A question for all.....

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MississippiSlim, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. MississippiSlim

    MississippiSlim Well-Known Member

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    What are your backgrounds? Rural, suburban, urban? Were you raised in a lower, middle, upper class family?

    What diferences do you think this makes in your approach to homesteading?

    I am from a rural background. No telephone service available til I was proabably in kindergarden. I guess we were lower middle class as my parents owned (okay the bank owned) 120 acres of land. My father was a boat captain. My mother became a teacher when I was school age. We always had a large garden, 20-30 beef cattle, a hog occasionally, chickens, etc. My parents were both from extremely rural backgrounds.

    I have to admit I read alot of stuff here and go "huh?" because I guess it seems like people worry about some weird stuff or are trying to reinvent the wheel. But, I also find some insightful stuff and some great things I hadnt thought about too.

    I am curious to find where everyone "comes from"
     
  2. earlyriser44

    earlyriser44 Member

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    Well, I came from a rural background. Middle class, 6 kids in the family so things had to be stretched. We raised beef cattle and horses. Dad worked off the place and mom stayed home. We raised big gardens, milked a cow, butchered a hog and a steer most years. We canned and froze and put by.

    Back when I was a new bride, I had a ringer washer and I got a 1/2 dairy cow as a wedding present... It's been years since the divorce... Gosh I miss that cow!

    Over the years I've gotten away from that life. I worked in a variety of jobs including advertising and marketing. I went back to school when the kids grew up and got my RN . So now I'm a nurse. This Christmas I sat down and made a list of the things in life that are important to me and make me happy. I realized I'd lost all the "homesteading" things that make me happy and fullfilled.

    So I'm workin' my way back in that direction.

    Wow I didn't entend to get so long winded. Sorryy :)

    Dot
     

  3. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    Lower middle class suburban. I think if I was growing up that way now, it would be called poor, but the standard of living was not as high then. I wanted to get out and go to the country for as long as I can remember, and got interested in homesteading at 15 when I got my hands on a copy of Encyclopedia of Country Living at the library. Never going back!
     
  4. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    Rural, four miles out of town (~ 5,000 pop.). Probably the 'low' end of middle class. Six of us, I have three sisters. Mom and Dad both worked, Dad almost always at least two jobs (not including the farm). The farm was ~ 200 acres. We had a garden (not too well tended) and various livestock. Always horses, milk and beef cattle off and on (mostly home use, sold some beef), occasional pigs and chickens, sheep from about age 7 to 17. At our peak, I think we were running close to 100 ewes. Dad (80 yrs old) is still running about ten charolais. I live about 12 miles from where I grew up.
     
  5. hillsidedigger

    hillsidedigger Well-Known Member

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    My family moved 3 times from the time I was born until 7 years old and then stayed there. All 4 locations were on a few acres of land 2 to 4 miles outside of a small town. So, rural but not remote and all the sites included a large garden and sometimes a few animals.

    My father was public school teacher and my mother occasionally worked various jobs, so middle class I guess.

    I attended and graduated from a university about 200 miles away then wandered the West for 8 years before returning to this rural community (I wonder why sometimes). Now, a self-employed professional trying to amass enough wealth to increase our land holdings at this location (currently only 9 acres, soon to have 16 or maybe 24) and become a full or nearly fulltime rural land manager of this property.
     
  6. Jan Sears

    Jan Sears Well-Known Member

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    We lived just outside of a small town on 2 acres of land. We were a family of six (2 adults & 4 children). We were lower middle class. We got by quite well because my parents were very frugal. Lots of 2nd hand stuff from clothes to furniture. We got our dishes out of the soap detergent boxes (1 piece in each box). It didn't hurt us a bit as we all grew up to be responsible adults. We had a garden & we had maple trees on our property that my Dad would tap each spring & make maple syrup. YUM!!!!!! We had a local farmer who went door to door selling eggs each week & sold turkeys at Thanksgiving & Christmas. We also had a milkman who delivered milk to our door & the breadman came once a week peddling his wares. Those were the good old days. We would spend a good part of our summer holidays at my grandfathers farm. They had an outhouse (which my Mom & my Aunts wallpapered much to my grandfathers dismay). They had milk cows. A large garden & my grandmother preserved everything under the sun. They had a phone that was part of a party line (shared with others); you had to listen when the phone rang & count the rings to see if the call was for you & often the neighbours would get on & listen for any gossip. If you wanted to make a call you had to press a button on the side of the phone & then crank the wringer on the other side until the operator came on the line & then you would give her your number that you wanted to call. It brings back lots of good memories. When the Aunts, Uncles & cousins were all there we were often 20 at the dinner table. When food was passed around the table you took some the first time because it never made it around a second time!! My grandmother would take all of us grandkids back to the back 40 to pick raspberries which she then would make into a pie or two. I remember my sister & I washing potatoes under an old hand pump; one of us would pump the water while the other would wash the potatoes & boy was that water cold. My apologies for rambling down memory lane.
     
  7. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Family was middle class, lived in big city, both parents worked, bought their house in 196? for eleven grand! Got interested in homesteading and personal survival after reading "Alas Babylon" in 8th grade. Been headed this direction ever since, though did take 20 plus years out to raise kids and have a career- happy as a pig now on top of my mountain in the middle of nowhere! Sis
     
  8. SpringCrkAromas

    SpringCrkAromas Well-Known Member

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    My family were nomads, always on the move. Usually to larger towns. I wouldn't say we were poor, but i'm sure we lived pay check to pay check.
    When I was around 8 we moved to a farm out in the middle of no where and had chickens, cows, horses and 2 goats. Then we packed up and moved again. That was the best time of my childhood and I never did get that out of my system.
    So now here I am, 40 years later, 750 acre farm, 5 miles outside of a small town of about 1800, in the middlle of no where Iowa, and i'm happy once again.
    Jill
     
  9. Westwood

    Westwood Well-Known Member

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    WAY out. Good people are where you find them. I'm lucky.
     
  10. greenmcdonalds

    greenmcdonalds Well-Known Member

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    Hi, my background really strange. Since my mother was married 8 times, and worked full time, I lived with my grandmother. My mother bought my first horse when I was 12, then a couple more ,a year later. She soon decided it was too much money to board them all, and bought a 10 acrea farm house. My mother thought with horses , I would stay out of trouble. hee,hee. I went on a hayride at 17, never been back. Different story there. Anyway, I grow-up half country and half city person. Right now I'm looking at a farm house to buy, to get out of town. Oh, we did have a deer cabin that my grandmother built by herself by Houghton Lake, MI. No plumbing, electric. Best times of my life. Sue
     
  11. Westwood

    Westwood Well-Known Member

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    I'd say your Grandma is good people. Do you?
     
  12. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    I grew up on a dairy farm in the 70's and 80's. Dad sold the cows in 86. He started again in 92, then bought a business in town so I milked cows for 3 years untill my wife raised so much...uhh, she hated the farm so I had to quit or she was gong to take my kids, and divorce me.

    Dad and I are getting back into farming a little. I make maple syrup, I have a milk cow coming int he spring, and dad is buying 2 dozen beef brood cows int he spring. We have raised a dozen pigs for our family every year since forever. I help dad bale hay every summer. He has been selling it, but now he is going to feed it to brood cows, and sell feeder cattle.

    Eventually I want a dozen milk cows, a dozen beef brood cows, a dozen brood sows, and I want to make 500 gallons of maple syrup per year
     
  13. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    I grew up on a dairy farm. Sold the cows in 1976 and went to 100% grain.

    Moved away from home in 1983.

    Lived in big city and started working. Got married, had kids, and moved my family back to country in 2001.

    Wife was born and raised in suburburbs, and would not move back to city for anything.
     
  14. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

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    We grew up in small towns. DH was city raised on little or no money with a large irish catholic family-he can squeeze a penny till it squeals! My step dad worked, mom stayed home. She canned and baked and made do. I never knew there was any other way until I got older. When she went into business, by necessity her partner had money. Visits to their home sure hammered home the difference. I wouldn't live like that if you paid me. Those kids had everything handed to them, were spoiled brats who didn't know how to share anything, and were bored silly all the time. As far back as I can remember, I always had toys to play with, games to play, siblings to wrestle with and good food to eat.

    Now, I'm semi rural. Have been most of my adult life. Just planning my first veggie garden. All my kids can sew, and cook, and do wash. We are learning to grow and can together, as they all showed interest. They all know it isn't about money, it's about love.
     
  15. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I was an Army Brat. Moved 15 times in 14 years. But my folks both had come from rural backgrounds, and when they retired, they homesteaded...although they didn't call it that. But we raised up a huge garden and canned it. We raised chickens for meat and eggs, and had two cows for calves and milk. Mom sold milk, butter and eggs to the neighbors before all the laws came out on it. We had goats, and ducks and geese, and planted fruit trees.

    When I was in college, Mom had a small stroke while she was milking, and Daddy was at work. Before she got out of the hopital, Daddy had sold her cows and all the other stock they had, and quit. (She was royally POed!)

    I married an Army guy and spent 22 years following him around, collecting information on different livestock species and companion planting, and dreaming. We got our place 3 years ago. And us doing it has influenced my folks, who now have goats again, and chickens for eggs.

    Meg
     
  16. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I was raised by parents that lived thru the depression. We were basically very low on the money scale. My parents were born in NYC to immigrant parents back in the day when there were horses in NYC. We lived in the suburbs 4 mi. from NYC and had more animals and did more homesteading then most on here do with 10 acres on a 50x100 piece of land and a tiny house. We didn't call it homesteading, it was just life.
     
  17. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    San Jose', California. I figured out pretty quickly that I hated cities! Middle class.
     
  18. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Grew up in Australia.Not rural really but certainly not suburban or urban.Simply lived outside of town.

    The first house I remember had no indoor toilet,there was a bath tub but there was no septic tank(drained into the field I guess) there was no electricity at first and it was the best place to grow up... :)
    My father worked in an oil refinery as a chemical 'something or other' and my mother didn't work outside of the home at first.
    My parents raised dogs and showed them,it actually was why we lived where we did so they could have kennels.
    Later on we moved and had two horses(the dogs of course) and rabbits.

    No idea why the homesteading life appeals to us so much but it does.
     
  19. Aintlifegrand

    Aintlifegrand Well-Known Member

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    :) I grew up in a military family and then married military.The first 40 years of my life was moving and never really settling in one place. Born in Africa, lived in Italy, and several states from Alaska to texas to louisiana and Arkansas. We always lived in the city while I was growing up. I think Dad always wanted to be on a homestead though. He was always raising a garden and he even bought some ducks once, but Mom made him get rid of them. Mom grew up in Michigan on a farm and I think she wanted no part of it so that's why we lived in the City. I love the very rural country where we live and knowing that I will live here forever is very comforting now, but very hard as well after living the military life. Sometimes I get the urge to move again, see something new, but it passes as quickly as it comes. DH grew up in the City, but the same City all his life...until he joined the Military. He likes staying in one place..he likes the Country now too.
     
  20. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Farmer's granddaughter- all 6 grandparents- Dad's adopted side dairy farmers and big spenders Mom's side organic low level indoor plumbing by 1980 or so. Parents escaped from SD due to the space race- Dad a Math professor finally settled steel city where I did high school and med school later. Family should've had enough money but we never did- Dad spends like he makes 20% more than he does- and in a posh neighborhood so always felt looked down upon despite being middle class. Parents liberal dems/socialists/feminists but my ivy league edu and now 21 years around the USArmy and living in the US SOuth half that time made me a BIT more conservative.

    So I've picked potato bugs and used an outhouse and learned the importance of water from my organic Grandma and seen the folly of bank loans from my farm failed paternal Aunt and have always been longing to recreate the center of the universe- a farm in SD with a barelegged thick ankled woman holding up the sky. And 4 years on a central Texas farmette didn't satisfy me yet. Raised beds in AL is heaven for me.

    Sure wish my grandpa and grandma were around to answer some of my gardening questions.

    But now I'm an upper middle class semiretired basically YUPPIEs grown old and moved out to the exurbs; and approach everything with a lot more money and time than the average poster here.