July 21, 2016
We have embarked on a new adventure. My husband, Owen, and I bought our new home on 6.5 acres. We sold one business, closed the other, packed up and moved to a new town near Owen's favorite fishing river in our beautiful Washington State. Our intention is to create our own modern homestead.
We will eat the fruits and veggies we grow, and they will taste so much better than the ones at the grocery store. Whatever we haven't eaten fresh or given to friends will be canned and frozen.
We will eat the fish we catch. We've only been at our new home 3 weeks, and our freezer is already stocked with smoked salmon and steelhead that we smoked ourselves.
We will keep chickens for their tasty and healthy orange (not yellow) eggs.
We will keep a beehive for our own honey. The honey from our land will build our immunity to seasonal allergies, and the wax will be used to create candles, moisturizers, lotions and lip balms.
We will grow herbs for medicine and make our own tinctures, teas, and salves.
We will forage our own property for wild edible mushrooms and medicinal plants.
Down the road, we'll figure out how to make our own butter, yogurt, cheese, wine, and beer.
Eventually we will find the best way to produce our own energy, whether that means wind, solar, or another technology yet to be invented.
We already have a couple of apple trees full of the sweetest apples.
Of course we need to make money, so I will focus on my freelance writing. Owen has already started his fishing guide service, Rip Some Lips Guide Service, and has built up a clientele of some great folks. We send them home with smoked salmon and whatever baked goodies I made that day.
"Our goal is to live off of our land as much as possible and do what we truly love and are passionate about. This is how life is meant to be lived."
Our goal is to live off of our land as much as possible and do what we truly love and are passionate about. This is how life is meant to be lived. Three weeks into this new adventure of ours and I know this much is true. Before we got here, the stress was suffocating me and I was nearing burnout. Today, I feel like I can breathe again. There is some serious satisfaction to be had when you complete a garden project on your own property, or when you pick all of the ingredients for your salad out of your garden.
My first project on the homestead was cleaning up the raspberry patch that was overgrown and full of weeds. A successful day!
It may sound like hard work, but anything you do with your own two hands will be of higher quality than something that is mass produced. The taste of homegrown veggies alone makes the effort worth it. Plus you get to be outside in the fresh air and get plenty of exercise and sun on your skin. It is the kind of hard work that makes you feel good at the end of the day.
"Although I'm going back to vintage, from-scratch, of-the-earth kind of living, our modern technology makes this kind of lifestyle much easier than it was for our great-grandparents."
Although I'm going back to vintage, from-scratch, of-the-earth kind of living, our modern technology makes this kind of lifestyle much easier than it was for our great-grandparents. Washing machines, dishwashers, riding lawn mowers, freezers and pressure canners drastically reduce the time it would have taken Great Grandma to do these tasks. The internet makes it possible to make a decent living in the country. Skype and email make it easy to stay in touch with those that don't live nearby. The modern homestead is easier to maintain than the homestead of 1900, but you still get the benefit of delicious food, deeper sleep, a calmer mind, and better overall health.
Home Sweet Homestead
Our health was one of the main motivations for changing our lifestyle. Running multiple businesses is extremely stressful and the stress was slowly eating away at us. I went to both my M.D. and my naturopath about a few seemingly unrelated health complaints. Both of them told me my issues would go away on their own if I could get my stress level down. I tried. I did my yoga and deep breathing. I tried not to let the little things eat at me. I went to acupuncture and got a massage here and there. I worked out as much as my time would allow, which wasn't as often as I would have liked. I never seemed to get enough sleep.
"I finally realized I needed a complete lifestyle overhaul. The only way to de-stress would be to completely change our lives and the way we lived."
I finally realized I needed a complete lifestyle overhaul. The only way to de-stress would be to completely change our lives and the way we lived. Easier said than done. The transition took more time than you'd think. It takes a lot of planning and hard work to sell a business, close another, start new businesses, buy a house, pack up and move. Obstacles popped up, plans had to be changed, and we had to go with the flow. I didn't get much sleep for a while there, but I knew in the end it would be worth it. Mentally, I was spending a lot of time at my new homestead that didn't exist yet. Daydreaming got me through the hardest days.
I've had this idea building in my mind for years now. When I was only 18, deciding on whether or not to get my degree or get to work, the thought occurred to me that the way our society is living isn't working out so well. Our modern lifestyle may be comfortable in the moment but it is hurting us in the long run. The stress of modern life slowly chips away at a person until their health deteriorates. We are disconnected from our food, the planet and ourselves.
"Our modern lifestyle may be comfortable in the moment but it is hurting us in the long run. The stress of modern life slowly chips away at a person until their health deteriorates."
We are cogs in the machine: go to school to learn how to be a good employee, become a slave to our student loans and work for a corporation making someone else rich so that we can pay them off. We acquire more debt along the way because the media and society make us feel like we must get married, and pay the government to do so, and then we spend too much money on a wedding. Then it is time to have kids, which come with more bills. We might end up getting divorced a few times which is even more expensive. Most of us will never be rich. Most of us will work for someone else for the rest of our lives just trying to pay our bills and have a little fun along the way.
Owen mowing our huge backyard.
Some of that land might just have to become more gardening space...
And all the while, this money isn't even real. It is digital currency created at the whim of the rich and powerful. They lend us money that doesn't even exist and then profit off of us. They control the markets, the interest rates, inflation, and we are stuck in their game. And it is a game we are playing. When we inevitably get sick, we are told to rely on pharmaceuticals to make us healthy again. Sometimes they help and sometimes they give us more side effects and health problems. But once we are sick (in a system that will make us sick by design) we become dependent on Big Pharma and their system because now we need their drugs. They are now our dealer. We might spiral down so far that we begin to rely on the government to take care of us because it really is that hard to win at their game. They don't teach us how to escape the rat race in school. They teach us how to be the rat on the wheel.
This seems wrong to me. I want out.
And then about 5 years ago I started wondering if I could survive without being so dependent on corporations, government, and Big Pharma. How would that look? Could it work? Weren't we as Americans once independent, self-sufficient, live-off-the-land kinds of people? Anyone whose family emigrated to the United States comes from ancestors who were brave pioneers, explorers and immigrants looking for a better life. Not a life of comfort, consumerism and dependence, but a higher quality life based on independence and freedom. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Your ancestors took a big risk to come here. They were brave, tough and strong. They were courageous. I bet they were fighters. I bet they were rebels not satisfied with the status quo. That's who you come from. Be like them. Don't be like the sheep.
"And then about 5 years ago I started wondering if I could survive without being so dependent on corporations, government, and Big Pharma. How would that look? Could it work?"
I love how the previous owner decorated with rustic farm equipment.
So now I have this vision in my mind's eye of what a self-sufficient, self-sustainable, modern homesteading life looks like for my little family. I create my vision a little more in my imagination every single day. I bring a little more of it to life with my own two hands every single day. And one day, a few years from now, you will see this vision come to fruition on our modern homestead. A life connected to the land, connected to nature, living according to the harvest, cycling with the seasons, living our passions, and laughing around bonfires with good friends under the full moon. We will have healthy bodies, calm minds, and a lightness of heart. We will live a simple life, a quality life, focused on the truly important things.
Every day I thank God for the opportunity to make this a reality and ask for the wisdom not to mess it up. My hope is that this crazy plan of ours works out like I think it will, and I can show my readers how to do this for themselves. I plan on writing about this adventure of ours here on my blog, and I hope you'll come along for the ride. This is my Nature Life Project.