For just a minute, I’m going to step outside of what we normally talk about to post about this blog itself. See, we had that first post, but we didn’t establish much. Although you may have been able to guess what our aim is by posting online, we have yet to define one big thing.
Ok, yes, it’s about homesteading. It’s about producing our own food. It’s about walking out when it’s 2º Fahrenheit and sloshing water down your front while trying to make sure that your animals have enough to drink overnight. It’s about your children saying “Bye, bunnies! See you in the refrigerator!” as you bring your meat rabbits to the processor. Yes, it is all of that. But there is more to it than just that.
Let’s start way back at the beginning…
As a young adult (ok, I’m still a young adult as I’m not yet 30!) I came across Brett Markham’s Mini-Farming: Self Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre. The title itself makes grand promises that seem ridiculously elusive, and I was skeptical when I picked it up. However, the methodology that Markham employs is simple, well-researched and something that he himself puts into practice. There’s no voodoo or sell-your-soul-to-the-devil kind of deal – it’s pretty straightforward. Additionally, he lays out multiple means to the same end and leaves many things open ended to allow for personal preference, climate, etc.
Ultimately, it is easy to see how it is all possible when giving this book a read-through. We will be employing his techniques for the first time this coming growing season and will see if they hold water. Even if they don’t (or do at a lesser extent than stated), it is more so the philosophy than the methods for which I have to give this book props.
I won’t go so far as to say that this book shaped my worldview, but it certainly provided definition and clarity to my already formulating perspective. That being, we live in such a heavily consumer-driven society that long term sustainability is in question. More must-have products are on the market than ever were before. With cable, energy, mobile data plans, high speed internet and the like, our household ‘needs’ have skyrocketed, and therefore so has our level of consumption. As Markham states, a hundred years ago homes were a great investment because they were the center of production. Not only was it real estate, but one part was the storefront for the tailor, the lawyer, or the cobbler, while the upstairs (or the back half) was where the family lived. Same thing for the family homestead. The building and the land that it was on were the very livelihood of the family. Homes are no longer the center of production, and the only function they serve is to keep us out of the elements. A noble purpose, to be certain, but an expensive way to keep us warm, dry and secure.
That is the goal of our homestead and the premise of this blog: to return to where the home is the center of production, and working to change our mindset to one of sustainability and stewardship. Having a blog serves to keep us accountable to each other and to the world wide web as we strive to meet that goal.
We do not have any delusions of getting rich by having a large garden and 2 dairy goats with the occasional extra skein of yarn to sell. The point here is not to get rich. At best, our hope is to take a bite out of our family’s food budget (pun intended.) But even more so, it’s about being mindful. It’s about consuming products that haven’t been sprayed heavily with pesticides and burning fossil fuels to travel the globe to get to our pantry. It’s about limiting waste and making sure that our practices are sustainable long term. It’s about stewardship and honoring God in respecting what He has created and provided.
Are we there? No, not even close. We’re still in the buying and building without much return stage, remember? And it’s not just that, our mindsets haven’t shifted much either. I’m a consumer and I know it. My list to Santa is longer than all three of my kids’ combined.
These are goals. This blog is about the journey that it takes to reach those goals and enjoying the quality of life that comes from working together as a family to get there.
But it’s also about things like getting sneezed on and sprayed with goat boogers, because life is real and pretty raw. There are ugly undersides to everything, so we might as well all laugh at them while we’re at it.
p.s. We’ve noticed a few bugs on the blog, mostly as we learn to navigate building it. You may have been getting error messages as you try to access it or comment. Sorry about that – we’re learning by trial and error on here just as we are in real life. Stick with us, we’re working on getting it together!