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.
Wow, this is great advice
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 started exploring and yearning for the homesteading life about five years ago. My husband was not at all interested at first. He's as handy as can be due to his carpentry background, but working on OUR house was the last thing he wanted to do (ever heard of "the shoemaker's children never have any shoes"? yes, that was me). I understood why: he worked all day as a carpenter and the last thing he wanted to do when he got home or on the weekends was to do more of it. So I knew I had to find a homestead that didn't require a lot of immediate repairs. We are also very private people, yet we currently live in a very non-private neighborhood, so any future property had to have privacy and lots of it. Lastly, we both grew up in the mountains, and finding a mountain property was paramount.
I hunted for property for at least three years, showing him one here or there that I thought looked interesting, only for him to find some flaw or another with it. During this time, I started gardening avidly and built a chicken coop myself. I butchered and dressed my first chicken two years ago, just to prove to myself that I could do it. I started cooking with my homegrown, organic vegetables, and I made a point of making dishes that I knew he'd like with them. I started buying homesteading books, and he eventually picked one up and started flipping through it. I would mention articles I read online about rainwater collection, solar panels, permaculture, and anything else I found intriguing - if he didn't find it interesting, I would drop it. He's hunted before and was excited about having his own property to hunt.
And then I finally found a farm listing that provided everything he wanted and most of what I wanted (I always wanted a turn-of-the-century farmhouse, but he wanted something that didn't need fixing). We are in California and found a farm in NE Tennessee (we had to find something that we could afford to buy while still living in California). So he took a little mini-vacation by himself and flew out one weekend to look at it. Fell in love with it and the area, and next thing you know, we were owners of a 60-acre mountain farm with two cabins and two sheds built within the last ten years (I hadn't even seen the property yet when we closed on it! I trusted his judgment because it had to be something he wanted, and I could really work with anything).
A 100-year old barn and corn crib sit on the property waiting to be restored someday, but we can definitely homestead without them. Currently about an acre of manicured pasture, and several acres of overgrowth that can be easily brought back to pasture. Several more acres of woods that could be converted if need be. And the rest in glorious woods and mountain terrain, giving us ultimate privacy and freedom to do what we want. I never thought we would actually reach this point, but we're hoping to get out to our homestead by summer or fall of 2012, and we are BOTH so excited to be there. But it took many years of hoping and dreaming and planning (we refinanced in order to get the down payment for the farm).
This is all a very long-winded way of saying don't give up hope! You just have to find something that you are BOTH excited about. Finding and buying property is a long, drawn out process, and you must find something that meets both your needs. It's out there somewhere!
I wish you luck but try to find a way to live out your dream and keep your family involved.
Let them come at their own pace and try to acomodate them as you go. I'm making the assumption that you are still the primary cook for the family. You can control that aspect of their lives by providing them with home grown produce and meats.
Let them see where there food is coming from. You can't force them. It will just create resentment.
I hope this helps and that they will follow your lead.
But hey if he doesn't come around I'm looking for a farm to steward.
I know this isn't a new thread, but I wanted to jump in. Homesteading and farmsteading isn't something that happens overnight. We've been married 14 years and just this year bought our own home w/ 3 1/2 acres. I gardened off and on over the past several years. Hubby isn't completely on board the whole prepping thing, but we are at a point where he loves the garden and has agreed to let me have chickens this spring. It's a process over time, not something that can be done all at once. Take baby steps - have your garden, don't spend a whole lot on building those raised beds though. Find the items for cheap/free on craigslist. Once he sees how dedicated you are to it, he'll come around.
As for this property/home you want. sometimes free things aren't so great in the end. I don't know the condition of the home, but if it's in such disrepair, 3 years free rent may not even be worth the cost you'll put into it. Be sure to really understand what's involved. And, be patient, the perfect property in your price range will come along soon.
I agree with the MyBackAchers Farm approach, try renting the documentary "Collape" for your husband. Quite by chance I watched it and it insprired me to learn more, the more I learned the more I felt I needed to protect my familiy from some of the worst potential futures. A year later we are the proud (if sinfully ignorant) owners of a beautiful little farm in Southern Virginia happily stumbling our way through the hard knocks education process. One thing you do learn when discussing peak oil or economic collapse is people have a remarkable capacity to ignore or deny what Al Gore called an "inconvienient truth". If that is the case with your hubby, don't forget the carrot. There is a wonderful series from English TV called 'The River Cottage' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it really inspires you to want to "have a go" at this Homesteading thing. 'Escape to River Cottage' is the best one for him to watch.
Good luck! Steve.