We Are Homesteaders

| 9/5/2013 9:47:00 AM

Tags: Hobby Farm, Homesteaders, Pioneers, Mary Conley,

Mary ConleyOur hobby farm is only 20 acres, and at first I would say to people, "Humor me, and allow me to call it a farm." I thought my brother would laugh at me, but he surprised us by saying that we could call it anything we wanted to. He added that he had a friend with a few acres that he referred to as his ranch.

In our third year working on “our farm,” it occurred to us that we are homesteaders. Maybe we aren't carving out a field and log cabin in the wilderness with fear of Indians, but we are still working ourselves to the bone clearing out the rubble, rebuilding shelter, and warring with the weeds and insects. In some ways, only a few I'm sure, we have it rougher than the early pioneers. We suffer because we come from an easier life. We are working with bodies that are weaker, lazier and spoiled. We not only have to build up the stamina to do the backbreaking work, but tell our minds to do the dirty jobs on our hands and knees while pushing out memories of manicures and pedicures; to weed and do chores in the summer twilight with air-conditioning and TV waiting in the house; to force ourselves to cook after a long day of work when Chipotle used to be so close; and most of all, to ignore the fact that everything could be done quicker and easier with just a few chemicals. But when we read the right magazines and articles, we realize there is a new generation of us pioneers going back to the earth and trying to take care of it responsibly, doing things the old way. We are proud to be a part. We are homesteaders.

We all need the help of others who are ‘homesteading,’ so please share an experience or encouraging word.

A Former Wilderness
A Former Wilderness.

5/16/2014 12:04:06 PM

Such a great insight! I am always interested in comparing the accomplishments we make nowadays to those of the pioneers, and while what they did was monumental, it's still great to look out and absorb the immensity of even the smallest of our endeavors as homesteaders. Keep up the great work!

9/24/2013 10:38:03 AM

Thanks for taking the time to comment, everyone! So nice of you! BJA, You are so smart to buy local, fresh food, Better for your health, helps the local farmer, and better for the environment. Good for you! Jagchaser, we will also enjoy watching your progress! We wish we had the time to help a little. Maybe we will, anyway! NebraskaDave, we live in Omaha, also! Thanks, again, everyone!

9/23/2013 12:16:21 AM

Happy homesteading! Great story! My husband grew up on a farm. You can take the boy off the farm, but you can never take the farm out of the boy! He is living proof at age 84. I only wished I had lived on a farm! We love fresh produce and are glad we have Wenninghoff's Farm and market close to us in Omaha. They grow all their vegetables in HUGE fields/gardens--yum! It will be fun to hear your homestead stories! Keep them coming!

9/22/2013 9:36:48 PM

I am more than impressed with your place! I hope to have mine looking like yours someday, sooner the better of course! I cant wait to hear about the process. I think some before and after pictures would look great on here? You really have a place to be proud of. Ryan

9/15/2013 8:35:33 PM

Sounds like a fun and fulfilling endeavor!

9/8/2013 10:16:22 AM

Mary, I live in Omaha Nebraska. Right now there's not much to see but potential. I hope to have a thriving garden in a couple more years. I am part of the sandwich generation. I am helping to raise a grandson. Both he and his Mom live with me. In addition to that an aging mother-in-law needs help with blood sugar testing and learning about eating habits for newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. At 86 it takes some time to re establish new routines of life. As a result gardening takes a back seat to all the other things in life so the reclaiming of Terra Nova Gardens doesn't happen as fast as I would like at times. I will indeed be reading about your journey into homesteading with great interest.

9/8/2013 9:56:25 AM

Thanks, and good to hear from you Dave. Which city do you live in? Maybe we can visit your project someday. From now on, I'll be telling our story from the beginning and if you follow my blogs, you will soon learn that we have a lot in common concerning cleanup and critters!

9/7/2013 10:00:42 PM

Mary, welcome to Capper Farmer's blogging community. Yes, there are allot of folks learning the satisfaction of going back to the land. I am in process of reclaiming .63 of an acre of foreclosed inner city land bought from the city. The land had been neglected for over a decade. The first year was clearing the land just like the pioneers. It was covered with weeds, sapling trees, brush, wild grape vines, and what ever the neighborhood decided to dump there. This year is the second year which has turned into fence building to try to control the wild turkeys, raccoons, groundhogs, deer, and what ever animal decides that I've grown a nice buffet for them. It's been a real challenge but very satisfying to see it slowly develop. You too will feel the satisfaction of coming back to the land. It's like coming home from a long journey. There's just no place like home in the country. Have a great homestead day.

9/6/2013 6:01:43 PM

I liked how Mary pointed out the ways in which modern homesteading is actually harder. Sure, we have access to more comforts and luxuries, but in the big picture I'd argue it's harder for the average person to homestead nowadays.

9/5/2013 10:52:31 PM

My name is Perry, and besides being the oldest son, I have had a lot of first-hand experience with mom and dad since they began "homesteading." Over the past five years I have seen their farm develop into something of which they are genuinely grateful. I never tire of hearing the excitement, joy, and satisfaction in mom and dad's voices as they tell and retell what they accomplished over a short weekend or longer stay. Best of all, the last five years have developed a contentment in my parents; their perseverance and hard work has paid off. Many years and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of hard work have transformed their 20-acre homestead into a relaxing get-away that can provide food for a year. They are content, and that means the world to me.

9/5/2013 6:57:27 PM

Congratulations Mary, I won't have any trouble reading about your efforts since we were able to spend time with you last summer. We can share information about farming, you from your country farm, and us from our urban farm in the middle of Milwaukee.

9/5/2013 6:38:21 PM

Too true! Many times after a day of hard work, I think..is this worth it? I could just have a little house in a neighborhood and have more time and a lot less stress. But the lessons our children are learning as we work together, and the food and security we are growing and building will be much more beneficial in the long run.

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