Without a doubt, by far the question I get asked the most is how I got started in homesteading. In reality, the better question to ask is why does homesteading even matter in the first place? In today’s episode, I take a deep dive into why homesteading serves such an important purpose in today’s ever increasing technological world. The truth is, no amount of convenience can replicate or replace the satisfaction that comes from homesteading.
Some highlights from the episode:
If you're ready to begin this homesteading journey, head to http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/grow to access my full library of resources to guide you down the path.
Welcome to the old fashioned on purpose podcast. Today's episode is a topic I am extremely passionate about. I call it, we're going to talk about today, the homestead manifesto, and it really gets to the heart of why I think homesteading is so much more than just baking bread or keeping chickens. Okay? There's a much, much deeper dynamic that's happening in this movement and once you understand it, it's not only gonna light you up, but it's also going to give a lot of validity to the passions that you have that you might not really understand. You know why you love them so much. This is going to be good. Let's dive in. I'm your host Jill winger and for the last 10 years I have been helping people just like you who feel a little uninspired by modern life. Learn how to leave the rat race and create the life you really want by growing your own food and mastering old fashioned skills. So there I was, I was a bored pregnant, newlywed, 40 miles from civilization with not enough money to drive to activities in town. Yes, I realized that is far from an Epic start to this story. But that's the truth. And I get asked all the time, how did you start homesteading and tell us what was the prompt that kicked off this incredible journey for you? And as much as I would love to have some sweeping romantic tale of my visions for homesteading back at the beginning, basically the gardening kitchen projects kind of just gave me a way to pass the time without feeling like a total loser. And that's why I fell into this lifestyle initially. So as I was kind of isolated in this little house far from town and far from friends, I figured out how to make tortillas and how to do things like clean a chicken coop without bleach and how to milk a goat and how to take care of cattle and all sorts of other kind of random stuff that your average 23 year old, which is how old I was at the time, would have absolutely zero interest in. Yeah, but you fast forward 10 years, a little over 10 years. But that's where we are now. Three kids. And a whole lot of water under the bridge. I am still here and I'm still doing pretty much the same things. A decade later, I'm still cooking from scratch. I still have chickens, we're still have dairy animals and beef cattle and I'm loving this homestead life. My fascination with this lifestyle has obviously outlasted any sort of, you know, shiny object syndrome or fad chasing. I'm still here and over the years I've asked myself why, like why am I still doing this? Because honestly now I'm going to say something a little scandalous, so brace yourselves. I like canning, I like gardening, love my chickens, but those things alone aren't quite enough to make me jump out of bed in the morning or make me feel inspired enough to stick with them for 10 years. Just kind of have their own accord. However, I've since realized, you know, as I've started asking myself these questions about why I am so drawn to this lifestyle, I realized my passion has much deeper roots and I'm betting you can relate to this as well. I'm even even go as far to say that homesteading is not just a cute little old fashioned hobby. I'm going to say that it's actually quite crucial to our modern existence. Now I know that sounds a little dramatic. So let me break this down for you. So first off, let me just say that I like technology. And in the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that I use an iPhone and a laptop and I have a DSLR camera. And right now I am recording this podcast with this fancy mic thing and this little box with lots of buttons and I don't know what they all do, but I just hit the on and it somehow works. But I use technology every day in my personal life and in my online businesses and I'm not ashamed of that. And furthermore, Christian and I have really zero desire to ever go completely off grid because I kinda like electricity and I kind of like running water just saying, but this is a big, but as the industrial age took over, if we look back at history and how we kind of got to where we are today. Okay. And as our society has become more and more in enamored with technology and all of the conveniences it brings, some of which have been amazing and wonderful. We've almost accidentally left behind the things that have brought humanity balance and stability for a millennia. And as a result we've forsaken those for cheaper and more alternatives. So for example, let me explain what I'm seeing here. We consume fast food and microwave dinners instead of homegrown homemade meals. We tend to be drawn to socializing versus via social media. And I'm guilty of this just as much as anyone else that we socialize with a screen or a phone instead of seeking out that true community that really would have been just very natural and organic a hundred years ago. We tend to spend a lot of time in artificial lighting for days and weeks at a time, maybe not even getting outside in the sun. And we don't get that chance to be out in soak into nature and plunge our fingers into soil and just be, and with our fancy phones and our gadgets and our apps, we're getting really hooked on relying on automated everything instead of being able to really enjoy the process of creation. So in a nutshell, our world is just a lot more shallow, I feel, than it has been in the past. Now, things being easy is really a tantalizing concept and I don't think, and in fact I know that as society advanced and as we advanced and got so excited with new things that made our life easier, we didn't realize what was happening. I'm not saying that all things easy are bad. Like I don't believe that the hard way is always the right way. But I'm convinced that this shift in our human existence, away from nature, away from community, away from creation, away from production, you know, and when I say production, I'm not talking producing in a factory. I'm talking about producing as an individual and making things and creating things and growing things. But I believe that shift away from all of that is playing a massive role in why so many folks are feeling disillusioned these days. And it doesn't take much to look around, whether it's on social media or in your community or the news and see a lot of people feel disconnected. There's a lot of anxiety, there's a lot of depression, there's a lot of purposelessness, there's a lot of boredom and yes, it is absolutely possible to be bored while still having a jam packed modern calendar. In fact, I think that is a phenomenon that's happening a lot and all of this rush and hurry and busy-ness, we've forgotten how to live with intention and create and we're really kind of forced just react and consume and then we end up satisfying or deep needs to do those things by, you know, watching people on Netflix or YouTube live the lives we really want and we are outside looking in wishing we had that. And I'm guilty of this just as much as anyone else so I'm not pointing fingers, but I do know this feels soul crushing. Now in the midst of all this, I have noticed that people have a fascination with all things farm these days and I'm sure you've noticed this too, right? Farm to fork, everyone's into farmhouse style. People are all about little house on the Prairie, Prairie reruns, all of the labels on foods and restaurants are all about farm fresh and straight off the farm and organic and all of that good stuff. And I think that is a wonderful, beautiful start. But as time to go a little deeper, my friends, it's time to take this to the next level. So this is the question, why do you think people are so drawn to farm life? Because if you think about it, it's, it's kind of a trend. It's kind of a thing and it doesn't seem like it's going away anytime soon. Well, I believe that even in our fast paced modern culture, we are instinctively drawn to this idea of farm life because we know deep down in our consciousness that cooking a meal from scratch or growing a tomato plants or creating something with our hands is going to make us feel good and it's going to satisfy something inside of us. These sort of actions and creation, that's really the very fiber of our human existence. And that's, it's been that way since the beginning of time. And I believe that even though we have things so convenient and so easy, going back to the basics still has the potential to give us that deep and rich satisfaction. Even though we could really have whatever we want at the push of a button. And even in our sophisticated, efficient, progressive society, we need dirt and chickens and Mason jars more than ever. Now actually have some proof to back up my crazy statements here and I find it interesting that more and more scientific studies are proving that humans need these pieces of old fashioned life. So here's a few examples that I have gathered that I find fascinating. So a study done at the university of Bristol actually showed that a common soil bacteria may have antidepressant effects. How awesome is that? So humans basically are wired to dig in the soil, which helps us stay more stable and happy. Like that's incredible to me. Another study at Stanford found evidence that time spent in nature may lower risk of depression and improve overall mental health, which I think that is a little more commonly known that nature is grounding and stabilizing for us. But it's cool to see science backing it up. Another article from psychology today said, and I quote that research has shown that hand activity from knitting to woodworking to growing vegetables or chopping them are useful for decreasing stress, relieving anxiety and modifying depression. In the quote like I love that because I feel like we know that as homesteaders instinctively already. We know that when we grow, the vegetables are out in the garden. We just feel better. It calms us. It's like there's jokes that go around in different memes online that gardening tomatoes is cheaper than therapy and we laugh about it, but it's actually, there's some truth to that. It keeps us grounded and it keeps us calm and it reduces the anxiety and the stress and you guys, that's what homesteading is all about. I feel like we're onto something big here. Now all of that being said, I know this is a complex issue and I'm not naive enough to say that homesteading is the only answer. And I know there's a lot of play or a lot of different factors that come into play when we're talking about mental illness or things like that. So I'm not saying that necessarily growing a carrot is the cure to everything that ails you, but it sure can't hurt. And when I look at the alternatives, I think that some of these old fashioned skills are sure as heck some of the best solutions that I can think of at the moment. But here's the deal. In order to get these benefits of a homesteading lifestyle, you don't have to get a milk cow and you don't have to move to the middle of nowhere Wyoming like I did not unless you want to, and you don't have to figure out how to become the champion pie Baker, atyour local fair,:
But no matter where you live, I don't care if it's New York city or LA or Florida or wherever you can and should bring some of these old fashioned practices into your modern life because no matter where you live, it's all about experiencing the satisfaction that comes from creating something tangible with your hands or nurturing a pot of basil in a window and tearing off the leaves and letting that aroma waft through your kitchen or kneading dough with your hands just because you enjoy it. Maybe you have a breadmaker, but you're just choosing that tactile experience of working the dough in the, in the quiet with your own thoughts. And you also know that you get some homemade French bread for supper, which is an added bonus and it's going to taste better than the ones at this store.Speaker 1:
So I don't know exactly what this old fashioned life will look for you and I don't feel like there's a right or wrong answer or there's a perfect formula, but I encourage you, go find something you can create. Go find something you can grow or craft or build with your hands because these are things that we all need as humans, whether we're homesteaders or not. These are the things that bring us satisfaction, balance, peace, accomplishment, confidence, enjoy. Now for me, it's not an option. Even though I am a full fledged homesteader with all of the fixings, it's not an option for me to go and ditch all of my technology and all of my online connections. And I'm guessing that's not an option for you either. So for me, it's all about weaving those into what I'm already doing. Spending time on the computer, maybe even creating on the computer because I do enjoy that. But then making sure I have time to get outside in the evening or on the weekends and create something. It's a little more organic, whether it's in the garden or in the kitchen or maybe helping Christian build some fence or fix the chicken coop. But that physical tactile experience brings a lot of joy into my life and I know it will into yours as well. And that my friends to wrap it all up is why after doing this homestead thing and keeping the chickens and hoarding the Mason jars for the last 10 years, I still get out of bed with a jolt each morning ready to tackle the day I am on a mission to bring these skills back into our modern conscious because we need them. We must have them and they're not something we can forget because if we do, we're gonna forget a vital part of ourselves in the process. So homesteading is so much more than the sum of its parts and I encourage you to start today wherever you are with what you can do. It doesn't have to be extravagant or fancy or elaborate. Just start, start a pot of basil in the window, start the first tomato plant, Google a recipe, and figure out how to make that bread that you've been dying to try. Just start and see what happens and if you happen to be a little unsure about maybe how to start or where to start, I actually have a resource that I think you're really going to find useful. I have an entire library of eBooks and tools I put together for homesteaders, whether you're new or experienced and you can get complimentary access to this library at theprairiehomestead.com/grow you can also connect with me over on my blog. I love to hear your story. I'd love to hear your homestead plans and what draws you to this beautifully old-fashioned lifestyle and that's all for this episode. Thanks so much for listening. It would mean so much to me if you would subscribe and leave a quick review over on iTunes, and that's it for now. I will chat with you on the next episode of the old fashioned on purpose podcast.