The Half-Acre Homestead.

I’ve gone through an evolution in homesteading in three phases.

Суббота, 14 января 2012 08:21
The Half-Acre Homestead.

In the ‘60s, I built a house in Big Sur, developed a water supply, and terraced a hillside for farming. I was intrigued with the idea of self-sufficiency, and along with all of the changes going on in the ‘60s, the back-to-the-land movement was a powerful force.

We had a big garden, planted fruit trees, and I could walk down the canyon to the beach to get fish and abalone. Pretty soon after finishing the house (built out of mostly salvaged materials and hand-split shakes) and getting set up for farming, fate intervened, and I left Big Sur for a 5-year stint building geodesic domes.

Flash forward to 1971. I bought a half-acre in a small Northern California coastal town and built another house. This time we got farther into homesteading. We had goats, 50 chickens and 5 colonies of bees. We raised a lot of our own food. I cut hay with a scythe. We learned a lot of the “forgotten crafts”: making butter and cheese, brewing beer, baking bread, smoking fish, and many skills and crafts that had been part of our ancestors’ lives.

After several years, I realized that all this was taking too much time. Tending dairy animals is time-consuming and tricky. Bees need attention. Raising a good portion of your own food is demanding. (I’m talking about small plots of land here. If you have acreage, then everything is different.)

I started cutting back. First, we got rid of the goats (a half-acre is too small for dairy animals anyway). Then the bees. I started putting more time into publishing, less into food production and home crafts. We didn’t give up on these things, but scaled back.

The third stage in our homesteading lives is where we’re at right now. I’ve learned that you can’t be self-sufficient—self-sufficiency is a direction; you never get there. But you don’t give up because you can’t do it all. You do what you can, tailoring your homesteading activities to your life, work, and location—country, suburban, or urban.

These days we’ve blended the homesteading in with other aspects of life and, over the years, it seems we’ve achieved a pretty good balance. It works for us.

Views: 238872 | Date of publication: Суббота, 14 января 2012 08:21

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