We got into homesteading because we were tired. Tired of every single thing that has happened over the last 25 years. Things that don’t look like they are changing any time soon. But it didn’t start out that way. The cabin in the woods was always the goal for retirement. We wanted to have that secluded spot, away from everyone and no one could bother us. But as we witnessed more of the insanity, we decided to switch the dream from a cabin in the woods, to a homestead in the mountains.
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Why We Got Into Homesteading
Like most modern homesteaders, we got into homesteading because we were tired of the uncertainty. The uncertainty of what was in our food or where it came from. Not knowing if the shelves would be stocked. We wanted to be left alone to do the things we wanted to do. Like actually raising our kids and having a hand in their education. Raising animals for meat in a humane and ethical way. We wanted food that was healthy for us AND the land. We got into homesteading for the peace it brings.
Kids During Chaos
We are millennials, which means that for the last 25 years we have literally watched the extreme highs and lows. We were kids during 9/11 and the following wars, 2 of which Jared fought in. We saw the collapse of the housing market and the almost collapse of the stock market. Where companies too big to fail were bailed out with billions of dollars. We saw the great recession and rise of unrest. We saw the great division of our nation. Then we saw the pandemic.
Now, we are raising our kids in a time were there is a lot of known and unknown threats, division and general unease. I am raising my boys to be men in a world were they are “less than” simply because they are boys. Where women are made to feel unsafe by men, but my boys are expected to protect. Because, as a nation, we can’t just accept people for who they are.
We are teaching our boys about history as it was, not as it has been whitewashed to fit whatever agenda is being pushed. We are raising our boys to THINK for themselves and learn to problem solve. While this has been frustrating because they don’t do what they are told. It is amazing knowing that they will NEVER follow lock step with things that just don’t make sense.
Homesteading In Uncertainity
There are a lot of things that homesteading does. It creates a resilient and independent spirit. It teaches you that you are far more capable than you thought. But the best part? When planned “right”, homesteading creates certainty.
When I say planned “right”, I don’t mean by following the rules. I mean animals will be born, grow and die, plants will grow and die. When you are a good steward to your resources, you are rewarded with untold bounty. That’s not to say that you won’t fail, but there is a certain amount of peace in knowing that the sun will rise and set, seasons will change, and green things will grow.
When you align yourself with what nature is already doing, and ask her to help you, your gardens will be over abundant. Your animals will thrive. Your kids will see that everything is a cycle. It’s truly amazing what happens when you start homesteading and start paying attention.
Raising Meat Humanely
Homesteaders get asked all the time, and we are no different, how can you raise something and then eat it? How can you claim to care about animals if you are going to kill them? Don’t you feel bad for killing them?
I am going to write a whole blog post on that subject but I’m just going to say this: we raise as much of our meat as possible because when we take responsibility for our food, the food doesn’t suffer.
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People get so attached to the animal, but they NEVER stop to think about where their protein source came from. Or they never stop to think about what has had to die for them to get their fruits and vegetables. For the vast majority of American’s, their food comes from the grocery store. So they don’t see what Big Ag, Big Animal, or Big Pharma is doing to the land.
If they did, they would understand how much better our animals are raised. How there is minimal stress, absolutely no chemicals, and minimal medical interventions. They would see that our animals are happy, healthy, and thriving. They would see animals that are doing what animals are supposed to do.
Working WITH Nature To Harvest Healthy Food
On our farm, we use zero chemicals on the earth. Period. No fertilizers, no pesticides, no herbicides, and no fungicides. Accidental spills of paint, oils, etc into soil or possible run off, are dug up (where possible) and sunflowers or mustard greens are planted. Those plants are then burned.
We do not till our ground unless we have no other options. We use cover crops, animals, and organic matter to work with the nature instead of against it. When it comes time to plant, we dig a small hole to put a transplant or we use our hands to rake or dig. Then, when the plants are spent, we cut the plant off at soil level and drop the spent plant back into the bed.
Our garden produces some of the best tasting vegetables I have ever eaten. Most of them can be pulled straight from the garden and eaten raw, they are that good. Our animals are given the same foods we eat. They absolutely love garden scraps and will wait at the fence, watching and waiting for their bucket of nom noms.
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We Got Into Homesteading For Peace
I think the most important thing that the homestead has brought us is peace. Every morning, rain or shine, I go into my kitchen garden. I look at my beds and dream. When it’s cold, I plan the upcoming year. When it’s hot, I enjoy the harvest. And every year, I look for ways to be a better steward to the land.
Every day, I look at my goats. I watch mommas grow big with babies. I watch babies frolic and play. I milk mommas and thank them.
In the years we have been homesteading, I have found life in the slow lane to be more welcoming, joyful and humbling.
And yes, there is stress. This is a real homestead. There are triumphs and failures. But when I go to bed at night, I am at peace.
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