For us homesteading means we are doing what we can to raise our own food, make our own things, and live a simpler lifestyle. Simpler does not mean less busy by any means. If you are raising your own food and making your own things you are always busy. For us, living a simpler life means focusing on family, relationships, and the real and important things in life. Spending our time in productive ways. Creating and providing for our family together as a family. It means pulling away from the busy-ness of the world…the rat race…the lifestyle where you feel like you are running on a hamster wheel – busy but not productive. We avoid that lifestyle.
We love working around the farm, with the animals, in the garden, building things on the property, and fixing up our house together as a team. It provides for us, and unites us. It teaches the kids good character qualities, the value of hard work, responsibility, serving others, treating animals with respect and keeping them cared for properly, where their food comes from, and how great it feels to stand back and look at something you built/created/nurtured and know that you accomplished it with your own two hands and mind.
For us, the providing of good quality food for our family is wonderful, but it isn’t WHY we do it. We like the thought that we are somewhat self-sustaining, but that isn’t the heart of what we are doing here. Our focus and the reason we do this, the heart of it all, is our family. It is about being together and doing this as a team. It is about celebrating our successes and learning from our failures together. It is about watching as each one of us finds our niche, our giftings, our favorite part of the homestead and then thriving as we grow and learn and soar while working in that niche and using our giftings.
The home (not to be confused with the house we live in) is the most important part of the homestead. Family. Relationships. Learning. Growing. Celebrating. Encouraging. Working together. Uniting. Enjoying.
Because this is a blog about our adventures with our little high-altitude backyard farm I don’t really go into details about our family life. However, since homesteading is about family for us, sometimes it is impossible to avoid the details of our family when it comes to discussing what is going on with the farm.
As you know, we were blessed to adopt a baby about 6 weeks ago. What you don’t know is that our wonderful and precious baby boy has special needs, and some major medical issues.
I like to picture it all as a big mobile. You know those ones that hang above a baby’s crib and have some sort of little stuffed toys hanging on them? Our homestead is like that. Each person, animal, and project is one of those things hanging. Every time a new one is added, or one is taken off the whole thing bounces around for awhile until it regains its balance again and settles. And sometimes when it settles you realize that one side is way too overloaded and it is unbalancing the whole thing and so something else needs to be added or taken away to help the mobile sit nicely and more balanced.
We have had to re-balance our “mobile” many times over the years. It is just part of life. The most recent examples as far as the farm goes is after the Colorado flooding changed our lives we got rid of the cow and the meat rabbits. We have since been able to add meat rabbits back onto the “mobile” and have it settle out nicely. It is so important to bend and change and be flexible when living this lifestyle, otherwise it will just become that hamster wheel of busy-ness that we are trying so hard to avoid.
Mobiles. Hamster wheels. Home, not house. I am using a LOT of analogies in this post…hope you are all keeping up with what I am saying and aren’t confused at this point wondering what a baby mobile has to do with a hamster wheel and what either have to do with homesteading and how a home isn’t a house. 😉
The addition of our much loved little guy has caused us to have to re-evaluate the balance of the mobile. We are going to need to make changes over time to figure out what our new homestead looks like in order for it to be balanced, settled, and enjoyable. It will take time to figure out what our new “normal” looks like.
This week we made our first decision in regards to re-balancing the mobile. The chicken breeding program has always been “my” project. I kept track of everything, made decisions, and was the driving force in it. I am finding that I just don’t have time for it anymore. And as I look to my future responsibilities I can see that I am not going to have time to do it, and do it right, for at least a few years, probably more, as I am raising and educating our newest little one and helping him reach his full potential. No one else in the family has the desire or abilities to do it. So for now, the chicken breeding program is over. We will be selling off a bunch of our stock, and paring down to just 10 hens and 1 rooster to meet our own egg needs. We are keeping the roo with the hopes that if a hen goes broody we can go ahead and let her raise a clutch to keep us in birds without having to buy them. But there wont be the selective breeding that was part of the breeding program, it will just be whatever eggs are fertile from the flock we have. And if the rooster ends up being more trouble than he is worth (tearing up the girls backs too much, etc) then he will go too and we will just keep a small flock for eggs.
We are all happy with the decision. Relieved really, as it will greatly reduce the work around here caring for so many birds, as well as reduce my paperwork and planning.
More decisions and changes might be coming in the future as we continue to balance and settle our family. Life is ever-changing, and if we don’t shift with it we will lose the wonderful lifestyle that we work so hard to maintain. A lifestyle where family and relationships come first.