Why I Homestead
Welcome 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.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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