Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
I am bursting with joy at the thought of owning my own small farm, gardening, canning my own food, hunting and raising livestock, living off the grid, and installing solar panels on my house. I dream of owning my land and my house debt free, spending my life living off the land, not depending on others for my family's survival. I don't dream of this because I fear impending doom. I dream of this because I grew up very poor, and farmsteading to me is an opportunity to not live in poverty. Farmsteading and unplugging is an old way of life that is hard work and based on skills, not money. So what's the problem? My husband does not share my enthusiasm. He is pessimistic about everything. It's not all his fault though. I did not have these plans when we got married. I have changed. I graduated from college in December 2009 with hopes of a new career and joining the middle class, finally. But that opportunity did not come a knocking. And I sure didn't find it when I went looking for it. Over the past year, I have been under-employed when I wasn't unemployed. Being at home with my kids for a few months changed me. I always said that I would never be a house wife. I always felt it was a degrading way of life. Looking back at myself now, I can't imagine why I felt that way about taking care of my own kids. I used to think that to be successful, I had to have a high paying career and a big house. Now I know that is simply not true. I see farmsteading as my American Dream at this point in my life. So how can I bring my husband and kids into the fold? They are still "brainwashed" by the television and video games. I've told them that they don't have to give up TV. I'm willing to compromise. But my husband must think this a phase that will pass and soon he'll have the woman he married back. Maybe he thinks it's my hormones messing with my head. lol. I don't know why he doesn't seem to be taking this seriously. I've found a house with 2 acres. It needs a lot of TLC, but I know we could do it. He says he doesn't want to do that much work to a place. Doesn't want to do that much work? How can I ever expect him to want to work on our homestead? Should I give up my dream? I am not willing to break up my family to go farmsteading. But shouldn't he compromise with me and stop being so stubborn? Sorry I drew that out so much. I have a lot on my mind as you can plainly see.
You are right MBA, most people will be in flames before they see Rome burning. Even then they will warm themselves by the fire and have a hard time seeing the big picture.
MyBackAchers Farm said:
For SURE! Start in Small Bites or its un-digestible. More than 1 bite of info a month is a lot for most people until they seem to get a taste for the truth of what is going on around them.
Funny thing is he has been the one I have always been the closest too! He was 17 and stupid, and I had a full year of guilting him into whatever I wanted. Imagine a 17 year old boy telling his date or buddies, they first have to take his little sister for ice cream. He felt really bad and was always extremely overprotective of me.
Theresa Schieffelbein said:
Oh Happy, You poor thing! I am the oldest of 9 kids but we all did our fair share of torturing each other. At least the rabbit that I roasted up didn't look like a rabbit. If she wasn't involved in our day to day homesteading (I home taught our kids so they were very hands on) she wouldn't have ever known what it was.
I think that we are a lovingly twisted family but what your brother did was just awful!
I was a little like you in that while my husband and I were dating, my homesteading fire wasn't fully lit. It had started burning as a teenager, but life and other things happened and I didn't think about it much for a long time. After we'd been married a few years, had a baby and then graduated from college, I didn't have much to do as a stay-at-home mom and so I started canning and that rekindled that ol' homesteading flame.
My husband is pretty grounded and realistic, which can come off as being skeptical or unsupportive. I'm more of a dreamer. :-) But having that balance, I have found, is actually a good thing! I understand your grand dreams - I have them too. But I've also learned that I need to be realistic about what I can physically accomplish on my own right now and in the future and what we can accomplish realistically together. That takes a lot of communication.
Like I said before, my husband can be a little skeptical of some of my crazy, wild ideas for homesteading, but then after awhile he got really into the idea of electric cars, he enjoyed my canned food (especially salsa), he started to appreciate the fresh tomatoes we were growing, and then he got excited about solar heating, and now he's saying he wants to live off the land and off the grid! This is a big turn around, but I just needed to show him how much my dreams meant to me, show him that it wasn't just talk, and then find things that got his engineer juices going! (Animals are a different story, but I haven't given up hope! He might be on the wagon for chickens, but not much more at this point. It's a work in progress!)
Learning how you want to homestead is a journey. As husband and wife you need to take that journey together, even if you trail blaze on your own for a bit until he sees how cool homesteading can be! He likes working on his truck - that's already a homesteading skill, so you're on your way. I've also found that you just have to keep talking about it- and then do what you can NOW. Pay attention to his interests- there are a lot of cool farming magazines that talk about mechanical stuff. He just might start coming up with his own dreams like fixing up an old tractor - who knows!
I don't know how old your kids are, but when it comes to them, you need to include them in your journey too. Give them their own little spot in the garden to grow things, teach them to cook, can or sew, start weaning them off TV and video games (it's a privilege, not a right!) and give them things to do indoors or out (like work) :-). See if you can translate some of their interests into homesteading type skills and jobs.
Just take one day at a time, one step at a time. It may take awhile, but with your enthusiasm and doing what you can right now, you can make those dreams a reality.
Good luck. Don't give up! You can do it!
I really feel for you! Luckily for me, my husband had come along with me on my dream and it has quickly become ours--although I still remain the "idea person" and sometimes cannot convince him to try something I'd like to do.
Our venture started when we lived in a suburban community, and I longed to have a small farm that I could use as a guest house for pastors & missionaries & family weekend getaways. He agreed to let me do that, and we embarked on a purchase and remodeling of a small, decrepit ranch house. We began going there often to bush hog, pick black berries, enjoy the little lake, etc. My husband, who hated mowing grass or any other kind of yard work, discovered he loved the country.
About two years later, I went with my daughter to look for a place to live in the country, and ended up finding a 29-acre property for sale with a house, two barns and a modular home. I asked my husband how he'd like to never pay board again for my two horses! He said, "I don't want to move. I like where we live." I said, "Please just come see this place." He agreed, and he fell in love with it, too. We sold our other house and moved to the country.
Then I wanted chickens, and my husband was not at all enthusiastic. He was having plenty of fun planting fruit trees and a garden. I kept asking, what about just a half dozen? He agreed and built me an adorable coop of top of a garden wagon so we could roll it around. He discovered he was good at building things. He discovered he loved having our own eggs--and how much better they were!
I talked to him about how milk cows are treated, and someone told us to watch "Food, Inc" and "The Future of Food." They have inspired us to feel that we're benefitting our animals as well as ourselves. "Temple Grandin" is another great one we just watched. So amazing to see the origin of so many of the values we have today.
My enclosed two stalls for me in the open barn . . . turned half a shed into a brooder house to raise a batch of meat chickens . . . fenced in the garden . . . fenced in the barnyard by hand-digging post holes . . . learned to use a tractor-driven post hole digger and fenced in a 2-acre field . . . built a chicken tractor . . . built a tack room in the barn. Each project makes him realize how much he can do, and he was a teacher and pastor by training. Next on the list is a milking parlor.
Oh, I forgot to mention that someone told us all that grass was going to waste, we should get a cow. He said he hates cows (grew up with ranching relatives). I said, what about miniature cows? We now have a Dexter cow, a yearling heifer we are raising to be our family milk cow, a yearling steer we bought for beef, and have bred our cow back by AI to the same bull.
I talked him into Farm School at Nature's Harmony Farm, and he discovered that pigs were pretty nice. I had been begging for a pig, and he was adamant, NO! We just butchered our first two pigs and cured and smoked our own bacon and ham, and he's talking about how soon we could get two more!
We visited a farm that had NO flies in the barn, and they said their Muscovy ducks ate them all. We raised our own this past spring, and sure enough, there were no flies in the barnyard all summer!
We each have our "own" dog, plus we got a Great Pyrenees to guard our flock after a fox decimated it. We have two barn cats and just took in a dying relatives three small dogs. (They're the only animals here that drive us both crazy!)
So I don't know if there's any advice to be gleaned from my long story except to be patient, expose your husband to ideas VERY gradually (mine still shuts down when I go into my "we could do this and this" mode), and make those ideas concrete, like tastier vegetables, your own eggs (if your community allows that--or buy some from someone), etc. Do lots of reading and research, and share things you learn strategically. My husband tends to balk if he thinks something is going to be tons of work that he doesn't feel qualified to do. Perhaps that old house is discouraging to your husband. Is there a way you could offer your services to someone around you who has land or a huge garden, in exchange for being able to take home produce? (I would LOVE if some of our friends would do that with us.) Maybe if your husband saw YOU working, enjoyed the fruits of it, he might be more open. Maybe you might even be able to get your kids to go along and see where you "work." Maybe you could find a local farm and do a "tour" with the family for your birthday present.
We love this lifestyle SO much and are so thankful we took the plunge (though not till in our 50's). I hope SO much for your sake that you are able to awaken your family to the fun and joy and satisfaction it can bring! The best of luck to you! Susan
If your husband is into gadgets get him or yourself a subsription to Farm Show. My whole family loves looking through it.
I think it must just take men a little longer to come around. My husband has taken 2 years, and we are almost there. He has listened patiently, worked alongside me, but I could just tell he wasn't there yet. It takes time- prove to him you can do it, do the small stuff, plant a garden where you are, raise rabbits for meat. We are finally looking at a farm, a "real farm". I can't wait- he on the other hand is moving slowly, being catious, and asking lots of questions.
Hang in there- sounds like you are not alone!
Any one wanting to get a gearhead hooked just tune them into the RFD TV channel watching the tractor pulls and the shows on Antique tractors
Ladies you lead and they WILL follow
Mine was still balking at the thoughts of buying a bigger farm with acreage when the time comes (that's still about 10 yrs out) until a trip to Lancaster County PA for him & the boys to go to the drag races one year and after I hit a farm stand and bought the usual veggies plus homemade preserves and a couple other things and took him sightseeing he decided that a farm with acreage is a really nice idea to look forward to. And then I sealed the deal when I had RFD TV added to our Tv lineup (I like watching the rodeos especially the bull riding) and he started finding shows on antique tractors then found the tractor pulling.
This summer we took our first vacation in 23 yrs alone without 1 kid and went to Tomah WI for the pulls and had a great time. We loaded camping gear in the back of the truck and hit the road and I had the map (I don't do GPS) so I mapped out the route as we went and made sure most of it was right thru the heart of farming country, the more he saw the more hooked he's getting on the idea of a big farm of our own.
Your story resonates with me because mine is similar. When I finished residency, I wanted to finally buy my home in the country... The place I'd always wanted, and fulfill my dream of having a place like I grew up on. I wanted my kids to have the same experiences that I had. But my wife is from LA. She was gentle, but firm, and pointed out that I was the only one in the family pushing for this. The kids (then age 9 and 6) hadn't even asked for a dog, much less shown interest in goats and chickens etc. This was hard for me to understand. Why couldn't they see how much better it would be?
Eventually, I realized that unless it became their dream, I was going to make them miserable by trying to force them to do it my way. It's taken time, but we worked out a compromise. By talking, I was able to find out what my wife didn't like / was afraid of about moving to the country, and address those issues. One of her fears was that she would be having to do a lot of work that a) she didn't know how to do, and b) had no interest in doing anyhow.
Our compromise was this: The next place we bought, the house had to be one she would like living in and that had enough land for what I wanted to do. And, since the land was my dream, working the land was my responsibility. In otherwords, she was welcome to help, but didn't have to. I wouldn't bite off more than I could chew, or afford to hire help for, and she would come along for the ride.
An intersting thing happened allong the way... She seems to be catching the bug. A while back she asked about how hard it would be to raise chickens and if we could have them, and just the other day she asked if we would be able to have a pig...
Start learning now, do what you can in the place you have, but don't demand that he accept your dream. Pursue it without forcing your husband to join you in your quest. My bet is if you don't push too hard, he will come around. Remember, love is about asking, not demanding...Leading, not pushing.
I played with homesteading in Florida since my house was so rural. As town moved in we moved out - out to Tennessee and bought a house with acerage. I too thought in order to be successful you needed a career. Illness got the best of me and now I devote all of my time to the farm. Working on projects from water containment to raising chickens, turkeys, angus and zebus. This has not been an easy transistion. And I cant say we have made a dime either. It takes time and alot of enouragement and advice from those who know what they are doing. Hubby is there, but is not the natural born farmer, his response in frustration is "I am an equipment operator"! not a farmer. Raising children in homesteading environment is the best. They learn all kinds of things that schools would never teach in a classroom. Valuable lessons that can be incorporated in their adult life. I wish I could find just the right combination to make my farm at least pay for the feed expense. Last year during our 90 day drought, I decided to purchase all my vegtables from the wholesale farm up the road and only grow the oddball plants that will be a unique addition to the farm instead of worrying about water and weeding, frost and drought. It definately takes teamwork. Every farm is different and each element like soil, moisture, rock or pasture, animals raised and tools available to make things "work". My hubby didnt take me serious until we have a freezer full of beef we raised ourself.
Read "One Second After"...then get your hubby to do so. Unless he doesn't read it, it will make him think about your current situation and how it needs to be improvied by becoming more self-sufficent. I know you said you aren't desiring to move out of fear, and I'm not advocating fear, but there's a lot to be said for being prepared for a variety of situations...
I was in the exact opposite boat - my wife thought I was crazy for even looking at properties...now, a little over 3 years later we live on a 76 acre farm we are leasing and rasing natural chicken, pork beef & eggs. She's right along beside me and wouldn't go back. So, keep your head up, be patient, and give it some time.
AHHH, yes those early days of the dream. Not in exactly the same way, but I have been where you are at. My Hubby was the ,rather live in a sky rise condo than the country type. Very coiffed and polished guy. We were living in our beautiful home in the suburbs and living like rock stars, I had a nanny and a maid and a yard guy,pool guy and a terrible case of Fibromyalgia. I was so sick. In bed every moment I was not on the run with our social life or jetting to Mexico for the weekend. I hated it ! You see, I am an East Texas Country girl. I was born with red mud between my toes and this high life was KILLING me. So fast forward about six years into this BIG life and I am out of touch with my Dear Children, Out of touch with my Loving Daddy God (you know Jesus Dad) and terribly ill. Something, well everything had to change and NOW. I spent a few day at my best friends farm in Alto Tx and when it was time to come home, to our suburban splendor, I just broke down. My body and soul rebelled against it completely. I spent the next 3 days driving west on obscure country roads praying out loud to God, begging him crying at the top of my lungs to change my toxic life, to change my husbands heart, to get me OUT of the Suburbs of Houston Tx and into the surrounding country of Houston Tx. I literally stopped communicating with the world and turned my phone and radio off and just spent three days and night praying out loud and writing in my journal and then repeating this over and over. Now while I know that this is a very extreme way of handling a situation, I believe that God is speaking to us about how to handle our situations all of the time, sometimes the direction God gives us seems EXTREME, in my case, I had to walk away from my Husband with whom I was so co dependent on and risk making him very angry by just leaving and not telling him where or when or anything, I just left. This would have been something that would have paralyzed me with fear before that day, I would have been far too concerned with how my husband would respond to do what it is that my Daddy (God) wants me to do, you see. I was Toxic and co dependent and scared. So how does this story end, well today, six and a half years later. I own a farm store and have a thriving farm to your door company, my husband, he commutes to work. He is still perfectly Coiffed all the time and we still have to do events and social things for his work, but today and for a long time now. Our farm and family are the cornerstone of our life. While I was gone on what I call my "ride with God" God was working on my Husband. He did NOT leave me or get mad at my disappearing for three days, he was scared and concerned but he needed to be that way in order for God to do a work on his heart. He had to reevaluate his own life, think about how our HIGH life was affecting our REAL life, and he actually came to the same conclusions I had come to. The next day, we began looking for a home in the country, then that became looking for a small acreage, and that evolved into a 10.5 acre farm that we have lived on since. My husband had been hearing me talk about a simple country life for a long time, it took me taking a huge leap of faith and a drive with God to make him HEAR ME. So my question to you is, #1 do you believe that God has placed the desire the calling to live in the country in your heart? If yes then fast, pray unceasingly,dont mention it to your hubby while you are fasting, just serve him and drop it. God will speak to you about how to handle his son (your hubby) and he may put you in an uncomfortable situation and ask you to follow, be ready, he places those desires in your heart, he wants you to achieve your goals.