Spring 2013: In the beginning…

…it took a long time and a lot of discussion for a sufficiently complete picture of a desired future for my wife and me to form in my head.  No doubt each of us comes to a decision to hit life’s big red “reset button” in our own way and time, and does not come to the decision lightly; I have hit the button before, and it is not always a pleasant experience.  In April of 2013 I wrote in my journal, “It seems that in the past two to four weeks, I am heading in a direction that suits me, in the direction that perhaps I should have been heading for a long time.  For months Geri and I have been talking about moving out of the area, having a second home, or both.  It feels like I have been walking around in the dark, groping for who I am, what I should be doing, and where I should be doing it.”

So how did I come to this feeling of needing to hit the reset button?  For me, “providing” for my family has always been a chief aim.  In our society as I have come to know it, or have come to believe it to be, to provide is to provide money; money to exchange for food and water, shelter, heating and cooling, vehicles, vehicle maintenance and repair, television and telecommunications, clothing, healthcare, and recreation, not to mention “toys” of every description, and so on ad nauseam.  I came to realize just how brittle, how easily shattered, was my ability to provide through the earning of money.  As examples, I could fall out of favor with my employer, I could become disabled, worse yet I could contract disease and die a slow and very expensive death, leaving my family with nothing but debt, or the government could radically devalue the currency, or choose to redistribute much more of the so-called “wealth,” the promise to provide in our old age through Social Security and Medicare could be broken, or a natural disaster could take our home and belongings; each of us I am sure could cite innumerable ugly possibilities.  Frankly, the more I dwelt on these issues, the angrier I became, to the point that it was practically disabling, but also motivating.

I also realized that what I do for money, provides directly for precisely none of my or my family’s needs, in fact I am quite practiced in doing nothing that can be bartered for anything, except for money.  This last piece of the puzzle is tantamount to having one’s “man card” revoked, or at least it was in my opinion.  Until 1995 I had never had a vehicle in a repair shop, I had never had a maintenance man of any sort in a home I owned, I had never paid anyone to mow my lawn, I was a fairly proficient welder with oxygen and acetylene, and could recharge my air conditioner properly with Freon, I had fairly recent memories of successfully hunting and fishing, and if I dug deeply enough, trapping.  Until only recently though, I had done none of that for the better part of 20 years.  And for food that is grown from the earth, I was almost completely blind to its sources; I didn’t know that broccoli was a seed head, or that Brussels sprouts were a bud and the plant a cultivar of the cabbage group, and worse.

My wife Geri and I celebrating the future of our life together in 2012.

Due in part to those reasons, also due in great part to a desire to be closer as husband and wife, and in search of  “pursuits of happiness,” we made the decision to buy a homestead, and to begin the journey towards greater self-sufficiency, greater self-reliance, towards a life lived closer to the earth, closer to our friends, closer to the people in our community, and closer to each other.  Some skills will need to be learned anew, a large number will need to be learned for the first time; many, many mistakes will be made, and failures surmounted.  It will be hard, hard work.  A dear friend, Peter, recently opined that I should blog as we go, if for no other reason than as a way of “paying forward” <my words> the debt I owe those who to my great benefit have posted to blogs and Facebook and YouTube of their experiences.  Having reflected on Peter’s observation, I must agree, and therefore, the blog starts here.

Your comments and criticisms, your inputs and acknowledgements, are welcomed.

— John, 18 Feb 2014.

p.s.  Obviously I have written above about events that took place several months ago.  I will continue to work from my handwritten journals and other records regarding what has happened to date, while posting contemporaneously from this time on.

9 replies
  1. Peter
    Peter says:

    How exciting! Looking forward to watching your journey unfold. It looks like a Great Adventure lies ahead.
    Enjoy all the moments whatever flavor they come in. Cheers!

    • homestead
      homestead says:

      Thanks Peter! And thanks for the gentle nudge and support.

  2. Angels6
    Angels6 says:

    good luck in all your efforts – take care and always be safe

    • homestead
      homestead says:

      Thanks Em! Please follow. It will be a fun ride, including all of the ups and downs!

  3. Gina
    Gina says:

    Hey kids, let me know when you start your vineyard. I'm sure I can be of some help. 🙂

    • homestead
      homestead says:

      Hi Gina! I think there will be some grape vines in the design, though I have not gotten to that level of detail, yet. I can see you wading around in the grapes now!

  4. Dennis G
    Dennis G says:

    Hey friends! Welcome to the area….its living off the land, in the cold, in the wet,roughing it! Or as we call it up here, Tuesday! Looking forward to a lot of Tuesday's with my friends!

    • homestead
      homestead says:

      Thanks Dennis! We feel welcomed. I look forward to many, many Tuesdays, not to mention Wednesdays through Mondays. And please "follow" the blog.

Comments are closed.