Keeping Things Homemade At This Montana Homestead

Kelsey Vick of Homemade Montana Homestead tells us about her hobby farm roots, mastering daily DIY projects and utilizing elderberry syrup.

by Phillip Mlynar
PHOTO: Homemade Montana Homestead

Growing up, Kelsey Vick of Homemade Montana Homestead recalls a childhood filled with chickens, fruit trees and a large garden that inspired fond memories of “incorporating a hobby farm into my daily life.”

After noticing the empty store shelves during the start of the pandemic in 2020, Vick was moved to get back to being self-sufficient and started Homemade Montana Homestead. It’s a venture with a mission to return to focusing on the basics and striving towards a state of being self-reliant—helped in part by a rooster named Ziggy.

Taking time out from homesteading duties, Vick spoke with us about organizing and accomplishing DIY tasks and the joys of the Idaho pasture pig breed. We also got the scoop on making elderberry syrup.

Returning to a State of Self-Sufficiency


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The early pandemic sight of empty grocery store shelves prompted Vick to pursue a path to self-sufficiency.

“I knew I needed to step back in time and learn how to preserve and take care of my family without the constant need of a grocery store,” she recalls.

“The more I dive down the self-sufficiency road, the more I love it—and yet the more I realize how reliant we are on our current supply system. My goal is to work towards self-sufficiency, but it’s a long road. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy either.”

Read more: Longing for self-sufficiency? Side hustles can help.

Mastering DIY Projects

Vick says that her most challenging DIY project to date has been preparing a fenced pasture for her feeder pigs.

“We cut all our own timber, peeled all the logs for posts by hand, dug almost 55 post holes 32-inches deep, and stretched all the new fence,” she recalls. “Now when we step back and look at it, we love seeing the pig shed my husband built and all the beautiful fencing.”

Vick adds that next on the agenda is researching and learning more about the Idaho pasture pig breed that will benefit from the “new roomy living area.”

The Wonders of Elderberry Syrup

Vick recently posted a recipe for elderberry syrup to Homemade Montana Homestead’s social media channels. (It includes the addition of ground ginger, cinnamon and raw honey.) “Elderberry syrup is a great way to give your immune system a little boost,” says Vick.

When it comes to incorporating elderberry syrup into your mealtimes, Vick recommends drizzling it over pancakes and mixing a spoonful with soda water and apple cider vinegar for a homemade tonic.

Read more: Check out this recipe for simple refrigerator elderberry syrup!

Spotlight on Ziggy the Rooster

One of the stars of Homemade Montana Homestead is a rooster named Ziggy.”The rooster I never wanted is now the rooster I don’t want to lose,” explains Vick. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely still a mean rooster. But I love his personality.

“When I picked up my chickens at the feed store I had them double check all of my chicks to ensure I didn’t have a rooster,” continues Vick. “However, as the weeks went by I noticed one of my chickens I called Sunflower was terrorizing all the other chickens. A few more weeks passed and it was obvious Sunflower was a top dog, a rooster.

“I planned to rid the farm of Sunflower, but I could barley catch the darn thing. So as he zig-zagged away from me and around the pen, I decided to name him Ziggy.”

Vick adds that Ziggy still “runs in fear from me” but that she’s “grateful he’s around to protect my ladies.”

Collecting Chicken Eggs & Baskets of Veggies

On a daily basis, Vick takes huge joy from collecting chicken eggs at her homestead. “It’s by far the most rewarding because it’s like collecting a rent check every day,” she says. “I also love stepping down to the basement to grab some of my home-canned goods. But in the summer, nothing beats filling a basket full of fruit and veggies that we grew.”

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