A community carries traditions forward
“We hear music when we work with horses that’s often drowned out by the roar of the tractor.” Tucked away from the fumes and flurry of traffic on I-35 near Waco is a community where ploughs take precedence over iPads and sweet potato fries cooked at the Cafe Homestead come from their very own garden. Homestead Heritage is an agrarian Christian community where members carry on past heritages through crafting and farming.
Homestead community members believe that the values and attitudes with which they approach their work—“care and service, integrity and character, close ties of family and friendship”—cultivate strong families and community.
Sun-dappled paths lead to wood-framed buildings snuggled among trees and wide open expanses of pasture and gardens. The peacefulness of the place whispers like leaves rustling in the breeze. If you listen carefully, you might hear an occasional clanging from the forge as the smithy creates a wrought iron post or the whir of a wood-cutting saw from the Woodworking School, where handmade furniture pieces are crafted.
The Gristmill, housed in a timber-framed mill dating from the 1750s, harnesses a working waterwheel to help millers grind organically grown grains, and the Fiber Crafts building hosts a rainbow—colorful spools line overhead rafters, and plump yarn skeins fluff out of wall cubbies. Spinning, weaving, crochet, knitting, and sewing projects come to life here. The colors in The Potter’s House are earthen—clay mugs, bowls, and more—shaped into beautiful and functional pieces, waiting to be glazed.
Then there are the farming areas. An on-site video explains the community philosophy: “The best way to preserve the living seed is by planting and replanting, just as the seeds of traditional values must be planted and replanted and lived out in successive generations.” From the carefully-tended garden, where seasonal organic crops grow tall, nurtured by the inventive rainwater catchment system, to the henhouse and poultry enclosure where Tom turkey struts his beautiful plumage, pride in home and workmanship is witnessed everywhere.
But the true beauty of Homestead Heritage lies in the people and what they are working to create, to carry on, and to share. So before braving the I-35 trip home, get some of those sweet potato fries; then savor one more look at the place. And remember, classes in woodworking, fiber crafts, agriculture, cooking, and other traditional skills begin soon, so there’s an excellent reason to come back.
For more information on Homestead Heritage, go to www.homesteadheritage.com.