Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Try Homestead Farming?

                                         Looking toward South Point, not far from my land.

First, let it be known the I never was raised to farming. I grew up in the suburbs of a large city. We lived in housing developments. I was encouraged to become a nurse or a teacher. Our pets were a cat, a parakeet, some aqurium fish, and later, a dog.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, I have always been attracted to farming. Oh, how a longed for a pony! Sure, little girls want ponies, but I also would have been just as happy with a cow, pig, goat, or sheep. Ducks and chickens fascinated me. Plus I greatly enjoyed growing things, watching them get bigger, bloom, produce seed. I recall that even as young as a child in elementary school, I would collect acorns and plant them around my neighborhood. As I approached junior high, I strongly wanted to attend agricultural high school. Needless to say, my parents refused. They didn't have a clue how I felt. And from their viewpoint, it would be a cold day in hell before their only daughter would be allowed to attend agricultural high school!

So for the first 40 years of my life I soothed my inner frustrated farming soul by gardening. Yes, I got my pony! Had a couple of rabbits for a while. Raised some meat chickens. Kept a couple dairy goats for a few years. I dabbled, experimented, read books, and learned. There was no handy Internet in those days, so I learned on my own the old fashioned way. I even took a couple of community college ag courses. But I still lived the typical American housewife life while taking parttime, sometimes full time jobs in a field that I also loved- veterinary medicine. I often thought that if I could live my life over again, I would have gotten into farming of some sort.

Somewhere in my early 50's my husband and I started looking at future retirement. Prospects were not so sunny. While we were not dirt poor, we didn't have any retirement funds. Sometime during this period of doom &gloom and soul searching, the thought of surviving retirement by becoming more self-sufficient started to grow and look more possible. And the idea of "need less, spend less" took root.

Out came my lifelong collection of farming books. I studied them, looking for ideas to apply to our own needs. The more I read, the more I wanted to give homesteading a serious try. The idea was hatched, and for the next couple years I nurtured it. Eventually we took the plunge......sink or swim. And while we swam like mad, we almost sunk! We had to learn not farming.....we had to learn a  whole new way to look to life, a totally different way to live life! It wasn't easy or fun, but it turned out to be worth the struggle.

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