Modern Homesteading - Reality Check

| 11/17/2011 3:17:38 PM

Tree fall on fenceTime for me to come clean.

I love the rural life, really I do, but there are some days when the comfort of a city condo would be a welcome distraction.  And honestly?  A relief.

Like the days when it's sub-zero and I forgot to pick up winter work gloves to do the outside chores (for the 7th day in a row) and my fingers freeze.

Or those mornings the chickens are screaming way down the hill for the umpteenth time and I have to get up from my work again (you know, the gig that pays the bills) to make sure they're not being carried off by a coyote or a hawk. 

Or the chicken house roof is leaking and now it's reeking to high heaven because the deep bedding is wet, meaning I need to spend another hour cleaning it out.

Or a tree has crashed onto the driveway, rendering us trapped.

1/28/2012 8:37:23 PM

John, that is perhaps the most brilliant country living advice I've read so far. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it - hopefully it helps others considering the move. I know many locals have these same feelings about 'newcomers'...

11/18/2011 9:47:54 AM

Well, since you asked.... I have been 'living the dream' for several years now and I think a couple of things that are rarely mentioned are important to keep in mind....1) some things will change and some things will never change-no matter where you go to live. If you have a bad attitude where you live and want to 'move to the wilderness' to escape the problems, is the problem where you live or is it you? Be careful what you bring with you, including what you think you're escaping from, what you're fleeing to and the delusions and fantasies you may bring with you. 2) No matter where you go on the North American continent there will be people already there when you arrive. They already have a culture and community and don't need your help to 'fix' or change it. They like it the way it is and that's why they are already there. If your willing to be friendly, humble and respectful, appreciative of free offers of aid or friendship you'll do fine. If you feel the need to impose what might be viewed as 'alien concepts', best to keep your mouth closed...for a quite a while. Respect is earned and trust builds like ice on pond...slowly. The aren't interested in how you did it in Miami, New York, Chicago or LA...they have probably been there too and didn't like it. That's why they are where they are at...just like you! 3) Attend fewer political events and attend church a little more often. Many rural communities are built around church life-not political action committees. The only thing that will probably raise the heat in a room fast is local community politics- it would be VERY wise to kept you one mouth tightly closed and both ears open wide - for a few years at the very least. 4) NOBODY grows or produces everything they need; at least not since the time of the Neanderthals (and we know where that got'm-extinct) but most everyone grows or produces some things then can trade, barter or sell. 5) Gift you excess. When I first moved to the Southern Appalachian Mts. I would occasionally find 'stuff' left on my front porch by the door. No note, just stuff. Canned goods or garden produce mostly. I once figured out one lady who had done that and asked her why? She got this surprised looked on her face and then looked at me like I was the dumbest creature on the planet (it's true, I am) and she said, " Well, I had extra.". THAT'S why I live back in the woods. Yes, I gift the excess I receive. So if you go forward with respect to your neighbors, are humble and appreciate the friendship, knowledge and information they share and participate as a member of the place; if you always trade on a square deal and put your labor and sweat into joint or community projects, if you're always willing to lend a hand if you can (without being asked, simple because you see it needs doing), you will be accepted and even loved. If you don't....well it doesn't matter where you live does it? It will never work for you, no matter where you live. Interestingly, if you adopt these attitudes now, before you leave Miami, New York, Chicago or LA ( you know-just for practice?) you might be amazed at the changes you discover in the community you are already in. Wonderful things are happening around the country in all kinds of communities-like Newark, NJ and in Cleveland and cities and towns all over the nation. Urban gardening and farming, energy experiments, fish farms in old factories and climbing gardens in half empty shopping malls....using wasted space and resources (human and material) in new, creative and productive ways. Why not simply 'grow where your planted'? With the attitudes listed above it really doesn't matter what the terrain or USDA frost Zone is, you will be happier and more fulfilled. As an ancient zen master once said,"Why wander in other dusty countries and thus forsake your own seat?". There is so much to do, so many good things to do, grab ahold and do it...don't wait to move somewhere else to do it. Do If and when that dream farm becomes available, well you'll be ready, won't you.

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