Tuesday of this week, October 1st, was our one-year anniversary of the day we left our large, newer suburbia home for an old, old farmhouse in the country, in hopes of starting a more self-sufficient life. It’s really been an amazing year. Rick, myself and our 4 kids have all had to cope with all kinds of different feelings, from missing our former home, to dealing with all of the work that comes with owning a hobby farm, to simply enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with living away from it all. We’ve had to deal with intense summer storms, learning how to cut down on energy usage, and preserving our own food. It’s been a boatload of hard work, but a great ride nonetheless this first year. Here is some of what we’ve learned this first year “on the farm”.
1. Hobby farming, and living a self-sufficient life in general, is hard work. My family has always prided itself on being hard-working, and Rick’s family is the same way. We both have that “just get it done” attitude. However, I wasn’t prepared in the least for the vast amount of physical work it takes to be self-sufficient. From storm clean-up (chopping down and chopping up/stacking 20 or so downed trees, picking up sticks and branches, repairing damage) to preserving your own food, to doing more things without the help of modern conveniences like a clothes dryer, a self-sufficient life in the country equals lots of work. There were days when I would literally lay down and cry because I just couldn’t do any more, and I assure you, the word “lazy” has never been counted for as one of my characteristics. If you’re considering moving to a hobby farm, you’d better be prepared, both psychologically and physically, to work your “aft” off.
2. Our mindset has changed. Although we never really fit in with the rat race running “keep up with the Joneses” people (as much as we tried to), we weren’t prepared for how our mindset would change once we got out into the country. We now look at the “normal” world from the outside looking in, and we see, more than ever, what a terrible waste of time the pursuit of “stuff” is. This pursuit is robbing people of LIFE! They spend so much time working in order to gain more stuff (so that they can supposedly enjoy the stuff) that there’s not much time left for fun. We have lots less “stuff” now, but we have lots more time to enjoy each other and to enjoy the beautiful nature that God has created for our enjoyment.
3. The skills learned for self-sufficiency are crucial. Any person who’s ever been the victim of a lack of power, food or fresh water will tell you just how horrible a feeling it is not to know how you’re going to feed yourself or your family from one day to the next. We have a great peace now, knowing that we have the skills and supplies needed to grow and preserve our own food, to do basic things like heat our home or wash our clothes without any power source, and so on and so forth. We’re far from completely self-sufficient, but we’ve learned enough in this first year to have basic survival skills, and we’re eager to increase our knowledge, and share what we’ve learned with ya’ll, in year two of our homesteading journey.
4. Change means growth. As difficult as it can be to make a move, change a job, or change your lifestyle, the great thing about it is that it will help you to grow into a stronger, more capable person, provided you’re willing to stick the journey out. Any survivalist expert will tell you that the strength of the mind is likely the most crucial asset to survival of life in general. If you can handle the change, whatever it is, from a psychological standpoint, you will indeed grow stronger from it.
Today, I want you to think about your life. Are you happy? Is your debt, or your job, or your lack of caring for yourself properly, weighing you down? Is it causing you to miss out on doing the things that are truly important to you? If so, consider making that change to make your life better. Decide to get out of debt. Make a job or career change that will lead you to a happier life, or help to improve your physical shape by eating more fruits and veggies, cutting down on the processed food, etc. Because you deserve the best.