rogers. H. Rogers added, “We are trying to become more self-sustainable. We strive to grow and raise what we eat.” This journey began for several reasons, H. Rogers stated. “We wanted our children to grow up in an environment to learn responsibility of caring for animals, learn to appreciate the land and where their food comes from, and to grow up in the greatest playground full of wide open spaces in the country. I truly believe there is no better way to grow their imaginations than on a farm.”
Rogers recalled the early days of Little Acres Homestead.“As I can recall, this was the progression of our homestead: building barns, laying hens, gardens, cats, dogs, meat birds, goats, goats, and more goats, more barns, fruit trees, more gardens, and many many other home/homestead improvement projects along the way.” This has lead to the animals that now call this homestead home, which includes: laying hens, meat chickens, ducks, guineas, mountain fiest dogs, and dairy goats. We also have a fruit orchard, blueberry bushes, and a variety of berry patches along with gardens.
The dairy goats initially began due to H. and E. Rogers being intolerant to cow’s milk and D. Rogers having eczema. H. Rogers purchased goats milk soap for her son’s skin and noticed the rash disappeared. “After realizing goat milk could provide for our family in many different ways I purchased my first dairy goat in milk (currently producing) and started making my own soap right away,” H. Rogers exclaimed. With a desire to share her products with others, H. Rogers registered her business in August 2018, named after her herd doe Ol’ River Mill Cloudy Daye, as Cloudy Daye Soaps. “Our soaps are made with fresh raw goat’s milk and natural oils such as coconut, olive, and palm,” she said. Her soaps can be found on her business FaceBook page, Cloudy Daye Soaps and More, as well as at Harold’s Discount Store on the corner of Walnut Street in Parsons. “I have future plans this year to expand my product line and develop a website to capture more online presence and orders,” she said.
Rogers explained more about their dairy goat herd and how they operate.“Our dairy herd of registered Nubians provides us with nutritious fresh raw milk that is used to make yogurt, butter, cheese and soap and lotion. Nubians are a large, proud, and graceful dairy breed known for high quality, high butterfat, milk production. I believe goats are one of the most enjoyable species of livestock to raise and ideal for small farms like ours. We sell the babies in the spring after they are weaned around 6-8 weeks old and I continue to milk the does twice a day for 10 months. We dry them off two months before they kid.”
As with most young families, the Rogers have big dreams for future expansion of their homestead. “I keep hinting to my husband, jokingly, that we are going to outgrow this place one day. I do have future hopes and dreams that my soap business will flourish into something more than handcrafting it in small batches in my kitchen,” H. Rogers said. “We agree that getting to work together as a family is one of the greatest parts of our business. And we do work hard, from milking the goats twice a day to packaging each final product, each member of the family participates in producing our handcrafted soaps and lotions. Maybe even one day we can become a Micro Dairy selling goat cheese and yogurt. We are a little homestead with big dreams.”
Rogers added, “I have entrusted my wife with making sure the family has healthy foods, and I love to think of her as my Proverbs 31 Woman. She takes very good care of her household, and even has the business mind/ambition to try to make additional profits from our homesteading labors, besides all the health benefits our family experiences, by working hard to create quality products such as her soaps. I am very proud of the efforts Holli puts into all this, she has a fulltime job taking care of three children and the homestead, often staying up late researching how to better care for her animals/children/home. I just try to do my best to support our dreams, and I’m looking forward to continually improving our Little Acres Homestead for hopefully many more years to come.”
If you are interested in learning more about “Little Acres Homestead” and their journey you can check out their YouTube Channel. Here they have documented do it yourself projects, topics on gardening, goat husbandry, and much more.