Home on the Range: Oswald Vineyard

Food Supply & Food Politics

Aug 23

This Home on the Range series celebrates all kinds of homesteaders, from urban rooftop gardeners to rural ranches and farms, from beekeepers to goat herders, from container gardeners to egg gatherers. Come and visit with us today.

This week’s feature is from Dina-Marie of Oswald Vineyard. Dina-Marie blogs at Dimes 2Vines.com. Check it out! Here is a short synopsis about their motivations and goals as told to me.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our story! Here is a little background: Our family moved from near Mobile, Alabama in 2008 leaving the “secure” corporate world behind to begin a vineyard. At that time we had 9 children (now we have 10) so this was quite a lifestyle change. Since our house there did not sell (and still has not!) we have learned a lot about frugality as we waited without a paycheck for 2 + years until our grapes came in – some people wait for their ship, we wait for our grapes! During the whole process, I have learned through physical difficulties, just how important the quality of food that we feed our families with is. Dimes2Vines has journaled our adventures, struggles, vineyard and grape information and more recently focuses on real food, traditional preparation.

1. What led you to become a traditional, urban or suburban homesteader?

Having 9 musically inclined children, I had looked for a bluegrass music camp in which all different instruments (fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin) were taught/played during the same week. We lived in Alabama and on the East coast most camps had one instrument per week.  We ended up making a family vacation to a bluegrass music camp in West Texas, June 2005. It was at that camp that our oldest son met his future wife, who was from a farming family. Being in West Texas around the farming, and particularly grape farming, for a month at the time of the wedding in 2006, we had the desire for a lifestyle change. Being fully entrenched in the corporate lifestyle, we were slow to make the jump from the “secure” life we had. But, things began changing at my husband’s job with a chemical company, and we decided it was now or never. So, we made the jump, completely changing lifestyles in 2008. 

2. What do you love about your homestead?

I love working together as a family, being more self sufficient, and the simple lifestyle in general. Especially this time of year, seeing the vines loaded with grapes, I love the satisfaction of seeing our hard work throughout the year paying off.

3. What would you change?

Nothing. Well, actually I would have harvest several times a year – that would mean a paycheck several times a year!!!!

4. What new skills have you learned and how have you applied them?

I have learned to milk a cow, make cheese, garden, raise chickens, butcher our own steer, band a bull, render tallow and, of course, grow grapes!

5. What skills would you like to learn?

I would like to raise a sheep or two and just for fun, shear, spin the wool and knit something from it.

6. What animals or plants do you have?

We have 5 varieties of grapes, all of which are sold to Texas wineries: Roussanne – a French white, Aglianico – an Italian red, Montepulciano – an Italian Red, Petit Verdo – a French red, and Muscat Gialo – and Italian white. We planted 5 acres in 2008, 15 acres in 2009 and another 2 1/3 acres in 2012.

We have a family milk cow, Buttercup (1/2 Jersey and 1/2 Holstein who produces 8 gallons per day when she freshens!), another cow, Emme (Jersey), who is due to deliver her first calf in Sept., chickens (18 laying hens and 1 rooster), a shih-poo, Sprinkles and a cat, Lolli.

I grow a typical garden with beans, squash (yellow, zucchini, butternut), pumpkins, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (bell, jalepenio), eggplant, corn,

7. What makes you happy with your life as a homesteader?

For me there is such a peace in living a simple life. We work hard, but we work together. Because of this lifestyle, I have learned about traditional eating and real food. The dietary changes have brought about amazing physical recovery for me (rheumatoid arthritis especially). We are building ourselves (literally) a house which overlooks the vineyard and have moved into what will eventually be the basement. It is exciting to see things taking shape!

Thank you Dina-Marie! Your story is fascinating! Here are some photos from the vineyard!

grapes, green grapes

Lovely Roussanne Grapes July 2012.

These look so succulent!

Buttercup during milking 450, cow milking

This is Buttercup the cow. Doesn’t she look sweet?



They are so busy!

Family Picture

Family Picture – 1 grandchild not shown- I need a new picture!!

What a good looking bunch!

he vineyard

The vineyard

What beautiful rows of grapes! I can’t wait to harvest!

Montepulciano Grapes

Montepulciano Grapes July 2012

Those are gorgeous!

Thank you so  much for sharing your story and your homestead with us!

What is a Real Food Homesteader?

A Real Food Homesteader is someone who cares about the earth, the soil and the animals that give us food. You don’t have to have acres of prairie land to be a homesteader. You can be an urban or suburban homesteader with a tiny plot of land, a rooftop garden in a city, or a community garden. You could also be a more traditional homesteader who is concerned about organic, sustainable methods of farming or gardening, who supports pasture raised animals.

Real Food Homesteaders don’t use genetically modified seeds. They don’t use poisons on the plants and soil. They don’t feed poisoned grains to their animals.

They cook traditionally with raw dairy from grassfed animals and eggs from chickens on pasture. They shun processed vegetable oils like margarine and other processed foods. They try to buy as little packaged food as possible — growing and preserving their own instead.

Are you a person like this? Do you have an urban, suburban or rural homestead? Please share it with us.

Here are the questions:

  1. What led you to become a traditional, urban or suburban homesteader?
  2. What do you love about your homestead?
  3. What would you change?
  4. What new skills have you learned and how have you applied them?
  5. What skills would you like to learn?
  6. What animals or plants do you have?
  7. What makes you happy with your life as a homesteader?

Send your answers in a word document, to Jill at Real Food Forager dot com and 5 – 6 of your best photos sized 450 (width) with captions. Send the text in a word document and the photos in digital attachments.

Previous Featured Homesteads

The next could be yours!

This post is shared at: Freaky Friday, Farmgirl Friday Hop, Friday Food, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Tasteful Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Sustainable Ways, Mommy Club, Healthy 2Day, Real Food Wdnesday, Keep It Real Thursday, Eat Make Grow, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter


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