Guest Author - Jacqueline Rosenbalm
What is the ďBack to the LandĒ movement?
It is a movement that has its roots in the 1960ís and 70ís but has recently been revived. It was based on the idea that a self-sufficient lifestyle allowed one to live close to nature thereby gaining the spiritual benefits of adhering to moral values, simplicity and limited consumerism. It involved growing your own food, building an ecologically friendly home and becoming personally independent by earning a living from the land itself.
Have you ever been tempted to move from the city to the country to start your own little homestead and escape the rat race? If you said yes, you are not the first to have the dream of living a simple and sustainable life.
Is it a dream or can it become a reality?
You should never give up on your dreams. It is possible to achieve all you dream but it will require determination, an unwavering spirit and hard work. I am a homesteader but it is not for everyone. People tend to have a romanticized idea of what it will be like and are quickly disappointed.
If the movement of the 60ís and 70ís is an example your chances of being successful are about 3%. The movement that ended in the 70ís had a 97% failure rate and that was before cell phones and x-boxes. The people of this century are more spoiled than our predecessors. They are further removed from the realities of sustaining life.
I know that sounds discouraging but most people donít understand what is involved in going back to the land. Modern people of today have no practical homesteading skills but the information is still available to those who choose to learn. Educate yourself and you will increase the chance for successful homesteading. The more you can do for yourself and the fewer things you have to buy from others the more independent you will become.
Getting to know people in the community can be very helpful and equally beneficial if you can barter with them for items you cannot make yourself. It also allows for social interaction that can keep you from feeling isolated if you are used to having close neighbors. Fellow homesteaders tend to be private people but are willing to share experience and advice if you ask.
Benefits of going back to the land :
Homesteading gives you a new appreciation for all things you take for granted every day; like clean water, clothes and food, electricity and heat. Time slows down; you notice the things around you in nature. I find my mind is clearer and I have more time to think about things, time to listen to the birds sing. Stress levels decrease and the physical activity makes you feel alive. You feel tired at the end of the day but in a good way; sleep is sound and restful.
I enjoy cutting, splitting and stacking the firewood. I find peace in mucking out the barn and interacting with the animals. The goats are a joy to watch, especially the little ones. I find myself smiling more than frowning no matter the work load. Sometimes work just doesn't feel like work around the homestead.
Your senses become amplified by city standards but out here theyíre normal. Your heart softens, anger is nonexistent and tension dissipates as your whole attitude changes.
You might find homesteading requires excepting different kinds of appliances than you are used to. There is something about the smell of the wood stove and the warmth it radiates on a cold winter night that touches a part of my heart. A home just isn't the same without one; I wouldn't trade wood heat for any other kind.
It requires a bit of knowledge to use a wood stove vs an electric or gas stove. Each type of tree smells different and the wood puts out a different amount of heat, some are better when you need quick heat for cooking while others produce a slow steady burn that will keep you warm all night.
You will look at time differently, instead of hours and minutes, you will tend to look at the position of the sun or think in seasons and days. You will learn which sign to plant or harvest in and the phases of the moon will matter as well.
You never stop learning as each challenge comes you figure out how to solve it. You learn to make do with what you have. You learn you donít need everything you see on TV. Heck, you learn you donít even need the TV. You have a full life that no longer needs to be filled with stuff, which is truly the biggest benefit of all, freedom from debt.