Hometeading, Simple Living, The How's and Why's
There is always a turning point, a moment when things change from being what they are to becoming something new. For me, there has always been this desire, this dream to live off grid. To live in the woods, self sufficient. In my early dreaming years I wasn't very practical, just dreamy. Me in a log cabin, growing my own food, chopping wood, using an outhouse, gathering berries, hunting if need be. Not sure what I had in mind for an income, but the dreams were there in a young girls mind. I wanted to marry a farmer...not too many around Boston though. But I found one, a Kansas farm boy, raised the old fashioned way. His early life reads like a Little House in the Prairie book. Of course he did run away from the farm and move to Miami, he wanted to be a city boy. He ended up in Boston, found me and it felt like a match made in Heaven from the first date. We had the "American good life" after a few lean years. Nice house, nice cars, good clothes, the whole thing, but our children were becoming spoiled. It worried me and to be honest I never liked the lifestyle we lived. I wanted to be on a farm or in a log cabin in the woods, not in Southern California.
If you keep your dreams alive, often times you get them. I did. We gave it all up and moved to the mountains of Oregon. Lived in the woods, in the mountains. But it wasn't to be permanent for us, God had other plans and after a year we were here in Texas, motivated by the life we had in Oregon to maintain that life style here. We purchased a home, a simple one, some land with it, but not as much as we wanted, but we knew without a doubt God wanted us to be in this house. It was run down, had to be practically rebuilt. It was the house to get us away from debt though. The girls could have their goats, we could have chickens and a pony.
Now, its not easy for some to move from "having" to "not having". Simple living is about living less stressed, less in need of things, less in need of what glossy magazines and catchy ads on television tell you you need. I know for sure that its more of a mindset than just living on a farm.
The best illustration I know to describe the willingness to live simply is towels. Yup, towels is what I wrote. By now you are scratching your head wondering what in the world I am talking about. Simple living is about knowing the difference between want and need. Its about being honest with yourself. Its about living with no debt, no credit card payments to worry about, no mortgages, no car payments. Its about investing in other people when you have extra money, its about having compassion greater than your wants. So back to the towels. If you go to someones house that claims to be all into simple living and living humbly on this land and caring about people and they have big expensive fluffy towels in their bathroom, then they have not figured out the difference between want and need. Cheap, wal-mart towels dry your bones just as good as the fluffy ones and the difference in price is the difference between buying what is meeting a need and what is just plain old want. I suspect Ma on Little House in the Prairie never had the idea that she HAD to have fluffy towels to dry her and the family.
Buying into the mentality that we have to have 800 count cotton sheets to sleep is down right silly. Simple living is about knowing what really brings happiness, and its not in the bigger and better. It's in living without fear of "can I make this payment" or "what if John lost his job". Its knowing you can survive on the minimum. And no car payment is worth sleepless nights. No dress or shoes are worth trying to hide the bill from your husband. Simple living is about living simply without caving into peer pressure, yes, adults have to deal with peer pressure, we just don't call it that. We just say, "my friend has one and I love it so I want it." Simple living is about counting the mental cost of every item you have. What did it cost in stress ? Did you regret buying it, have to take it back, end up giving it away ? Simple living is about counting that cost before you take the plunge and mindlessly spend or spend with a "gutta have it" feeling . I do have some pretty things around the house, but they are not bought at a cost that keeps taking from us. By that I mean we saved up, or had the money in hand and thought about it long and hard before we got it. Goodwill is not always a think long and hard deal, but its never over the top spending, $2 or $3 at most.
By the way, our towels are not the fluffy variety and they don't even follow a color scheme.
Homesteading, simple living was a moral issue for us. We wanted our children to grow up knowing the value and practicality of hard work, knowing that God is the giver of what we need, not that Dad just opens his wallet and voila, you have what you want. We wanted for our children to see the connection of planting and harvesting. We wanted them to know that quiet family evenings were priceless and that home made toys and forts were of the best in the world.
We still want that for the next generation. We still want to know that there is nothing as good as sitting by the wood stove, lamps lit, quiet talk, not a care in the world about bills or feelings of guilt because we spent money on a new car when the one we have works, and the neighbor down the road has no food on her table for her children. Simple living for us, started as a dream with me, became a need for the life we wanted, and has become a moral issue for us personally. Its all about fluffy towels : )
This life is not for everyone, and please don't think I am telling you all how to live, I am just saying its how we see it, how we did it, still do it. Its what works for us, morally and stress wise. Its old fashioned, its practical, it's simply good living for us.