Why I Homestead


Why I HomesteadWelcome to The House & Homestead! I’m writing the first post since we went live, so I thought I would tell you a little bit about who I am and why I’ve chosen this path in life.

It’s hard to pin down the exact moment when I knew I wanted to pursue a homesteading lifestyle. What I do know is it’s been a passion that has been evolving in me for quite some time. 

Maybe it was the fondness and respect that I gained for the environment and the outdoors as a young child; Springtime in the garden and summers spent camping under starry skies made me love “playing” in the dirt and living close to the land.

Or maybe it was my time spent travelling the world… Seeing how other people in other cultures still live in rhythm with nature, grow and prepare all of their own food and live frugally and sustainably made me both long to plant my own roots somewhere and inspired me to take what I learned and apply it at home.

It could have begun when I went to visit some dear friends out on the tiny island they were living on at the time. I felt so at home among the bountiful nature and the slow-going, friendly little community that I knew I needed to escape the rat race and pursue a simpler life.

There have been many pivotal moments in my life that have played a role in getting me to where I am today. Either way, I’m here now and I truly feel like it has been the right decision for me. 

 

Homesteader Values

Homesteading lines up with my core values and makes me feel as if I’m living the way nature intended. When I lived in the city, I felt as if I was swimming upstream the whole time, fighting the natural flow to get where I needed to go. I went through prolonged periods of anxiety and depression, sickness and stress, and just generally felt as if I was living a life that wasn’t meant for me. 

The noise and business and stress of city-life just wan’t for me. I know some people that love the fast pace and bright lights, but I am at my best when it is quiet and calm and people are scarce. Rural living appealed to both me and my husband, so we decided to leave the city and the condo we lived in and pursue this lifestyle out in the country, just close enough to the nearest town but far enough away from the rush of modern life.

Cherry PickingI also care deeply about the earth— about being a good steward of the land and being conscious of our impact on the planet. I want to know where my food is coming from, what’s in it, how it was produced, what sort of life it lived and who is profiting from it. And, like most people, I care for my family more than anything else. 

I want to make sure that we are prepared to take care of ourselves if the proverbial “shit hits the fan” in this crazy world. I want to feed my family healthy, organic foods grown in our garden or from our local farms. And I want us to live as good a life as possible without going into debt to pay for it.

As a parent, I want to instil good values and work ethic in my children. I want them to grow up with the same respect for nature as I did. I want them to be self-sufficient, hard-working human beings with the skills and knowledge they need to provide for themselves and their own families one day. 

Homesteading provides the type of lifestyle that makes all of these things possible. It allows us to produce the things that we consume and lessens our impact on the planet while ensuring we have the skills and resources we need to survive and thrive in an often hostile and volatile world. It offers some protection from the instability and chaos that seems to be happening around us more and more. And it helps to ground us; Allows us the space to breathe and to be in the flow even while most of mankind continues its never-ending struggle to conquer and control the natural world.

 

Living in Harmony with Nature

I love living with the seasons. In the spring I get excited to plant my seeds and watch them sprout into tiny seedlings which will grow into the food that will nourish us. I love sitting outside and enjoying the birdsong and the buzz of insects all around. Everything is living again. When I hear the frogs croaking and the daffodils are in bloom, I know that warmer days are just ahead. 

Summertime as a homesteader is busy; Much busier than the lazy days I used to enjoy. We’re busy watering, weeding, harvesting, preserving and preparing for colder, leaner times. Our days are lived outside in the summer, our evenings spent around a fire. We picnic and hike and camp and live without shoes. We put in long days of hard work and wash tons of dirt off of our hands and feet, but it feels good. Then, when we start to hear the crickets at night, we know that the final days of summer have arrived and fall is coming soon. This is my favourite time of year. 

In the Garden

My husband, Ryan, in the garden last summer. We grew spinach, broccoli and onions in this bed.

Fall is the time of bounty, when we enjoy all of the fruits of our labour. The smell of fresh baking wafts through our house and we gather with family and friends. It’s also still a very busy time as we finish getting everything canned and preserved and our shelves stocked up for the winter months. We harvest the last of our garden and plant our garlic before the first frost sets in. Then we prepare our beds for a long winter sleep.

Then comes winter. Winter starts off busy with seasonal celebrations front and centre. It is a time of feasting and merriment. A time when I spend most of my day in the kitchen, cooking, baking and preparing homemade Christmas gifts for family and friends. After Christmas, the slow winter months are the perfect time for reading, crocheting, bread-making, slow-cooking and enjoying the warmth of the hearth on cold snowy nights. 

I’ve started to get into the the flow of living with the seasons since we moved away from the city and began living a more rural, homesteader lifestyle. I’ve begun to notice the nuances of each time of year that I never noticed before. 

Now I’m aware of the frogs and the daffodils and the crickets and the first frost, both because I live closely with them and also because they matter to me. They tell me when I need to plant my seeds, transplant my seedlings, harvest the last of my tomatoes and prepare my garden beds for the cold. I’m learning to listen to nature and to trust it, because it’s right more often than we are, despite what we want to believe.

 

Homesteading is A Lifestyle Choice

I homestead for many reasons. In short, it’s a lifestyle that allows me to provide for myself and my family. We live a more natural, sustainable life and produce our own food and goods so that we know what’s in them and are less reliant. It gives us independence, freedom and security and has allowed us to escape the stress and pressure of the modern western lifestyle. Most importantly, homesteading allows me to live a life that’s true to who I am and what I believe.

Broccoli

One of the first heads of broccoli I successfully grew.

It truly is a simpler life, but it is by no means easier. It’s hard work and long days, dirty hands and sweaty foreheads. It’s sore muscles and cuts and bruises, little money and no frills. But it’s exhilarating, challenging and rewarding beyond belief. 

 

An Adventure at Home

Homesteading is an adventure that begins and ends with home. And it is by far the best adventure I’ve ever been on. It’s made better because my family is on it with me. It allows us to spend quality time together that we might never have been able to enjoy had we not pursued this crazy dream.

So if you’re wondering if homesteading is right for you, think about where you feel your best. What are you doing? Are you someone who is energized by bright lights and city skylines, crowds of people and traffic noises and the high-paying, corporate corner-office job? If so, I’m not sure homesteading is right for you. But if you long for a simpler, quieter, more self-sufficient life out in the country, this might just be something you want to consider. 

And you don’t have to live rurally to be a homesteader. You can pursue this lifestyle in the city or the suburbs or wherever you are. It comes down to the values that you hold dear. For most homesteaders, those values include faith, family, freedom, security, independence, hard work, good food and a welcoming home to all who pass through. For us, home truly is where the heart is. It’s where we nourish our bodies and souls, and where we live the way nature intended us to live: happy, healthy and in harmony with the land that gives us life.

 

The House & Homestead


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

4 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Wow, go you. Hope you have figured out your fireworms. Glad to have met you through FB.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      You too! The community you find living this sort of lifestyle is amazing too! Glad to be able to connect with wonderful people who share common values and goals from all over the continent (and the world) through the magic of social media and the Internet!

      Reply
  2. Lynda Lu Gibb

    Love watching this happen in our own back yard!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Love having you guys around for guidance and support!

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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For Angi Schneider of @schneiderpeeps, the answer is pressure canning, hands-down.

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If you're interested in learning how to make your own all-natural soy candles with essential oils at home, I'm currently offering my DIY Scented Soy Candles Masterclass for FREE as part of the Handmade Holiday Giveaway, hosted by my friend and fellow Vancouver Islander Diana Bouchard of @wanderinghoofranch

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What are your go-to tools to use around your house and homestead??? (Duct tape totally counts 😉)

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I've been focusing on the tangible things that I can control, like cooking meals and preserving food.

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I laid in bed the other night and couldn’t sleep.

I know that probably doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, especially considering the collective stress we’ve all been through over the past year and a half. But if I’m being totally honest, I’ve done a pretty good job of not letting it get to me.

I used to have really bad anxiety, and I made a conscious effort to learn how to manage it in (mostly) healthy, natural ways. I practice a lot of gratitude every day, and overall I’ve learned to deal with stress, anxiety and negative thoughts pretty well.

Lately though, I’ve been feeling the weight of it all. Aside from dealing with personal issues like our ongoing infertility/pregnancy loss journey and the every day stresses we all face, the bigger things have been feeling bigger and heavier lately; The mandates, the politics, the pushback, the arguments and attacks online, the divisiveness, and the seemingly never-ending pandemic that every single one of us is still dealing with in some capacity.

I’ve been seeing more and more calls to “choose a side.” I’ve witnessed my own close friends on both sides of the debate hurling insults at each other, defending their ground, and refusing to listen to each other’s valid points and concerns.

I’ve even witnessed a widening crack in the homesteading community, despite the fact that so many of our core values and beliefs align and are unique to us.

Despite the division, I would still argue that ALL of us have much more in common than not, and to see the divide continuing to deepen has started to get under my skin lately.

(Continued in comments…)
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