Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Hello homesteaders and future homesteaders. Nearly 16 months ago, I wrote a Mother Earth News blog post about how my family and I were going to embark on a journey to become as self-sufficient as possible. I do not want to rely on anyone, especially the government, to provide for me the things that I can provide for myself with using the resources that our good Lord gave us.
Homesteading While Renting
This was all supposed to go hand in hand with starting my all-natural farming/gardening business. I was going to write, grow, raise, and help others do the same thing I was doing. Sounds like the perfect plan, right? It was, except I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain. When we first started doing this, we were and still are renting, and even though our landlord is great, we are still limited in what we can do.
We didn’t get off to the start I was hoping for and I was excellent at finding the excuses I needed to keep my dreams from becoming goals and my goals from becoming reality.
I mean, how can you be self-sufficient living in someone else’s house? I couldn’t cut up the gutters and install rain barrels, I couldn’t put up a wind turbine or solar panels, and I couldn’t purchase any cows or pigs and put them in my back yard! I was able to have a garden and raise some chickens for eggs, but even with that I was too involved in why things wouldn’t work and throwing myself several big pity parties!
Recounting Homestead Challenges
My garden would get some weeds growing in it and insects would invade it, so I don’t have to tell you that it was a big waste of effort, time and money. My garden spots would just become big weed and insect breeding grounds and resembling nothing even close to a relaxing place to think and provide for my family while I was working in it and enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of God’s creation.
My chickens would either fall prey to predators or, for whatever reason, would quit laying and not only would I lose food for my family but I would also lose paying customers.
With all of this happening, plus throw in a few computer issues for a guy who’s not very good with computers to begin with, I would get upset with myself and began beating myself up for being a failure and not being able to supply my wife and children good healthy food and a paycheck. Yeah, the excuses and pity parties would start to be more accessible and more often.
So, why am I even writing about this? Other than this journey starting with the goal of becoming self-sufficient, this blog I am writing now has nothing to do with self-sufficiency, does it? Well, in all parts of life we have lessons to learn and failures aren’t failures if you learn from them and make the needed corrections in order not to make the same mistakes again, so I thought I would go ahead and write this for that person out there that has faced some failures with their goals and is questioning if it is worth it to continue.
The funny thing about throwing those pity parties for myself is that I was the only one attending! No one else really cared. It wasn’t affecting them so why should they? When I finally realized that no one else cared and all I was doing was hurting my family I decided that this is it — I have had enough!
Homesteading Requires Being Proactive
Now that I finally got my head on straight and decided that to succeed I need to take care things on my own, I just realized that we are heading in to winter. How in the world can I make this happen in winter? I have already started putting my garden to bed and with fewer hours of daylight the chickens are going to be laying less anyways.
I began to look around and noticed my fireplace that did not get used very often last winter, so that is one thing I can write about. My younger hens have just started laying, I did end the garden season on a high note with several discoveries that I will be able to build on for next year, so I can tell you about all of them. I also hope that I can be a positive influence on somebody out there and show them that no matter what you can work through it.
I will be talking to you real soon and until then, Happy Homesteading!
Jeremy Obermeyer owns and operates Obermeyer Heritage Farms with his family in Gypsum, Kansas. Obermeyer Heritage Farms is an all-natural farming and gardening operation using organic techniques to grow only heirloom vegetables and raise only heritage breeds of livestock. Connect with Jeremy on Facebook, and read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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