Modern Homesteading – Reality Check

Reader Contribution by Victoria Gazeley
article image

Time 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.

Or the mouse
has once again gnawed on my $5 a pound organic avocados, turning them
to compost, then found the time (the dear heart) to chew the pants off a
$75 Waldorf doll I bought as a gift for a little one in our circle of
friends.

Or the cold rain is running down my neck as I’m getting
the firewood for the night because the rain gutter guy hasn’t shown up
to install the new gutters on the shed.

Or, and here’s the best
one – the kindling somehow got wet (see missing gutters above) and the
fire I’m trying to light to stave off hypothermia in the house simply
WILL NOT LIGHT!!

All this while I’m trying to run a technology
business with high profile international clients who need stuff done. 
You know, like ‘NOW’.  Via satellite internet,
for which there is rarely a speed called ‘fast’ (at least with the
service I’m currently using – the only one available here) and it
disappears whenever it snows, or is foggy, or a leaf grows in the wrong
place…

I can even imagine what it would be like if we had more animals…

Frustrating?  Absolutely.  Maddening?  Sometimes.  Enough to really make me reconsider my dream?  Not on your life.

I
have to admit, when I decided to go down this modern homesteading road,
I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Sure I’d read a lot of
books and met with a lot of experts,
but honestly, it’s like having children.  Nothing anyone says ahead of
time can prepare you for the ways in which your life is about to
change.  Even all that super negative stuff from your bitter
40-something friend who has children but really probably shouldn’t –
zilch effect.  And then you sit there, shell-shocked, wondering why no
one told you what it was really like.

Except they did – but you weren’t listening.  You had a dream, and gol’ darnit, you were going to do it, regardless of what your friends and family thought.

So you packed yourself up from your city life and moved to the sticks.

Then spent the next three years battling a mouse (or a squirrel) for dominion over your digs.  Sure, you could have had it ‘taken care of’, like some have suggested, but where’s the adventure in that?

And
then you wake up one morning, rain pattering on the roof of the loft,
fire crackling in the woodstove, and winter wrens chirping and flitting
outside the window – and you just know you are home.  The
satellite internet is working like lightning (for once), and the
chickens have offered up breakfast in the form of the most delicious
organic range eggs you’ve ever tasted.  Almost sweet, if you can imagine
such a thing. 

And you are reminded that life is, indeed, good.  Very good.  And that most of the frustrations result from choices we have made.

So,
as we play out our third year of living in our little piece of
paradise, I’ve come to understand that even with all the interruptions
and frustrations, I’m really happy.  For all the quirks of rural living
(and there are many), we really do have an incredible, amazing,
brilliant life here. 

So, when the internet connection craps out again because it’s foggy or something, I’ll take a deep breath, slather on some Stress Away, and settle into another day of living my dream.

If
you live in the country and are already doing this homesteading thing,
do you have any wisdom to share with those contemplating the move? 
Please share in the comments below!