Homestead Rescue

boiled-crabsYes, I’d like to have someone rescue my homestead; if only I had a homestead TO rescue.  As the veteran blog followers know, we’ve had some struggles staying put where we are down here in the coastal marshes of south Louisiana.  Oh yes, we stay by choice, because no matter what else is going on in the world, we can ALWAYS find something to eat in the bayou; like fish, crabs, shrimp, and so on.  It is the land that we have trouble with, but why is that?

We moved to our three acres on Bayou Dularge back in 1996 when our youngest son was but a wee infant.  Eventually, I attempted gardening, then kept bees for several years, and hadAfter Hurricane Rita chickens up until the last duo of destructive hurricanes in 2008. Maybe some of you newer readers have no clue that not long after Hurricane Katrina wreaked her havoc on New Orleans and points south in 2005, Hurricane Rita flooded our coastal communities with a nine-foot surge, putting about a foot of water in our home, which was then four feet off the ground.  Picture that:  five feet of standing, putrid water that hung around for weeks.

We rinsed out our home with a water hose and pushed out the mud with brooms.  Then we sprayed everything with bleach, even underneath the house, and moved back in after it finally after-Ike-2008all dried out. We still had bees and chickens, but no garden.  Before we could fully recover, along came another dynamic duo of hurricanes–Gustave and Ike in 2008.  Again, we had a foot of water in our home, the chickens were wiped out, as were our bee hives and the citrus trees.  Talk about discouraging.

My desire in 1996 was to create our own little homestead down the bayou; and although we might never be completely self sufficient, we could provide much of our own food.  Alas, that was not to be, because in 2009 my husband, The Captain, was relieved of his US Coast Guard license to run big offshore Miah-Termite-2009boats due to a medical condition, which he suffers from to this day and prevented him from ever being employable in the boating industry (or at all).  In the summer of 2009, and with two sons still at home; one age 13, whom had been home-schooled up to that point, and a 17-year-old son with Down’s Syndrome, I became the bread winner.  I sent my youngest son, then 13, to public school in August, which was a difficult transition, to say the least.

No doubt things at that time might have been financially easier if I had been able to maintain my little homestead, but going through those two major flood events took a lot out of me.  Inew-house have continued to try to make a living down here using the resources at hand, but that has left no time to create a homestead.  The one thing I did accomplish, however, was that in 2010, with the insurance funds and the help of the Road Home program, I designed and oversaw the construction of a hurricane-proof house up on pilings, or stilts as some folks call them.  The house is built of steel with metal siding and is 12 feet off the ground. Equipped with roll-down storm shutters, we no longer fear being looted or flooded when we leave during mandatory hurricane evacuations.  

Fast forward to now and my stumbling upon an episode ofTermite-raised-bed-gardenHomestead Rescue” last week.  I don’t watch much TV, but that night I was looking for a distraction from the night-time reading I’ve been using as a mental escape, and the show caught my attention.  I watched with envy as a couple attempting to live off the grid were aided by a family the TV show hired to assist those struggling with the fulfillment of their dream to be completely self sufficient. While I watched, all my abandoned dreams of having a garden, honey bees, chickens, and citrus and fig trees came rushing back to me. Oh, never far from my idle mind, it was easy for those lost hopes to come flooding back!

And then this morning, I open my email to find a letter from a casting director of THAT VERY SAME TV SHOW!  What are the chances, I wondered as I read, that they might be willing to help me see those dreams fulfilled?  Not sure because the premise of the show is to help those who are struggling to live that life successfully overcome all the obstacles and live their dream.

Marty Raney of Homestead Rescue
Marty Raney of Discovery Channel’s “Homestead Rescue

So, I’m offering this opportunity to any of my readers who might qualify or may know families in the state of Louisiana who are currently living off the grid but need help overcoming the obstacles that keep them from being completely self sufficient.  Do you know anyone like that?  If so, please contact them, encourage them to contact me using this Contact Box, click “something else”, type in their information, and I will put them in touch with the casting person who emailed me. 

How’s that for exciting?  Even though my dreams of a homestead might never be fulfilled, I would be thrilled to help other Louisiana families reach their goal and fulfill their dreams!  Meanwhile, I continue to do what I can to support my family, to care for my husband with Alzheimer’s and to encourage my wonderful son with Down’s who now goes to work in town every day making salsa and pepper jelly at Terrebonne ARC.  

Christie-Judy-Dec-300Comments after this blog post are welcomed and encouraged. This month’s blog sponsor is well known Louisiana author Judy Christie.  Judy is a motivational speaker and author, life coach and consultant, blogger, and book review writer for the Shreveport Times.  She has authored eight fiction books and the Hurry Less-Worry Less non-fiction series.  I have read two of Judy’s books, thoroughly enjoyed them both, and look forward to reading her next book about Wreath. For a chance to win a copy of her Wreath, a Girl, please leave a comment below!

So, let me hear from you!


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  1. I watch that show all the time. Although I don’t live off the grid it’s a very informative program with a beautiful message. I admire all the recycling of materials found. I hope you are able to find a local family in need of help.

    It was heart-wrenching to read and remember all of your storms, literally. Wilson tenacity of the highest form indeed. Wish the family could be yours.

    1. You’re so sweet, cousin, and you also have the tenacious Wilson blood flowing through your veins. I’m thinking about applying for the show!

      1. This is an exciting adventure to experience lives that will be changed. I know who I vote for! My wilson/billiot family! Your heart and soul is never-ending for what is best for your famiy!

        1. I try to do the best I can and follow all the Wilson codes for honorable living! I don’t always succeed! Your sweet words are much appreciated, though!

  2. I agree with Kaye, I wish your family could be their choice. For the shows casting director to chose you to help with finding a family is wonderful. I can understand the worry and frustrations of trying to cope with the illness the Captain is going thru since my mom has it and we are seeing signs in my husband also.
    You have been blessed with some hardworking children also. Will be thinking of you.

    1. Well, Cammy, this would probably be the only way that I would ever have all those things again. You know how it is and how life changes, but it certainly would help take a little of the load off me. Yes, my kids are hard working; but they all live elsewhere, and while they help me when they can, they are all so busy with their young, busy lives, eeking out their own existences! I pray for you, your dear mother, and your husband. May the Lord bless you and keep you. Thank you for being here all these years!

  3. I was watching that show the other day and thought of you, was going to send you a text and then something sparkly must have caught my eye and I forgot. Hope all is wel!

    1. Oh, sister, your comment made me literally laugh out loud!!! Something sparkly, huh? Well, there you go, it’s meant to be, because soul sisters that we are, you picked up on the vibe and thought of us as for the show. Maybe I will just go ahead and apply. My challenges for not rebuilding my little homestead are far different from the challenges on the current episodes — hurricane floodwaters! Now THAT is challenging. LilSis says floating chicken coop, floating beehives, raised beds higher than normal, and on and on. I wonder if they would be up for the challenge? Keep seeing me on that show, and I believe it will be! Oh, gotta go, I think I see something shiny . . . not wait, it’s just dust!!!

  4. I have never seen Homestead Rescue but will share your information. I have however experienced flooding damage from a lake. It is quite an ordeal to wait for things to dry out and then restore your property. It is inconvenient and costly!
    Blessings to you as a family caregiver. I appreciate all that you are doing for your family. My writings are inspired from my experiences caring for my mother.

    1. Well, then, you know how nasty the cleanup is; and then there’s always the dark fear lurking that you have black mold growing up the back side of your walls . . . and under the flooring. . . .. Thank you for the words of blessing Bonita, and once again thanks for being a blog reader! Oh, and thanks again for the idea of having Judy review the book. She did a great job!

  5. Wendy, I swear you are one of the most unselfish, giving people I know. YES! Apply! The fact that it showed up in your mailbox means you are meant to play a part, some part. Sending you hugs and love <3

    1. You know, I’ve about changed my mind. When something serendipitous like this happens, I always dive in and think it’s all meant for me and all meant to be; but I watched two more episodes of this show on Demand yesterday, and they help people who are already trying to live that life but need something “fixed” or “improved” or “corrected” using the homesteader’s resources. I thought it might be more like Extreme Home Makeover where the show sponsors pretty much pay for everything. It seems like you must have something to work with before they will consider you, so I’m thinking that I’ll start with a couple raised beds for a fall garden and think about where to put my chicken coop!

  6. Please apply to the homestead rescue. Have not seen it but will find it and watch. I’ve gone back and read all your blogs. Good luck to you and all yours. I’m the caretaker for my husband and dealing with alz. issues also.

    Margie S.

    1. Margie, so when I’m having a very challenging day, I will think of you and stop and pray for your day! Will you do the same for me? Even if it’s only to send a good thought my way. I watched two episodes yesterday, and since I don’t have any homestead left to improve upon, I’m not sure we qualify. But it’s alright. The whole idea has spurred me on to least try some raised beds. Thanks for reading the blog and thanks for leaving a comment. Where are you from?

      1. I’m presently living in Livingston, TX near our daughter. Just relocated in Feb. so I’d have some help in the future. Bobby was diagnosed about 6 years ago and I think his progression has been slow. He’s been on aricept all this time. I will pray for you and think good thoughts.

        Just another note. My maiden name is Toups, so I’m sure I have kin in your area.

  7. I was already gone from Chalmette, Louisiana when Katrina and Rita hit, but I remember Betsy well. I know your struggles and I takes a brave, brave woman not to cave in under the pressure that’s been put on you. I’m glad you can share with us what is happening in your life because sometimes sharing is all we have and all we need to stay sane. Wish I was closer (I’m in Oregon now), I would come help and give you a big hug and make you some gumbo!!!

    We love you. I hope you know that.

    1. Hey Jeri! Oh my gosh, PLEASE come make me some gumbo! Oregon is a long way from Chalmette, lady. My friends in Chalmette had water up to the roof line and the photos just broke my heart. They gutted and rebuilt the entire inside of their house. I’ve stayed overnight in the new house, and it’s such a weird feeling to lie in a room that I know was underwater at one time. I don’t know how THEY do it since they lost everything that was in their house. Our flooding wasn’t that bad, but they are some of the most tenacious people I know. I hope they don’t ever flood again. You must have been a little girl for Betsy. I hear it was very tragic.

      1. I was 15 when Betsy hit so old enough to remember and to help people restore. We were lucky because we were in some of the only high ground in the parish.

        I’m in Oregon because my daughter was here. Love the mountains, but I miss the Louisiana seafood. My dad always had a trawlboat, so we were never without.

        I’ll bet there are lots of ways you can do the chickens and the veggies. Chickens could just be in a raisable coop in case there’s an issue. You might consider looking into hydroponics for the veggies.

        Take care of yourself and keep writing. I always look forward to the next chapter.


        1. Are you okay with all the water in Louisiana? Friends on the NorthShore have lost pretty much everything. It’s so sad. I think when they moved away from the Parish to Covington, etc., they thought they would be okay, but no such luck.

          You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

      2. I’m here in Gray now because of Katrina. We lived in Meraux and decided not to return to Da Parish. I grew up on Bayou Lafourche but moved to Da Parish when I married an oyster farmer. I grew up with some great food but boy do I miss my Chalmation cooking friends. I love the Spanish and Italian influence on Cajun food there. My grandparents were homesteaders and I am so grateful for having had that example in my life. Good Luck with your righteous goals! They will be rewarded!! Happy I found your blog.

  8. Here’s an idea for you. Imagine, Plastic barrel pontoons, nice size deck, a bit of chicken wire and a long rope to secure it to your home’s pilings. Ta da …floating chicken coop when the water rises. You know it will eventually. Maybe you could put some kind of box with flooring and garden soil. Plant some grass for them.

    1. You have no clue how much time I’ve laid in bed picturing this floating chicken coop, and I decided last night that it will a smaller one that I shove the chickens in if and when we have to evacuate. The rest of the time, they can inhabit a regular one and free range, of course. You know, the Atchafalaya houseboat people used to have floating chicken coops, so it’s not a new concept! I’ve decided I might do the raised beds first and add chickens later. Did you know that laying hens of the most plain variety are going for $12 and up? I had no idea they were so much!

      1. Pullets are $20 and layers $25 around here. I need to replace my girls. I haven’t had an egg in about 6 weeks now. I think my girls may be taken for a ride to Ms. They can free range in the woods. Hubby said he won’t “harvest” them and I’m not going to. He’s the one who wanted chickens but somewhere along the way , they became mine.

  9. You live the most serendipitous life of anyone I know. This is definitely something you should not ignore! Plus, never give up hope on any of your dreams. I hope you are expressing an interest to the casting director for yourself!

    1. You know this was the show you helped me with by sending me info on some homesteaders in New Mexico. After I submitted those names, I pretty much forgot about it. Never even knew the name of the show, but I’m sure this is the show. She wants to talk to me via phone about my situation, so I’ll chat with her today I imagine and see where it goes.

    1. Okay, Madam Bream Fisher! I’ve been very impressed with all those fishing trips you’ve been taking lately. I just don’t see how you stand the heat. I’ve gotten to the point that I just can hardly stand it. I was supposed to fish bass in Red River this Friday, but I don’t think I’m going to make it . . . .

  10. Hey friends! I’m off to the annual La. Outdoor Writers Association Conference and Awards Banquet back near my old stomping grounds in Shreveport, LA! Then I’m going to do a little freshwater fishing on Toledo Bend, where Daddy taught me to catch “bream the size of a man’s hand” and instilled my love of fishing that is still with me today. I’ll be back here next week to post pics and draw a winner for Judy Christie’s book. Meanwhile, bring on those comments for a chance to win, please!

  11. Well, I’m back from my trip only about an hour, and it’s time to do the drawing. We had 12 original comments and so we’re choosing a number between 1 and 12. Here we go using to generate that number for us. Drum roll please . . . . and the winner is . . . . . #4, and that would be . . . let me scroll up and count . . .MRS. COACH!!! Congrats Tara Gibson! Please send me your address via a contact box or direct email!
    True Random Number Generator