Saturday, March 23, 2013

Becoming a Homestead Ambasador

I talk to lots of people everyday. Nearly everyday a person will say something that opens up the conversation to either prepping or homesteading. When this occurs I jump at the chance to share some encouragement to become more self sustainable. For each person who is trying to take care of themselves without the assistance of government our community gets a little stronger. I have said this before, but no one person can be self sufficient. Not even one single family can attain the required knowledge and resourses to be completely free of their neighbors. This is why community development is so important. A community can stand when an individual or single family will fall. This is one reason the Hispanics in my area are so sucessful. You will rarely see a single Hispanic family in a neighborhood. Hispanics try to settle in pockets sometimes extended families or more than one family in one house.

Ways to promote homesteading are many, but I think the most effective is to lead by example. While in college I had a professor who first day of class stood up and said ,"You have heard those who can do and those who can't see where I am". This set a tone for the class and not a very good one. I questioned everything that man said. I hope he was smart enough to know that is what would happen. This should not be the case with anything, but it cannot be the case with homesteading. The type of life I am trying to live is not only a mental exercise. The homestead lifestyle is very mechanical and artistic in nature. You can explain how a family grist mill works, you can show pictures,or even record a video of the process, but will will never grasp the full experience until you smell the corn being ground. You feel the heat off the freshly ground corn. Touch the corn meal, ball it up in your hand to check the consistency, and even taste the meal fresh from the stones. My family has ground our own corn meal for over twenty years and it is an experience that I wouldn't take anything for. This can only be learned by doing and most thing dealing with the homestead life are like that.

Everyone I know who is a homesteader does some kind of experiment every year. A friend of mine is planting blue potatoes for the first time this year. I am hoping to do an experiment with modified hugelkultur this year (there will be a lot more about that later). Every year your knowledge base and experience should expand. This should be shared or it will be lost.

The second most powerful way to be an ambassador of homesteading is by giving. Giving is a natural part of the human condition. When we see a person in need we want to reach out and help. One of my goals this year is to tithe from my homestead production. The pastor has already said that the church will find someone in need to give them to. You do not have to be involved in a church to have a positive impact. Few things show the difference between home grown foods and store bought than a tomato. If someone has never tasted a fresh tomato, when they finally do they always ask where you bought it. This is a prime opportunity to talk about learning to grow your own food. Be willing to teach. If you find someone that keeps taking and doesn't try to learn, they may be one of the perpetual takers. Those folks must be left to their own.

Based on the definitions provided in my last blog I am not a picture perfect prepper, but I am trying to become a poster child for homesteading. My strongest point is I am always willing to learn and teach. Together we can build a better future by.......

Keeping It Rural


  1. I have been working with the Preppers to keep them engaged in handicrafts, machining, and mechanical things, since some of them have the skillsets. They need positive community outlets for their nerves. Fixing engines, not shooting at other people.

    I'm also a fan of Makers and even Motorcyclists (non-Harley) because they each contribute towards a skill-base which will allow us a future with jobs in town, and a basic level of machines that still work, and people who want to fix them. Things like tractors and mills and machine shops for replacement parts. Its an uphill battle.

    Many Preppers have already given up on Other People and find no joy in their paranoia. They genuinely think they can survive if they just stock up for a short duration disaster. I think that will just end up with them having no food and a lot of guns and either turn into marauders or needing a visit from the Sherriff.

    I currently live in Grass Valley, which is close to North San Juan, a serious Homesteading area. Around half the farmers up there are struggling to survive on their own food and subsistence farming.

    I know of other homesteading project communities in Mendocino county, and there's still plenty of small farms and vineyards that teeter on the edge of feasibility, always susceptible to the vagaries of weather and economics.

    When I see the largely unused farm towns north and west of Marysville, their farms mostly leased to agricorps, I wince and wonder if those empty towns might be a great real estate opportunity. Buy and fix up a home or business, get it occupied by someone smart enough to leave behind the overpriced nonsense of the city (Sacramento and San Francisco). You don't have to be in The City to do research and produce Things worth patenting. The lights stay on in the Central Valley. UPS delivers. Keep the rents low so more will show up. Its the greed of the city that makes people leave it behind. Homesteaders would benefit from buying critical supplies from Makers so they can become economically viable instead of some Chinese slave factory. I still maintain the answer to Chinese economic war is trade tariffs.

  2. I concur with your observation that people don't know what they have been missing buying only factory produced foods. I had friends over to dinner just last night and my friend brought her 19-year-old granddaughter with her. I asked her if she would like a piece of homemade bread while it was still warm, and she stated that she had never eaten homemade bread. I was lucky to be born into a long line of home bakers, but really, Never??? I've taken bread baking to a new level with grinding my own wheat, and it tastes better than bread made with store-bought flour. People truly do not know what they are missing, but they think we are weird to live out in the country, 20 miles from the grocery store. I think I would rather make my own groceries whenever possible. You don't know what kind of chemicals, pesticides and additives are in food available in supermarkets. I believe I'll just stay home and make do.