The Impulse to Homestead

During this extra long winter I have had a chance to read a lot about homesteading. Books, magazines, blogs and articles presenting every variation on the homesteading impulse. At the one end is the aspirational homesteader who lives a highly conventional life conforming to a corporate consumer model. These folks think and talk about self sufficiency, work on smaller projects (such as making their own toothpaste) and plan for the life they aspire to. At the other end of the scale is the completely realised homesteader. This cat is comfortably snuggled down on his or her debt free, highly productive homestead where they enjoy an ecologically correct life, free from all of the pressures and compromises of the post-industrial world. These are very lucky people, and as it turns out mostly mythical.
The road to any version of an ideal life is littered with roadblocks and forces that seek to pull you off course. The first and most powerful is often the people closest to us. If you have people in your life, you have to deal with ongoing attempts by your friends and loved ones to influence or advise you. If you have a spouse and or dependant children, you ignore their aspirations at you own peril. Since no one wants to be responsible for giving bad advise, the course recommended to you will likely be the most conventional they can think of. How well you can resolve these relationships will set the boundaries of your own impulse to homestead. Stain Outhouse Floor
The world we live in is structured to put you on a treadmill, and keep you there. The people higher up in the corporate structure have nicer treadmills, but seem just as powerless to get off at will. Getting off means overcoming obstacles, some real and some perceived. Because of the long road we had to travel to get this far, I have a lot of sympathy for those who are still negotiating that course. It takes a lot of hard work to amass the resources to live a life that is based on choice. The most cost effective way to make the list shorter for me has been meditation. The list of possessions and experiences that I have discovered that I didn’t actually want or need, would have taken a couple of extra lifetimes to acquire. That gives me more time to focus on the simple joy of the spring sunshine streaming into my workshop window. The freedom to step outside and spend a moment being very small while nature unfolds around you.

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7 Responses to The Impulse to Homestead

  1. Good for you my fiend! GE

  2. jj says:

    For you, meditation…for me, pitching the TV and mainstream magazines. Now I don’t know what I’m missing 😉 Luckily, my spouse is right there with me on the whole homesteading gig. I don’t imagine we’d have made the leap if he hadn’t been completely on-board…

    • Hi JJ, That’s good news that the whole crew is on board with your plans. It is especially good that you are making this move before the kids are of an age to make the move complicated. A good friend of mine had the homesteading bug real bad, but by the time he was ready to make the big move, he had three early teens who resisted leaving the urban lifestyle. Long story short, he gave up his dreams to keep the peace in his family.
      As for TV, we are set to go cold turkey when we move into the tent in one month. Although it has been nearly 20 years since I have paid for TV, it came free with my last two homes covering the last 13 years. At some point, it stopped functioning as a stimulus for consumerism.

  3. Humpy Creek says:

    Wonderful post – and here’s to getting off that treadmill!

  4. Thanks, We are getting close.

  5. ~MyLa says:

    I really appreciate that you validate the process, the journey, as much as the destination, not to mention the roadblocks for many… I don’t know that I will ever own land/property again, and I don’t know that owing it outright is any more secure than owning a mortgage, in terms of what the big corporate monsters are capable of and practice regularly… in any case, you and your partner are an inspiration, to keep taking the next step forward… for those of us who make their own toothpaste 🙂

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