Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
When we first started our homesteading journey, I was constantly amazed by some of the things people said. Not just from those who don't understand self-sufficiency, but also from those who are just like us. We are in competition with no one. We love this lifestyle, because it suits us. And we never want to be judgmental to those who don't enjoy the same lifestyle that we do. If you truly knew me personally, then you would see the beautiful array of colors and religions and lifestyles of friends that I have, and I love them all the same!
It's always a good thing to taste your words before spitting them out. And other times, it's nice to put yourself in someone else's shoes before thinking their life is a walk in the park. The moral of the story? Think before you speak, and show more grace than necessary...because ultimately, none of us "have it all together."
Here are 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Homesteader...If You're a Non-Homesteader
1. "You mean, you eat that?"
Yes, because I've seen where that chicken from the grocery store that is sitting on your plate comes from, and I would rather lick my backyard than eat what you're eating. Oh, and my kid helps me process my food, too!
The sad reality is that if you truly knew where your food came from, what was inside of it, and how it was processed, you probably wouldn't eat it either. Fermenting, curing, and butchering your own food is a lost art -- we simply want to revive it and teach others just how simple and rewarding it is. And in the long run, it's much healthier for you.
2. "Don't you think you have enough animals?"
No. Enough said. Don't you think you have a boring life without farm animals?
3. "You don't own a farm, you just have a bunch of backyard animals."
Well, that depends on who you're talking to. But no one who owns farm animals "just" has a bunch of farm animals in their backyard. Believe it or not, we do have to take care of them properly...whether we live on a 1/4 acre or 100 acres.
4. "I don't understand why you can't just be normal."
Yes, I've actually had this said to me, multiple times, when it comes to homesteading. Tell me, where on earth is the definition of "normal"? Who got to define what "normal" was? Because if you put 10 people in a room and ask them what a "normal" person is, you'd probably get 10 different answers. Let's stop being so judgmental, please. Because my "normal" is living off the land just like my "normal" ancestors did. If anything, the modern world is completely abnormal.
5. "Don't you need a rooster for your chickens to lay eggs?"
If You're a Fellow Homesteader
1. "I don't get to stay home during the day and homestead. I have to work a real job too, so it's harder for me."
No, it's not harder for you. It's the same exact thing that we are doing but on a different time schedule. The reality is that we're all in this together, and if we're simply going to pick and choose who has the "harder" job, then we're completely missing the whole reason as to why we do what we do.
With that said, I completely understand. If I were just homesteading with a few animals and had a full time job, I wouldn't think much of it. But we homestead, homeschool, and I work from home during the week. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do. However, I make it work. Why? Because I love this lifestyle, whether it's at 9 a.m. or 11 p.m.
2. "Will you take $20 for this $100 animal?"
When I first started my photography business, I literally gave my talent away. And I enjoyed it, but it wasn't realistic. So I learned early on in our homestead adventure that I just couldn't give things away (with some exceptions), and I needed to put a quality price on my time and our animals. Otherwise, I'd "give" myself right out of homesteading...it's not something we would be able to support with just giving things away. However, we do give many things away when we feel led to.
It is insulting when someone offers less than 75 percent of what you're asking. If I were to say "make me an offer, any offer will do", then certainly. But if I'm saying "let's see what we can work out"...absolutely not. I work just as hard as you do — would you take that from someone else? I doubt it. Wheel and deal by all means (and barter, even!), but try your hardest not to make an offer that is a complete waste of my time and effort.
3. "Why doesn't your husband just do that?"
This is woman specific, because I hear it all of the time.
My answer? Because I have a husband who was caring enough to tell me a long time ago to learn how to do things on my own in case something ever happened to him and I had to take care of our family all by myself. Yes, he helps. But the uprising of women farmers is inspiring, and rightfully so. The average age of the Virginian farmer is 60 years old, who is going to take his or her place when they are gone? We (women) care about farming, homesteading, raising healthy families and our food system just as much as, if not more than, most men. I take joy in taking care of, breeding, and processing our animals. And he takes joy in the building of hutches, garden beds, and other handyman things that need done. And yes, he does sneak some cuddles in with the ducks every now and then....don't let his burly manhood fool you!4.
4. "Why don't you make EVERYTHING from scratch?"
Because there is not enough time in the day to make everything from scratch...let's be honest here. And whether you realize it or not, you don't make everything from scratch either. I do not have enough time during the week to make soap, laundry detergent, dish liquid, homemade meals from scratch every single day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), my own clothing, blah blah blah. However, I try my hardest to do what I can in the time frame that I have. And the stuff that doesn't get done....I absolutely love supporting my fellow homestead friends and crunchy momma's who do these things!! We're all on this journey together, and that means we get to support each others businesses and talents as well!
5. "I don't know how you do it all."
I don't. I don't do it all. I have days when I fail, big time. I have days when I just want to give up. I have days when I realize I've bitten off more than I can chew. I have days when I feel alone in this journey and like I'm the only one who cares (and then my husband goes out and buys organic ketchup and I remember he is just as committed as I am). I have days when I compare myself to other moms or homesteaders. I have days when I sit on real estate websites and day dream of what we "could" have, but then I realize I am so blessed to have what we DO have. I'm just like everyone else, I just package it differently.....
Amy Fewell is a work-at-home mom, homesteader, blogger and writer. Her and her family live on a mini-homestead in Virginia where they raise Icelandic Chickens, standard Rex rabbits, ducks, and more! For more information about their homestead, visit them online at The Fewell Homestead.
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