Friday, July 17, 2015

Why Homestead?

I have found that we have reached a point that we are truly seeing divulging cultures in our country and I have heard that this is true is several areas around the world. There are those of us who wish to be as self sustainable as possible and there are those that think we are nuts. We have recently talked about how in several areas that trying to be self reliant is at a minimum frowned upon and in some areas even illegal. We have talked about why groups would want to discourage an individual or group from trying to become more self sufficient. Today we are going to talk about some of the things I have heard these people say and our response, we are also going to talk about reasons we should be as self sustainable as possible and some answers we can give the naysayers.

What the people say that do not understand

Homesteading is so much work

You know what? Homesteading is a lot of work, but I can say at least for me it is worth it. It doesn't matter if I am gardening, foraging, hunting, or fishing, just being out there and experiencing the soil is almost spiritual. I can think of no better way to get to know the creator than spending time in his creation. You can watch nature shows on television all day every day, but it will never be the same as if you experience it yourself.

Homesteading costs more that buying at the grocery

To this one I give a very soft maybe. Can gardening be more expensive that purchasing all of your produce at the store? Yup sure can, especially if you are doing everything the way the "experts" are telling you to. Think about it. You have to have a tiller. You have to have raised beds. You have to use chemical fertilizer. You have to use pesticides. You have to use organic fertilizer. You have to use insecticidal soaps. If I were just starting out, my head would quickly start hurting from all of the opposing ideas. Find someone you like, who lives either close to you or in an area similar to where you live. Emulate them, start small.

I know there are people that cannot do anything without jumping in with both feet. That is great if you are that kind of person. Most people however, are not. It is easy to get overwhelmed. Starting small is my best advice for anyone on just about any subject.

You mean you kill your own animals for food?

This is one that both confuses and bugs me. I have had people ask me this while eating something they picked up at the local burger joint. We as a society have become so far removed from what reality is that we have a warped perception of the world. If we are going to eat meat, someone has to kill an animal. I will tell you straight up that I eat meat. I have not qualms with those who choose not to eat meat. 

When I harvest an animal, I know how that animal lived. I know how it was kept and how it was fed. Plus, all food tastes better when you know how it was raised.

Homesteading takes so much time

Again, this one is actually a fair observation, but with a wrong perspective. The time spent, can have a therapeutic effect. This is especially true if you work in an office. Our bodies were designed to be placed under stress through physical exertion. Getting out there and having a good honest sweat is good not only for the body but also for the soul. If this were not true gyms would not be a multi million dollar industry. Sorry, I just do not see a lot of homesteaders needing to go to the gym.

Why I homestead

The Food Tastes Better

For those of us who grow any of our own food, we know the difference instantly between home grown and commercial grown vegetables. Commercial growers do not select varieties based on flavor. They select them based on shelf life, appearance and trans-portability. That means they will select a tomato that has little to no flavor because, once picked it will not go bad for a couple of weeks. 

I still run into people who question the sanity of homesteading. Some will come up will any and every reason they can to discourage you from homesteading. But one taste of fresh vegetables most are shocked.

Greater Independence

We do not grow all of our own food. We just can't on the amount of land we have, not to mention there are lots of foods we like that just will not grow here, but if we had to we could get by on what we can produce. There is just something liberating about being able to provide at least some of your own food, really being able to provide some of your own anything. 

Let's look at an Idaho potato. That potato starts somewhere where they grow seed potatoes. The seed potato is then sold to the farmer. The farmer grows the potatoes then sells them to a wholesaler or distributor. The distributor then ships the potatoes on trucks to warehouses all around the country. The warehouses then sells them to the grocery stores warehouses, then it goes out to the individual grocery stores, before finally being available for you to purchase. Just in the example above a sack of potatoes goes through at least 7 people's or companies hands before you can even look at them. I know some of you are saying that is good for the economy (oh don't get me started on that). The truth is that the flavor and nutritional value of that potato is going down for the entire trip. Did you know the average vegetable that is purchased at the grocery store travels over 1500 miles before it reaches you home. Yum Yum.

Greater control

I know there are a few out there that think genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the greatest things since sliced bread, but you are in the minority and are probably working for one of the big pharmaculture companies. Why do I call the pharmaculture? Because they are selling chemicals as food. I don't want glyphosphate soaked food. I don't want fish genetics in my tomatoes. Sorry, I just don't. I want real food.

The control factor goes even further for me. There can be a more nefarious reason for companies wanting to patent life. I want as much control over my family's lives as possible. 

“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”-Henry Kissinger

Health and Teaching

I have touched on this a little, but I want to delve a little deeper.  The entire lifestyle when done correctly is a healthy lifestyle. Working hard, being out in the sunlight, drinking plenty of water, and getting plenty of exercise. But there is another component, responsibility. If you don't get it done, it won't get done.

There are lots of parents that will get their children a pet to teach responsibility. Many times the child will grow tired of the pet and the parents will have to take over its care. On a homestead the animals and plants are there for more than just enjoyment. They produce a surplus. Homesteading can be used to teach lessons about life, birth, death, sickness, investing and so much more. I honestly believe that there is no better life in which to raise children. This is going to sound strange, but I have fond memories of hog killing and chicken harvests. I hope my children will look back and say that they were glad that dad made them help produce their own food. 

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