Once upon a time . . . a family of three had a longing, a wistful desire that somehow life could be different in a better way if only they could jump off the train and put roots down. Deep down.
Like the big old pine that sat behind an old brick house down the road. Planted 200 years ago, it still sits resolutely today. Weathering storm after storm, its roots tenaciously clinging to the earth.
Their hearts held rich fertile topsoil. The desire grew and the longing became a passion and many diverse seeds were planted in the soil of their souls . . . low and behold the seeds sprouted and a plan formed.
So the family waited, and waited, and waited some more. And then one day, the door opened. A home on five acres a few miles away.
Love can be blind, and in this case, it proved true.
But despite the poor soil condition, town trucks lumbering by on their semi-private road down to a pit to load up on sand, kicking up enough dust to rival the infamous dustbowl of the 1930s . . .
. . . the homesteaders were happy.
Friend’s came and a barn was born. Not too big, not too small. Just right.
Soon bleating voices joined theirs and then a little moo here and a little moo there, and finally the crowing of a rooster crowned the little homesteaders on the land they now called home.
So much to do, so little time to do it, their little legs faithfully carried them back and forth, up and down the hill, from bed to barn, from barn to garden, from garden to kitchen, and so forth and so on.
Year in and out – they labored to complete the picture they had seen floating around in their minds and dreams.
Until one morning, Husband sat down with Wife and gave a long discouraging look.
Wife looked back and saw Husband was discouraged.
They were fatigued, struggling with poor soil, goats that prided themselves on the latest and greatest ways to escape confinement. Dogs that barked at neighbors that seemed to have moved closer over the past years.
Between the sagging shoulders of the weary homesteaders, minds slowed.
But what had gone wrong? Pests, diseases stalked the garden. Two of the three homesteaders sneezed 24-7, eyes watered when wind blew, and the milking goats went on strike.
The house was dirty, jobs unfinished, firewood to gather, fences falling over from the rocky ground and a teen to prepare for life after homesteading.
There is life after homesteading . . . isn’t there?
And those allergies . . . they just kept coming.
Now the homesteading family was stocking up on boxes of tissues, but reality had sunk in.
London Bridge was falling down, and there was no money to build it back up.
The return to simplicity, back to basics, living more with less, had cost too much.
Did I happen to mention these stout hardy back-to-the-landers were trying to do this on one income?
Yes. One small income.
And that was the straw that broke the homesteader’s back.
An income that doesn’t respond to inflation quickly becomes a serious issue. Math is a serious matter. Spend more, earn less doesn’t add up.
Two years of patching up holes in tires, putting bandaids on leaking arteries and sticking fingers in the dam that was hemorrhaging water and fatigue can turn to something worse . . . or not . . .
It could have been the downfall and end-all of that homesteading family’s wonderful dream, or just maybe, it was the beginning of another.
One that could withstand high winds and power outages and even outsmart the irksome allergies.
How – you might ask? After all, they had no money, were falling behind in bills, and hadn’t been able to make a good income from the farm. I mean, what else could one do?
And they did something else, too. They went back to the beginning and began to rebuild the foundation of their five acres. But this time, their foundation was built with a difference.
One step at a time. Not 10.
One day at a time. Not a month.
The most important tweaking was a 180-degree turn. Back to basics now took on a new twist.
It was the marriage of the old and the new. The time had come to learn a new language, sowing words like seeds and using the harvest to craft an income that would help sustain the heritage lifestyle. We needed to think outside the box.
The era of the modern homestead had come.
Complete with things like, ‘Pinning your heart out’ and ‘Pin to win.’
Those dear homesteaders had to learn the WordPress wasn’t just a com, it was also an org.
That there were such things as hosts, and they didn’t mean heavenly.
They learned that blogs were built much like homesteads. One day at a time.
Sometimes one extremely painful day at a time.
And so those plucky homesteaders, my husband and I and my teen daughter, changed.
Modern homesteading can transform life in a dramatic way. It can enable us to live our dream, to walk down the road less traveled. We learn, do and teach. We live by a greater sense of community than simply those down the street that have to listen to barking dogs and crowing roosters.
We have linked arms with fellow homesteaders that we will never see face to face, yet I feel I already know them. Some have been living this life for decades, others walking it out in their city apartments.
Modern homesteading gives us an avenue to stand on our feet, walk by faith, and continue on with one of the most blessed ways of life we could have.
For now, I wake up in the morning and I don’t run to the barn.
I pour myself a cup of Tulsi tea and plop down in front of a screen that has become very familiar.
I visit ‘Pindom’ – and start exercising . . . my pinning fingers.
I check my calendar to see what new idea I must learn and master today. . . something called Instagram.
I prepare for what I will share with the wide world. Maybe a gluten-free cookie recipe, maybe how we put up most of our food so easily this year with the dehydrator.
Or maybe I will simply quiet myself for a few moments and thank God I still can walk this path. A deeply satisfying path towards living more simply, growing our own sustenance, learning how-to’s we never thought possible through this modern invention called the computer and the internet.
I take a deep breath, I am truly thankful.
A tree deeply rooted will not break in the storms of life, it will bend, but it will not break.
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