We Are Homesteaders

Reader Contribution by Mary Conley
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Our 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.