Friday, May 9, 2014

Being a Homesteader

Our home had been listed for sale for 6 months,
but we recently took it off the market.
We weren't able to list it for the price we'd like,
so we are holding off until closer to fall and we'll try again.
We feel that we're ready to move to a more rural life,
and yet, the universe is calling us to stay here for a bit longer.
We don't have to like it, we just have to accept it.
It doesn't keep us from working toward our goals though.

When we moved to this tract house in the suburbs 9 years ago,
it never occurred to me that I'd become a homesteader.
How can one homestead in a gated community?
How can I call myself a homesteader when we live on 
less than a fraction of an acre?
It's easy.

Homesteading is a state of mind.
It doesn't matter where you live
or what your outside world looks like.
Homesteading resides within.

For most folks, homesteading is defined as
being self-sufficient.
That can happen anywhere.
Even if one lives in an apartment, an attached condo, or a skyscraper,
a more self-supporting lifestyle is possible.
Being a homeowner does make it a little easier
because it's possible to control what happens in your own home.

Being self-sufficient lends itself well to those of us 
who lean toward independence and creating new ways of doing things.
Those who "think outside the box" 
will be right at home with this lifestyle
because many adaptations may need to be made to create the desired life.

Even better, though, than remaining independent,
is fostering a community of interdependence.
Bartering, sharing skills, tools, or a garden bounty
are all ways of nurturing the homesteader in others.
Isn't it interesting how folks come together during a natural disaster,
only to return to their isolated lives after a few months' time?
Having lived through Hurricane Andrew in South Florida,
I can tell you that it was heartwarming to see how even strangers
united to put the pieces back together.
That type of comradery can be cultivated in the world of homesteading.

Self reliance is a noble objective,
and one which we strive to achieve in our own way.
We scratch cook, repair most of what breaks down
and grow some of our own food.
I love every bit of that.
The intention for me has shifted to one of inter-reliance.
We've been blessed to find folks who sell pesticide-free produce that we don't grow ourselves,
and since we can't presently have chickens,
another farmer allows us to buy her fresh eggs.
It's a wonderfully symbiotic relationship
and we feel it is important to support folks who are doing it right.
When we move later this year,
we will be looking for a community in which we can participate
by offering our skills, talents and hard work.
We hope to avail ourselves of these assets in others.
We'll have more freedom to raise chickens,
enlarge our garden and begin the task
of establishing our teaching farm
for kids on the autism spectrum.
By networking with like-minded souls,
our lives will be enriched and on purpose.

We'll never live in suburbia again,
but we wouldn't have realized how important that was 
until we'd been through it.
The journey has been magnificent,
and I am so grateful that we took this path.
Until we have our dream farm,
we'll continue to do what we can for ourselves,
remain connected to those who share our intentions,
and enjoy being part of a homesteading alliance.

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