Herbs & Things

Herbs & Things
Herbs & Things

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Facing the Reality of Homestead Confiscation

Every morning I have the same routine. I wake up, pack my husband's lunch, sometimes I'll put on some coffee. I wash the dishes from the night before or from that morning. Some mornings if it's super early, I'll lay back down in bed and rest with my thoughts before the day begins. Other days, I jump right in head first. I let the animals out, get them fed and watered. I get online to see the latest "news", sometimes I'll flip it on the TV. It's normally "the end of the world", racism wars, child abuse, #alllivesmatter, celebrity divorces, and terrorism. 

I turn it off just as quickly as I turned it on.

I grew up in a farming community. This "life" isn't new to me. Believe it or not, I'm not a "newbie". And I often laugh when people try to school me as if I'm uneducated. But I listen, because I'm a nice person. And believe it or not, I'm constantly learning. We never ever get to a point where we know it  all. Even the seasoned veterans can tell you that.

Maybe it's me, or maybe it's growing up being submerged in it. But often, farm families would be informed of what was going on in the world, but then went on about their day like normal. They knew trials would come, things would happen. But they also knew they couldn't do anything about it other than love, share abundance, and keep waking up every morning to do it all over again.

While my own homesteading journey only began recently, the knowledge I have gained over the past 20+ years has been retained. And do you know what that life taught me?

It taught me that no matter what's happening in the world, animals still need fed. Vegetables still need planting. Beans still need picking and bread still needs baking. Neighbors still need you to drop in from time to time to check on them. The tractor will always break down, and so will your vehicle. Breakfast still needs making and dinner still needs prepping. And every morning, your family is still right there...right in front of you...waiting for you to speak. What will your words teach them? Will it teach them to live life to the fullest, or be scared of everyone around them?

Do you know that only in the last few decades have homesteaders and farmers become so "doom and gloom" all day every day. They certainly had their struggles, far worse than us. And yet, I feel they handled it far better than we are today. I blame the world of social media for the past 10 years. People feel comfortable behind their social media posts, but when it actually comes time to doing and saying what they put out there? That's a different story.

This week a fairly "new" homesteader (friend) said to me, "I know I don't have a big garden or a large piece of land, and after watching some of these videos, I'm terrified that I won't be able to take care of my family should a civil war break out or something. I know I don't have it as together as I should. But we just can't afford it."

Let me just stop you right there, friend.

The moment we begin comparing our lives to other people's lives is the very moment we have failed. That is what is wrong with this country. If you have the mindset that you're "better" than someone or doing things "better" than someone, then YOU are the issue with America. That's how racism began. That's how police officers shoot people that don't deserve to be shot. That's how police officers get shot when they haven't done anything wrong while they serve and protect.

And if you see a homesteader doing that, whether comparing their lives because they want to be better, or comparing their lives because they think they're the best.....stop them dead in their tracks. I dare them to say the things they say online to your face or mine. Because nine times out of ten, they won't.

Stop it. Stop doing that. You've lost sight of what homesteading is. Homesteading isn't "who has it altogether this way or that way." Homesteading is a way of life. It is constant. It is not a race to the finish line.

If you are homesteading simply because you want to be prepared for the end of the world, that's awesome. But that's not what homesteading originally was. Yes, you heard me. And you know it's true. You're considered a "prepper", not a homesteader.

If you're homesteading just to make a quick buck, that's not going to happen either. 

If you're homesteading because it's "fun" and the "new thing", well...you won't last very long if you don't soon get serious.

But if you're homesteading because this is the lifestyle you wish to pursue. Getting back to your roots. Getting back to a simpler way of living and a healthier way of raising your family. Learning how to be self-sustainable and self-sufficient. Learning de-stress and live life to its fullest. Then, comparing your homestead to someone elses homestead is just ridiculous. Your family is different than everyone elses family. Your needs and wants are different than everyone elses needs and wants. Your income is different. Your medical needs are different.You....you are a different person, in a different region, in a different town. And that is beautiful.

I've gotten a real sense of what homesteading used to be. Living at the base of the Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and working in the line of work that I do, you learn a lot about history. As I said to my homestead friend this week when she was sharing her concerns with me, just because someone has a homestead that looks all put together, doesn't mean it can't be taken away from them in an instant.

This friend is having her homestead taken away as we speak. It's heart breaking. And there's absolutely nothing she can do about it. 

It's true, folks. Just ask the homesteaders who we literally driven off their land and out of the mountains when the government came knocking. Every time I see an old stone house up in the mountains, I remember this piece of history. And if we refuse to know history, then we are simply doomed to repeat it.

They had guns. They put up fights. My heart broke as I read countless amounts of letters that these homesteaders wrote to the government, begging for their land back, pleading their case. But they lost. Certainly, most of them we uneducated, but can you really blame them?

Sure, we say we would fight for our homesteads should someone come and threaten us (be it government or scavengers during a hard time), but would we really? At a certain point in the fight, is keeping your animals and land more important, or is taking care of your family and not putting them in immediate danger more important? 

Listen, I love my house. I love my animals. But I love my family more. YES, I'd fight for my home, land, animals, and family. But would I fight to death for my house and animals? Probably not. I always chuckle when someone says "if the government comes to take my guns, I'm going to shoot". Yeah, sorry, it's not worth it to me. My husband and I have seriously sat down and had this conversation before, just to be prepared for when that time comes. Certainly, I'd try to outwit them. But I'm not going to go to jail and leave my child without a parent. That's just STUPID.

This is why I cannot stress to you more, to be prepared in ALL situations. If you are completely relying on your own personal property to pull you through a hard time, you may be highly disappointed when it fails, gets taken away from you, or animals start dying off because you don't know how to make your own feed/hay. This is why I stress learning how to hunt, trap, live off of the land that surrounds you, not just the land that you own. Wild edibles. Birds. Squirrels. Deer. The bounty is in abundance in so many areas. Settlers survived, we should know how to survive as well. And believe it or not, that doesn't involve having resources at your finger tips. That involves having knowledge.

I say all of this, just as I said to her, because I want you to know that the urgency to have a homestead is certainly real. Taking care of yourself outside of government is definitely enticing and necessary. But the reality is that even if you are the most prepared person in the world, it can all be taken away from you. Let's get real, folks. It takes one match to set your entire house on fire if someone really wanted you to stop homesteading. Again, read a history book.

It takes one small mob to ransack your property looking for food and shelter. What then? Are you going to tell people that they can't have your food? That you aren't going to share? You'll have to shoot them, or be a kind person and share with those in need.

It takes one government swat team to come in the middle of the night when you're least suspecting it, arresting you for homesteading, God forbid it ever come down to that. 

But do you know what they can't take away from you? They can't take away your skills. They can't take away your knowledge. They can't take away your ability to learn and share knowledge.

Sit back. Take a deep breath. Breathe. And enjoy this lifestyle...enjoy this journey. It is a journey to be enjoyed. But also a journey to be taken seriously.

Stop comparing your homestead to mine. I'm certainly not one to mirror after. I'm tiny! But I am comfortable in knowing I have knowledge.

Stop comparing your homestead to others. Stop wishing you had more of this and more of that. If you want it, work towards it. But in the meantime, be happy with where you are in your homesteading journey. You don't have to gain all of this over night. Nor is it even humanly possible. Your animals and homestead will lack.

And don't you dare allow anyone to make you feel bad about where you are in your homesteading journey. 

Sure, I'd like more land. Give me 10-20 acres and I'd be a happy little lark. But guess what, I can't afford it right now. 

Sure, I'd like to have a huge 3 acre garden and can all of my food for a year or more worth of supply. But the reality is that I have a job, I couldn't spend all my time doing that even if I wanted to. I would never see my kid. I would never have time to spend with my family between working and gardening and canning. Kudos to those who do it though. You are amazing and incredible and beautiful. But it's not possible for my current life right now. Doesn't mean it won't be possible later in life.

Sure, I'd like to grow my homestead and have it bigger and more sustainable. But I am happy with where I am right now. Why? Because it's working for us right now. Of course, you must grow and expand. That's common sense. But you don't have to do it on someone elses watch. This is your life. This is your journey. Own it.

I get it, you don't want to live just for the "right now". You need to be prepared, and I'm not saying you shouldn't be. But I also want you to understand that being prepared doesn't just mean food and shelter. It means having the understanding of having to live WITHOUT it if you have to.

Embrace homesteading. Learn from it. Grow in it. Because no one ever succeeded from rushing into something they knew nothing about. Knowledge is not gained overnight. It is gained from dirt under your finger nails, from heartache of watching an animal slip away in  your arms, and of failures and successes alike.

You know, in the 1960s we had a lot of people preaching the doom and gloom theme too. Every 10 to 20 years we get them. People that have fear instilled in their inner core. People needing to feel validated for their life choices and decisions. But I assure you, if you're secure in your knowledge and lifestyle, you will not want to instill fear into other people. You'll want to educate and share knowledge. But you understand that life will still go on.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all about being prepared. In fact, it's biblical. But I am not for using scare tactics in which to do it. And I am not for belittling other's abilities and lifestyles just for the sake of it. That's not community, that's dictatorship and pride. Prideful knowledge puffs up and is boastful, humility is quiet and educates.

I encourage you to take time and really think about what you want in your homestead journey. We all have goals and plans. Stick to them. But realize that they are going to change as your wants and needs change. Your life changes. Things happen, unexpected sometimes. And therefore your goals will change. 

I also encourage you to stop comparing. Stop watching videos and reading blog posts and thinking "gosh, I wish I were like so and so," or "man, I'm screwed." I get it. I do it too. I look at photos and think gosh I wish my house looked different. I watch videos and think to myself, wow, I really need more land. But guess what, my family needs food on the table more than I need land right now. And that's the reality of it in this moment. I refuse to put my family in a financial situation that causes heartache just because I want to be more "prepared". When in reality, being "prepared" isn't even a guaranteed safe card.

I refuse to be belittled by someone whose life is not my life. Whose feet have never walked in my shoes. And whose outlook on life may be different than mine.

And you should to. 

So love life. Love the journey right where you are, right here, right now. Embrace a true homesteading lifestyle. Be prepared and informed, but do not be consumed and degraded by others. 

And most of all, grow.

Grow into who you want to become. Who you want your family to become. Share love and knowledge. Because none of us are going to get anywhere by comparing. That's what's wrong with the world today. That's where racism and sexism begins. In the minds of weak people who think it's acceptable to compare and put themselves on pedestals.

Homesteading is beautiful. Let's keep homesteading pure and natural. And that all starts by loving the journey, loving your neighbor, and being perfectly ok with where you are in the journey...right here, right now.