Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Whether you've been on this rural living/modern homesteading journey for decades, or you're just starting out, the question always comes up: How do you know when you've "arrived"?
This whole question was born out of something that happened to me not all that long ago (but not long enough... as I'll explain later).
Please join me as I swallow my pride and share...
We live near a small town that's very "outdoorsy," where Ford F150s outnumber BMWs and Audis (though those are quickly catching up in number) and wearing long underwear to a business meeting gets nary a sideways glance. In other words, it's not exactly what you would call a fashion mecca. Outdoor gear rules the runway here.
So it's not unusual for us to live in jeans, boots and the same jacket, week in and week out (that would be the same jacket week in and week out, not the same jeans ... though I'm sure that's not unheard of!), especially when you have to go from carpooling to chicken-keeping (and vice-versa) in a blink. Which is what I did awhile ago ... with nasty consequences.
Let me explain.
I have this great black puffy coat from Mountain Equipment Co-op that I love and have pretty much worn out (see reasons above). It goes from coop to carpool most days. So, on this winter day, I picked my son up from his carpool drop-off, and we headed to our local organic grocery to get a few things for dinner. As I'm standing at the freezer, looking over the organic chicken, I'm overpowered by this wickedly nasty smell. What the...? Couldn't figure it out at first, til I realized - with horror - that it was the arm of my jacket! Then it dawns on me that I got a titch of chicken poop on the arm when collecting eggs a few days before - and clearly forgot to throw it in the wash. Let me just say that a stench like that I haven't smelled in a very long time. So, so gross.
Needless to say we hightailed it out of there pretty quickly, hoping no one noticed. Thank goodness the place was pretty much empty is all I can say. And they let me back in the next day, so I guess they weren't too offended ... but wow, I can still smell it in my memory. Nasty.
And that was when I knew that I was finally on my way to being a modern homesteader. Or at least I was getting closer.
So, how do you know you've successfully made the transition from city dweller to country maven? We put the question to our friends on Facebook, with some pretty comical results:
You function fine when the power is out. - Heidi You replace lotion with bag balm! - Jaime You have to hit up the "ladies from work" to save their egg cartons for you because it has been so long since you have purchased an egg from the store!! - JaimeYou realize for the first time in quite a few months you have to go to the grocery store ... "Hey, I am outta salt!" - JoshuaThe power dies and the stores are closed and nothing changes for you. - Noel You finally make the trip to town and someone asks you if somethings wrong with your cellphone and you realize you actually have one STILL. - Evy
When you can say "I'm out of eggs/milk" and just go out to the bear or coop to restock! - Cassandra When you get to town and what is on your jacket sleve looks like cow poo and smells like cow poo and you don't worry about it one bit. - JoWhen you find eggs in your coat pocket. - Heather When your family expects "food in jars" for holiday gifts. - KellyWhen nearly every commercial product you see engenders the thought ..."I could do that but I'd ..." - Joetta
When you get the **opportunity** to go to town and the feed store is way more important than the grocery store. And everyone at the feed store knows you by name. - Jan
You spend all your extra money on improving your homestead and making it even more self-sufficient. - Bryan You receive insulated wellies and a Carhart jacket for your anniversary. - Mary You go to the store with chicken poo in your jacket... ;o) - Jennifer
I had to laugh when I read some of those. They're SO true!
So how did you know when you you'd finally arrived? Let us know in the comments below - we'd love to hear your funny stories... they just might help someone else realize they too have 'made it'!