I've been reading a lot about homesteading over the past few weeks. It's like a fever. It started with chickens and finding out how to raise them. But I'm not sure what started that. Now I imagine my farm, complete with a huge garden, four pigs (1 sow for piggies, one to sell and pay for the other two to go to the butcher), a chicken coop with plenty of egg layers, and either some goats or a cow for milk and meat.
When I think about this stuff, I'm not in the least daunted by the thought of canning and freezing tons of produce and fruit. Making jelly and jam is something I already do and I can tomatoes too. Managing land to prevent overgrazing and what crops I can feasibly grow to feed the animals during the winter, that is a bit daunting.
But then I start thinking about making my own butter and cheese. Soap making has taken a spot in my interests too. And smoking meat has come to the forefront in the past day or two... you know, you can make a smokehouse pretty easily?
I envision myself and the kids going out to the garden for an hour a day and weeding, hoeing, picking... (wife is the one that works an outside job in our house). Doing morning and evening chores, being an old hand at making the family bread (which I've started doing), and making pert near everything else as much from scratch as I can. It appears to be a very tiring life. Exhausting, actually. But somehow, and also quite strangely, fulfilling.
Now I'll be the first to admit that my mind and the way I think about things is pretty doggone idealistic, focusing on the romantic notion of a thing until the true reality raises its ugly head. It's at that point that I usually cool to an idea and move on to something else. I'm trying to be very realistic about all of this... at least as much as I know how to be.
This time might be different, though. See, God wired me for a love of nature and the outdoors. He made me to love putting something in the ground and watching it grow. And though I love civilization and all the perks that come with it (shopping, eating out, etc.), I think I much prefer the quiet and darkness of a summer night in the country compared to a night on the town. I've already begun to work on developing the discipline it'll take to run a small family farm. I'm just being a little more on the ball I guess. So maybe I'm not so crazy. Maybe idealism is the grist that keeps me going toward a goal and helps me even consider a thing as worth doing in the first place.
I've got a long way to go. I'm trusting in God for a lot of help here, some wisdom, and guidance. I'm asking Him if He'll bless me with five acres out in the country (but I'm hoping he surprises me with 12 or some bigger ridiculous number). I'm asking for it from Him. This summer should be a great time for me to get a small look at just what I'm in for.