While scanning one of the hobby farm groups I belong to on social media this morning, I happened upon a pretty harsh attack on one of my fellow homesteaders. I won’t go into great detail, as that part isn’t particularly important. Suffice to say, it caused me to pause and think about how and why it’s so important to genuinely believe in the lifestyle you choose to live – regardless of what that existence looks like to others.
The highs and Lows of Homesteading are vast. One minute you’re prideful, gazing upon your beautiful cabbages flourishing in the garden, the only thing missing is Satchmo’s “What a wonderful world” crooning in the background. Then you happily head on over to your chicken coops where the soundtrack abruptly switches to Drowning Pool’s “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” as you make the grisly discovery that a raccoon has ripped the door off your hen house and shredded 3 of your feathered friends.
This is my life.
If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you well know that there’s always something to be repaired, replaced, refurbished or built from scratch around here. This weekend it was a new coop door and a quail cage. Last week it was our bee boxes. You have to love this life. If you do not love being home, being creative, spending your money on hobby farm must-haves and devoting the vast majority of your free time to getting dirt beneath your fingernails and contemplating the necessary square footage for an electric fence, then the homesteading life will most certainly be your living hell.
When you love this sort of life, you don’t have lots of expendable cash. Eating out consists of making a homemade meal and sitting on the patio with a few candles and some classic vinyl and random turkey gobbles serenading in the background. When you do have the opportunity to go out and get “dressed up” it typically consists of a sundress adorned with a couple spots of paint or a few chicken-wire snags and a pair of plastic flip flops that dry quickly. After all, there’s always a last minute water trough to fill or garden to feed before hitting the road. That old phrase “we can’t have nice things” absolutely applies to my wardrobe these days.
One of the main reasons we transitioned from city life to country life is our food consumption. We are working diligently on that piece of the homesteading puzzle. Our goal is to responsibly, ethically and sustainably consume food. If you can’t hack the harvest of homegrown animals, then this life of peace and endless purpose for me, will undoubtedly feel like a cyclical march of death and sadism for you. At present I have 20+ Cornish hens that will be culled within the next 24-48 hours and probably 50 or so quail headed to my house. The female quail will provide eggs, the males will provide meat and I’m okay with that reality. I participate in the food chain. Homesteading is not always an easy breezy “feel-good” situation. It comes with a lot of emotional baggage. But what sort of lifestyle doesn’t come with emotional baggage? Pick your poison.
Your life is your own. The decisions you make, the risks you’re willing to take and the lifestyle you choose to embrace will reflect your character. It is okay if your decisions don’t jive with everyone else’s around you. Just remind yourself regularly that if you make every life choices based on what you feel is good and right, you will be completely comfortable with yourself and the life you lead. What a genuinely freeing realization. No approval needed. I can attest to the fact that nothing feels more gratifying than being able to unequivocally live your own truth. Whatever that may look like to others.