Here is how we approach homesteading. Our best practices, our philosophy, our code and standard. How about a manifesto? What is a manifesto? It sounds dangerous. It just means “A public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature.” Instead I will call this article Preserving Today’s Homesteading Principles. Here I will declare my principles and intentions for all who may choose to read them. My hope with this article is to help any readers understand where I’m coming from. Here is Preserving Today’s philosophy.
Preserving Today’s Six Core Principals:
- Home, family and nature are important.
- Do more for ourselves and rely less on systems that don’t serve us.
- There is always more than one right way to get things done.
- Learning is a continuous process.
- Ask yourself first before seeking outside help.
- Don’t wait for things to be perfect, just do something.
1: Home, Family & Nature are important.
Importance of Home
Our homes used to be more than just a place to sleep and charge our smart phones. The home was the heart of our families. A place where we could birth our babies, school our children, grow, raise, cook and preserve our own food. We celebrate our successes, hosting weddings in the pasture and nursed our sick, sometimes holding funerals in our parlor. I believe having this sacred place of rest, healing, nourishment, work and resources is integral to our happiness as humans.
If you’re like me, you want to take back your autonomy and breathe new life into your home, join me. Let’s learn together. With intention, we can rely more on ourselves and less on the systems that don’t serve us.
Importance of family
In the days before our lives were compartmentalized by shipping our kids off to school, our parents off to convalescent care and both spouses off to their day jobs to earn paper money we worked together in our homes as a team. Everyone has a job, even the house cat. Living as a generational, traditional family provides so much benefit. It’s a shame that our society has moved so far away from that and even made the idea laughable.
Grandparents have a purpose and role. To teach the old ways of doing things, to tell stories of how things used to be and to keep an eye on the children. Another set of hands can always be useful.
Children in the home bring joy and curiosity. They can give us a reason and motivation to be productive and keep a positive attitude.
Being married is also extremely beneficial to a person. Another set of working hands, yes, but also the comfort, trust and love that develops between two dedicated individuals gives home its real meaning.
Importance of nature
Nature and its beauty and perfection teach us so many lessons. If you want to you can call it mother earth, Source, God or something else. We all see that natural systems work better than those imposed with force by the state. Whether or not the state or corporation is well meaning makes no difference. Spontaneous order and true freedom allow a natural symbiotic balance to take place.
Many examples of this can be found. For instance, let’s glance at regenerative agriculture vs mono-cropping soybean or wheat. The inputs needed to sustain each are different. That’s because nature has a way of balancing so everything is benefitted. It makes more sense to observe the natural way of things and try to work with them then it does to try and destroy and override nature to create what we believe will benefit us better.
When we take the time to homestead we can see these natural cycles again. The phases of the moon, the seasons changing and coming around again, day turning to night and returning with the run rise. There are cycles in every little detail of what we do. If we watch and find the natural patterns, it boosts our efforts and leads to a more bountiful existence. Float with the current instead of swimming against it.
2: Do more for ourselves and rely less on the systems that don’t serve us.
When we decide to do more for ourselves, we take back control. Here’s an example. If you bake your own loaf of bread, even with store bought yeast and flour, you have more control over what is in your food than you do if you buy a loaf of finished bread at a store or bakery.
Why? Because every step of the process from the soil to chewing and swallowing the bread has inputs. The more we move back from the part where we put the bread in our mouths and towards that soil, the more control we have over the inputs. This can be as simple as avoiding plastic packaging, or as detailed as what variety of wheat we’re using and who grew it.
The systems in place are not here to serve us best. They are to serve the system best. We may get benefit from it, but the main goal is not to best take care of the individual. It is to make sure the system is profitable and growing. So if we want freedom from these systems, we need to take responsibility. Maybe you’ve heard the quote:
“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.“Eleanor Roosevelt from her book You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life
I haven’t read that book, and I’m probably not going to. In nature, freedom is the default. We are all free. The opposition to freedom is placed upon us by society. In our world as it is today, I would instead say that with responsibility comes freedom. If we want to take back our autonomy we must do more for ourselves and rely less on the systems that do not serve us.
3: There is always more than one right way to get things done.
There’s more than one way to grow a garden. There is more than one type of feed to nourish your chickens. There’s more than one right way to do anything. In fact, there are many! So many. When we pretend that the way that is right for us is right for everyone else we are holding an extremely selfish and narrow view of things.
I can’t assume that what works for me in my kitchen, in my environment, with my skills and resources will work for someone in an apartment in Los Angeles. The situations are just too different.
The internet is a wonderful tool, but it can sometimes feel like the internet is the directory of the right answers. Has all of life’s mysteries and all of our problems been solved and well documented? The “right” way of doing anything is already available to us. What are stars? Why do we yawn? How does the earth spin without us feeling it? How many people have been on the moon? You can just answer all of these questions with a quick Google search. What’s the harm in that?
If we think the answer is already figured out, we may stop thinking critically. If you read a banana bread recipe are you going to blindly follow directions if it calls for one cup of salt? Maybe you know enough about baking that you are certain that is too much salt for this little recipe. We could guess that it’s probably a typo, and the author meant sugar.
If you try something that you learn from someone, in a book or online we need to still think critically and consider how this is working in our situation. Consider how our situation may differ from that of the author.
In my writing and teaching style I like to give people many options to try so they can find what works for them. This can also help people know that there are many variables, so if they try and don’t have the outcome the desire, they will be more likely to try again.
4. Learning is a continuous process.
I am still learning. I’m still learning to cook, about fermentation, parenting, nutrition, gardening. I am not done. I don’t and will not ever know all there is to know. Learning is a continuous process. I learn more about something every time I do it. That is exciting! It makes life endlessly interesting. Let’s learn together!
5. Ask yourself first before seeking outside help.
If we always follow rules, we are not taping into our intuition. I believe intuition is like a muscle, it grows weak when it is under used. If we always first pick up our phone when we have a question, we are not checking in with ourselves and what we know before asking for outside input. I’m not saying to never seek guidance or a second opinion. I just hope that we will remember to ask ourselves the questions before we seek that outside help.
That can look different for different people. A prayer to God, a quiet moment to meditate and connect with the earth or just a quick scan of the old noodle to see if there’s any helpful info stored in there that we can use.
Remember how we used to have so many phone numbers memorized? Now I can barely remember my own. The need to remember phone numbers has been removed. We don’t use them the same. What if this happens with all knowledge. We don’t remember anything, it’s just stored in our phone. I feel that if we try to trust ourselves first and ask questions as they come up after we are better exercising our intuition and will learn and understand things more thoroughly.
6. Don’t wait around for things to be perfect, just do something.
My life is not perfect. I don’t need to tell you why. I just need you to know that I am still trying. I’m trying to do hard things every single day. I am not waiting for the barn roof to be fixed, or for enough money to buy a new camera. I’m not sitting around until someone shows me how to salt cure meat or make cheese. I am learning what I want to do now and trying new things now. Do hard things daily.
Our last house was tiny and had a speck of a yard. We made a four foot by four foot garden space so I could start to learn to garden. It wasn’t perfect, but we did it. In that home I didn’t have a second fridge or freezer, but I still batched cooked, learned canning and fermentation and tried baking bread. It was on a much smaller scale then I do now, but I did it.
Because I got started when things weren’t perfect I now have the skills I need to do the things I want to do as the situation improves. I’m not getting started learning fermentation, I am doing it! With more space, bigger crocks, bigger harvests from our bigger garden. You can’t grow unless you plant a seed. Plant that seed today. Don’t wait for things to be perfect. They never are, and perfect is boring anyway.
Thank you for reading Preserving Today’s Homesteading Principles. If we haven’t yet met, check out my About page. Be sure to leave a comment introducing yourself.