Saturday Morning Ramble: The Homesteading Community

DSCN3808Hey friends!  Well, we’re working to accept the 10 or so inch snowfall that graced our part of the state on Monday.  The kids love it, of course, but Rick and I – yuck!  We truly need a winter home. 🙂

This week, I’ve been thinking lots about how vital and beneficial it is in the homesteading world to have a support community.  Our little homesteading community of friends and neighbors that homestead, along with our online friends, are an incredible support that I believe is vital to the homesteading world.  We share tips and tricks for doing things easier and cheaper, processes for different aspects of homesteading such as food preservation, and we work in teams when it comes to preparing, repairing and maintaining our do-it-yourself lifestyles.

Every time we’re with some of our homesteading cohorts, inevitably, topics come up, along with discussion on how-to’s, saving money and saving time.  Without these resources, I’m quite confident that we’d be much further behind than we are today in terms of our ability to support and care for ourselves independent of the technology that is so prevalent today.

For instance, earlier, Lance from Healthy Wealthy Income shared with our readers about his 6 month storage system for food and water.  Lance has decades of experience in this area and is a terrific resource for hard questions about food storage.  As a follow-up post, I’ll be writing next week on specifics on food storage.

Also, thanks to Jayleen at How Do the Joneses Do it?, we learned how to preserve the pumpkins that we bought for the kids this fall. We now have several bags of pumpkin puree in our freezer that we produced ourselves, ready to make homemade pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars and the like.  Without Jayleen’s post, we likely would not have attempted this feat.

Community is a vital part of the homesteading world.  We learned in our first year here just how incredibly hard it is to produce and preserve your own food, to chop your own wood for heating, to line dry your clothes, and so on and so forth.  I remember laying next to the garden one day that first summer, crying (literally) out to the Lord that I just couldn’t do “this” anymore.  I was exhausted from weeding our large garden, and we’d spent the prior few weeks cleaning up after a nasty storm hit our area and took down several trees on our property.  I was beat.  The Lord, in his still, small voice, spoke comfortingly to me that one day I’d be glad for all of this work, and that our family is learning to be self-sufficient.

I couldn’t see it then, but looking back, He was right.  It’s still exhaustingly hard work, but I’m so grateful that our family has the skills we need to make it on our own if we need to.  Don’t misunderstand, we’ve got LOTS to learn yet, but we’re on our way.  If we had to, we could make it at least a couple of months without buying any food.  We have plenty of wood chopped in which to heat our home, even if the wood stove isn’t hooked up yet. 😉

Homesteading is every bit as hard as you’d think it would be.  But for us, it’s worth the peace of mind we have, knowing we have prepared and that we are preparing for the things that may come that prohibit us from depending on stores and energy companies.

46 comments

    • Laurie says:

      Sometimes it feels so weird, Kay, learning to have the skills and capability to do so much on your own. But I know those skills will continue to serve us well. We just made homemade pumpkin pie from pumpkin puree we harvested at home; how awesome is that?

  1. Yay! Thanks for the shout out Laurie. That’s awesome! We’ve been enjoying our pumpkin bread … yum! I agree with Kay … I aspire to be more like you and to become self sufficient. Community definitely makes it easier!

    • Laurie says:

      Tonya, from everything I’ve read, you have an AWESOME community mindset in your life. You and your friends seem like you do a ton to work together and help each other out. This is a vital tool in or out of a homesteading lifestyle. 🙂

  2. Christie says:

    Hello Laurie:
    I enjoy reading your homesteading posts. It is great that you and your husband have clear goals and mutually work towards them..
    I think there is a risk to homesteading. What if you get hurt ? Who does the work then ? There is no workers comp for homesteaders. Maybe the community will help out ? Maybe you need a cash emergency fund? But what if the whole community gets hit by a big storm ? Or fungus that effects crops ? Or plague of locusts? Or, whatever. Then the whole community is in trouble.
    My Dad had citrus groves when I was young. If the temperatures at night drops below 32 degrees you have to be aware. At 28 degrees you go out and light smudge pots to try and keep the temp up. If you get down to 23 degrees ( very rare for this area) Game Over. The fruit is ruined and you have no crop. You have no income. Worse yet, the trees could be damaged. This oculd mean less of a crop the following year. Or, worst case scenario, you have a loan against a property with nothing but dead trees.. This happened once. The pickers have no income. The packing house owners and drivers have no income. A bad situation for everyone. It is difficult to help some one else out when you yourself have nothing.
    Of course, corporate America isn’t going to take care of you either. So, where is the middle ground ? How is a homesteader to know if they are being practical or overly optimistic and dreamy ? ~ Chhristie

    • Laurie says:

      Great questions, Christie, and thanks for asking. For all of the homesteaders I know, homesteading doesn’t mean we are ONLY survived by ourselves: it means we have to capability to do so if need by, or are working toward that capability. Of every homesteading family I know, at least one person has a full-time job at a company, whether that be their own company outside of the homesteading life or within corporate America. Homesteaders simply have the knowledge, tools and capability to care for themselves, grow and preserve their own food, survive without the power company’s help (many times), etc. We all (of the many that I know) also have the capability and do subscribe to power companies for electricity and gas. Most of us have emergency funds, etc. Today’s homesteading lifestyle is very much a “middle ground” type of a situation, at least for the people I know. We are hooked up to power companies, but have back up generators and/or solar power. We’ve got stockpiles of food that we’ve either produced and preserved ourselves, along with products from the grocery store. Also, our particular homesteading community spans over a 30 mile radius. That helps to ensure too that likely not everyone will get damage if a storm or other problem comes. Homesteading doesn’t mean that we’ve shunned “normal” America, it just means that we’ve put stopgaps in place so that we aren’t entirely dependent on others for survival. To me, that’s not being dreamy; it’s common sense.

  3. Kathy says:

    Lauri, your family should be so proud that you don’t rely on others to “help” you and that you could make it on your own. Too many people are always asking for help from their family, their neighbor, or their government. For me I’d be much more willing to help someone who first tried to make it own their own instead of immediately turning to others to take care of them. Your family is an inspiration to so many as evidenced by the comments on your blog. Give yourselves a giant pat on the back for all you’ve accomplished.

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you so much for your constant encouragement and mentorship, Kathy, it means so much to us!! LOL, yeah, Rick is weird that way: he does NOT like to have to depend on others and works, as much as he can, to do things by himself and have the tools he needs. In one way, it annoys me, but in another, I see what a valuable attitude it is.

  4. Kirsten says:

    Hope to join you on your homesteading adventure… Right after we get a winter home that we stay in year round (i.e. Move for good). These winters – wow!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, they’re brutal, aren’t they? It’s been nearly 45 years for me (we moved back from NC after my dad’s military stint) and I’m still not used to it. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Yes!!! We’ve actually learned quite a bit from that show. It really taught us to get our crap together in time for winter. It scares the hell out of us how the one nephew is always having to fish, hunt and chop wood in the middle of winter b/c he didn’t do enough in summer. 🙂

  5. Love your transparency here Laurie! I can only imagine the work homesteading is, putting it lightly, and would think it would be much more intensive without that community. Community, in many things, is vital but am sure it’s something you feel much stronger in doing what you’re doing. We finally got hit by the snow over the weekend…though thankfully not of the 10 inch variety. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Ugh – lucky you. Yeah, it is a boatload of work, but there is something very gratifying about it. And the kids have learned SO much about being self-sufficient. That really makes us feel great about our decision to move out here.

  6. I find your journey so inspiring Laurie. Sometimes I read what you are doing and think that I could never do that; however, I am sure that you had the same fears when you first started. Now look how far you have come! I know it’s hard work, but you have developed so many skills and are teaching them to your children and inspiring others to challenge themselves too. Love it!!

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I was you not too long ago, my friend. 🙂 But it is awesome. I’m so proud of the kids too – they have some serious self-sufficiency skills. 🙂

  7. I think that the community is important everywhere. The most important part is, at first, the sharing of knowledge, followed closely by the fact that it’s the community that you turn to when in trouble.

  8. KIm says:

    I do believe homesteading would be easier in a warmer climate, but I guess that would carry a whole other set of issues. It’s hard work, and I admire you for doing it.

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. The one thing I am grateful for about this nasty cold is that it toughens us up, that’s for sure. 🙂

  9. Homesteading seems like a lot of hard work and I’m not sure it’s for me. Then again, I see the risks of large scale disasters and feel bad about not even taking minor preparations like getting a food/water supply, learning how to use firearms, etc. I will tell you this – I am really interested in survivalist posts so the more you can write the better!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, it’s definitely interesting to hear other people’s thoughts and ideas, isn’t it? I’ve learned so much just from studying others like yourself,Lance.

  10. Your homesteading makes me think of a picture I drew as a little girl (which I still have) of the farming community I dreamed I would be a part of some day. It was to have no electricity, and there would be no cars. I think I was romanticizing Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairies. I certainly wasn’t thinking about all of the hard work involved. It’s very cool that you’re living out my childhood dream. (Well – except for the electricity and car thing.)

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, that’s funny!! We watch an old 60’s show called The Rifleman, which is set in the 1800’s. I love watching them heat their water on the wood stove and all of the other pioneer things they do. 🙂

  11. Myles Money says:

    I wish I could say I’m doing the same, but the closest I come to homesteading is picking fruit from trees in the garden. We’ve got persimmons, pomegranates and citrus fruit at the moment… different climate to yours, Laurie.

  12. Hope you all are staying warm! We’re not homesteaders by any means of the imagination (although it’s something I’ve always dreamed about trying). At this point I dream about just having a patio for a tomato plant 😉 It’s hard to conceptualize real homesteading when you live in the city, but I know folks who are trying (community gardens etc.).

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I dream of that patio for you, KK! I know what you’re saying: it’s definitely more difficult in the city, but there are some terrific books out there on urban homesteading.

Comments are closed.