Thursday, June 11, 2009
It’s happening again. That feeling. That grandiose notion that somehow I could pull off some crazy homesteading “experiment” out here in the middle of suburbia.
Every once in a while (OK, a few times a year, especially during the summer) I get caught up with thoughts of our family surviving in a low-impact, provide-everything-we-need-ourselves kind of way. You can see some of the evidence flowing over at the Gerlach Garden. Perhaps it’s my incessant desire to find that equilibrium with nature; that sense of eco-stasis where I know we are not taking more than we can give back. Maybe it’s homesteading or off-grid or whatever you want to call it.
The reality is: We’re nowhere close to that. Yes, we (or maybe just me; I don’t want to speak for Sara and the kids) try to live a simple, peaceful existence amid the hustle and complexity of this world we call home. The latest book I’m perusing – “Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills” by Abigail R. Gehring – would have me secure a couple dozen acre parcel, fell my own timber and build a house, become astute in animal husbandry, and till acres of fields storing my wares for the long, cold winter. Not going to happen any time soon. But there are things I’d love to try my hand at:
• Having a much larger garden to drive a robust canning and freezing operation
• Building a root cellar
• Rebuilding our chicken coop and getting some new chicks
• Try our hand at goats (for the milk and cheese)
• Bee keeping (for honey and wax to make candles)
• Getting set up with a solar array for energy and hot water
• Making our own soaps and cleaners
• …and the list could go on…
Now, clearly I don’t need to be 100% homesteading to do any or all of this. But it’s the image, the throwback, the nostalgia of that homesteading lifestyle that enamors me.
Increasing your self-sufficiency is a growing movement though – whether it’s in the Outback, suburbia, or the urban jungle. I am inspired by it all.
I have to imagine that here in the Sakonnet area we are steeped in people and experience in many of those tried and true “homesteading” skills. Wouldn’t it be amazing to connect all of these people and bring them together to share and learn? Pretty cool. Let me put it on that ever-growing To-Do list…
(Image Source: National Archives)