When we tell people that we live on a homestead we get a verity of reactions. They range from “oh, you live on a farm” to “so, you are like one of those doomsday preppers.”
While both reactions are not wrong they do miss the mark- for a couple of very important reasons. One of the best definitions of I found is this one:
“Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.”
I am always telling the boys, “it is not what you do but how you do it.” and here I think this sentiment is most apt. A farm produces a surplus product or products to sell on the market in order to make a living (Unfortunately usually GMO 😦 ). We are not in that business, rather our intention is to be organic self sufficient and apart from the GMO system as much as possible.
It means we both still have to work. The mortgage can’t be paid in bees, chicken, honey, eggs, seeds, or sauce- yet.
I often have a hard time with this one but then again, I can’t figure out how to get a payment’s worth of bees into the little return payment envelope.
Maybe if they could start sending us a bigger one I could give it a try.
The problem we set out to address at the beginning of this adventure was based on our belief that we live in a sick system. One we did not create but were born into.
A system so far removed from the things that used to give humans peace and understanding that it is almost beyond repair.
Activism is important. One MUST speak up about such things but we decided we would rather direct our daily efforts to changing the way we lived by changing the systems we supported.
Trying to set an example for the boys and anyone willing to listen. Instead of spending large amounts of time being upset at it or arguing about all the reasons it is messed up.
Last year the death of my father brought into focus this basic fact- we have a finite amount of time on this earth to live our lives.
Since then, we made have made many changes and many things have changed.
Not all for the better but our home allowed us to find the silver lining in each circumstance. Life finds a way of teaching even when you didn’t realize there was need of learning.
There is no way to protect yourself from the life’s unexpected setbacks and surprises no matter how you choose to run your home.
For us that is what homesteading boils down to- creating a system that will enable us to weather life’s unexpected turns.
What we both believe a home should be.
I have never understood the concept that a home’s goal is to serve as a showplace for others.
This does not mean we live in a disaster area or that cleanliness is not important. Only that we would rather our home be a functional place to live and grow for everyone who lives here than a pretty picture.
Evidence of such, is aplenty- from a sewing machine on the prep table to the cases of empty Ball jars currently strewn about the kitchen.
It means taking care to balance the needs of everything involved, from how we harvest the forest to heat our home. Or how we rotate the crops in the garden each year.
The infrastructure we put in place to house the various animals is something that will soon be tested with the onslaught of winter.
Time does not stand still and the effort you put in today can and hopefully be reaped tomorrow. The coming winter seems daunting but together we can rise to the challenge.
Homesteading is about survival and occasional abundance. How we recognize, respect, embrace this lifestyle and all its components defines what being a homesteader is all about.
R and E.