Please enjoy and share with your friends. We would love to grow even more in 2015!
You will probably encounter someone carrying a firearm if you visit An American Homestead. This can be a bit different than your normal face to face encounter in regular everyday life. But on the homestead, there are many reasons to have firearms and to actually wear them most of the time. Everyone on the homestead has access to or wears a firearm.
This is a picture of my mom when she was my age. She’s washing clothes with a village woman in Papua New Guinea. We lived in this village for a short time when I was seven years old. Laundry seems to be a huge off grid obstacle for women. It seems that washing clothes by hand is impossible to imagine. I can’t blame them for feeling this way. Laundry is an overwhelming never-ending task, but so necessary. I’ve heard many comments from women who think that off grid living sounds great, but they are decidedly convinced that they cannot wash clothes by hand. I am here to say that it is doable.
What do you think of when you hear the word carpet? Plush, soft, warm? Two things come to my mind when I think about carpet: impractical and vacuum cleaner. I believe that wall-to-wall carpeting is a product of an electronic modern age that cares more about the comfort under their feet than actually having their homes function for a sustainable life. Carpet functions in a modern world full of consumers where parents go off to work in offices and kids go to school, leaving the house vacant most of the day. Most time away from home is spent in clean activities like sitting at a desk, shopping, or exercising in a climate controlled gym. Windows are left closed because homes are heated and cooled with central air. Shoes stay relatively clean because any walking is done on a paved road or sidewalk. Time at home is spent watching TV, playing video games and spending time online. Contrast that life to one spent without modern convenience and electricity. All of a sudden, things get pretty dirty! In the off-grid world, carpet is no longer comfortable, but a burden and even a health hazard.
When I think of the quintessential homestead tool, I think of a wood burning stove. A homestead house is just not complete without a fire blazing in the wood stove on cold winter nights. Transitioning to heating with wood is a wonderful place to start when learning to be self-sufficient. But nothing says homesteading like learning to cook with wood. And even though my family does not have a wood cookstove in our house, I am able to do a lot of cooking on our little wood stove meant for heating.
These are my hiking boots. I’ve worn them most every day for almost two years. They were brand new when we moved off grid and now they are pretty worn. Previously I had only worn hiking boots a few times in my life and I’ve certainly never worn any out. My boots aren’t pretty, but I’m so proud of them because they have seen many many miles of walking and a lot of hard work. I’ve come a long way from being a stay at home mom wearing lounge pants and slippers most of the day. Living off grid has given me so much satisfaction in knowing what I can accomplish! My life has changed so much in the past two years. It has been an incredible journey. I’m thinking about this journey because my husband and I have recently been watching the “Frontier House” show from PBS on youtube. I resonate with so many of these people’s experiences, especially the women. I don’t live in 1883, but I’m also not a modern housewife. I keep my home without electricity and running water.
There is an old saying, “A handgun is only for shooting your way to your rifle that you should’ve had with you in the first place.” On the frontier, the homestead rifle was as necessary a tool as a plow, horse, hammer or wood stove. It was a basic tool that every homestead on the frontier needed. Today, we can see the frontier flintlock has given way to the modern AR-15 or AK-47 type semi-auto rifle.
I guess wood fire canning is pretty uncommon these days, but we decided to try. Like everything else on our homestead, we try and we learn! We are choosing to use a fire (instead of our propane stove) for a few reasons. We’re trying to learn to be self-sufficient. Propane costs money and wood from our property is free! Our All American pressure canner is huge and it doesn’t fit on our stove. We don’t want to heat up our house even more in the summer.
Having lived off grid now for almost two years and on this homestead for just over a year, at least 3 things come to mind that I’m so glad we have. Everyone on our homestead has a preparedness mindset and thinks ahead about long term survival. Consequently, we have developed a number of strategies when it comes to off grid living and have established our priorities when it comes to having a successful homestead that will provide for all of our needs. With this in mind, I want to share with you 3 things that we could not be without. These three things really make or break our homestead.
Have you ever stopped to consider the wondrous miracle you have of turning on your faucet and water coming out? While I used to take it for granted, I look at it now as a luxury. Not only is plumbing a pretty recent invention in mankind’s history, but if you have running water you are in the minority of people in the world today. One source I found estimates that only around 20% of the world’s population has running water. And over 1 billion people do not have access to clean water. That’s pretty humbling, isn’t it? What we see as a necessity (running water) is really a luxury. What is a necessity (clean water) is a struggle for so many. We take so many conveniences for granted. I never looked at water this way before living off grid. Living without running water has taught me a few things.
This picture hangs on the wall in my kitchen. Doesn’t it look quaint and charming? The reality is that winter can be a difficult time. We had our first taste of cool weather this last weekend. I’m reminded that fall is just around the corner and it’s time to think about getting our homestead ready for winter. I’m putting together our “prepping for winter” to do list and I thought I would share it with you. The Farmers’ Almanac is calling for another really COLD one and we want to be ready!