We need to have a serious conversation about homesteading today.
Too often I find people writing us off as “hobby farmers with a couple of pet goats”. When you talk about homesteading, that image in their mind about the pet goat and cuddly chickens does not go away.
Look guys, our animals might be skipping around on a pasture with flowers but homesteading is a serious thing for us!
If I don’t have a dairy animal, I don’t have milk.
(That also includes cheese, ice cream and yoghurt.)
If I don’t raise chickens, I don’t have eggs.
If I don’t raise pigs, I won’t have any meat in the freezer or fat (lard) to cook with.
If I don’t grow these potatoes, I don’t HAVE potatoes.
We’re not a hobby farm, we are a homestead, we grow what we eat and cook our meals from scratch depending on what we have.
Adding to that is also building structures you need, foraging, processing, canning/storing, making wine/beer. It’s serious business folks.
Well is it an old-fashioned thing? No, we are not our great-grandparents although I do admire how they would have done it without modern materials like plastic (or the new bamboo equivalent of that).
I like running a hose from the pond to my pasture.
I like electric fencing and poultry netting to steer my animals to the place we need them.
And I very much like the rubber feeding bowls which seem to last a lifetime.
Our personal motivation is opting-out of the food system. If you are honest you know how commercial pigs are raised, you know how workers are being exploited and how poor the conditions are on commercial bulk veggie farms wherever we may import it from.
Don’t put up a straight face, giggle and think “oh it’s not so bad” cause you damn well know!
To many people it just feels like a hassle to grow your own food, well let me tell you this: I spend more time on a two person household laundry than I do on most farm chores.
Really, how long does it take to feed a chicken?
The chicken doesn’t need you to do her business, she can take care of her own schedule and yet she provides eggs, meat, mosquito/fly cleanup for you. Without a rooster that is.
Cause you know.. if you don’t have that, you’ll need to go to the store for eggs, chances are you need to drive there..stand still for red light.. maybe run into a traffic jam, encounter an idiot who can’t park..whatever.
Then you’ve made it to the store so after choosing between a dozen different eggs on which you hope the label is right you go on to the meat section for your chicken breast and hope there is no recall on that (again).
Also you only collected that one small portion of the chicken and not all the other cuts so you need to purchase them as well. By now you are sick and tired of the store already but NO you still need to go buy a pesticide, fly trap whatever to reach the equivalent of a chicken..
Did I mention you also need to buy fertilizer? cause the chicken also produces that you know.
Same thing for next week’s shopping?
This is the type of system most people are content with. I mean.. everything is right there at the store, all neatly wrapped in plastic, no idea what’s in it or where it came from but you know it’s all there in one place.. and cheap! right?!
I don't want to do that and don't want to pay the salary of people who keep such practices alive. I just don't.
Some people don’t believe our food and with that our health is someone else’s responsibility. Especially in these times of crisis it seems to me like we are responsible for our own needs.
Can you provide for yourself and your family?
Some people actually strive for self-sustainability and all the skills that go with it, they don’t specifically need or have a farm but put in the effort to grow what they can, preserve produce and save seeds.
These my friend, in my book, are homesteaders.
Just because someone has two cows doesn’t mean they are pets, they just don’t need 50 cows!
We are NOT a hobby farm, we just provide for ourselves, we are homesteaders.