Friday, May 15, 2015

How Homesteading Saves You

I get it. You've already read about the benefits of homesteading. Financial freedom. Independence. Healthy living. Community involvement. Connecting to nature. Going back to your roots. Instilling values in your kids. Becoming stronger.

What I've never read about...what we rarely see publicized....is how homesteading, or hobby farming, or urban gardening, can save you.

I should know. You see, it's saving me right now.

It started a little over a month ago. 8 years of arguing had finally taken its toll on my husband and he decided it was time to head on out, take some time to think, decide what it is he wants. Can't say I blame him too much....things have never been easy for us. Sometimes, on my bad days, I think our struggles are some sort of divine punishment for me being somewhat of a hooker when we met. Most of the time, though, I just figure this is part of life. Nobody's perfect. No relationship is flawless. This is a flaw-filled world. You need to work to find happiness. It doesn't fall into anyone's lap....you need to actually seek it out, make it real, mold it into your life with passionate resolve.

And so I supported him. It's kicking my ass, but I support him still. I want happiness with him, very much. I learned in counseling that just because something doesn't happen the way I would do it, it doesn't mean it's wrong....but you can still feel the sting of incomprehension, though. Ever had someone say they are happier when you're not around? It burns. Makes you doubt yourself. Takes a lot of energy to push those negative thoughts about yourself away. And if there's one thing you don't have when trying to run a household by yourself, it's energy.

So what I most want to do is throw in the towel. Not just on my marriage, but on all of it. I want to take off, hide out, write books to pay for my eco-shed in the woods and just grow old in the comfort of quilts and dried flowers.

But I can't do that. I have kids to take care of. Family and friends who need me. Seedlings that need to be hardened off. Chickens that need feeding.


And that brings us full circle. When home breaks apart at the seams, when stability is threatened, when life as you know it begins to slip away, what are you really left with? Eat, drink, work, love, sleep, repeat. Strip away objects, possessions, impressions, and riches, and you're left with your true needs. Life, simplified.

Homesteading, gardening, hobby farming, whatever you want to call it - it is a basic, elementary, bare-bones version of life. You dig into the soil you came from. You plant and forage for your food. You pray for rain and rejoice in sunshine. Alarms become sunrises. Bedtimes, sunsets. Responsibilities transform into direct functions of life.

I'm forced to replace doubt with books. Swap uncertainty for certainty. I do not know where my life is heading, but I do know if I plant this seed, water it, and give it sun, it will grow. A truth that can be realized with my own two hands.


There's reliability in work. Homesteading never stops. It's like being a parent - you can't take a sick day. No time for heartbreak. No waiting until life fixes itself. You've gotta get out there and clean the coop. Track the rainfall. Figure out which days will be warm enough to plant. Straightforward and reliable. Impossible to ignore.

There's calm in simplicity. Chickens lay eggs. Strawberries need light to grow. Attract birds to eat bugs, bees and butterflies to spread pollen. Rain means no watering. Frost means no planting. Dead plants mean you need to try the next trick. Feed the plants. Feed the kids. Feed the chickens. Feed your day with the tasks that mean the most to life. Simplicity.

There's perspective in raising animals. Life is short when you're a chicken. They live to eat, drink, love, and sleep. Period. Three years, five years later, it's over for them. Then they add to our years.

There's comfort in routine. Wake up. Tea. Kids. Chickens. Watering. Exercise. Work. Cook. Bathe. Bed. Do it over again tomorrow...not necessarily because you want to, but because it needs to be done. Life does not stop needing you because you're hurting.

There's peace and tranquility in contribution. I've given life, provided comfort, made room for growth, and killed off predators. I may not have it all together, but at the end of the day I can say I put food on the table, in the coop, in the dirt. I've fed someone other than myself. I've contributed to the life of something else. Gratification.


Now I don't know about you, but some pretty strong antidotes for pain include reliability, calm, comfort, peace, tranquility, and gratification. You could even say these things, these positive, self-inflicted actions, can save you from your sorrows. They sure help me.

So yes. Homesteading isn't for everyone....and those who do enjoy it often tout the health, freedom, and financial benefits. But I'd like to take it one step further and use myself as living proof that even a flaw-filled life can be forgiven with just a few minutes of sinking your hands into the dirt. Courage restored. Confidence renewed. Faith replenished. Saved.


Any of you experienced freeing simplicity at any point in your lives? How did it change your thoughts? How has it impacted you today? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below and as always, thank you so very much for reading. 

Jen

4 comments:

  1. This is beautiful and it sounds like you are in a place of calm acceptance - one of the hardest places to land. Sometimes you just have to get through the day and have faith that life will take you where you are supposed to land. I know this is a tough time, but you are handling it beautifully, and your children are VERY lucky!

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    1. Thank you Kristen! You are so sweet. I am so appreciative of your readership and support! Hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend :)

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  2. Glad that this new way of life has freed you :) I do not have that urge the way you do, I figure once we buy a house maybe I'd start dabbling into gardening but I'm so clueless in that respect. I know nothing. Lol. I grew up in apartments and allergic to all things nature.. Now as an adult, my allergies have subsided significantly but bug bites still are very irritating. I think with all that combination I never grew to love or appreciate nature LOL. Hoping a small backyard with pretty flowers in the future will change that. :) Enjoy your new found confidence, courage, and faith!! Take Care lovely Jen! -Iva

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  3. So nice. My daughter would LOVE to have chickens.

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