Why, in the World, We Homestead!

Homesteading
Homesteading

Today is just your average, every day, winter  morning in the Pacific Northwest.  Yes, it is  raining. Yes, it  is  cold and yes  it is  relatively  dark outside at 6:00am.  Attempting to remain positive, I don my winter gear and my rain gear and head out. The dogs are looking at me as if I am completely bonkers and remain steadfast on the porch.

While I venture to gather the birds’ daily ration, my brain registers a large branch straddling the electric net fence. I sigh, reverse my direction and make my way over to the offender. This branch has lodged itself, partially breaking on either side of the fence. As I attempt to remove the piece of branch closest to me, the piece on the other side breaks free. Instinctively I grab for the inside piece and Wham!  I get the wake-up call that no one wants with a 110 volt electric shot to the chest. I am rocked to my core and fall right on my tush. Again, I sigh. After collecting myself, I saunter over to get the birds their food and open their gates.

Days like this beg the question, “Why do I do this?” Oh, I’m not alone. You too will have your moments. So why do this?  I have many reasons. The first is that God placed me on this earth to farm and provide for my family. Another is that I love animals and it matters to me how I care for them. I love my family, my friends and my community. As a family we desire to be self-reliant. What we mean by self-reliant is to be independent of the “System”.  We will always rely on each other and be a part of a community which helps one another and we are always reliant on God and His grace. A bad morning cannot dissuade me from my mission. This bad morning has taught me a great lesson to always be awake around an electric fence.

See?  Skills…

Why will you do this? I hope for some of the same reasons I gave and many, many more. But one thing is for certain, it is wise to know why you are embarking on this venture before you start. It is an immense amount of work to provide food for your family and community.  Dollars certainly are not worth the effort.  It must be something far deeper. It is physically, emotionally, and intellectually taxing.  Working so hard that it feels like you have the flu is difficult. Butchering your first bird is difficult. Watching a young animal fight for life and fail is difficult. Problem solving when lives are on the line is difficult. It is also personal growth. Farming, to me, is an act of abandoning our doubts and casting our nets into the deeper waters of our spiritual life. It is a connection to God and His creation.  Homesteading isn’t convenient, easy or painless yet it yields a large catch. You will be inspired, grateful, respectful and humbled.  Connecting and being a part of God’s creation is awe-inspiring. Your flock will be one piece in that puzzle. Your flock provides you, your family and your community with food. Your livestock receives from you a good life and a good death. The cycle of life unfolds around you.

It is worth it always.

21 thoughts on “Why, in the World, We Homestead!

  1. I applaud your commitment to a vision for your life. So many dream big dreams but aren’t willing to put in the elbow grease. One of the things that really bothers me about today’s American society is how money-driven it has become. Money has become our god. It is really sad. So when I see people who are following their bliss, as Joseph Campbell would put it, I am encouraged and applaud them for their dream, ignoring all the crap around them telling them no. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in all the negatives we see around us and forget all those people who are doing wonderful things. So keep on doing what you are doing. It will enrich your life in ways that you can’t understand now. The important thing is like Cal Ripken Jr. you just keep showing up. You never know who you’re inspiring with your fortitude and perseverance.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Some days it feels more worth it than others! I was talking to a friend who was telling us about a homesteading friend who took beautiful photographs of the county life for his blog but in reality life was more full of worry and mud than he’d ever imagined. Making peace with being at the mercy of weather, worms in livestock and back breaking, never-ending work can either be a spiritual exercise or an impossible dream depending on the day.

    We just made some fantastic goat cheese this spring–but we also have a goat with mastitis and another with a staph infection because of the wet weather!!! Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perspective, for sure, perspective is absolutely essential. I hope to always portrait how difficult, how much hard work – blood-sweat and tears it requires. BUT… At the same time how enlightening, fulfilling, joyful and rewarding it is as well. Duality-gotta love it! Thank you so much for your observations and insights Adrienne! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. i dont wanna be an ass but im not sure if thats good for the rooster before it goes under the knife. unless youre making pate then you can slap it around a bit but thats french with a twist. lol. but yeah that looks very high tech for free roam chickens 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The act of taking life is always humbling. I do, however, know that it is necessary to be truly apart of the natural world and it’s life cycle. I will post a video on processing (the nice way of saying slaughter-eviscerating-storing) poultry. I would like everyone to see that it doesn’t have to be traumatic and is far more “humane” than a “natural” death–trust me, as a farmer, I have a lot of experience with both results. But you are funny, not an ass and quite direct which is a trait I admire and enjoy. So thanks! 😉

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      1. you have a lot of experience with slaughter and you’re just sugar coating it for us. please give us the whole bloody shabang. i want to corrupt my mind to the reality of its application. lol. lady i have a renewed respect. its a nice way of saying youre scaring the shit out of me right now. but right the fuck on!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nope! I am mid-western. Politeness oozes out of us. 😉 Slaughtering and processing livestock is a sacred act and not to be taken lightly. Many who grew up on a farm experienced traumatic livestock slaughter; particularly poultry. The saying “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” came from reality. The problem with traumatic slaughter is that it stresses the animal out, increasing adrenaline flow, tainting the flavor of the meat. Not to mention, it is disrespectful of the life that you have nurtured and raised. The birds are carried by their feet prior to slaughter to calm them. I use kosher methods in slaughter. This means that the animal is completely calm, I make a quick cut to the jugular – which they feel, then they essentially fall asleep and loose consciousness due to blood loss. As humans, especially Americans, we have a huge disconnect with our food and how it came to be our food. To cope with the process we: 1. say that it is stupid 2. treat it cruelly 3. disassociate with it entirely 4. treat it like an inanimate object that is without life or 5. treat it with complete disregard. This is true of all food; meat, fish & seafood, grains, vegetables & fruit etc. If you think that “killing” a vegetable or fruit saves you–it doesn’t. Vegetables and fruit have defenses and strive to survive. Getting in touch with the full cycle of life: nurturing and the taking is humbling and give you a profound sense of respect for food, for life and your place in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. repeating an idiom and associating it with animal behavior at its last grasp is a farmers way of saying to always keep it together. no need to read into ito further as people fall into a dangerous path. we dont want dangerous chicken killers you know. more the reason to change more of the way or bring it down to the level of nature to its own natural boundaries and transformatory capabilities. it is what we can ALL agree on and not some made up shit. silly humans. btw carrying birds or chickens by their feet doesnt guarantee calmness. they still flap their wings. you have to do the crocodile dundee animal mind control trick with hand signal. its nothing without the hand signal.

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      4. By the way, the reality will grip you when you hold the knife to the bird’s neck and you make the first slice. You will have butterflies in your stomach. You will have reservations. Is the knife the in the right spot? How hard do I slice? How long of a cut? What is the bird experiencing? Does the bird know I am freaking out? That isn’t a lot of blood… How long should I let it bleed? Why is it jerking around like that? Did I do it right? Is it dead? When is it dead? Did I just kill something I raised? It is okay… Unless you are a psychopath, all of these things should go through your mind. By the way, hunting prepares you a little bit, but it is different to take a life of something that you have been feeding, nurturing and protecting. It is just different. So… Just know, you can only prepare so much. Somethings are learned from going through the experience. But it is, in my humble opinion, a worthwhile, important experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. you need help. lol. but i like corn fed midewesterners. yall got a way of handling animals given they get enough space. but them days of little house on the prairie is long gone. small self sustaining family owned farms and these make up your poor to middle class, but the southwest houses big aggra that has brought the death of many farmers through subsidies. i’d look into that and separate that from the false pride they have programmed us that takes from individual contribution and protects their interest and abuse of their own constituents and local population.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. what are they spraying these days? do these companies have connections to the frozen food section in the grocery store? if so, a fertilizer dump would be in order and pour methane water from all the fracking theyre doin and then pull 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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