A snow storm is heading our way and it makes me think of a time when people had little conveniences or luxuries such as vehicles with 4 wheel drive, forced heating, 24-hour grocery stores and any kind of fruit all season long. I can’t imagine that kind of life (I really enjoy my fruit!), and yet I think that is how some people view homesteaders, they can’t imagine living off the land completely. I know when I first came across the word, it was in history class in middle school, and there were pictures of farm land with cattle, even a covered wagon off to the side. Devoid of “civilization” and modern convenience. I didn’t give it a second thought and moved on, thinking “that’s not for me, I plan to go to college, get a job, etc.”
How many people look at modern homesteading in the same light? Something that is such hard work it’s hardly worth doing, and perhaps these same people might even look down on that chosen path. I wonder… I also wonder why the bad rap? Today in a society where convenience is king and working for a corporation that gives you titles, money and power is better than raising a family and working the land, I don’t have to ponder for long why homesteading, hobby farming, whatever you call it, is counter-cultural. It’s risky, but I think I prefer the word bold.
This counter-cultural status has made this transition away from the normal business of living, back to what used to be normal all the more challenging. It’s been a balancing act for my family, met with some resistance along the way. We’ve made the decision not to fully homestead, or farm for a living. We could, but it’s not for us, I guess we’re not so bold after all. Trying to find the right fit for our family has been a work in progress and we’re still finding that “just-right” feel.
I often think “how can we balance my husband’s job with an ever increasing amount of work from our tiny homestead?” We do want to continue expanding, slowly, but I’m only one person, we have two young kids, I won’t be able to do this alone, so maybe this isn’t for us. Then spring comes and plants bud, bloom and grow and once again I’m hooked. How could I not live this way, knowing where my food is coming from (well some of it for now) and get outside, get my hands in the dirt and smell that earthy smell? How could I not pass this love onto my kids? When that love is re-kindled each spring I then move on to other thoughts. How do we make this lifestyle shift work and still provide for our family? How can we find the time to do it all and not go crazy? I don’t have any quick answer or bullet points to share, but I think this is something everyone struggles with at one point or another. We are trying to make this change to a more sustainable lifestyle and I’ve often read quotes from famous people saying that trying is half the battle. So here we go!
What are some ways you’ve had to balance your journey into homesteading? I’d love to hear your stories!