Are Modern Homesteaders Being Undermined?

      53 Comments on Are Modern Homesteaders Being Undermined?
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Hay field

Undermined by The Trendsetters?

From a certain daytime TV personality dissing a blogger for ditching shampoo to a New York Times article about homesteaders abandoning their chickens, some famous people seem to have it in for the simple way of life. They look down on those who choose a more traditional lifestyle. Amy Glass proudly states in her post, ‘I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry!’

Don’t allow yourself to be sucked into the drama. I think some people are just so addicted to attention that they will say whatever first pops into their head. If that celebrity met the no ‘poo lady on the street, I’m guessing she wouldn’t have a clue that her hair was untouched by toxic chemicals (not that all shampoo is toxic)! New York Times might be interested to know that the ‘backyard chicken enthusiasts’ who abandoned their chickens are in the minority. And Amy Glass…well, I think she just needs to grow up and get over herself.

IMG_0569 1

Undermined by Thoughtless Consumerism

If you live on less and do more for yourself, you need fewer goods sold by corporate America. Don’t need a loan from big banks? Don’t want to buy cheap junk? If you want to buy goods from small family businesses, local farmers and artisans, you are not fueling the machine of thoughtless consumerism. And I say…good for you! Skip all the media that blasts you and your family repeatedly with the message, “Your life would be so much better if you had X!” Put your extra cash into a savings account, invest in socially and environmentally responsible companies, and buy products that are made to last. Don’t let let consumerism undermine your financial future.

 

Brutus, the rooster.

I love the sound of a rooster crowing! I’ll take that over the sound of cars whizzing by any day!

Undermined by The Zoning Board and Homeowners’ Association

Ever since there was a shift away from an agrarian way of life toward the urban lifestyle and jobs in factories, people have been losing their connection with the land. Zoning boards have set up property use ordinances to prevent keeping chickens, hanging laundry out to dry, and letting your lawn get too long for Pete’s sake! Even on my agricultural property I have to be careful not to upset the neighbors lest they decide to complain about my homesteading activities.

Some subdivisions even go so far as to forbid tool sheds, fences, and gardens. There are many wanna-be homesteaders who just can’t afford a home with land for the projects they dream of. Before you buy, make sure you know what you can and can’t do on your property. It might be a better option to buy less house with the proper zoning for your homestead and then upgrade the house as you can afford it.

No garden? No way!

No garden? No way!

Underminingย Local Food

Our government, most likely with good intentions, began subsidizing agriculture and petroleum production. ย I think the original idea was to keep prices affordable for all citizens. But what this has done is create an unfair advantage for big biz. Our small local farmers don’t get these subsidies, so they can’t compete with the prices offered by big agriculture and their big subsidies.

What really drove this point home for me was when I figured out exactly how much my home raised eggs cost in comparison to store bought. Even before I switched to organic feed, I found that a dozen eggs cost pretty close to $3 per dozen. The feed I purchase is supplemented with garden goodies, pasture, and compost. I realize that large livestock operations purchase their feed at lower costs due to the volume, but I can’t figure out how they charge less than $2 a dozen unless they are getting subsidies.

The future of our food system is in danger by the very subsidies that helped create the system. If we continue to rely on big ag to truck food from all over the world, what will we do if fuel becomes scarce and too expensive? If you can support your local farmers, barter with neighbors, and grow your own food, you are one step closer to self sufficiency. And that, my friends, is what we need more of!

Garlic Dill Pickles

When Did We Lose Touch?

Since the advent of the modern grocery store and the cheap (subsidized) availability of chemical laden food, people have had fewer reasons to grow their own. They can go to the store and buy whatever they want. In the process, we’ve lost touch with our food. We’ve lost touch with our farmers. We’ve lost touch with the most basic necessity of life…the nutrients that sustain us. Many people have switched from eating anything resembling real food to buying boxes, cans, and bags of processed food-like substances.

 

Strawberries

Why Homestead?

It seems like so much of the world isย working against us. People don’t understand…”Why would you want chickens? Why would you want to live like that?” Sometimes we even hear negative comments from other homesteaders and rural minded folks who feel we aren’t doing enough. If you have a dishwasher, or you don’t can all of your food, you get the raised eyebrow. Holy smokes folks! Cut some slack!

I’ve heard some negative comments. I’ve had to bite my tongue at times because I just didn’t want to get into an argument. However, I’m very happy to say that our family understands. Tom’s family is supportive. My Dad thinks it’s pretty cool that I butcher my own chickens. He helps me when he is visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚ My Mom and Dad still can more food than they need each year. My Brother in Seattle has chickens. My Sister in New York City supports the farmers markets. My Sister in Alaska…hey, she lives in Alaska! And she doesn’t make fun of me for complaining when the winter weather dips down below zero.

It’s a State of Mind & Never Mind The Naysayers!

The world is full of people who have to say something negative about someone. Maybe it makes them feel better. Maybe they enjoy feeling superior because there’s no dirt under their nails. Don’t pay them any attention. Focus on what you need to do to live a more sustainable way of life.

Let’s face it folks, if there is ever a shortage of food or a complete breakdown of society, the only ones who will eat are those who grow their own food…or steal it. So learn as much as you can, and be prepared to stand up for your way of life!

 

Do you hear negative comments about your homesteading lifestyle? How do you respond?


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53 comments on “Are Modern Homesteaders Being Undermined?

  1. lilaeve

    We agree whole-heartedly. We’ve made a conscious decision to back out of our consumerist society, gotten rid of tv, ignore nay-sayers and enjoy life more purposefully.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Lilaeve,
      That’s great! I can usually ignore the nay-sayers too. But then, I sorta put myself out there by blogging about all this! So there are sometimes comments. For the most part I get over it. But it helps so much to hear from other folks who are supportive!

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Best wishes with your back to the basics lifestyle! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
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  3. Tamara Hampton

    My husband and I just had a conversation about the fact that we were raised rural with large gardens and livestock (he even remembers no electricity) and how it seems most of our adult life has been to try to get away from that. His kids were raised on convenience food because “look how much better that is than shelling peas!!” and now… were going to start growing a garden and investing in livestock because we realize how much those “conveniences” have taken us and the kids from the things we value. We want to teach our grand children the way of life we remember because now that we’ve been there and done that… what we had was so much better. This was a good article.

    One thing that i might add about the egg prices. Im sure they do get tax breaks and incentives but YES… Bulk feed prices are SO much less than feed store prices that I do believe that they can produce eggs that much cheaper. We used to have 50 horses and bought in bulk, now that we only have 8 and are not making the trips to get feed in bulk our feed bill has only gone down a fraction! a hint though, feed stores vary alot in price… price shop them and ask if they have discounts for larger purchases.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Tamara,
      That’s great that you and your husband are planning a garden and getting back to your values! I’m so glad that you made that decision. ๐Ÿ™‚

      You’re right about the bulk prices…I did look into buying 1 ton of feed for my chickens and it does drop the price by about 10%. The biggest problem for me is, where to store it without feeding the mice! Our place wasn’t set up for homesteading and we don’t feel that it is worthwhile to make too many investments in feed storage, etc. because we want to move in 5 years when hubby plans to retire.

      But for many people this is a very big advantage…so thank you for the information! Best wishes with your garden and livestock!

      Reply
      1. Penny

        I actually am starting to approach the point at which I’ll be getting chickens. What I only realized reading your comments, is that since we have a lot of urban and suburban homesteaders in our area, I might not need to “keep” all of a ton of feed for myself, if we try a feed buying co-op approach with other chicken keepers in stead, to save collectively, an only get what we need at a time. Either distributing the pallet in bags, or if it’s all in one big “sack”, I’d have everyone pick up their feed with 5 gallon buckets or other lidded containers.

        Have you explored that option? ๐Ÿ™‚

        Same goes for other co-ops and buying clubs (I never remember its name, azure? Something like that has been mentioned a lot on blogs lately). I’m beginning to think I might volunteer to be a pickup location for a local co-op or buying club, to get some use out of our underused barn, but being pregnant, I’m a little hesitant to take on too much this year (that was a surprise. We bought a house, moved in, found out less than a week later that we need to turn the “spare room” into a kids’ room on a faster schedule. ๐Ÿ˜€ )

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Congratulations, Penny! How wonderful that you’re expecting! I can understand wanting to wait and not take on too much…good idea. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just talked to the owner of the feed store the other day about prices for bulk organic chicken feed. I would need to either split the order, like you suggested, or get more chickens! Bwaaaahaaahaaaaa…hubby is not amused. ๐Ÿ™‚

          I was thinking about putting an ad on Craigslist. I need to get the exact cost of the feed, but he thought it would be about $3 per bag less…except that it wouldn’t come in a bag. So I’m going to give them a call and get the cost and see if I can find other folks interested in splitting an order.

          Great suggestion!

  4. Penny

    The most challenging part of being a happy, friendly, and helpful homesteader, is to try to keep encouraging former city girl friends to keep up their gardening exploits, even when I catch them picking tomatoes 5-10 days too early. I guess if that tomato picking friend of mine expects grocery store tomato flavors, not the rich, vine-ripened flavor of summer, she’s doing it right. I try to be friendly, encouraging, and when she comes by our place, offer her a “rainbow tomato salad” made with tomatoes picked the same morning from the garden. That’s much better of an approach than disparage them, or outright call them out on doing something “wrong”. We all make mistakes, and should be allowed to, as long as the only thing that suffers is a tomato vine, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    We’re just starting up on a new homestead (We managed to buy an acreage in November 2013, wooot!!!), so we’re slowly building garden beds and prepping an orchard in the dilapidated 2 acre west pasture. All our neighbors have their acreages dedicated to horses, so us digging around and planting food just fascinates them.

    I have the privilege of having access to some of the neighbors’ horses, and their poo, so our plan is to plant enough “extras”, where we can either can some goodies for them as my harebrained “goodwill ambassador for homesteading” -agenda, or give them a basket of fresh produce and eggs every couple of days during harvest season to soften the blow of us intending to free range hens – and roosters – on our property… Can you tell I’ve thought about this? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thus far, everyone’s just mildly curious, and I’ve even been offered a tractor, if I ever need it, so I feel really blessed sometimes. We’ve gotten phone numbers for local handymen, who do farm chores, so that’s great. I think we lucked out with our location!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Penny,
      Good for you for helping share your experience with newbies! And your new place sounds amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope someday we are able to move to a larger property too. Keep up the embassador-ship!

      Reply
  5. urbanoveralls

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. My husband and I have our urban homestead just blocks from the hospital. Some folks think we have a pretty cool lifestyle while others just look at us like we are nuts. We simply view what we do as our own lifestyle. We want to be more self-sufficient, enjoy meals made from scratch, eat our fresh eggs, spoon our honey onto slices of bread, and mend/repair something rather than buying new. Our simple lifestyle is slower paced without the stress many of our friends face. Keep on doing what you are doing.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      That’s awesome! I think it’s great that you are sharing a slice of real life amid the noise and bustle of an urban area! Thanks for stopping by and commenting…I’m so glad you did!

      Reply
  6. Sandra

    so true!!!
    They are trying to make provisions to the Right To Farm Act in Michigan. They say people are using it to have chickens in suburban/rural areas and that is not what it was intended for. I hope that it doesn’t pass and the Right to Farm Act, stays intact.
    It amazes me how disconnected people are with their food and other animal by products.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I get teased a LOT by my materialistic boss. He’s all about money and buying things. He’ll ask me a question about our farm, then ask if we ate raccoon for dinner. When we rebuilt our home after a devastating fire, he wouldn’t even attend our open house because we live on a chip-sealed road.
    I used to get offended by his comments and teasing, but I finally just told him he’s jealous that we’ll be able to survive when money becomes worthless. He hasn’t teased me several months.

    Reply
    1. Lorraine

      Anonymous …..your post made me laugh out loud! I love the boss and his silly comments (can you imagine if he saw you butchering or cleaning a chicken?? He’d faint dead away)! Good for you not to take them to heart. I have a few friends who call me “Mountain Woman” but it is in good natured jest and I think that they honestly admire what I do. You will be the one that guy will call when (as you said) his money becomes worthless. Thanks for the chuckle.

      Reply
    2. Penny

      You handled that boss with more grace than I could have, I tell ya. I would probably have burned some bridges with my tendency for knee-jerk responses. (Quite literally, I have knee-jerked jerks before. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ )

      We thankfully don’t have that kind of folks around a lot. However, since we’re interested in farming and growing our own food, folks joke a lot about us being “preppers”, and crack “witty” comments about knowing exactly where to come if the world ends (followed by laughter). Of course, very few, if any of those jokers actually know where we live… ๐Ÿ˜€

      I suspect the prevalence of such nonchalant “oh, I’ll just come mooch off of you if food becomes scarce” attitude is why we’re thinking of the Shaker approach to calculating how much to plant.

      You plant one part for yourself, one part for sale, one part for the thieves, and one part for the wildlife. As in, grow and produce more than you need. You can sell it, give it “to the thieves” (in the 19th century, the agricultural success of Shaker communities meant folks did steal crops from their fields, but this could as well cover charity donations of a glut harvest), and “for the wildlife” could mean pests, birds, critters, or otherwise natural phenomenon that may cause a loss of harvest. Or in our case, one part for us, two parts for the deer (yeah, we have those, and they’re not afraid of people or traffic), and one part for gifting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thankfully, many of those folks who make ignorant comments about homesteading are easy to guilt into silence, be it by giving them homemade goodies (that always taste better than storebought), bringing a much better lunch to work than they could buy, or by pointing out things like what you said about them not having much, if the value of money ever goes away.

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Great points about planting more than you need, Penny! I always do the same, maybe to the point of being a little bit wacko. Just a little bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
        1. Penny

          The problem with wackos is, the internet has made it so much easier for us to find each other and encourage more wackiness. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          It’s easier to deviate from the norm, when you know you are not alone, and are aware there is peer support just a few clicks away. It can’t have been easy to go against the grain just a generation ago, before the internet came about.

          I will finish with a quote from my distinguished late grandmother’s only fridge magnet: “Normal people worry me.” ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Barbara Frank

    The blessing of the Internet is that we can find like-minded people to share ideas with; I stumbled onto your blog via Twitter and enjoyed this post. It’s so nice to see that younger people like yourself are rejecting all the consumerism and are working to be self-sufficient. As for the tiresome Kathie Lees and Amy’s of this world, ignore them: it’s what they fear most! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  9. Rach

    There are just some people that think.. cattiness.. I want to use the B word but cattiness will do, is “cool”. They don’t know how close minded and nasty they come off. I avoid these types IRL like the plague.

    Reply
  10. Annie @ Montana Homesteader

    Well said! I completely agree that whatever a person can do to live more self-sufficiently makes a difference, even if it is just small things. We get comments from some extended family members who don’t understand why we choose to live the way we do but we try to ignore it since we’re much happier and healthier living the simple life!

    Reply
  11. Margaret

    What a great article! Thanks for writing it. I live in a neighborhood with a STRICT HOA. We had to get our property surveyed just to put in a swing set for our boys! No sheds or greenhouses. But I still grow as much as I can. We’d love chickens and goats, but it just isn’t in the cards for us right now. The important thing is that we use what we’ve got and do what we can!

    Margaret
    earthworms and marmalade

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing your situation, Margaret. I can relate! Our last house was in an HOA and we had restrictions too, but not as many. The biggest problem was probably that we were surrounded by people who sprayed their lawns and really hated that we didn’t. It was enough to drive me crazy!

      I’m so happy that we were able to move to a property that is zoned ag. We took a huge risk and lost money on the sale of our home, but life here is so much better and less stressful! I hope that someday you are able to do all the fun homesteady projects you want! In the meantime…it’s awesome that you are making the most of what you have! Best wishes and happy gardening!

      Reply
  12. Meredith/GreenCircleGrove

    Thank you for writing this, Lisa. How sad to be made to feel as if one had to defend one’s choice of lifestyle. It’s my belief that people generally make comments about others when they feel their own choices may be threatened or they are uncomfortable about themselves or their choices. My family and I try to live as “naturally” as possible and within reason –shopping locally, gardening, raising chickens, buying from neighboring farmers, making soaps and personal care products. I expect there are those who feel it is a bit odd to be returning to the way things used to be, but most around here are supportive and even trying a few of the old ways themselves.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thank you for stopping by, Meredith! It is sad that there are people who are so judgmental about the choice to homestead and live a more traditional lifestyle. To be honest, the ones I feel the most sorry for are the ones who live such an unnatural life and look down on others for their choice. They are the ones who really need some connection to nature…without that, I believe a person cannot be completely happy.

      I’m so glad you live where the community is supportive!

      Reply
  13. Anna@stuffedveggies

    Great post!

    When someone writes a nasty post “Why I look down on . .. .” – don’t click on it!

    Every time we click on a mean spirited post, we’re giving the writer MONEY – in ad revenue. Sadly, some people write nasty posts simply for clicks or ratings, so that they can get famous or get more money : (

    I would love to see laws that favored more green living. The fact that in our community it is illegal to hang out laundry really grates on me. To be honest, I wouldn’t hang out my laundry very often anyway (I have a medical intolerance to sun), but I’d like my neighbors to be able to do so.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Ann,
      Thanks!
      I rarely click on posts like that…but another blogger mentioned this post and I wanted to see for myself if she was really as nasty as I read. Yes, unfortunately, she was.

      But I didn’t click on her ads!

      Sorry to hear that you can’t be out in the sun…my sil has lupus and can’t be out in the sun for long. I would have such a hard time with that, as I’m sure you do!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Reply
      1. Anna@stuffedveggies

        Thanks for your kind reply. I understand that many bloggers get money each time someone looks at their blog -whether or not an ad is clicked. I had also heard about that particular post on another blog – and I understand the curiosity.

        Thankfully, my sun problem doesn’t trouble me too much. I’m naturally an indoor person, and not a morning person, so being inside a lot fits my temperament pretty well. I’m able to cover up sufficiently for the occasional trip to the beach or park (and schedule it when the sun is less strong). I do have to supplement my vitamin D, tho!

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Thanks for sharing that info, Anna…I didn’t realize that. I just wanted to be sure before I mentioned the article that it was what I read it was. I’ll never be going back again!!!

          I’m glad you’ve been able to work around your sun problem! Hats off to you! or maybe hats on?!

  14. Joyce Wheeler

    Normally a long blog makes close the tab, but this was a very interesting post. We don’t homestead, but do have a garden and are considering chickens. I don’t think we would have any issues with the neighbors, we all pretty mind our own business. This is one thing I love about living in the south, there’s kind of a an old mind set here.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Joyce,
      I’m glad you stuck around to read the post! I try not to get too long winded…but sometimes I get on my soap box and have trouble stepping back down. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      That’s great that you’re neighbors are so laid back…we’ve been pretty lucky. But we’re right across from a subdivision. They keep to themselves, but I worry that they’ll call the cops on me for something!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  15. Roberta Kelly

    Great blog! I grew up in a rural area in the 50’s within commute of a city and sometimes didn’t like having to spend all summer tending the garden and helping with the preparation of the vegetables for canning — and the canning in our little house on the kerosene stove in the heat of the midwest summer. Most of our neighbors were ‘rich’ enough that they didn’t ‘have’ to preserve their garden goodies for the winter enjoyment. I remember the put-downs by the kids at school (the little one-room school with 1 teacher for 8 grades – at least for the first 3 years of school before we HAD to go into town to the school there and ride the bus an hour a day). I started to get back to the land in the 70’s when my kids were little and then got divorced and just now getting back into it again…. I have forgotten so much and having to relearn it plus so much more now. It is bringing up so many mixed memories (the sore thumbs from shelling green peas – but I did them all as I was fast), the shucking the corn, snapping the green beans – and now I can’t wait to do those things again. Thanks for the information that you share and the support.

    Roberta

    Reply
    1. Lorraine

      Roberta, your comment is both enlightening and humbling. I think a lot of us older folks do have those mixed memories–all the hard work, the heat in the summer, the fact that we didn’t have a choice (as kids!) and the fact that we had home canned stuff, not the shiny cans from the store. But, oh, as we mature we are able to look back at that upbringing and realize what a blessing it is to be self-sufficient! Just thinking about my Granny and all that she accomplished through her hard work humbles me daily. Aren’t you delighted to see young women learning the skills that help their families be self-sufficient? I know I am so energized by Lisa and others I follow! So exciting!!

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Wow! Thanks so much Lorraine…it makes me feel awesome to hear that from you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some days I get a little down because I can’t do as much as I want or I hear negativity, but when I get great comments from all my wonderful readers…well, it bring tears of joy to my eyes! Thanks so much…you are all such a blessing!

        Reply
    2. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Roberta,
      Thanks so much for sharing your memories with us! I remember that I didn’t much care for picking the beans…but I was pretty happy to be a farm kid ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, there were kids who made fun of me for it. But hey, I got to go horseback riding whenever I darn well pleased! (within reason, of course!) It’s so great to connect with you and hear about your childhood. Best wishes with getting back to the land!

      Reply
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  17. Fyrefly Hollow

    Successful people do not pay attention to what others are doing. I have never cared what people think of me, and I have led a happier life for it. Those that listen to others are not living their own lives, plain and simple. Strike out on your own, if you have not already. You will find a much happier place. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you published such an article, pity that you had to.

    Reply
  18. Lorraine

    What a great thought-provoking blog. We all should be doing the things that we have determined are right and good for our family. What other folks are saying or doing should not be our goal. The times when I have gotten myself into messes were very often times when I did something because someone else was pressuring me to conform. . . and obviously I was weak. The sad truth is that the U.S. is going the way of European socialism and that whole system is Conform, Conform. . . or else! Don’t get sucked in by any corporate entity that touts “Green” if you haven’t first done your homework and figured out where their subsidies comes from! and don’t covet the “benefits” someone else gets from the government. (As in your comment about the egg prices) You figured it out….someone is getting something subsidized in order to sell at those prices. When we take government handouts of any kind, what we need to understand is that the money was stolen from someone else first. (“legal” theft by our government) I could go on and on. . . ๐Ÿ™‚ Thankfully, our future ultimately is NOT dependent upon government!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Lorraine…our family is making the conscious effort to support those local and small farms that don’t get the subsidies…hope we can change some minds! Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts!!!

      Reply
  19. Jennifer

    I tend to tune them out, honestly. Most of those comments are written out of ignorance and a strange tendency to be argumentative and controversial. In the corporate world, being aggressive and challenging everything is what gets you ahead. In the homesteading world, the opposite is required. We make our choice about which we prefer to be, and I’m just happy that most of the population falls somewhere in the middle.

    Reply
  20. kim collins

    Actually, I get a lot of positive feedback from people who are in awe because I grow my food and can it and raise chickens on my little acre. Most people think it’s really cool and wish they could do it. Kim

    Reply

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