What is a name? What does a name mean? We can break it down in different ways. It could be just a name with little meaning that just states what we are doing or that we chose because it was catchy. However the name Split Rock Heritage Homestead is much more than that.
So lets break it down.
In North America the word “homestead” historically referred to land claimed by a settler or squatter under the Homestead Act (USA) or Dominion Lands Act (Canada). In Old English the term was used to mean a human settlement, and in Southern Africa the term is used for a cluster of several houses normally occupied by a single extended family.
So we settled on calling it a “homestead” as we will be running some livestock and a garden. Building on gardens and livestock we hope to preserve food through canning, smoking, pickling, and cold storage. Something we learned after we purchased the property and decided on the name is that homesteaders in the States through the Homestead Act and through the Dominion Lands Act up here in Canada, were supplied with 160 acres of land (now they had to prove up on the land in various ways). Interestingly enough the amount of land we have purchased is just that 160 acres. I am not going to suggest that we are breaking new ground here at Split Rock Heritage Homestead as we don’t have to prove up on the land in 3 years or 5 years time with various improvements. In fact if we run short on something we can just run to the store…or if something breaks we can purchase something new within in the day or shortly after without leaving our home (that is not the plan though). We have been blessed with a house that is well built (over built in many ways). We have a well and a septic system that is ready to go. So we are not a traditional homestead in the way it was in the 1800’s however we are going to go back to a different lifestyle than what is common place today. We are not planning on taking the easy route. We are planning on working our land learning as we go. Through raising our animals for meat and eggs and maybe even doing some dairy we will learn more appreciation for the food we have. Through the garden we hope to be able to share healthy food with friends and have our own food on the table throughout the year. The forest is also a major contributor to our homestead. The forest will provide heat and building materials as well as maple syrup, hopefully some nuts as well as offering habitat for the many game animals that we hope to hunt. So all in all we have decided to call it a Homestead.
- History, “heritage” refers to events or processes that have a special meaning in group memory
So “Heritage” is part of the process we are aiming to achieve. We are hoping to use heritage breeds for our livestock. There are a few different reasons for trying where we can to use these heritage breeds. One reason is that we can help build up the numbers on breeds that have been passed by for something that grows quicker bigger and cheaper even if they forgo quality. We as a society have by passed many breeds that have done us so well in the past. Even though these breeds have better qualities in many ways we have put them on the side and in some instances these heritage breeds have almost disappeared from our world. We are also planning on using heritage breeds because they were developed with homesteaders and family farms in mind, as they produce quality meat and are a hardier animal able to withstand the seasons on homesteads. We also plan on using were we can heritage seeds for the garden. These may produce smaller vegetables and fruits however they don’t need to be engineered, seed saving is a possibility. Not only are we planning on using heritage seeds and animals we are also planning on not using chemicals to create better yields.
Split Rock Heritage Homestead is nestled in a valley between the granite ridges of the area, with a rock out cropping in the middle of the property splitting the property. So giving it the name Split Rock was not a hard thing to do as it so aptly fit the surrounding area. However that is not the reason we chose it. The reason we chose it is a part of my Heritage. My Opa who came over to Canada had a dairy farm he named Split Rock. What a great name to have the opportunity to carry it forward. What I remember of my Opa (even though I never did get to see Split Rock Dairy) was that he did things well. He was a top producer and was an out of the box thinker. He was a problem solver and he passed that on through his kids who are all problem solvers and out of the box thinkers who have passed it along to their children. I look at my cousins and I am blessed to think of the Heritage that I have behind me. The legacy that has been left for us. So I look forward to the name Split Rock being on our gate.
My other Opa also came to Canada after the war. He worked in a grocery store and worked his way up to produce manager. His garden at home was always immaculate and weeds trembled when he came close to the gate. He canned and preserved his bounty with my Oma and enjoyed it throughout the year feeding their family of nine. He too passed on amazing traits to his children who have shown his legacy to do many people around them.
Both of my Opas were hard working men of values and integrity. Through using the name Split Rock it will remind me daily of where my roots are even if it is only named after the one it reminds me of both of them and they are a part of my heritage.
So there you go folks we have named our place Split Rock Heritage Homestead.