Lessons From Homestead Living

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If I’m entirely honest, I had no intention of ever becoming a homesteader.

I didn’t understand homesteading. I thought it was a fad, and it wasn’t something I was going to be interested in.

But little did I know that homesteading was so much more than what I thought it was. It was exactly what I needed.

There were parts of the homesteading lifestyle that my wife and I had already embraced. We grew our own vegetables every year and canned some of the excess. My wife loved to make jams and to knit blankets for the kids. We’ve always had old-fashioned souls and loved learning about how our grandparents’ generation lived.

Somewhere along the way we fell in love with the idea of owning our own land. Living on a small acreage farm and raising our own food just seemed to make sense. It was something that we could just feel in our guts and we knew in our hearts. It was the right thing to do.

In truth, we were pining for the homesteading life. Even if I was too stubborn to admit it.

Fast forward to now and I’m still learning what homesteading really means. I think it means something different to everyone, and that’s just fine. You don’t have to live on a farm to be a homesteader and you don’t have to do it exactly the same way I or anyone else does it either. The point is to find your own path and live it.

Homesteading is a kind of movement that is really based in finding a certain quality of life. Our world has grown too fast paced, too impersonal and too artificial. Some of us long for something more. Authenticity is hard to come by, but that doesn’t mean it’s not available.

Authenticity. That’s a nice word.

The lessons we’ve learned along this journey have positioned us to find the kind of authenticity we are seeking. Life is tough, it’s hard and it’s never perfect. But we find joy in embracing the hard things and in facing the challenges of a life a little off the modern path.

Here’s what I mean…

The value of reusing things

We live in a throw away society. We have been conditioned from birth to be consumers. Buy this. Buy that. No money down. Blah blah blah…Don’t even get me started on Black Friday.

Things are not built for longevity anymore, but rather to keep the customer upgrading again and again.

It wasn’t long ago that our grandparents generation used to fix things that broke, instead of throwing them away. Clothes were patched. Things were reused. They were taken care of and they lasted for a long time.

This is frugal, yes. This is good for our environment, of course. But it’s also good for our soul. When we repurpose and reuse things we are disconnecting from the consumer mentality and putting our value not in the possession itself but rather in the usefulness of it.

There will never be enough time

So spend it where it counts.

People should be our priority, especially the people in our own tribe. It’s easy to get lost in our own busyness that we have no more energy left for the people we love at the end of the day.

Enjoying our life should also be a priority. How many of us can really say we enjoy our lives?

I used to think of homesteading as just a bunch of old-fashioned things that people do to be more self-sufficient. But that’s not the point. It’s a way of life that is really built on community, and freeing yourself to experience joy.

Simple living isn’t always simple. But we have to stop chasing after time (and things) to ever find the simple life we long for. Take a breath. Smell the flowers in the garden. Just sit for a while and watch the kids play in the grass. Those projects can wait for a little while. It’ll be alright.

This is a promise that I had to learn to keep.

You have to fight for what matters

When you decide to unplug from the rat race, you will be opposed.

Your friends, family and coworkers won’t understand. Some of them will think you’ve lost your mind. But they won’t be the only ones that question your motives. You’ll probably do that to yourself more than once.

I know I have.

It just seems so much easier to buy your food at the grocery store. To just let the grass grow instead of struggling year after year with carrots and cucumbers. To eat out instead of making your own meals. To sit in an office and watch your life bleed away. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

You will be opposed. It’s hard doing things that matter, especially when they are contrary to modern society. But anything in this life that is WORTH pursuing will not come easy.

Stay the course.

Food matters

This is a no-brainer.

It’s important to us to know where our food comes from. I know exactly what goes into the soil I grow our fruit and vegetables in. I know what my pigs and chickens eat. I know that each one of them is being raised in a healthy and humane environment. When we sit down to a meal made from food produced on our own land, we are enjoying whole nutrients as they were meant to be consumed.

It wasn’t always this way for us though.

Two years ago we would have never considered raising our own pork. 5 years ago the idea of producing our own eggs would have seemed ludicrous. But the more we invest in raising our own food, the more we are realizing the benefits of returning to community supported agriculture.

And how broken our food system really is.

There is a rhythm to this life

Seasons come and go. In each of them there is a time for joy and a time for tears. A time to work and a time to rest. There is birth and there is death.

And there is all the stuff in between.

Living on a farm, you really do tap into the rhythm of this life. Its something we never understood when we lived in the city.

There is a way to how things work. A purpose found in everything. Our lives become much more intentional when we begin to see how we fit in this rhythm. How we are a part of it. And when we begin to accept the things we cannot control we find a peace that is deeper than the discontent we feel when we try to hold on to those things with all our might.

This world is bigger than each of us. And there is so much to experience. Why do we limit ourselves to the things that don’t really matter?

Honestly, I’m still learning this lesson. But it’s a good one to learn, I think.

 

Be well…

 

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