Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Homestead?

The original use of the term no longer is applicable for us as government is not giving out free parcels of land to anyone willing to reside.  The current term that came about in the 60's is tied to the back-to-the-land-movement where people began leaving cities and returned to the land for a more simple, self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle.  In today's culture, there is a revival of this - just as there have always been periods of time throughout history where groups sought to return to a more agrarian way of life.
For me, when I think of homesteading, it's a way of life: a philosophy, a value system, a part of who I am  and how I want to live.  I believe it's the most compassionate way I can live.  Currently, it's a struggle not to be disconnected from my food, where it came from, the land and the people who grew it.  It's a struggle to get to know your neighbors in a genuine way.  I mean, everyone is in a hurry.  When was the last time you saw some people in the city just sitting on their porch for 2 hours on a Wednesday night talking? (Alcohol gatherings don't count... these seem to be quite frequent, but disingenuous if i can speak my bias)  I am planning my move to a small, but diverse, town in North Central Arkansas because I want to know who I live among.  I want to be a part of my food's growing process, and if I can't grow it, I want to know who did.  If I ever choose to eat meat again, I need to be able to raise the animal and know the person who dresses it, if not do it myself.  How could I not give thanks and have gratitude after being involved from beginning to end?  As I read in Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Plants work hard".  It's amazing what they go through to mature and we reap the benefits with the lighter load of work.  And, conventional farming is poisoning our land, our seed supply and killing the small farmer.  So, I want to return. I once heard that "repent" means to "turn back".  Hmmm...

 So, I imagine... my horses grazing on my own pasture with hay from my land or my neighbors' in the winter, food from my own land watered from my own well untainted by chlorine and other chemicals, neighbors I know and help, animals cared for and living the way they were intended, quiet, peace, tranquility.  And, hard, hard, hard work.  I guess I and the plants have to both work hard!  And, this is it, my HOME.

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