Hi, I’m Kat — and I’m a modern homesteader.
What do I mean by that?
I’ve always known that I wanted to grow & raise things. As a child, I happily explored and learned at my mother’s and especially her mother’s knees (my mother was an only child, and Grandma came to live with us when I was a toddler, after Grandpa had died and living alone had become challenging). Planting seeds and caring for the plantlings, I understood their requirements and rejoiced when they grew and flourished, then felt a resulting bit of grief when they gave up their ghosts at the ends of their short, fulfilled lives. (At the time, I had no idea that that sense of connectedness would be so integral to the core of who I am, who I continue to wish to be….)
I learned to cook what we grew; to taste and appreciate the differences between the food that we lovingly grew and store-bought; to be mindful of & care for the wildlife that graced our urban space, and the not-so-wild life: 2 cats, 2 dogs, many fresh water fish, several non-venomous snakes, and two skinks — that I gave (let’s euphemize and say) an indoor home in a largish terrarium miniature garden, which made them seem like little dinosaurs — named Englebert and Humperdinck.
And though we had something shy of 1/2 an acre in the gorgeous 3000+sqft Green & Green apprentice-designed Craftsman in which we grew up in beautiful Pasadena, CA, it was a big, wonderful Petri dish in which to grow my, well, interest in growing things.
I learned to enjoy the rhythms of the seasons — though the premise of ‘seasons’ was relative, growing up in usually balmy Southern California….
I’d always felt pulled to the Pacific Northwest, and in 2012 I finally made the leap and moved up here. My husband & I live on ~1/2 acre, replete with a multi-fruit treed orchard, established grape arbor, lots of veggie and herb and ground fruit gardens, lovely perennial beds — including my new homemade imbibing garden, 2 sweet & gamboling kittehs, and 10 darling feathered marauders who we think of as outdoor pets with benefits.
So — why do I use the term modern-day homesteader to describe myself?
To me, homesteading in the 21st Century means all of the effort & resources needed to get ‘closer to the land,’ striving for self-sufficiency and connectedness: to one’s nutrition, to one’s sustenance, to the natural world, with the deep, natural, and incredibly satisfying inherent resulting rewards.
Does one need acreage to achieve these goals? No — you don’t! Will you be able to enjoy more of all of that goodness if you have access to more land? Well, yes — you will! But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Make the most of what you have, and the rewards will be many — including affirming the desire for more of that goodness. (Plus, more land does mean more work; there’s value in recognizing that, as it affects one’s ability to get it all done….)
Who I am & what I adore:
I’ve yearned to be close to nature since I was a child. I’m a city girl by birth, but have always been a nature girl by heart. I’ve always felt at my most whole and at peace when I’m communing with the wild things.
I was often at my happiest when we had a rare Summer thundershower…finish these thoughts
Things that I believe
I learned at a young age that hard work pays — literally! A neighbor pal and I started our own lawn mowing biz, and it taught me the value of hard work and affirmed that I adore being outdoors, working with living things. As likely as not I had dirt under my fingernails, was barefoot (I was labeled ‘Most Likely To Get Married Barefoot’ my senior year of HS), and was climbing the back fences with the neighbor boys; the idea of playing with dolls and pretending to be a 50s housewife was anathema to me (even at a young age, those stereotypes sat poorly with me).
I’m of a mind that, with hard work, research, planning, time management employment, and resourcefulness, you can achieve your goals and live the life you’ve always desired. (It doesn’t hurt if there are available funds for the hard costs!)
Breaking out of conformity
So — you think that you want to legitimately call yourself a Homesteader, do you? Go ahead — see where it takes you!
- Want to grow things? Check!
- Want to raise animals, ones that have their own houses? Check!
- Want to start your own business that’s ‘funded’ by the things that your land provides? Check, check, check!
You can start on a balcony, and end up on hundreds of acres…the sky’s the limit! It’s up to you.
What kind of life are you wishing to live?
What makes one a homesteader, especially in this day & age?
I’m not the only one — you can do this, too!
Heads-up: It’s work, but it’s so worth it.