Homesteading has become so much more than a lifestyle for us, it has become a part of our very being. There are apartments with lush carpet and furnaces awaiting, city streets to catch buses on, and jobs that offer weekly paychecks. Parts of that we miss but not enough to hightail back to it. When faced with absolute obstacles (such as out of ideas to bring in cash) we just try to pick up a few odd jobs or cut another expense. We are almost out of expenses to cut. Which leads us to dreaming about setting up sheds in a mini-village and living there rent free! We dream of living in warmer places where that would be possible. High altitude homesteading is not for the meek. Everything from baking bread, canning, to growing vegetables takes longer and one must know the tricks to succeed at these things. (A reason I hope my homesteading school will take off!) So goodness, gracious, why have we actually chosen to live this way?
What better way to live than to live fully? We do that every day when we greet the sunrise, when we start the wood stove if needed, when we brew the coffee in the French press and transfer it to a thermos. When I can sit down and write until the kids shuffle off to work and breakfast is to be made. Our granddaughter to be dressed. Doug goes and milks the goat and feeds the animals. Sometimes Maryjane and I help with chores. She gathers eggs, helps feed, and pets the sheep. We check on the ducks and feed the cats. We strain the milk, pour some of the fresh cream into coffee, and put it in the fridge to cool.
Maryjane had her two large horse toys set up and was milking them last night. She had me hold one of them so it wouldn’t kick. Then she pretended to make cheese. A homesteader at heart, this little girl is picking up so many skills and she is only two!
I do yoga while looking out across the meadows while an owl looks on from the old willow. Meditation comes easy with the frogs chirping from the pond. I place laundry on the line, read books, prepare lunch, straighten the house. Today we prepare for our first farmer’s market tomorrow. My book signing is Saturday. Classes on Sunday. I play the guitar under the cottonwood. Maryjane plays in the dirt.
The girls come home from work and we have dinner or sometimes it is just me and Doug. We play cards, talk, read, write, pray, enjoy the sweetness of home. We worry, we plan, we pray, we hope. We make tea.
This year we will try to cut our grocery bill even more by growing, bartering, raising, preserving, and preparing all our own food and drinks. Our own herbs for cooking and medicine. We will gather all our own firewood. I will improve my sewing skills. We will make our own gifts. Doug will continue to learn how to build and repair. We will continue to release what we don’t need, learn to produce what we do. Maintain our freedom, bask in the pride of a job well done, and live more self-reliantly than ever before.
So why do we work towards extreme homesteading? Because after the oil lamps are blown out at night and we snuggle into bed, and see the stars through our window, we know there is no other life we want to lead.