**Please note, this was originally posted to my Steemit blog. It’s a community that pays you in a crytpocurrency called steem to write posts. You can learn more about it over here. My user’s name over there is @homesteaders life**
What’s a Homesteader and Why Do I Care?
Sometimes it’s easier to answer the question of what something is NOT rather than my definition of what it is, although I’ll give you my definition below. A homesteader isn’t necessarily off-grid, rural, live totally off the land, militia-type agrarian… although they can be. They aren’t necessarily owners of large plots of land and own tractors and “farm” although some do. They don’t necessarily have huge back yard suburban gardens, replaced front lawns food plots, or city-chickens, though some of the coolest homesteaders I know do those things.
Grow Where You Are
My definition at my website (The Modern Homestead) is simply this… a homesteader should “Grow Where You Are”. Few words for a great big philosophy. My take on homesteading (and please note, there are a lot of different views) is this: Life pulls us different places at different times. Sometimes our desire may be to live in the middle of nowhere, off-grid growing our own food, living sustainably, and yet, our callings, careers and current choices may place us in suburbia, perhaps on a small lot in an urban setting. Maybe kids schooling, not wanting to uproot them, your career, medical needs or any number of things keep you from being where you *THINK* you need to be to live more sustainable, to be a little less dependent, to grow in knowledge. But that’s counterproductive. You can learn so much where you are by doing things that you want to do in the future. It may be a smaller scale or it may not be everything you want to do, but you can move in that direction.
With that philosophy in mind, I’ll share a little bit of my story so you know who I am. My name is Bob. I chose @homesteaderslife here because modernhomestead was ONE LETTER TOO LONG! 🙂 I’m originally from Ohio. I now live in NW PA. I’m married for over 20 years and have 4 children… all teenagers with the oldest in her freshmen year in college. I’ve been in NW PA for 10 years (I say wondering where the time has went) and I love it.
My desire for a simpler, more sustainable life doesn’t grow out of a desire to save the planet, although I have no problem with “green” motivations, but my desire comes from a practical principle that was once practiced by most people. That principle is called STEWARDSHIP. I want to be a good steward of all I have been blessed with. It also comes from a very libertarian, independent belief that the less useless laws we have, the better off we all are. I’m not an anarchist though. I believe in rule of law. I believe in local, strong government and small, distant federal government. I gave up on the two-party system because neither of them believe in local government, just heaping more power to themselves in their far off offices.
I live a complex life right now. I am a husband, father, bi-vocational Pastor (I planted the church here in NW PA and work a full time job also), Executive Manager for an automotive manufacturer, homesteader and slacker. Some days I’m all of the above and some days I just want to be husband and father. The things I do prepare me for a life “after”. After what? I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s after the kids all move and I retire from one job, after I get tired of the automotive manufacturing world, or after some life-event that causes me to step back from some things. But I do these things because I always enjoy learning. I always enjoy creating/fixing/making/improving things, and I believe that we are TOO specialized in America today. I think that the pioneers could do a bunch of things and that’s what helped make them the hardy people to settle this wild land. But when you deal with people and service and non-tangible things, sometimes it’s just good to use your hands and brains and make or do something.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Robert Heinlein:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Although I think there is a spiritual side that’s not covered here and I would add something along that line, I think this captures beautifully why I do what I do.
While I (and you) are complex, the life we live can become very complex if we let it. We can make it very complex by decisions that we make (things like debt that we chose, poor relationships, etc.) so I seek to simply life by taking advantage of the complex people/spirits/bodies/souls that we are. I want to learn how to do things that help empower and free me. Sometimes those things are physical things, sometimes they are philosophical things, some of them are spiritual things, but here is a list of a few of the things I’ve done.
- Raise animals for food. (Chickens, Rabbits, Pigs, Turkeys, Goats, and Honeybees are few I am or have raised)
- Build sheds, barns, concrete patios, fire pits, greenhouses, lean-to’s, install fencing, remodels and many other projects.
- Grow my own food. (Garden, orchard, grapes, fruits, make maple syrup.)
- Firearms (gunsmithing, target shooting, hunting)
- Cut and heat with wood.
- Communications (Ham Radio, Writing, Speaking)
- Run & Repair Equipment (Tractor, tiller, front end loader, brush hog, back blade, Automotive repairs, etc.)
- Outdoor activities (camping, hiking, fishing)
- Creating (Knife making, sign making,
- Plumbing, electrical, DIY projects
I’m No Expert!
The internet is filled with experts. I’m no expert at those things above. Some I do better than others. The things I am an expert in (that people pay for my expertise) aren’t all that interesting to most people. I do have a hearty belief though that humans have been given amazing brains and bodies and that almost anyone can do almost anything if they have the desire and patience to try, fail and learn. Almost all of us can walk because we kept getting up when we fell as kids. So, I may argue that my way is better for some reason, but please know that I’m no expert. I do hope to share my experiences and efforts and hopefully learn from you.
So Why Are You on Steemit?
Aside from my disgust with some of the censorship and heavy-handedness of Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I LOVE the idea of community that has some vested interest in participation and the idea of cultivating content through reward. In the “everyone gets a trophy” world, it’s good to see that hard work and effort can still pay off, and not just for me, but for anyone who wants to participate. I saw some videos and heard some feedback on Steemit and was intrigued. I really don’t know anyone here but I sure hope that changes.
I know it was long, but I guess I only get one introduction right?