I’m a homesteader, but I’m no Luddite (modern definition).
FIRST THINGS FIRST
- If you’re not sure what a Luddite is check out the link.
- Most times the term “Luddite” is used it is used as a weapon and hurled as an epithet.
- Even Luddites then weren’t what people today want Luddites to be. They protested unethical use of machines to cheat the workers. That’s a different discussion really.
Later interpretation of machine breaking (1812), showing two men superimposed on an 1844 engraving from the Penny magazine which shows a post 1820s Jacquard loom.[c] Machine-breaking was criminalised by the Parliament of the United Kingdom as early as 1721, the penalty being penal transportation, but as a result of continued opposition to mechanisation the Frame Breaking Act 1812 made the death penalty available: see “criminal damage in English law”. (source)
Some people have the idea that a homesteader is someone who eschews technology. Of course, I guess that definitions matter. You won’t find most of those types of folks on Steemit. When we talk about homesteading we’re talking about a vast sea of people who had many different approaches for many different purposes but some of the things they have in common (reasons and motivation aside) is that they are trying to raise and grow more of their own food, they are trying to learn more about living from the land and their own hands and hard work. The LIVING OUT of that dream looks different. I’m not one who is foolish enough to put forward a definition, which I’ve see done in the past, that a homesteader must do “x and y and they must own z amount of land”. I’ve seen those fruitless arguments.
It’s almost like arguing with someone about what Amish believe or allow. We KNOW most Amish when we see them, but you don’t get to define what their community allows or decide if it makes sense. The Ordnung gets to do that… and typically absolute statements fall apart pretty easily with someone from somewhere else telling us about “their” Amish. (Boy the stories I could tell about the Spartansburg Amish! vs. the Sugar Grove Amish)
There are homesteaders (like myself) who are hooked up to the grid. There are some that are off-grid. There are some that are off-off-grid (check out this book by my friend and author Michael Bunker)
Yet none of them I know eschew technology. They embrace it with wisdom. They use it to try to get a little freer and a little more self-efficient (I don’t like the word self-sufficiency because I believe that we aren’t meant to be self-sufficient, I think we need community). They use it to be purposeful about their surroundings and community. Most off-grid homesteaders are VERY dependent on technology for running their small-holdings. Even those who progress to the off-off-grid still use technology to do things like write and publish books, look up information and to make contact with communities of like-minded people.
Homesteaders love technology… in it’s place.
HOOKED TO THE GRID HOMESTEADING
Although I have some desires to just sell everything, chuck-it all and move off-grid (aiming for progress toward off-off-grid) I know that’s not where I’m called right now. I’m called to be in the middle of this world, to be a gospel witness in the church we’ve started and to work a full-time, high responsibility job. So my homesteading is hooked to the grid. In fact, I’m more “Grid-hooked” now that in many years. I’ve got Natural Gas and I love it! I’ve got two fireplaces in my house and I converted one to Gas Logs. I click a button for the fire.
I’ve heated with wood and only wood for about 15 years in a row and then as a kid living with my parents for about 10 years probably. I don’t feel guilty about not heating with wood or that I flick a remote control to “start my fire” in the fireplace. Why? Because it takes me literally 10 minutes or less to pull out the gas logs and start a real wood fire.
That’s the key to my homesteading efforts. I want to teach my kids how to do things. I want to teach the where their food comes from. I want to teach them how to raise and butcher or process that food. I want them to know how to start a fire without matches (they can). I want them to know how to survive tough situations. I want them to be smart with their money, their careers and their life-choice. I want them to appreciate what they have. They enjoy the gas logs so much because they’ve split, stacked and carried firewood since they were able to walk.
Everything in my house that is a comfort should be backed up in case that it fails, or during an emergency. Water… I’ve got a well. I don’t live in the city because I like to have my own water supply. But it’s a modern deep well. If the power goes out, guess what… I don’t have water. Except that I have a generator. That’s short-term. On the list??? A deep-well hand pump. They are EXPENSIVE! If my gas line goes out? I’ve got two fireplaces. I can heat with them if necessary. They aren’t very efficient though. So on the list? Woodburning airtight fireplace inserts. Grocery Store runs out? We try to grow and process food. Is it enough to feed ourselves solely. No, but that’s because of time investments. If forced to, we’d go much larger and expand the beehives and chickens, etc.
SO WHY ARE YOU INSTALLING CAMERAS ON YOUR HOUSE?
4 of 8 cameras installed. 4 more to go. We don’t live in a high crime area but we did have friends who got robbed. We’d like to discourage people by not being easy targets. The cameras utilize IR nightvision. (that’s not where my tractor is normally parked!)
Why? Because it really is an effort to be more self-efficient. I know cops won’t be here quickly and that rural (even on busy State Routes like we are on) folks have to take security and protection into our own hands and own it, and we also plan to reinforce the locks by using a service of Long Island Locksmith so we don’t rely only in the cameras for our security.
Today, we installed 3 more outdoor security cameras. Is that what a homesteader does? My answer is: Yes, if they want to. About a year ago, our friends (also the homesteading types) were robbed when they weren’t home. A few months later we bought an 8 camera security system. I installed the hardest one first during the summer. (It was a challenge!) We’ve been meaning to install the others, but it takes time and we have to prioritize what we’re doing.
One big lesson about life in general and homesteading specifically is that everything is harder than you think it should be. It’s a fact. Even Steemit is harder than you think it should be! So yesterday the boys and I worked to get a two of the cameras installed but not all the wires run. Today, after church, we installed all the wires, making sure to do a proper job and nail them up and hide them and then we installed a third camera. We ran the wires and hooked them up.
I’ve got them networked into the internet so I can pull them up when I’m out and about? Why? Would a homesteader do something like that? Yes. In the “old-days” a homesteader didn’t leave the homestead often. They usually had extended family and maybe even some farm hands to help keep an eye on things, but that’s not the world I live in. So I use technology to make up for it. It’s the homesteading thing to do. I use it but don’t become a slave to it. If things fall-apart. I’ll be here more often and a camera isn’t as important.
PARTICIPATE BY ANSWERING THESE TWO QUESTIONS
- I’m interested in where YOU have embraced technology. Answer in the comments about where you are using technology on your homestead (obviously you use the internet and steemit because you’re here) but share with me where.
- What’s your back-up or planned back-up? It may not be in place yet, but where are you heading?
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REMEMBER! GROW WHERE YOU ARE!