Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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You Know You're a Modern Homesteader When...

4/5/2012 11:48:32 AM

Tags: country living, city to country, modern homesteading, Victoria Gazeley

The poo annointed jacket. 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'!



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Post a comment below.

 

Bonnie Vance
9/12/2012 3:19:09 AM
My mother dog and her new born puppies developed parvos virus and I cured the un-vaccinated puppies with child size doses of Pepto Bismouth administered every four hours. The mother had not been vaccinated either to my knowledge. She was a stray I took in who was pregnant.

Ann Allen
5/31/2012 4:10:13 PM
Oh, and you can milk sheep, too. Sheep's milk cheeses...yum!.

Ann Allen
5/31/2012 4:07:09 PM
Sheep are one good option, for sure. On wet ground, their lighter weight causes less damage, and they don't do much browsing, so are easier on trees and shrubs. Besides, they are really fun to be around.

Ann Allen
5/31/2012 4:03:55 PM
The social center of your community is the hardware store, and you trade for services. Like, weld uo my fence and I'll shoe your horses.

Victoria Gazeley
5/29/2012 5:58:22 PM
This is a great question - and I'm loving the answers! :)

Victoria Gazeley
5/29/2012 5:57:37 PM
This is really interesting - I find the same thing with my son. We've just never had an issue with him wanting junk food (except good chocolate... .;)

Victoria Gazeley
5/29/2012 5:55:58 PM
LOL! This is a common event, I think... :) Thanks for sharing your story!

Victoria Gazeley
5/29/2012 5:55:16 PM
Too funny... my son would love this one! :)

Karen Ross
5/5/2012 12:12:17 AM
I didn't think I could have possibly arrived when I'd hardly started! LOL

Nancy Raffa
5/2/2012 9:02:27 AM
my goat lives in our back yard!!!ha

Gene Wills
4/15/2012 1:59:52 AM
I save. On gas for the mower by turning both my horses and two goats out in the yard for a couple of hours every day.

Gene Wills
4/15/2012 1:55:19 AM
I'm a Deputy Sheriff /CSI in a rural Florida county, the other morning I got to work and noticed that I had pig slobber and mud on my knee, later at home I noticed that most of my pants have the same stain...

Oskar
4/14/2012 3:52:31 PM
Yes, sheep would be your best bet. They keep the grass very well mowed and you don't need very many sheep. Get hair sheep (like Katahdins) so you never have to shear the wool. You also don't have to buy extra grains for Katahdins since grass is all they want. :-)

GALE GREEN
4/13/2012 7:31:50 PM
When you're in town running errands, and you begin to look around for a bush to pee behind!

Kathy
4/13/2012 12:38:26 PM
When you find yourself alone, and the man you are attracted to smells like a Dairy barn, and that's okay. (and you marry him! And have 8 kids)

Rachel Harris
4/12/2012 3:25:14 PM
Not a cow and not a pony! They will make a poopy mess and tear up the lawn. I'd go with sheep or goats for that type of installation. Goats are browsers though, like deer, and will only eat the grass as a last resort since it isn't what they're made to eat. Sheep might be your best bet...but those are one of the few things I don't have so can't tell you with certainty on that. Perhaps a milk goat or two for fresh dairy and cheese making and a few sheep.

VAL ANDERSON
4/11/2012 8:07:27 PM
I still live in a rural town close to shopping, but.... i can survive without power, heat my home without electricity, and ill be ok if a storm takes everything out for up to a month... my patio garden can feed at least 4 families. i shop online instead of stores and shopp once a month. I dont think i can say im there yet, i still want the land away from it all...

Eli Silverman
4/11/2012 7:07:30 PM
My wife and I are on-line shopping, for fertile chicken eggs. Our normal "dress code" at the farm is jeans and the requisite pooped-on jacket. We ask our guests if they are bringing rubber boots, or they can borrow ours, since we have at least 1 in every size for guests. We hug our sheep. Everything we own with a motor has a trailer hitch. Business meetings consist of a debate between more sheep, upgrades on self-sufficiency, and where the best feed is.

Irene Garner
4/11/2012 7:01:55 PM
I'm not totally there yet (did have a chicken and loved the eggs) but my front yard is pretty much herbs and some veggies, make my own soap and use it for laundry and dishes, almost near tears when I can't get to the farmer's market and haven't been to the mall.

Dee Shear
4/11/2012 6:30:23 PM
Goats are good at eating poison ivy and trimming trees and bushes. Sheep eat grass and so do cows. I don't know about alpaca except you can shave them like sheep and make a ton of money selling their hair. You can make cheese and soap with the goat milk or sheep milk. You can also eat them.

Corinne Talkin
4/11/2012 6:15:46 PM
How about a Dexter or miniature cow. You can still get milk and at 1/2 the size of a standard cow theres less damage to the pasture. Also if you breed and get a bull you can steer and have great meat for the freezer. The are smart, independent and hardy with none to minimal medical needs...Great weed and brush eaters too. We love ours.

Rhoda Canning
4/11/2012 5:24:39 PM
When everything in your fridge is in sealer jars and you have to smell it to figure out exactly what it is eg: cream, sour cream, home made cheese whiz, milk, kefir, yogurt etc. Also when you figure the feed bill into your grocery bill because it is all going to end up on your table at some point.

Catherine De La Hunt
4/11/2012 5:09:35 PM
speaking of which, I have been wanting to ask this question -- we have moved to 8 acres, and are slowly adding things like chickens, bees, a garden, Now we are about to fence the property, and want to know which grass eating critters (it is/was all 8 acres a putting green type lawn) will do the least damage and keep it looking mostly like a lawn still -- we are in a neighborhood really, and want to quit burning fuel to mow, but want to keep the neighbors happy. I don't want to get animals who will damage it greatly -- who is worst on grass, and who is best? We were considering alpacas, goats, a pony, or possibly a Jersey cow for fresh dairy. Thanks for any advice.

KATHRYN HEIMEL
4/11/2012 4:33:06 PM
Your children wrinkle their noses up at "store-bought" food - that one makes me smile every time!

VICKI GOOD
4/11/2012 3:06:03 PM
You don't need your lawnmower anymore because your entire yard is fenced in with sheep happily grazing (and they do a better job than the lawnmower ever did!)










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