Homesteading is a Messy Game

| 12/9/2011 10:38:23 AM

 By Cam Mather 

Mother Earth News was recently preparing an article about homesteading and asked me a bunch of questions, one of which was “What are the biggest misconceptions people have about homesteading and homemaking?”  My answer was “That homesteading can be tidy and that every homestead is picture-perfect. The truth is it’s a messy, exhausting way to live. There are always things to do, and you must learn to live with the feeling of not having accomplished all you wanted to on any given day.”

I was thinking about this last night as I was taking seeds off of dried corncobs while I was watching TV, and making quite a mess while I was at it. This is pretty much my raison d’étre for most of the year, making a mess, or at least I’m sure that’s how Michelle sees it.

I have come to the conclusion that this is the way it is living in the country, heating with wood and trying to grow food for a living. I have also come to the conclusion that I have the greatest wife on the planet to tolerate what a slob it would appear I am. Perhaps “slob” is the wrong word. I’m not messy and disorganized by nature, but it’s the reality of the way we live.

When we hosted a couple of workshops here in the fall and I brought people into the house after our various tours around the property, I had to reiterate each time that people should leave their shoes on, even after the garden tour. I say it every time… “This is a farm house built in 1888 and these floors have had dirty boots walking on them for more than a century, and I don’t plan on breaking the pattern.” City people have a real predisposition to want to take their shoes off. Not me. Let’s say the phone is ringing, and my boots are covered in mud. It’ll take me 20 seconds to take the boots off and by then I’ll have missed the call. So instead I just go for it… that’s what a broom is for, to clean up the mess. And yes, I make sure that I’m the one who sweeps it up later.

I often joke that after we’ve swept, especially in the winter, when we throw the resulting dustpan full of stuff into the woodstove, it has the BTU equivalent of a big hardwood tree. We used to carry our firewood into the house to fill the wood box by hand, but I finally got smart and welded some steel onto a hand dolly. It makes it infinitely easier to bring in the firewood, but unfortunately it increases the amount of extraneous bark, sawdust, etc. that ends up on the floor.

dawn lynnes
12/13/2011 12:43:10 AM

Hi Cam love the stories... Do you and Michelle know any single 50 plus guys looking for a partner that would love to be off the grid also??? I have to get my 16 y.o. to graduate and then hope he can figure out his path and get on it.. God Bless his li soul but Mom wants to move on to becoming simplified!!! I have tried to google like individials but must not be entering the keywords right because I come upwith much but not mate potential! LOL! Hey that would be a good idea in getting likeminded people to come together start a date site for self sufficeint, off gridders!!! Take care. I so love to sit and check out the off grid homes in all the states. Most are in MT. and ID.I am researching more and have many books from my 70-80 days,living on an old farm...Gee what I could have done had I found the right man and worked as a team....Thanks for lsitening.Dawn

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