Thursday, July 31, 2014

Homesteading and ignorant people

I received an email as follows from a reader which was so interesting I asked her permission to post it here. She titled her email "homesteading and ignorant people" and wrote:

I read your blog and I've commented occasionally as well. I want to have a homestead too, but I don't yet have the skills needed. I go to a church college group and tonight I told two people separately that I want to have a homestead. They smiled, which I didn't understand at the time; but when I got home, I realized they were laughing at me. Like, "Ha ha. That girl wants to be a farmer." Like only dumb people do that or it doesn't require a high intellect or it's not a worthy job or something.

Now I'm so mad at their ignorance and their affirmation of typical American public schooled ignorance. (1) They don't know me very well; and (2) They don't know anything or not much about homesteading. I guess both these things can be changed, but for the moment I'm just very angry.

In your experience, do most city people think like that too? These are people that are kind of important to me so I care more about what they are thinking than just some random person. I feel very thunder-puppyish right now but I think it's worth it.

I replied: "In my experience city people are split about 50-50 on their reaction to homesteading. Some sneer, and I mentally dismiss them. Others are envious or supportive and a lively discussion ensues. Sounds like you just happened to get two sneerers in a row."

The reason I wanted to post this on the blog is to hear whether or not this woman's experience is typical or unusual. Thoughts?


  1. Very typical for sure. I just told the parents of the kids I babysit last night that I want to homestead and they told me that it's important for me to be aware of all of the work that's involved. The worst thing is that I've also gotten this from some people from the country. There seems to be this general idea among some of them that homesteading is a lesser lifestyle because of how much physical labor it involves.

    1. Why is it bad to point out the hard work involved? There IS a lot of hard work involved in maintaining your own land, crops, and livestock. It IS important that you be aware of that, even if you're totally prepared to take that work on. There's nothing wrong with walking into a new experience with both eyes open. People who are really incredulous of others doing challenging things often do so because they can't imagine themselves taking on said challenge. Plenty of people in this world will throw snark and attitude at you for a multitude of reasons, and you have to let it roll off your back. If you get upset over things like this, life will be difficult for you.

    2. It is possible that these people meant just what they said, be aware of the work involved. There's a big movement going on now of people wanted to get back to doing more for themselves, and rightfully so. The people from the country have probably seen people jump in with both feet not aware of what would be involved and ended up throwing in the towel. Don't wait to get started. Start learning and doing right where you are. The more you learn and skills you develop now, the better prepared you will be when you get to make the move. In the meantime, you'll be better prepared right where you are.

    3. Of course, that's exactly what I'm doing! I'm not getting upset from people telling me that, far from it. It's a minor annoyance. Then again, I have made several big moves/changes in my life so far that people have been incredulous about and have adjusted great every time - so I know that I am prepared and I can do it this time, too. I appreciate people's concern but sometimes it would be nice for people to ask questions first or show support instead of saying things that could deter you from doing what you want to do - questions like "so what have you been doing to prepare yourself for the hard work ahead?" would be nice but I can't say I've ever heard that before :)

    4. Also I wasn't quite clear enough in my description. Most of the people who mention the hard work don't do it to warn me but to wonder at why the heck I would want to do that hard work. It's just a matter of respect to honor my decision, even if it is with a smile that hides how weird they think it is, instead of commenting about all of the things they think I can't do or telling me I'm wasting my college education.

    5. So you would rather have people hide their true feelings and be dishonest rather than expressing their honest surprise or skepticism about homesteading?

      The reason some of these people might be expressing concern is that they are older and wiser and know that, although idealism in youth can be inspirational, motivating, and refreshing, the real world is much more difficult. They are in all likelihood trying to give you fair warning about a life most people can no longer handle.

      Chill-lax! If you can't handle slight criticism or skepticism, you can't handle farm and animal chores at 4 or 5 a.m. or mucking about in all kinds of inclement weather.

      It's not weird to want to do hard work, but it is rare these days among the general population of youth to sincerely follow through.

      Start by learning to let the ill comments go and to take the fair warnings seriously and with an attitude of gratitude, then learn how to do all those things you will need to do when you finally begin to homestead.

      Good luck to you!

    6. Hello All!

      Not that I know Ms. Laura J, but I think she may have expected some positive encouragement from whom she spoke when expressing her desire to homestead. Glory be, who doesn't want something positive?
      That being said, I mention my desire all the time to be more self-sufficient to my closet relatives, hubby and kids...they think I have lost my mind. They have worked from sun up to sun down pulling pigweed across bean acreage, chasing cows and hogs before church, worked tobacco and hay. I, on the other hand, haven't had to work all of those types of chores, mine have been from before son up to long after son down! They consider me more delicate, just because they don't want me to have to work hard. I have the ability, just not the majority vote. So I go ahead and do what I want.
      It may be a slower process, so as not to blow their minds away all at once, but the process still moves along.
      Yes, older and wiser people may want to talk facts on the hard work, but they also encourage the youth to take responsibility of caring for themselves.
      To the article write, talk about your dreams only if you want everyone to know your business. Sometimes it isn't necessary for others to know your dreams. Privacy is wonderful!
      To Ms. Laura J, you can succeed, with hard work and determination. One step at a time.
      Just let comments roll away or use them to motivate. God will support and sustain, just keep Him first in your lives!

  2. Homestead Greetings from N. Idaho -

    Some other reactions that we frequently encountered when we started down the homesteading road were the "Oh, it's just a passing fancy" and/or the "Once the novelty wears off, you'll come back around to 'civilized' living." That was some 15 years ago. Haven't "come 'round" yet. Love homesteading more every day. We've gained more life skills, practical knowledge and personal contentment in the last 15 years than we ever could have realized had we stayed in our high-tech, Fortune 500, white collar corporate careers. Don't let the sneerers get you down. Go for it!

  3. Negative reactions are typical. My family laughs and makes jokes at my expense. I work in a liberal career (public education) so anything that requires labor or getting dirty draws negative comments. The most recent have been gross and weird in regards to us raising our own food. Being rude towards country people seems to be seen as their right in liberals minds.

  4. I've heard it too. Usually by people who couldn't take care of themselves if their life depended on it. I ignore them and do as I wish. I hope you all do the same.

  5. Both points of view are valid. Do you really believe everyone goes into this and succeeds? While you may not like the negative vibes you got you have to realize that you are the one to brng up the subject. If you were to say to the average adult that you were going to quit your job and become a surfer bum mst adults would advise against it. If you said you were going to give up all your worldly possessions and live in the woods like native Americans did most adults would be against it. Select your audience more carefully. I can assure you that if you live in Southern California and knew a lot of surfer beach bums they would respond "cool dude" to your desire to be a surfer beach bum. I suggest you discuss your dreams and aspirations with like minded people. Oh oh! Gotta go, surf's up...

  6. That response is completely typical...even among country folk. Something about the word homestead puts off people. That is probably because they don't know much about homesteading. You aren't going to educate them in a brief conversation so just go on. Ignore them or don't even use the word homestead. Be creative and think up another word to describe what you want to do. Good luck in your future. Meary

  7. Dear up-and-coming Farmer:

    Never listen to the nattering nay-bobs of negativity.

    God has given you one life.

    If you ever doubt the ferocious drive in the heart of a farmer and that farmer's spouse - a drive I sense in you - listen to Paul Harvey's recorded essay "God Created a Farmer." (Do an internet search - it will pop right up.)

    I think that essay was used in a super bowl commercial a year or two ago. I didn't see it then. I had to go search for it later. It will fill you with reverence and tears.

    To choose to be a temporary steward (we're all here only temporarily) of a small part of the globe and leave it better for the next generation --- wow. That's huge.

    Just Me

  8. Don't let others sway you from your goals. Is homesteading hard work? You betcha! I grew up raising horses and there's not even time for a vacation. But if it is what you want, then go for it. I recently had a situation where a friend wants to start canning on her own. (I've gone to her house with my water bath canner and made some jams with her last year.) Her husband doesn't see the need for her getting canning equipment and doing this when "you can go to the store and buy the stuff already in cans." His exact words. I wasn't even going to try to explain it to him since he'd already made up his mind about it. Personally I've never seen canned bruschetta or Blushing Peach jam (Peach Raspberry) in stores myself. I just silently thought to myself - you're in for a big surprise some day when a disaster hits this area or TEOTWAWKI happens.

  9. I think it's normal for the most part, I grew up with many animals and some property in Washington State, but now live in town in Florida & work in Banking, I would love to get back to the basics and some property someday and away from town "even though it's not a huge town", but I don't dare tell people that because they don't understand it and think that I am out of my mind, but I will make it happen someday,for now I will plant my small garden every year,read your blog and dream.

  10. Very few city friends were supportive. The people in my new rural community never laugh or sneer. They just say sad, wistful things like, "My grandmother used to do that."

  11. I believe those that are naysayers about homesteading already belong to the group that look down on stay-at-home moms. Women that choose to prepare meals and treats and not be a part of the general American way of thinking. I personally could care less about their opinions.

  12. Most of our detrimental comments come from people who are farmers, ranchers, homesteaders. They think we are city slickers that took the wrong bus and landed in the country because we are both Army brats, now retired Army, and soon to be retired RR. We are not strangers to hard work, early mornings, late nights, birth, death, gardens (my dad had one at every opportunity and we worked the earth with him and canned the produce). We don't intend to have a huge operation, just a garden, a cow/calf pair or two, rehab a neglected orchard, learn bee keeping. We have all the amenities: a house with running water, flushing toilets and electricity. Fencing the place will probably be the hardest job we do, and I know, because my husband and I have both done it before.
    We currently live in a more harsh rural environment and this move should make our lives easier, but it hasn't stopped the questioning comments.
    The best I can offer on this, is to quietly do what it is you intend to do and when/if the occasion arises, share your successes, whatever they may be. It could be just what you learned that DIDN'T work and what you will do differently next time.
    Don't sacrifice your dream of homesteading because your friends didn't support you. I always wanted to be a cowgirl and should have gone to WY when I graduated instead of college on that scholarship. Your dream is not so different from a boy in a coal mining town dreaming of helping win the space race. Homer Hickam didn't let poverty or disapproval change his mind; laughter would have been easier to tolerate I think.
    And remember, "He who laughs last, laughs best."

  13. I do feel that you seem to be a bit more defensive than necessary with people who may just have smiled because they thought it was a nice idea of yours. And telling someone that homesteading is a lot of hard work is not necessarily meaning that it is a lesser lifestyle. Learn as many skills as you can and save as much money as possible because buying land is not getting more easy or cheap. Good luck to you!

  14. Homesteading can have a range of meanings, I think,so it is strange when people think I am nuts for wanting to be self-sufficient. And really that is what homesteading means to me... that I am striving to have the skills to do things that will permit me to feed my family, and provide them an environment that will help them remain close to our Lord, Jesus.

    1. Well I finally found what I suspected. To me homesteading is an old form of getting land with sweat equity. You stake 40 or so acres clear the land of trees and unwanted brush, build a cabin or house live there 3 out of 7 years and in 7 years file a patent on it pay the government some money and the land is yours. Or buy 5, 10, 20 or how many acres and live a self-sufficient life style which is totally different from Homesteading.

  15. Typical for my experience. Of course I would point out I live in a region that has a lot of State and Federal retirees so they have no clue that people have to really work for a living and the money isn't just handed to normal people by the bucket load so they tend to look down on homesteading and small farming as only something the poor people do.

    I would tell her to keep on because the FIAT money deficit scam is going to come crashing down and Homesteaders will be way ahead of the curve when that happens.

    1. I am a state worker and believe me, I know what it means to really work for a living. I don't have money just handed to me by the bucket either. So apparently those in homesteading and small farming look down on state and federal workers. Assumptions from either side is just that. Assumptions. I have a huge garden and can just about everything we eat. To include meat. My co-workers who are not lucky enough to have land to do that are envious. I know what I will be doing when I retire, and it will be nice to not have to work and try to keep up with everything else. But if everyone did this, think how much land that would require. Those city-slickers are doing us all a favor by staying in the city.

  16. The college-church group gal, could have mis-read her friends reaction, and I would suggest just asking 'what do you think?" and I'll bet a pretty good discussion will result. Meanwhile..
    When I lived in Montana we wore our rural-ness like a badge of honor, and the tourists wished they were one of us.
    Where I live now, in the Florida Panhandle there is mixed reactions and feelings about being country. Some sectors celebrate it, others mock it, but we all co-exist just fine.
    Yes, it's alot of work, and I wouldn't wish it on someone who didn't want that. But for those of us who choose it, or are 'called' to it, it's heaven on earth, work and all.
    That's my two pennies!

  17. I always am amused at how the liberals, and anti hunting crowd are against people like me. I am a Tea Party member, Marine, and avid subsistence hunter , gardener, canner.. Farm owner and self employed Handyman. I bet I am closer to the land, live "greener" and appreciate the game that we live on than any tree huggin PETA member.

  18. It sounds like the author is a college student, perhaps relatively young. To which I say, Get Used To It. I mean that kindly. It's one thing to be excited about an idea and look for those with similar ideas (like here). It's another entirely to seek approval from your peer group, especially if your peer group is also under 30 and still exploring their own personal ideas about their direction in life.

    Don't romanticize homesteading, study up, get your facts down, scrounge out experience where you can, and get your ducks in a row. I know from personal experience that you find a lot more like-minded friends once you start living out your lifestyle-changing values than if you just talk about it to the non-participatory circles you're already in. Don't waste your energy trying to convince them to approve first. Just go on and do it, one little step at a time.

    Besides, many of those previous hippie-faddish-back-to-the-landers of the 60s/70s are now amply established authors. It wasn't a fad for them.

  19. I've learned to just not bother telling people what I want to do in life. I go about my way quietly gathering the info and experience I need and then I just do it. There is much less frustration on my part at being forced to listen to others comments on what they think I should or should not do. And I guess I also enjoy the amusement I get when my relatives or friends are shocked when my spouse and I make such "hasty" decisions and changes. LOL. Seek knowledge from those who are already doing what you need to learn. The others might make great friends, but they don't need to know ALL of your plans to be your friends.

  20. I have been homesteading for 7 years after retiring at age 62. I love this life. I am invigorated by the challenges and the rewards, of the fruit on my vines, eggs in the basket and chickens following me around the yard. I love that I now shear my own sheep and spin the wool for my very own yarn. I love that my pantry is loaded with home grown whole foods. My health has never been better and I sleep thru the night and wake up excited about my plans for each new day. I never had this joy of living in all my years of living and working in the big city.

    My family thinks I have gone crazy and worry that something is surely wrong with me because I want to spend my day working on my very own endeavors and welfare. They think I should be at home sitting and knitting on my sofa and relaxing in my retirement. They cannot understand why I would willingly do so much "work" every day. I try to explain that it is not work, it is living. They have no frame of reference in their lives for what I am doing.

    I have told them that they can still come and stay with me when the city no longer provides for them the comfort and safety they think they are now enjoying.

  21. I have friends from way back who can't believe I have livestock. I'm not a full time homesteader (wish I was, but not possible at this time), I'm more part time. I know people who think my gardening and animals are "neat" and others who politely smile, but I know they think it's weird. I don't care though, I love it!!

  22. Don't assume you know their laughing at you! That may be their dream also, and they were encouraged by your desire. Only Jesus knows what's in man's heart, we can misinterpret body language. Especially since these were people you love, satan wants to cause trouble and misinterpretations. Ask them why they laughed, hear their reasons, give love a chance!

  23. Once you start living your dream, what they think won't be so important to you any more. Why? Because you will be too happy to care.
    When I moved to the country alone I went nervously to a new church building. I listened to the conversations around me and heard them talking about the weather and cows. I knew then I was pretty close to heaven.
    As a hint, if you work cattle alone, I would recommend using cow whispering. It's worked for me for 8 years now....along with the prayer, "Heavenly Father, if you still want me in this business, I need that cow there...". Mesquite

    1. Amen!
      I ask the same Father for help as well!
      Used it Sunday morning early when my dad's calves were out--wanting to make it to church--whipped in his driveway, blew the horn and the calf jumped and CLEARED the cattle guard!
      Made it to Worship in time too!

  24. Mostly I get shock and indignation. Such as "I can't believe you would want to do all that work." And a lot of "I know where I'm going during the apocalypse!" Even when my fore planning has actually helped friends out, they're still mostly surprised. For instance, recently a friend punctured her foot on a nail shortly before we visited her house. Her nurse uncle was trying to dress her foot but she didn't have proper supplies. When I fetched my first aid kit from the car to help her out all she had to say was "who actually keeps all this stuff?" I just silently raised my hand, then walked away. I agree that many people seem to think being prepared is weird.

  25. We moved in to a 'well-to-do' neighborhood near Seattle. I immediately started raising chickens, ducks and rabbits which made my neighbors a bit uncomfortable, but what really got their panties in a wad was when I put up a clothes line. A CLOTHESLINE for goodness sake !! I was called the 'Beverly Hillbilly of the neighborhood. Now, most of these are decent people, but they have have their heads buried so far up Hollywoods backside that they can't see daylight. I grow as much of our food as possible on our little space and most everyone just 'whispers' about the strange people we are. One neighbor told me if she ever won the lottery she would buy me a farm far away. We bought our own and are in the process of moving to the redoubt asap. With the Lords Blessings, we can't wait.

  26. "Being rude towards country people seems to be seen as their right in liberals minds."


    I have run into this phenomenon so many times that I am beginning to recognize it as a "thing," a self- identifier that people who are so inclined seem to adopt as their secret handshake into what appears to them, apparently, as an upper caste.

    I have and have always had one foot in both worlds. I came from an extended family that was no more than two generations (grandparents at most, often parents) off the farm and/or in this country. Many of the "old ways" were carried through as a matter of thrift, frugality, common sense, etc. I married into a very similar family. My husband and I both have college degrees and we both have (I had, now retired early thanks to my patient and giving husband) *very* technical careers.

    We have fielded so many disparaging remarks from other "educated professionals" and "sophisticated urbanites" about people who make their living off of the land and/or with their backs and their hands. Contexts have varied but a common thread runs throughout. There is a definite "us" vs. "them" attitude, with the "us" crowd full of their purchased education, degrees and credentials and sophistication by association with population centers. Rural people, they assert, barely have enough common sense to come in out of the rain. Some of them don't have that much intelligence! Just look at them out there in the rain! (Working. They are working. In the rain. And in the cold. And in the heat. They are working circles around all of us. Did you see that part as well?)

    Little do they realize, these sophisticated hot house flowers, that in sharing their urbane perspectives with us with a *wink wink nudge nudge you are one of "us"* that they are speaking to the children and grandchildren of the very people they disparage.

    We live in our technical world and we make our way in it just fine, we negotiate our life in the city adeptly, but we keep and nurture our roots in the country. We hang onto as many of the old ways as we can shove into this life and our half again another life in our rural locales. We only hope that we can offer some value to our country neighbors should we need to rely on their kindness, their strong shoulders and able hands at some point in the future. We do try to pull our own weight and some.

    God bless and keep the people who keep the old ways, the old knowledge, the ability and skill to work with their hands and their backs as well as with their brains. They may save us all yet.

    (Long time lurker, first time commenter, this one really struck a chord with me.)

    1. LTL...(long time lurker...)

      There's a place for sale just upriver from us. It would be wonderful to have y'all as our new neighbors. You'd fit right in here.

      Glad you de-lurked... wonderful first post.

      A. McSp

    2. A.McSp., I responded to your reply in the general thread. In short, thank you! I'm not too familiar with this platform so please excuse my fat-fingered reply technique! :) I think I'll keep that moniker, LTL. It fits. :)

  27. Don't worry about people like that, they don't have to live your life, you do! As a friend recently told me "What other people think of me is not my business".

  28. What interesting comments!! Having raised two daughters through college, well yeah, I smile indulgently when college students share their dreams with me. They have lots of them - many of them seem unlikely to me - many of them will never materialize. But, that's what young people are supposed to do!! Dream, plan, test and move on to what eventually works for them.

    For me personally? I am usually too thick headed to know when people are making fun of me, or perhaps I just don't care. Most of my city friends love what I am doing - they don't understand WHY I would want to do it, but they seem to admire it and like to visit the farm. Heck, some days, *I* don't understand why I want to live this way. It IS hard work (and I am a pretty citified farmer (you know, with flush toilets, a refrigerator, a tractor, and a computer). I can see what I have given up, but in the six years I have been here, have never had a moment's doubt that it's worth it.

  29. I lived in the suburbs and I loved to can, sew, crochet, make my own everything! I was always the one who was weird. The people around me loved malls, store bought clothes and restaurants. I was always asked why I liked to do things the hard way, why I wanted to raise my own food etc. Twenty years ago we bought a farm in the country. We were told we were making the wrong move, we would not survive, and we were to old to start something new. :( I am now an herbalist, have learned to do midwifery, we raise everything we eat, make my own cheese, medicines and teach classes on how to eat weeds, use trees for medicine, and canning, dehydrating classes. People now want to know these skills. So don't listen to those who put you down but go the direction God leads you and you will prosper.

  30. Dear Patrice,
    I feel I must respond to your reader as we have just moved to our homestead 8 weeks ago. I might also add I have YOU to thank for our success! I have read your blog along this journey and you have saved us so many mistakes, not to mention probably tons of money. So here are my thoughts for your reader:

    Homestead where you are right now. Practice. Learn. Learn everything you can. We had lived in a suburban home in the Denver area before moving to our little 5-1/2 acre homestead here in eastern Kansas. In Denver, I tore out all my landscaping and planted an 'edible' landscape. I turned my flower beds into vegetable gardens. I learned to can the garden produce, many soups and stews(pressure canner), and dehydrate foods for the long winters. I believe homesteading and self-sufficiency go hand-in-hand. We planted fruit trees (promptly eaten by the deer and elk, no matter the fencing) and a bear one fall finished my squash in the garden. I could go on and on. I learned a ton from those experiences. You can too! Also, the first thing we did in buying this place was to plant our orchard. That was three years ago and this year it is producing our first fruits. Get a notebook and plan, plan, plan! Write everything down. Every hope, dream, and project. Think and re-think. And finally, get out of debt as much as possible. We are now debt-free and have the freedom now to do some of those dream projects. This journey has been 5 years in the making and it is so worth every effort we have made to make it happen. My husband is 65 and I will be 60 this fall. I have never felt better in my life either. The physical activity beats any gym workout! Finally, don't listen to others. Just smile. Begin your own journey wherever you are right now. Don't wait for the 'perfect' little homestead to drop in your lap. You'll find it someday, and then you will be ready for it! God bless!

  31. Honestly, I think a lot of the negative reaction is just pure jealousy. As one example, I have those city friends who made snide remarks about me being a "pioneer woman" when I was able to do hand wash my laundry during a week-long, major power outage by catching rainwater/snow and then heating it. Something like that never would've occurred to those same friends who spent the week huddled up in dirty clothes until the power came back. I think they're just jealous that we have the mindset of being self-sufficient and are capable of adjusting and adapting to less-than-perfect circumstances. They only know one way of doing things, and coming up with an alternative is beyond them. While I was living large and having a great time during a major ice storm because I have the homesteading attitude, they were absolutely miserable.

    I've also dealt with people who think homesteaders/country folk are downright geniuses. I don't know how many times I've heard, "you're a country girl," before being asked how to do something, how to fix something, how to cook, or how to make something.

    If homesteading is in your heart, you should do it, wherever you are, and no matter what someone else says about it. In the end, we live for ourselves, not for others. If raising chickens, cooking from scratch, and making/mending our own clothes makes us happy, then good for us!

  32. I got laughed at seven years ago just for moving from the city back to the small town I grew up in. People told me I would be lonely, get depressed, and have a terrible time. They also said I would be unable to live without a mall, multiplex theater, and Starbucks. They were wrong!

  33. Generalizations do no one any good. For both the woman who commented and her friends from church. They may not have know what to say, a smile is an easy way out. Patrice, I personally took offense to parts of your post on California. Some parts of it was spot on and other parts were horrifically wrong speculation and generalization. However I know where I stand with my values and I let it go. I continue to homeschool with ease, garden, raise chickens, sheep and pigs on a 1/2 acre smack in the middle of a vacation community with "city people" coming up all summer. Most people enjoy learning about what we do and why, you just have to have an honest dialogue. What is missing in today's world is the skill of conversation and connecting rather than computer based reality. That said from my computer desk, Ha!

  34. Dear A. McSp.

    Thank you! What a kind offer! A place on the river sounds divine. :) :) We have acquired a place in a rural locale. We do not yet live there full time but we are working on retiring there. It's not perfect in every sense but no one place would be. Our current place has much to recommend it, however, in terms of options for increased self-sufficiency, and we are working on that.

    In the meantime, I bloom where I am planted. Like others have mentioned, I garden in the city (a teeny tiny plot but it produces a surprising amount of food!) I practice thrift, we hang onto as many old skill sets as we can, we do it ourselves, etc. etc.

    Thank you for your warm welcome. It's nice to be here. :)

  35. Probably too old to homestead myself - particularly as retirement. An earlier start is called for I'm thinkin'.

    About one month ago I had the high priveledge of spending a couple of days with three homesteading families.

    Their homes may not be as filled with gadgetsm dohickeys and time sinks. but they are filled with love, peace and a satisfaction born of the very real ownership of the fruits of your labor.

    Yes, you DID grow that.

    All I can say here in Silicon Valley is that I took actions to shave the cost of a handful of development projects and in the abstract I enjoy the fruits of my labor.

    I cannot however, hold it in my hand, eat it or give it away.

    I must trade my abstraction with other abstractions.

    Homesteading is NOT abstract.

    I envy those who are able to live in that non-abstract world.

    What isn't abstract? Getting up at o'dark thirty to deal with the animals, chasing them back onto your property when one of the more clever of the herd breaches the fence, converting your entire household to single chores and making something.

    Some might say to me, "You didn't build that" and they would be correct.

    This cannot be said of homesteaders.

    Ronald Reagan once said (paraphrasing):
    "Some men spend their lives wondering if they have done anything, if they have made any difference.
    The Marines do not have this problem."

    Homesteaders don't have this problem.

  36. I too would smile. Been a city boy all my life and always felt the call but lacked the courage. Got hurt and had to retire. I'm still putting my kids on course for life. Who knows when I'm done maybe we'll be neighbors. Don,t pay mind to all the nay sayers. KIllerWales

  37. I live in San Jose, CA and I tell my patients (I'm a hygienist) and others that I want a homestead. I never notice any negative reactions or get negative comments. But, I never care what people think so I may not be picking up on the clues...... ;) I have to retire sometime so I may as well a some chickens and a couple of goats!

  38. My parents acted like I grew a 2nd head cause we wanted property in the country...and then got chickens, a garden, dogs, donkeys, and a rabbit. They don't even know the half of what we want to do here, lol. It took them coming for a visit to realize that this IS what we want. And that we haven't lost our minds. Idk why their reaction was so over-the-top.... Most people think it's pretty cool. There are ones who think we're crazy mainly cause THEY can't fathom living like this, but they support that WE want to live like this.

  39. My wife and I are in the midst of planning a move to Idaho or Montana to begin homesteading. (In fact we took some time visiting several town's in the Lewis's area late last summer). Even though we live in semi-rural Washington we get a lot of the same reaction from our more citified friends, especially the "why would you want to take on that work at your ages?" I'd say reactions (when we bring it up) are 40% skeptical, 30% positive, 30% envious.

  40. I'm so glad you posted this, as I know I'm not alone. I feel like there's more & more of out there feeling this way. I've long been a city dweller working "high tech" jobs that have worn me down to the point of me wanting to break off from modern society because most of all this just isn't important or healthy. I still spend a fair amount of my time staring at a computer screen, and it's driving me nuts! I've been a casual home gardener for many years and am really nearing the point where, in the past few years, I've been saying to friends & people I meet that "I want to be a farmer". I've gotten a lot of comments as stated above, like "the work is hard", etc. With the general social decline we're all seeing in this country, I just don't see that as a bad thing in the long run. A community or nation that can't produce enough food to support its population is doomed to failure, there's no getting around that.

  41. I get it all the time. People generally think we are insane. The fact that I'D prefer my husband to be a butcher over a nuclear engineer, to be "poor" monetarily over "rolling in the dough". The fact that we are leaving the military to pursue our dreams. Yep. All the time. But we get it about other things to like having more than 1.5 children, how we raise and educate our kids, etc etc.

  42. I teach high school, and I encounter this snobbish mentality a lot. Clearly, for kids who get all their food from the supermarket (or, worse, their parents get it for them), farmers and their work are irrelevant. This is a suburban high school, too, so nobody knows from experience how dedicated, highly skilled and hardworking farmers must be. They just have no idea.

  43. I think most people that respond in that way are only seeing the work involved and not the joys and special blessings that come with a homesteading lifestyle.
    Also they are not seeing it for what it is, I think that they have a faulty preconceived idea of what a farmer/homesteader looks like.
    I would suggest (generously) giving them some of your best meat/eggs/produce, whatever your raising, that will help a lot.
    Stick with it.

  44. I find it rather painfully typical, and not just of the city.

    I went to high school out in the boonies; when I said I wanted to be a nurse (!), I was told I was "too smart for that" and ought to go to medical school. Really!!

    I can only imagine their reaction had I said what was already lurking in my heart: "I want to be a farmer!" FFA, like vocational education, was supposedly for kids who "didn't have the intellect" for a college education.

    What a shame!!!!

    I didn't go into farming, ironically, because I felt I didn't have sense enough to be a farmer. I was one of those kids with "book smarts" and little "common sense." I realize, now, that you start with the heart of a farmer and build the "sense" over time, by teaching and working with knowledgeable individuals.

    I mourn for the country my children will inherit if the truly critical jobs are to be dismissively relegated to "those who lack the intellect." Sounds like the poo-poo is flying toward the propeller.

  45. I live in a rural area in Texas. I drive 130 miles round trip every day to my job in the city. I sell eggs and produce to my co-workers. Most of the people I associate with are in the 40 and up demographic. The general feedback I get is most of then are rather envious of the life style but they are unsure whether they could really do it. I get a lot of questions on gardening and many of them have started putting in small gardens. I always encourage them to do what they can and it will grow with experience. We are out here. You just have to find the right mentor.