Minimalism and the Homesteading Life, Part 2


Bill Stagg, homesteader, in front of his barn in Pie Town, New Mexico. Photographer Russell Lee (1903-1986), Library of Congress.

Click here to read Part 1.

Whenever I fancy an item for which I lack funds, I remind myself of what the item would cost in terms of that freedom. Fortunately, and perhaps because I live a joy-filled life, these material desires rarely beckon. And when they do — a broadfork breaks and gardening is made more difficult, a shingle flies off the roof in a storm — first we check our cache in the shed.  Then we ask around and offer to barter (a brave soul to climb on the roof in exchange for a rhubarb pie and bushel of pears).

And if not, we search thrift shops and yard sales or hire a local handyman. If we need to spend, we prefer to contribute to a neighbor’s livelihood and forge community bonds.

Barn Treasures

The July morning dawned humid and hot. Juneberries, which appear late in the Pennsylvania mountains, blossomed on the trees. Cows lowed on the neighboring farm. Inside the barn, stuff awaited our sorting. Bales of hay. Bales of straw. Shovels, rakes and troughs. Wooden fences.  Animal pens. Barrels and buckets and bins. Used clothes. Rope, wire and twine.

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