(Ramsayer provided pumpkins for our Wedding Decor)
What is Homesteading?
No, Homesteading isn't a cult.
It does have a historical definition*...
But to me, "Homesteading" is a return to simple living:
*Depending on my personal relationship to the land, in order to have food;
*Having a more sustainable lifestyle;
*Not depending on corporations for my happiness/livelihood.
*Being a good neighbor, heck! being a good person! Not only being civil and coexisting, but being friendly and loving to my fellow Humans and fellow creatures. (I'm not a vegetarian...)
*Having the center of my life be my home, my family, God, and myself...and not getting wrapped up in the stressful minutia of corporate life, where deadlines rule the world and where stress ends the happiness and the basic potential of so many wonderful people.
("homesteading" as defined by Imogen's Dictionary of Truth)
So maybe homesteading IS a cult....but only if it's the "Cult of Awesomeness."
(this is a joke, don't be fooled; homesteading is NOT a cult...)
My personal journey to become a homesteader has come out of many different experiences: my childhood, my personal interests, my disinterest in popular culture, and all consuming desire to read and learn. But it really was a JOURNEY...that encompassed an Amish influenced childhood, living in the unadorned beauty of France's countryside, years of reflection, and a very eco-groovy boyfriend-turned-husband (who's also a Scientist turned spiritualist) and my deep need to reunite with the Earth, spirituality and the sacred feminine.
Whoa! And that's not even the whole of it!
Why I want to Homestead:
I want to become a homesteader because I'm tired of being dependent on different corporations.
I'm tired of having to go to the grocery store for food and then finding out after I get home that the fruit I just bought is actually rotten inside, or is mushy/stringy because it had been frozen, or that the produce in question doesn't even taste like fruit! but tastes like what a hospital floor would probably taste like!
I want to be able to taste fruit that is fragrant and juicy and tasty, not have to worry so much about pesticides and genetically engineered monstrosities, like the weird strawberries we got from the grocery store yesterday...that appear to have arms and legs.
|Husband holding the Strawberry Monsters|
I'm also tired of having to rely on stores for clothes that don't are not fitted for a woman with an ample bosom, small waist, and curvaceous hips. I'm tired of clothes that don't flatter my hourglass figure and just aren't the style that I like. I hate having to swim through spandex and pleather and other artificial materials only to find, hours later, natural fiber clothes that are either too small, ill-fitted, poorly sewn, or cost over $400! I want quality clothing and shoes, that'll last at least 5 years, and clothes that are my unique style of empowered, self-aware, "I am my own sex kitten", 18th century a la mode, modern chic woman. Yeah, try finding THAT in a store, under $200, made of natural fibers, and not produced in an off shore sweatshop....GOOD LUCK!
I'm ALSO frustrated by having to pay an arm and a leg for goods that aren't what I need or their just so crappily made! We needed a laundry basket, a quality, non-plastic laundry basket...so we went to Target and had to spend $50! On a Laundry basket! And that was after months of research! (Tell me if you know where the lower priced quality laundry baskets hang out)
All of this frustration has just culminated into the conclusion that I don't want to be dependent upon corporations for my livelihood & well-being anymore. I long ago tired of corporations bursting into my house (through tv ads) and telling me what I need (to be thin, white, young, lip-glossed, swishy-haired, rich, apathetic and doped up on the various pharmaceutical wonder pills). And then, when I actually NEED to buy something, I'm charged an arm and a leg for garbage that'll break, be useless, or out of style exactly 10 seconds later.
So for the most part, I HAVE started to wean myself off of "corporate dependence." I shop at smaller stores, I browse etsy.com for gifts, heck, I usually make my own gifts.
Don't get me wrong, there are some luxury brands I DO like and may continue to buy: Tiffany or Louis Vuitton. I am willing to pay extra for quality (my friend's mom has had her LV for 25 years! Talk about quality! Sign me up!) I don't like buying purses that I can't depend on, where the "leather" rubs off, where the straps break after 2 months. No thank you. I'd rather pay more, and have a bag that'll last a couple decades.
And I'll be honest, I don't mind paying a bit more, (once every couple decades) for the fantasy of a luxury good, for the prestige of the brand, but for me, there is NO PRESTIGE in a $50 laundry basket or a $10 apple, After buying it, I just feel conned..or like something's wrong with society. I CHOOSE to spend money on a luxury good, after weighing my finances and such. But I NEED fruit! Healthy, inexpensive fruit! Something's wrong when you can't afford non-poisonous food.
Every time I come from a grocery store, a clothing store, the gas pump, I just feel like I'm getting swindled! I feel we all are! I routinely see overpriced pieces of crap in stores and I say to myself: I could do better! I could make something of quality that people would love and it wouldn't be cardboard held together by two pieces of gum a paperclip and some glue!
Huff huff huff! (hiccuping for breath as I type out my rage!)
I'm just tired of being swindled.
I just want to build my own things.
I want to learn to depend on myself and the earth.
I want to make contacts with my friends and neighbors who have more experience than me in their respective fields and pay them for helping me! I want to buy local! I'm just tired of this corporate hampster wheel.
I'm one of many hampsters who have finally flown off the wheel and yelled: "ENOUGH!"
Now, I'm not saying it won't be tough. I know it will be. I'm spoiled. I've been spoon-fed by corporations my whole life. But don't feel like they did me any favors, they were sucking my lifeblood while I was lapping at their consumerist spoon, drinking down and repeating all the "i wants" and "gimmes" and "i deserves."
So yes, it will be hard. I've never really depended on myself for food or clothing, but I know it's possible because I grew up with Old People, Elders, who came from a different time and lived off the work of their own hands.
My Grandmother: As a highly talented seamstress and pattern maker, made the clothes for the entire family. Hung the sheets out to dry. Made things from scratch.
My Grandfather: Built the furniture or tools we needed from wheelbarrows to bookcases. My grandfather also grew up on a farm in the Southern United States, riding horses and raising animals.
But there are things that they didn't do that I would very much like to, like: pickle, preserve and jam. I want to make my own soaps and candles and perfumes; make my own art; raise a few pet chickens so my husband and I can have fresh eggs. Raise a cow so we can have our own milk and farm the land so we can glory the bounty of our harvest.
Wow, such big words for someone with a Chia Pet garden. But....
"Out of dreams come reality" --Imogen
(if you use this quote, you better cite me!)
Our Spring 2011 patio garden is all planned and drawn up, so I will be posting that soon!
Best wishes to you!
QUESTION: Do you ever get tired of "corporate control" and long for a simpler life?
*The definition of homesteading, I'm guessing originated in the 1800s when White American-immigrants were encouraged to move into the Western part of the United States (to settle "The Wild West"). So the standard definition of homesteading seems to be, "to move onto government land and farm it" (Merriam Webster Dictionary).