Rural Missouri - July 2020 - 42
RM | OUTDOORS
Traditions Worth Teaching
A homesteading family blends old-fashioned
practices with a modern twist
by Savanna Kaiser | email@example.com
he fog is still clinging to the pines as the morning
sun and Missouri's infamous humidity begin to
rise. Bees are buzzing around the zinnias. There are
goats to be milked, tomatoes to can and seeds to
save. At ﬁrst glance, it's just another day on the farm.
Kevin and Sarah Mathews rise early to greet their
homestead tucked along a rolling hillside near Ava. Living
off the land is their dream come true, but through their
blossoming YouTube channel, they're now able to share
their rural Missouri ways with the world. These selfemployed homesteaders followed their hearts and returned
to their roots, moving from Arizona to the Ozarks in 2016.
"For a long time, we both worked high-pressure, corporate jobs," Kevin says. "Sarah worked in human resources
for a big company and I worked in sales and traveled a lot.
We grew tired of missing so much."
Moving to the Midwest was intentional. "We longed to
live a more traditional lifestyle like our grandparents and
our great-grandparents lived," Sarah says. "We're only one
or two generations removed from those who relied solely on
the land and themselves to produce their own food."
The couple settled on 16 acres near Ava, along with
their two daughters, Grace and Samantha. Soon, their
family grew to include goats, rabbits, ducks, chickens, turkeys, pigs and quail. They went to work building gardens,
orchards and a greenhouse. "We also utilize the woods
RURAL MISSOURI | JULY 2020
since Kevin likes to hunt and I like to forage," Sarah says.
"We're really tired of buying things from the grocery
store, especially things I know we can grow or raise and
produce ourselves," she adds. They've been completely
self-sufﬁcient on meat for about seven years and grow
around 80 percent of their vegetables.
"We only grocery shop once every six weeks or so and
we only really need the staples like sugar and ﬂour," Kevin
says. "We buy ingredients, not food."
Their dedication to providing for their family with an
old-fashioned focus led them to create their YouTube channel called "Living Traditions Homestead."
"We didn't originally plan on sharing our lives on YouTube when we moved here," Kevin says. "We ﬁrst started
a blog and began posting videos there as a way of documenting our progress around the farm for our own family.
Soon, other people started showing up to watch and learn
alongside of us."
For two years, Kevin and Sarah posted ﬁve videos a
week. The videos, which total more than 500 at this point,
showcase different seasons and projects in their lives.
"We're very fortunate to be able to do this full time,"
says Kevin. "For homesteaders, it's probably never been as
possible before now. An average 20-minute video will take
us eight hours, between recording, editing, et cetera."
Last year, they went down to three videos a week, which
now allows them to do longer in-depth segments. Their
channel surpassed 350,000 subscribers and continues to
Rural Missouri - July 2020
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