We had our third Family Farm Weekend at The Homestead this week. I so enjoy meeting people who are starting out on the journey like we were almost eight years ago now. I love that hunger for knowledge, experience, ideas, and a community of people who are searchers. I remember feeling like we were the only weirdos who were concerned with the way we were living. I remember being giddy when we found kindred spirits.
I do have to ask myself sometimes, "What are we doing?" Who in their right mind would spend literally every free moment working? Who with the means would choose to work harder for a way of life? I mean it is hot out there in the summer and freezing in the winter. The animals don't give you a day off. And this year the theme has been MUD. By the end of last week both Mike and I were icing our backs, which are not as young as they used to be, and then going stiffly back out the next morning.
But sometimes I know exactly why we do it. I know when we eat at friends' houses and my kids ask where the compost bucket is for their leftovers. I know when my neighbor calls and says, "We need to order more chickens. I had to buy eggs at the store this week and yuck!" I know when I start hauling in produce from the impossibly weedy garden. I know when I see bright, curious learners who have traveled to find out how to set up this life at the Family Farm Weekend.
Homesteading is not a livelihood. It isn't (always) a fun way to fill your time. It is a search for substance. It is an answer to a feeling of disconnect with our natural world. It is a way of life and a set of values we want to impart to our kids. Homesteading faces the reality head on that being human is costly to the world. We don't escape this reality, but we engage in it with sensitivity, passion, and creativity.
Our presenter on Natural Beekeeping, Troy Marino, said, "We are weird, but we wouldn't have it any other way."
Here is to the seekers.