Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Life You Don't Want To Leave

Fiona over at Rowangarth Farm made a comment to my blog entry of Monday this week, "Leaving Home." She wrote of a short trip she made this week into the "big city" nearest to her and how much she wished she was still back on her farm rather than doing what needed to be done away from home.

In her comment she wondered, "When did I become such a homebody?"

It's so easy to become a homebody if your choice is to live on a homestead/farm, because it becomes a way of life that is difficult to walk away from even for a short period of time.

For starters, there is so much to do on a homestead. Sure, a lot of the stuff "to do" could be classified as work but benefits gained from that labor are almost enumerable.

Perhaps mucking out the barn or cleaning the chicken house isn't high on the list of fun things to do, but it's hard to beat that feeling satisfaction and accomplishment when it's done.

Getting the garden planted is work for me. There is so much to do at once and in many instances, you can't even see any results at the end of the day. But when all those seeds start sprouting and make the transformation into orderly rows that turn into edible vegetables . . . now there's a reward for a job well done.

Preparing a meal for yourself or your family with produce from the garden (whether it be fresh or preserved) or eggs or milk products or meat from an animal you raised gives a personal satisfaction which can't begin to compare to purchasing the same products from the grocery store. You did this! You produced this by using the ingenuity, organizational skills and muscles of your own body. And the nutritional benefits of such a home-produced meal to that body are priceless.

What kind of recreation can surpass a walk in the woods or a picnic in the meadow? What about watching the birds at the feeders? If you're ever in need of a calming influence, sit still for a while and watch the ducks and geese on the pond.

I don't know of anything much better than strolling through a well-tended garden in the early evening or watching your animals eagerly going out into their pastures or pens first thing in the morning.

What better life's lesson could you give your children than watching a calf, lamb or goat kid being born?

On a homestead with all it's responsibilities and work and gratifications and pleasures, you aren't merely existing; you are living. You are responsible for other lives. Those lives, both plant and animal, give back to you each and every day in countless ways.

Given a choice, why would you want to leave the life you experience on the homestead for the often artificial, contrived, unnatural, sterile life elsewhere when each and every little task you get accomplished on the homestead enriches and improves your very life. On a homestead you are to a large (or small!) part controlling your destiny.

My dictionary defines the word homebody as: One whose interests center on the home. When your "home" offers you a life that is so rewarding, so interesting, so alive why indeed would you want to leave it?


Fiona said...

Mama Pea -- thank you for writing such an eloquent post. You captured the draw of this life in such a beautiful way -- I got all teary reading it. When people ask me, why do you do this?, I burble along about quality of life, connectedness blah, blah blah... but I haven't really been able to explain why. You nailed it. When things get tough, I'm going to reread this and remember. So again, thank you.

Erin said...

Beautifully said!

ThyHandHathProvided said...

Lovely post. I agree wholeheartedly. Before we moved here, I wasn't a homebody. I'd find excuses to go to town because I was bored- nothing was happening at my house! Since moving here, I've become what I never imagined I could be- a homebody. I can especially relate to what you said about walking through the garden in the evening. Jamey and I often do this after the kids are in bed (they go down early:-)).

Susan said...

Bravo! I do so agree with you. I have to commute every day and the only thing that keeps me going to and fro is the beauty of the countryside as I go towards the city, and knowing what awaits me when I come home. I love my homestead and the life I've carved out for myself and it pains me to leave it when I don't need to. Everything I love is here. Well, except for my aging parents, who are not that far away. Thank you for writing it so well.

MaineCelt said...

What they all said! I look forward to the day when I can be even more of a homebody, instead of running off to all the part-time variations on employment that make it possible to get this farm up and running.

I do find it hard to leave the farmstead. I find myself telling people, when I have to reschedule some off-farm appointment, "I'm sorry, I need to tend to something on the farm." I let their imaginations fill in the image: some complicated livestock problem, perhaps. The reality, though, is that I was/am busy tending...myself! On the farm, I feel healed, happy, and whole.

Stephanie said...

What a great post! I couldn't agree with it more, or said it better. We are not on a homestead yet, but plan to be in the near future, and yet, even as a current apartment dweller, this is how I feel. :)

Anonymous said...

Mama Pea, I don’t exactly live on a homestead but I do live on a 50 foot by 100 foot urban ranch. Although I don’t have any live stock and only a small garden to tend, I still am quite satisfied with walking through the garden in the cool of the morning. The birds sing as if it’s their song that brings up the sun in the dawning of a new day and the rabbits and squirrels begin to wake up to begin a day of forage and play. Many projects around the ranch keep my retired self busy and at the end of the day even with body aches a sense of accomplishment fill my reflections of the day. There’s just something about using the mind to plan, build, and complete projects that satisfies the soul. Tending numerous flower beds and my three raised garden beds give me delight as I watch small tiny seeds become huge producing plants. This retired season of life is like none other that I’ve lived.

I’m not exactly a homebody either, but I do enjoy the quiet cup of coffee on the patio while watching neighborhood kids playing all around my urban ranch. The ranch has put on quite a show this year with blooming flowers which quickens my spirit as I look out across the yard. There really is no place like home. My heart resides and yearns to be at home even though my travels take me to far away places at times. Your description of a homebody reflects the desire of the heart. Home is where the heart yearns to be.

Old Nebraska Dave

Mama Pea said...

To All of You Kind Commenters - Thank you so much for your lovely sentiments. I'm so glad I was able to express my feelings (at least somewhat) adequately. I knew what I wanted to say but had a difficult time getting the words right. I kept trying to write too much because there are just so many FEELINGS attached to the kind of life all of us are trying so hard to create.

Thanks to all of you for the support!

Patty said...

That was extremely well said!! Thank you!

cindy said...

Home is where the heart is--no matter if it is an apartment or 200 acre farm.

Take care

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Patty - You're very welcome!

Hi, Cindy - You're so right! And a home without any heart is a sad thing indeed.

Melissa said...

Ditto, Mama Pea. Homesteading = Happiness....

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Melissa - We should all be so blessed that we can live wherever it is that does bring us happiness. I know I'm very prejudiced, but I feel living on a homestead/farm is so full and rewarding for both adults and kids.

Although my mom was raised in a "town" she always said she'd be happy in old age sitting in a warm kitchen peeling apples. That statement personifies so much about homestead life to me.