What brings you here?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cowboy joe, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

    Sep 13, 2003
    western New York
    A gentle snow is falling, once again, as this morning’s dawn struggles to greet the day. The long, sleepless night has dulled my senses, leaving little to brighten this otherwise gloomy day. Yet I refuse to give in, to sacrifice the gift which life holds and waste away the hours, each as precious as the next.

    Last night presented yet another of life’s ‘opportunities’ as I spent the night watching over a nervous doe in the rabbitry while she kindled a new litter. The creation of life is a wonder to behold but a fragile one nonetheless. Numbness set in somewhere around 3 AM as I sat in the dimly lit room, questioning how I came to this place. I gently blew into my frozen fingers, somehow thinking the warmth would shed light on why I’ve chosen to pursue a self-sufficient lifestyle when the world around me appears to be the land of plenty. Complacency, reliance upon others to do for me what I could do for myself in this disposable world…isn’t that what we are shown by the media? Almost everyone else buys into this; why should I be any different?

    The only answer I could come up with is just that…because I am different. The school of hard knocks taught me to stand on my own two feet, to be humble, and, when faced with choices, to think before I lodge my size 11s between my molars. I’ve learned to look past the disapproving looks of others when they find that I keep the chickens, goats, rabbits, and whatever else I see as a suitable fit in providing for my family. I’ve learned to disregard ignorance as many assume that a homesteader is a poor, lazy and uneducated, outcast from society.

    I find quite the opposite to be true. Homesteaders are a humble, hard working, quiet minority. We work hard, harder than most will ever know. Last night was a vivid reminder for me. Raising livestock is a 24x7 job. Vacations are almost non-existent with the exception of a rare night away (back the next morning to feed and water). And ignorant, not from where I’m standing. Give a homesteader the opportunity to solve a problem and they’ll come up with a creative, easy to implement, low cost solution…and they’ll share what they’ve learned just for the asking. Take, for instance, this bulletin board and the amount of knowledge that traverses the Internet each day. Folks come from all walks of life to talk, share ideas, and lend a hand when need be, all with people they’ve probably never even met in person, let alone know their real names.

    Well, enough self-indulgent pondering. Guess I just wanted to lean over the fence post to say thanks to everyone for being such good neighbors. So, what brings you to this place and to the homesteading life style?
  2. Homesteading to whatever degree brings one a greater appreciation, understanding and deeper meaning for what life is in its rawest form. Food, shelter, water, air, soil and sun and all the life comes from just those 6 things. Its a perfectly amazing system this Earth.

  3. margo

    margo Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2002
    What an eloquent and imaginative post. You put into words what so many of us here value in the homesteading life. And you describe well the "looks" from those who think we're odd. That's okay, I figger if it was easy everyone would do it. he he And while other people are in town, at the mall, racing each other to get the latest new thing, they're not out here tramping down my corn, or scaring the chickens. No offense to any who are still town folk, just to point out there's a place for everybody and we are different in our preferences. And yes, our critters are fascinating..........Margo :)
  4. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Thank you for your difference & for your inspiring post. :) :waa:
  5. vickinell

    vickinell Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2003
    Yes, Cowboy Joe, that was inspiring.
  6. Ozarkguy

    Ozarkguy Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    Right HERE, of course!

    What a nice post Cowboy Joe. Thanks for putting into words what I think many of us know and feel. Well done.

    So why am I here? And at all the other boards including my own? To learn and share. That's right. Learn from what others know. And to share what I know on certain things.

    And let me add the friends. Yes, the on-line friends you meet, you may never meet in person. But they're friends just the same.

    And last but not least, what brings me to the homesteading lifestyle? I guess that' s because I think it's the way things SHOULD be. At least for me it is. Live off and take from the land only what you can use. Give me that cabin in the woods where I can hear the birds and watch the sun come up. To be one with nature and my surroundings.

    gotta love those hills.....

  7. cathyharrell

    cathyharrell Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2003
  8. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    I came here originally to find out about homesteading, & I'm becoming well informed, but I'm also getting to know some people here, & it's starting to feel like home. Amazing how that can happen! :)
  9. kidsnchix

    kidsnchix Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2003
    the Natural State
    That was beautiful Cowboy Joe. I thank you for that post, this place has become "home" to me also. I enjoy being here and learning something new all the time.

  10. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Apr 30, 2002
    North Alabama
    My essence is part of these foothills I butt up to here in the valley.
  11. Thank you for your, from the heart, post. My eyes were misty reading it. I were able to share your heart-felt feelings about homesteading. Right now I'm an "couch-homesteader" - sitting here reading your musings, sitting on my couch, in a major metropolitan city, with the sound of television rantings in the backgrounds.

    I can only day-dream about such a life . . .

    Thank you so much for sharing . . .

    Jess in New York City

  12. I want a simpler life! I am tired of keeping up Jones. I want to spend more time with my family and less at a dead end job! To know what I am eating and drinking. To learn a new skill every year.
  13. goatchops

    goatchops Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    South Central Michigan
    Bravo cowboy joe!

    I'd like to reaffirm the sentiments of all the other posts today.

    I'm sure we all share your sentiments, just have a tougher time saying it with such clarity. I notice that you are a free lance writer (not suprised,) any chance of pointing us in the direction of some of your published works?

    It pleases me to read about others' successes/failures that are often not unlike my own. It gives me confidence in my own abilities and reinforces a sense of community that is not always apparent in day-to-day life on the street. There's no question that those of us seriously contemplating taking the big step toward self sufficiency are few and far between and that those who have actually done it are even more scarce.

    There may be a few people in my community who feel this way..... but I wouldn't know because I am too shy, as are they, to admit it out loud for fear of being shunned in the community. I guess you could call me a closet-homesteader. Thanks to this forum I can feel more secure in my convictions toward an ecological and holistic lifestyle.

    Thanks again for your well-put post.

  14. Jim East Tn

    Jim East Tn Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2002
    Why do I homestead? (ok--so it is "quasi" )

    I enjoy hoe-ing in my bare feet with the dirt between my fingers, I love watching the chickens enjoying themselves, I like watching things grow--whether the first sprouts of peas and radishes, or the tiny wing feathers on chicks. I love the looks people give me when I say that I have chickens in the yard, I love the little old ladies at church who smile with gratitude for a dozen "real" eggs and get a kick out of the delight the multi-colors bring. Fresh tomatoes, great tasting corn and beans, spitting Concord grape skins, playing with the dogs. Kids who aren't addicted to the tv. A wife with unconditional love. Life is good at our pace and our place!
    Thanks, God.
  15. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

    Feb 16, 2004
    Out in the Boonies.. In Ohio
    Couldn't have said it better myself Joe... Very good! Many times during hard times a stared out of the window and asked myself why I am doing this. I could be living in a beautiful townhouse somewhere closer to my job staying on paved streets never having to travel on gravel. I could have cable tv,ac,lighting that does'nt require refilling,shopping 2 blocks away,movies,fast food everywhere,never hauling propane tanks again,never haul water,never get up early before work to feed the critters, no mud, never waking up in the morning to see your breath because your heater went south during the nite, never cleaning out the composting toilet, hoping you get enough rain to get you through, hoping for enough sunlite to charge the batteries, hoping the wild critters don't ruin the garden,.... Ahhh...How easy that would be...<SLAP>...WAKE UP!! Then I go to the mirror and look again... I see me and remember all the trials and efforts thats been put into my little spot on this earth in the last 10 yrs. and smile. I know in my heart very few people would even attempt anything near the stuff I've been through. Yea, I'm different and I'm reminded of it daily. From people around my area to my co-workers that know how I live. I've been asked if I'm amish many times. I simply reply "No..I have pocket on my pants..LOL". The general public is totally clueless to my mindset. It's a challange to me but a fun challange. Have you had the stares and the whispers..LOL. I enjoy being different in this aspect. I feel that I have one up on them. To make my point, all I gotta do is ask them what they were doing during the power outage... I was listening to classic rock. My sister called me and told me about her not having power..LOL. Any "off-griders" that are self-reliant can relate to what I'm saying. I'm not giving up for anyone or anything. Even trying to find a soul mate to understand is a challange in itself. I started this all alone and if it ends up like that.. so be it. Been through a lotta women...LOL. Again Joe, you inspired me to spill a little on here. I don't do that often but you struck a nerve in me. God bless...
  16. Stray Cat

    Stray Cat Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    Couldn't of said it better myself, Good job cowboy joe!

    ...is anybody passing the tissues down this way..
  17. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Northern California
    I started homesteading way back before there were Hippies. After I introduced my long gone dad to the wonders of my discoveries I learned that the life is simply in my blood. Pop "escaped" from the family homestead in the old country after the Germans had devastated everything in WWI.

    When he saw what I was doing he began telling me stories from his days on the old homestead. Needless to say I learned a LOT. I wrote up a paper about it, but everyone thought I was being racist about Germans instead of passing good information. Well...the Deutsch did some serious uglies to a lot of people and I don't think talking about it is evil.

    Nevertheless! I am also very much closer than most of you here to the Depression in the "Dirty Thirties", though I did not live through that. Combined with what I see in this country today I see another, even nastier "Greater Depression" fast approaching us all. I will admit that I am very glad to be settled on the land with most of the education behind me because I think those of us on the land are the few that will maintain any comfort at all in what is coming.

    Living close to the land and close to Mother Nature brings much appreciation for what is real and what is important. It keeps us humbled and thinking about what we see all around us. It is an anchor and a philosophy to guide us when our lives seem to turn to poo. The life has been wondrous to experience and like my education I would not trade a minute of it for the world.

  18. Donna from Mo

    Donna from Mo Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    Missouri (God's country)
    © copyright February 22, 2004
    Donna Wood

    I wanted, so, to own a horse, when I was nine or ten.
    It's all I asked, for Christmas. I'd beg, time and time again.
    And Mother simply sighed and said we didn't have the money...
    And anyhow, we lived in town. She thought it rather funny.
    There were times I’d even cry at night, as I would pray
    And ask God for a pony: surely He could find a way!
    I wish I could have looked ahead, and seen my horse named Blue,
    And realized God takes His time to make a dream come true.

    My daddy was a hired hand in 1955;
    My mom worked at a dry goods store to help us all survive.
    Money was in short supply; we moved to Kansas City,
    It hurt me, then to leave the farm; I wallowed in self-pity.
    I'd watch our brand new, first TV, reclusive and bereft,
    And pray I'd some day own a place like we'd abruptly left.
    I didn't understand the process life must take us through,
    But now I can look back to see my dream was coming true.

    Later on, I got a job, and made it on my own.
    I'd ride the bus to work, and then I'd ride the bus back home;
    I'd go to bed exhausted, from the work I'd done that day
    And pray for some "prince charming" who would take me far away.
    I really had no prospects... I was almost twenty-one
    My cousins and my peers had husbands. I alone had none.
    And they were having babies! Oh, I wanted one or two!
    If only I had known, back then, that each dream would come true.

    All the things I've wanted, from guitars to Jersey cows
    Have made it to my doorstep, since I pledged my wedding vows.
    Prince Charming, dressed in overalls and T-shirt, came my way:
    He pampered and supported me, and loved me every day.
    Everything I've prayed for, from the time I was a girl,
    Has been delivered to me, as I've watched my life unfurl.
    If it all ends tomorrow, there's one thing I'd say to you:
    I've had the best of everything, and all my dreams came true!