My Homesteading Journey
Growing up, I always felt out of place, like I didn’t belong here. I never really fit in anywhere. The world seemed like an intricate puzzle whose pieces eluded my grasp. Questions about why we, as a species, are the only ones obligated to ‘pay’ for our existence lingered in my mind, then and now, challenging the rationale behind the workings of our society.
My childhood was divided between the bustling city of Montreal, Canada, and a tranquil campground near the American border. In the countryside, amid overgrown fields, I discovered solace. At the tender age of 12, I instinctively knew that nature held a profound resonance for me. Returning to the city felt like an unwelcome disruption, and I sought refuge in the soothing embrace of parks and watersides whenever urban life became overwhelming.
Life’s complexities, including greed, power dynamics, politics, and materialism, left me perplexed. As an old soul, I struggled to connect with a world that prioritized the latest gadgets over essential life skills. In my mid-20s I discovered landscaping and in my early 30s, I was introduced to the world of growing food through gardening, and that became my sanctuary. Amidst the simplicity, predictability, and harmony of the plant world, I found a sense of belonging.
Yet, my quest for self-reliance persisted. Yearning to reclaim the forgotten skills of my ancestors, I discovered and delved into the world of homesteading. In the digital age, homesteading is often portrayed as a picturesque trend, but it is, in reality, a much more difficult yet fulfilling existence.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first supermarket was only established in America in 1916 and the idea of grocery stores really only took off in the 1950’s! (https://time.com/4480303/supermarkets-history)
A Way Of Life
Homesteading is a way of life. I believe its recent uptick in popularity is mainly because people are tired of the way the world works today. We were not designed to live like we do. More and more people are feeling this, right down to their very core. People don’t want to be controlled by a government that only cares about their wallets. They don’t want to be told what to eat, what to buy, or how to live.
More and more people are flocking to this lifestyle because it feels more natural, and allows for more control over your own life. There is value in being able to take care of yourself and not be dependent on a government or corporation for your survival. But it’s also damn hard work, and most people who begin homesteading will quickly learn that they are not cut out for such hard work. It’s dirty, messy, painful, and sometimes downright heartbreaking.
Most people who take on this journey have never had to kill before. They’ve never had to cull an aggressive chicken or shoot a raccoon who is eating their flock. They’ve never been knee-deep in shit, or so covered in dirt that it flakes off you as it dries thick on your clothes and skin.
What It Means To Be A Homesteader
Being a homesteader demands a multifaceted skill set, turning you into a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician, an HVAC tech, an engineer, a gardener, a herbalist, a guardian, a butcher, a surveyor, a doctor, a hunter, a vet, a teacher, a student, a cook, a janitor, a lumberjack, a farmer, a steward of the land, and a preparer for all things unforeseen.
Homesteading means many different things to many different people. To me, it means being as self-sufficient as humanly possible. To me, it looks like early mornings and sometimes, very late nights. It looks like growing food and medicine, taking care of animals, canning, and preserving food. Making clothing out of that coyote you shot who was attacking your birds. It means respecting nature and living IN nature, being in tune with and a part of the ecosystem. It means living in the season and being prepared to live without any support from any governing body or large corporation. It means not having an easy button when shit gets tough.
A Tight-Knit Community
We are a pretty tight-knit community us homesteaders, because we know the struggles we all go (and grow) through. I encourage everyone to take their life into their own hands, but please do your research and don’t let the internet fool you into believing that it is a life full of fluff and fairy dust. Don’t get me wrong, homesteading is a beautiful, enriching, empowering, and therapeutic way to live your life. However, there is a dark side that’s rarely spoken of. If you think you can stomach it, please join us. You’ll not find a more welcoming or supportive community of people who all just want to live their lives in the most natural way possible.
Homesteading is a raw, unadulterated way of life — simple, yet profoundly complex. If you’re someone looking for fulfillment and purpose, you’ll likely find it in homesteading. If you’re willing to invest the time and energy to learn and do everything yourself, you can rely on the land to provide you with everything you need to survive.
If you’re in Canada, you can join my Facebook group Canadian Gardening & Homesteading. We are building up a community to share knowledge and experiences, and to network with one another.
Happy homesteading friends!
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