Coming into September, I find myself reflecting on our homesteading history. People often ask me, "what made you want to start homesteading?"
Many times the idea of taking on a homesteading lifestyle is hard for people to wrap their mind around. I mean, it isn't the most convenient or easiest choice by a long shot. So why even start down that path?
I've heard a variety of reasons from other homesteaders about why they started, for some it was a part of their culture all along. Their parents and grandparents did it so it just made sense to them. For others, they wanted to be debt free. Still others wanted a more "green" lifestyle. There seem to be as many different reasons for starting down this road as there are different homesteaders.
But for us, there was a wake up call. Sept. 1 year ago we had a decently bad storm. Winds kicked up to 60mph gusts. Alot of trees and limbs were knocked down in the storm and, of course, we lost power. We weren't the only ones out of power either. Almost our entire county and at least 3 neighboring counties were out of power. The storm was bad, but not nearly as bad as the aftermath. The power outage, which should have only lasted a day or two at most, drug on for 2 straight weeks. Turns out that the electric company hadn't been updating their equipment they way they should've been nor were they clearing limbs the way they should've been so when the storm struck their outdated equipment couldn't handle the massive overload caused by the downed trees and limbs.
So there we were, stuck, with two small kids, a pregnant woman (me), an elderly woman and my husband with no power, no water (we have well water run by an electric sump pump), we couldn't even get into our grocery store canned foods because my can opener was, of course, electric. Wouldn't have mattered anyways, I couldn't cook because my stove and oven are electric. For 10 days we had to flush our toilets with water from the lake across the street. We'd go out with buckets, gather water, and then when someone used the bathroom we'd dump the bucket into the toilet to flush it out. For 10 days, we lived off of peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches, crackers and the fresh vegetables that we got from my in-laws farm (thank God for that).
I began to realize that our total reliance on the outside world to cover our needs was not the best way to do things. So when the power returned and life slowly crept back to normal we decided that we were ready to make a change. We bought a grill, and a generator. That was step one. We started to cut our own firewood. Step two. We planted our own garden, step 3.
And as we journeyed down this new path I saw a whole host of other benefits. I would be teaching my kids life skills that just may come in handy as inflation increases, government debt increases, etc. I remember seeing something in the news a few months back saying that future generations may be so saddled with debt and high taxes that they will not be able to retire. No social security to fall back on.
I'm giving them a way out with this lifestyle, if they so choose to take it. With the skills I'm teaching them, they won't have to be enslaved to society for every little need they have. They'll be able to grow their own food, make their own clothes and therefore, hopefully, save even more of their money so that they can put some away to retire with or whatever they need.
So with that knowledge in hand and the suprising satisfaction of being self sufficient pushing us forward, we know spin our own yarn, raise our own chickens, grow 2 acres worth of vegetables and fruits to feed not only us but our extended family, our neighbors and our friends. We raise beef cattle in tandem with our in-laws. We make our own clothes for the most part and we love every minute of it. It's not a lifestyle for everyone, but it works for us and hopefully those who read this and other blogs like this will be able to at least take away bits and pieces of it to help further their own independence.