The Perfect Homestead

As the new year approaches I have been thinking a lot (as if I don’t think about it the rest of the year too!) about the quintessential homestead.  I fear I have fallen into the trap of When I get my real homestead I will then be complete…happy…truly living life…

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So, a better look at things is in order.  I did pray for a homestead.  I suppose I should have been more specific.  But, here I am living in a nearly hundred year old farmhouse (one of my requests), on two-thirds of an acre (I asked for land), with a myriad of farm animals and a quarter acre to farm.  I forgot to mention that I wanted more land, a well, a wood stove, a barn, and a great view.  Looking at Doug’s not bad though.  I am living on a homestead.  I am also walking distance to the library, bank, café, saloon, and a great little museum.  I back to the fairgrounds and have front row seats to rodeos and festivities.  I am close to Maryjane and Emily.  We are close to what is important to Shyanne.

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Next year Shyanne goes to college, Emily turns eighteen and Bret graduates.  They may want to take a different path.  I love the community here.  I have never belonged in a community before and it feels great out here.

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Perhaps I will stay out here for a long time.  Find a homestead with the above criteria and remain in my community.  Perhaps I will move closer to the mountains where my children are gravitating.  I would love a mountain cabin, a green house, a place in the quiet of the woods.  I would love a stone house by a creek.  I would love a farm near the mountains.  I would love an Earthship in New Mexico.  An adobe in Taos or southern Colorado.  I would love….

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Well, you get the picture.  I may possibly have just too many things I want to do and see.  I can start a garden anywhere.  The longer I stay the better the soil.  Make sure I am somewhere I can have my animals.  See that I am close to Maryjane.  We could stop looking for the perfect homestead and a way to buy and opt to rent.  (A house is often an expensive anchor.  We lost our house years ago and are not able to buy anyway.)  If we rent we can experience lots of different homesteads or get a long term lease.

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Or…some nice person will leave me a lovely farm complete with a barn, a view, a wood stove, a hundred year old farm house, a well, a place to grow food, in a perfect mix of trees and prairie with the perfect community where I can stay forever and ever.  Ahh…I may never learn.

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The important things are that I am near friends.  Grandchildren and children.  That we are happy and healthy.  That we have the freedom to do what we would like.  The homestead of my dreams may or may not exist but I must have faith that we will be lead to exactly where we are supposed to be.

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Grow where planted.  May this be a blessed year for all of us.

Homesteading School

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“I am not able to can, I live in the city.”  The young lady stood in front of me shifting from one foot to the other in front of my booth.  She looked at our array of canned sweet apples, pickles, beets, zucchini, apricot syrup, just a bit of this and that from our root cellars.  They don’t look like the ones at the other booths at the farmers market.  Ours sport handwritten labels on clean glass canning jars without anything resembling a store shelf.  It makes people wonder while holding the glass orbs in their hands.  “You made this?”  No factory, no helpers, just a housewife in the kitchen putting up food for the winter.  An image that appeals to young and old that come by the booth.  “My grandmother used to can.”  “You are able to can zucchini?”  “This is spaghetti sauce?”

“I can teach you,” I say and their eyes light up.

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They say the economy is getting better but I am not sure how that can be.  I know an awful lot of people trying to hold onto jobs, keep their shops, keep their houses, keep their way of life but we are all being forced to make some decisions and go back in time a bit to a more simpler and, yes, easier time.  I may not know if we have to move or if we can afford to stay here, or what will happen, but I am preparing for slim pickin’s.  We will have food, that I can tell you.  This week I am canning carrots; brown sugar carrots for a delicious side dish and plain for stews.

Doug made me some beautiful brochures that I can distribute at farmers markets and to curious folks.  I am speaking at a few events this summer where I can share these brochures as well.  Besides telling about our apothecary, I am advertising about my homesteading school.  I will set up classes to teach people how to can, how to knit, crochet, spin, take care of chickens, garden in small spaces, make their own bread, make their own medicines, and inspire folks to become more self sufficient.  If we are more self sufficient, we are in a better place to help others and they can help those around them too.  We end up becoming a stronger community if we know these skills.  It takes the worry out of everyday life as well if you know you can make a sweater, pull out fish from the freezer, retrieve eggs from the chicken coop, or pick a lovely salad out of the pots on the front porch.  You worry just a smidge less.

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I keep thinking, ‘If I could just get somewhere that has a well, or that I can stay in for many years, that already has an orchard, that already has a root cellar, that I can afford easily….’  Acquaintances of ours have lost houses, animals, everything.  The fire wiped out over four hundred houses not far from us.  They had everything they wanted in a homestead, and in a second, it was gone.  Perhaps I should stop searching for the perfect because perfect is not guaranteed to last.  Perhaps my faith needs to get a bit stronger.  God has always provided.  And I can do my part by providing just as much for my family as possible.  And help others learn to do the same for theirs.  I have carrots to chop.  Have a blessed day!