Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Year Later: Thank you, Path to Freedom! Thank you, homesteading bloggers!

First Birthday Cake by Mary Mo, from this site

Path to Freedom was the very first homesteading website I ever read online, long about a year ago. And as you can see on my sidebar, the addiction and the list of greats has only grown!

Those first exposures coincided with our first posts here detailing our slow but deliberate journey towards a better life...a life deliberately chosen, worked for, researched, experimented with, goofed up at times, and learned from. (Yes, I know that sentence is an atrocious array of dangling participles, gah)

I realized today that my first Blog-O-Versary has come and gone...it's been over a year, Yay!!

We're "green" alright...green as in new to almost everything. But look, we've been trying for a year, and it's been GOOD :) We've learned a lot of things NOT to do, many things that work for us, learned the value of waiting (not the most patient in that department, I must say), of teamwork towards goals.

We've paid off debts! We've begun seriously collecting for our Someday Orchard, have gone from store-bought milk to REAL milk from grassfed Jerseys, are learning to deydrate fruits and vegetables, have tried new recipes, narrowed down a bunch of house plans to a fairly clear set now, have spent countless days and weeks looking for land, and have met wonderful online and in-person friends on their own wonderful journeys.

It's inspired us to turn to the wisdom of our forbears for traditional ways of being good stewards of the earth and our time. It's inspired many transitions in how we view and value our health and our eating. It's wrought an appreciation for the way God made things to live in balance, and an awareness of just where our food comes from...how it gets from pasture or garden to table, if done naturally.

It's also made us aware of the imbalance that has snowballed in our society, from which it is difficult to extricate oneself without some really deliberate effort and hopefully a sense of humor, as these efforts are viewed by many around us as being kooky.

We've voraciously read related books, magazines, and blogs. We've turned back to the Bible, also, for ancient guidance in areas related to animal care and agriculture. We've kept our minds open to innovations. We've tried figuring out ways to adapt a slower-food-and-life mindset to today's "requirements" of cars, commuting, and travel. We've done without a TV, and cleared our minds.

We've begun valuing each other's strengths and weaknesses...our humanity... and truly appreciating that fragile and wonderful relationship called Family. We've begun finding alternatives to the things on which we've become dependent...cleaning supplies, entertainment, groceries from supermarkets, clothing and cheap import products warehoused for consumers --and all from China. Overthrowing the dependence on those things in our own family's life has been something of a revolution...and we, the renegades. The America we love has (sadly!) embraced an appetite for a culture of Junk Consumerism that rivals heroin addiction...more is never enough, and never satisfies....and eventually destroys real life. But this is so prevalent, that we've experienced some outright hostility at the suggestion that there is a better way, a way as individulistic as whomever will try it in areas of consumerism and health.

One thing we don't want to presume to ever be...experts. We don't like holier-than-thou folks who stump for their way being THE way, with self-righteous dictates. We LOVE the diversity we see with what we blanket-term "homesteaders," and we're neither righteous liberals nor righteous conservatives, whatever either of those labels mean. We're individualists, and appreciate that in others.

So on this website, you'll not find us denigrating those who stretch a box of store-bought macaroni and cheese to make affordable casseroles, even if our own path is documented here as taking us a completely different direction. First of all, we've been there and we may "stay there" in different ways. In other ways, we're pursuing what works for us, and many of those areas need improvement and diligence. We won't judge what's on your plate, and ask you not to judge what's on ours :) There is so much to share and learn, and what we most value is folks who think for themselves...as my husband tells me often, he loves an opinionated woman (he says that while looking at me, usually after I've expressed a strong opinion..ha!) We both love opinionated and original people!

Areas we're trying to improve right now, besides debt retirement, focus greatly on cutting the apron strings of dependency on the WalMarts of the world, the stupormarkets (oops! ;-)), and in getting healthier. And in trimming our monetary dependency WAY WAY back, till we're eventually as self-sufficient as possible.

Our world concerns are born here in our own backyard on a small scale. It is hard for me to visualize battling for less oil dependency if I am having to commute two hours roundtrip daily just for us to make the house note. Solution? Get rid of the house note? It has to be done wisely...and so we have a plan and are trying. And that plan happens to include keeping the commuting job till we get debts paid off..and so, for the moment, the gasoline guzzling continues. See the dilemmas of waiting while goals are being chipped away at? We live with it by being easy on ourselves and congratulating ourselves for small victories, and this is our attitude towards others as well.

I thank anyone who comes here to share thoughts on the process and on any interest related to bettering ourselves or the world around us. The sharing, the ideas, the continuing conversations...they are FUN!

What a wonderful community to be a part of! We LOVE this community, we LOVE you guys!

Happy Blog-O-Versary to this haphazard journal of our past year's efforts, and a BIG THANK YOU to those of you who are such an inspiration to us! If you're on our sidebar blogroll list, you're a fantastic bunch from whom we've learned! Each of you is someone we respect and admire as our teacher and friend.

A very special thanks to Path to Freedom, who recently included us on their Fellow Travelers list. Their Little Homestead in the City journal is their updated site with even more details, how-tos, and updates to lose yourself in. Thank you, Dervaeses! This is a wonderful honor, and really caps off our first year with a bang....fellow travelers with the first site to inspire us on this journey just a year ago, and with so many other homesteading bloggers we're honored to know and learn from. What joy!

2 comments:

farm mom said...

What a great post!! And happy blogiversary!! :)

edifice rex said...

Oh, I have encountered much hostility and derision when I say I don't shop at Wal-Mart! I totally agree with you; our society has become junk junkies. People just want stuff and they don't really even care what it is just as long as they have their house crammed full. And then wonder why they are not happy. I enjoy your blog.