Get a clothesline or please shut your mouth about climate change

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We’re living in times that are undeniably permeated with hotly-fueled, often polarized debates about many topics. One such topic that certainly has a large share of the opinionated conversation market is “climate change”.

We aren’t here to offer support to either side of that debate. To the denying side, we say that care of the environment is an essential duty given to us by our creator regardless if one believes the climate is truly changing or not. We aren’t doing a good job with this task and need to be honest about such!

To those on the other side, furiously and vigorously raising the climate change alarms we also have an admonishment – buy and use a clothesline immediately or please shut your mouth!

If you have one, good! Now go get your neighbors on board with using them.

We’ve participated in many conversations with people of all stripes, many of which are very concerned about climate change. Many of these have notions of how extreme measures must be taken to curtail the use of fossil fuels and how renewables will solve all our problems. Often the suggested solutions are mind-numbingly complex and the outcomes somewhat minimal or worse, undefinable.

One question we often immediately ask such people is “do you have a clothesline?” To which the majority respond with “no”!

Many of these fiercely chanting about climate change would  probably put a single item through a dryer cycle, go make some toaster treats, microwave some popcorn, and watch their 90″ tv (while texting on their smartphone), then perhaps take a nice long hot shower, iron their clothes, get in their cars and drive two miles to get a cup of coffee – single-origin and fair trade of course, before returning home to peruse facebook for several hours before retiring to bed where they might turn on the tv (for white noise of course) while they sleep.

Folks, sometimes there are simple answers to complex problems. Most of us needn’t look further than the mirror to find the source of most environmental issues.

We aren’t suggesting that clotheslines will solve all the large environmental issues of our planet. Changing our consumption patterns would be a good start tho!

Regardless, the difference that would be made by clothesline use alone offers perhaps the highest return on investment that can be found in the area of consumption changes.  They can cost as little as zero. They require no special knowledge or skills. They require no appreciable learning curve and almost every household can participate in their use.

It’s hard to pin down exact numbers, but most data we have found places clothes dryer energy consumption between 12% and 20% of energy consumption in an average household in The United States. In most households, particularly those with electric clothes dryers, only electric-based heat, and hot water consume more household energy.

Imagine for a moment if all households that used a clothes dryer invested in a clothesline? With nearly 126 million households in the US alone, the possible beneficial impact to the environment (not to mention, family finances!) are not trivial, offering a reduction in energy usage of up to 20%! Those with gas dryers also reduce fossil fuels and still benefit similarly. There isn’t a household that wouldn’t benefit from such with the exception of a few nudists here and there 😉

There is NO simpler solar device, nor one more accessible to the masses than the clothesline.

Folks, if you’re unwilling to do the simple things to contribute toward solutions to global issues, in our book you’ve lost all credibility and with it, your rights to complain about these problems.

Honestly, what basis do you have telling others how their lifestyles should change to address climate change if you yourself can’t make such a simple and meaningful change? Such a change requires no expensive renewables installation, no rebates, no governmental agency or legislation to address.

Ah, but you have an HOA that prevents clotheslines! As the old saying goes – “think globally, act locally”. Start your political efforts with your HOA to allow these climate-saving changes. If you can’t get one neighborhood to change, you think we can get entire nations to do so?

The world belongs to all of us, and if we are to care for it properly, we all must be responsible for such. All should be equally responsible for taking personal steps such as these to reduce consumption. If you can’t do that much, kindly remove yourself from debating such things because you might be a hypocrite.

Eight Essential attributes of an off-grid-capable ‘homesteader’

Homesteader? What is this about homesteading and off-grid-capable?

Living an off-grid-capable life, in many ways, could be fairly said to be a form of homesteading. For some, that word might conjure up images of venturing out west on a covered-wagon train, eating meals of cornbread and beans, and hand-clearing a hundred acres of raw wilderness with an ax and saw. While that is indeed a form of homesteading, that isn’t what most are looking to do.

Dictionary.com defines homestead (in its verb form) as:

to acquire or settle on (land) as a homestead:

On the other hand, Mother Earth News (a magazine that is essentially the “Sports Illustrated” of self-sufficient living) defines homesteading as:

Today the word homesteading is more apt to refer to a lifestyle that promotes greater self sufficiency.

More: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/what-is-the-happy-homesteader.aspx

There are as many definitions of homesteading as there are homesteaders. From our experience, seeking to live an OGC life puts one mostly in the same boat as homesteaders – or makes you similar enough that it is easier to refer to those that do as such. Besides, “Off-grid-capable..ers” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

There are a few attributes found among homesteaders and those seeking to live the OGC lifestyle worth noting as essential:

1. Free thinking

For us, this journey began first by taking ownership of our thoughts, challenging our ideas, the ideas of others, and rejecting group-think. Rather than merely accepting the status quo, we set out to learn and decide for ourselves what we believe (or don’t believe) to be true. We’re generally ‘told’ that food comes from the grocery store, power from the electric company, and approval comes from our peers. One cannot begin to disconnect their dependency on systems without first challenging such dependencies in their thinking.

2. Self-reliance

Free-thinking can and should lead to new forms of self-reliance. At its core, self-reliance is self-responsibility. It is allowing the ownership of your mind to begin to move you toward taking ownership of specific areas of your life. As with thinking freely, this is an intentional decision to take ownership of aspects of your life rather than willfully or ignorantly delegating them to another party.

Self-reliance begins first with the conclusion that you are responsible for you. Certainly, there are times to make exceptions to this idea. For example, it wouldn’t be recommended to perform self-reliant open-heart surgery. They key is being self-reliant where possible, rational, and reasonable to do so. It is not someone else’s responsibility to feed, clothe, provide and protect you – unless you are a minor, or mentally incapacitated in which case that responsibility resides with your parents or guardian.

As the one responsible for you and your family, you’ll be required to learn, understand, and execute many things that will be essential to you and your family. This entails much learning, much hard work, and a considerable investment of your resources.

3. Community-reliance

Community-reliance is not often talked about in homesteading circles but should be. Some may choose to try to do everything one’s self, but we feel this is a recipe for failure, if not fatigue and sadness.

Part of self-reliance is knowing when you’re not adequately able to handle some aspects of life on your own, and when it is in your own best interest to work together with others to that end.

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.  For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.  Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm?   And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. – Ecc. 4:9-12

4. Determination

Becoming responsible for yourself can be a daunting task. You may learn first-hand many hard lessons. You will be fatigued, discouraged, and disheartened. You will want to quit or go back to an easier life.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” – Calvin Coolidge

5. Courage

Heading in a different direction that most are not is daunting. Taking ownership and responsibility for areas of your life that have always belonged to someone else is equally daunting! Courage is a necessary attribute for those wishing to sever their dependence on the grid.

Courage is a necessary attribute for those wishing to sever their dependence on “the grid” because now, that weight is on your own shoulders! “Is this the right thing to do?”, “Have I made a wise decision?”, “Will this work when I need it to?”, “Have I prepared this food in a way that won’t poison my children?”, “Are these solar panels wired properly so I won’t burn my home to the ground?”… the OGC life is filled with opportunities to doubt that will require courage to overcome.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

6. Optimism

I once heard that an optimist knows there’s always a light at the end of a tunnel, and just prays it isn’t a train!

Seriously… optimism is the willful choice (free thinking!) to keep hoping and believing in a good outcome. An optimist isn’t ignorant of the risks and challenges before them but decides to steer their mind toward belief in a positive outcome despite these.

7. Desire to learn

An OGC lifestyle requires a lot of learning. Fortunately, learning is a lot of fun! When one decides to break their dependence on “the grid”, even if not going “off-grid”, they are agreeing to take responsibility of what would otherwise be handled by a much larger institution. One must become a subject matter expert, or at least proficient, in many areas: electricity, plumbing, heating, cooling, refrigeration and/or food preservation, gardening, farming, animal husbandry, weather, communications, security, et al. There is never an end to the learning involved in leaving the grid!

8. Hard work

When one is responsible for more of their life, more work results. Families who rely on the grocery store will spend little time obtaining their food. Being off-grid-capable and growing a portion of your own food requires a lot of hard work! Turning on a light switch is easy… monthly battery maintenance, cleaning solar panels, changing the oil in a generator, and tweaking your electric usage to stay within the capabilities of your energy – that is work!

TIO&OIN – it’s not just for Navy Seals

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This expression has come to be a mantra in our family. In fact, recently one of my youngsters was snacking on some freshly made cookies and asked me for another…

“After all”, she said, “two is one and one is none!”  

Of course, she knew what we really mean when we say that, but her clever use of this common phrase gave me a smile. A real proud father moment!  She got the cookie for her efforts and – because I’m a sucker.

The real concept this term represents is about redundancy, and in my view, specifically redundant capability.

What’s the difference?

If you were to buy two cheap kitchen knives that turn out to have the same defective design flaw – congratulations – you’ll soon have two broken defective knives! You’re not in a better place for having two because of the common weakness the knives share. Had you bought two different kitchen knives, your chances of having a working kitchen knife would have been much greater.

TIO&OIN is about much more than having duplicates, it’s about having multiple means to accomplish the same thing, but in different ways and often with different resources.

On a homestead that can look like a lot of things…

  • Raising multiple kinds of animals for food.
  • Raising multiple varieties of chickens so that their strengths and weaknesses don’t result in any period of lack.
  • Raising ducks and chickens for eggs in order to get more consistent eggs supply.
  • Keeping more than one generator, and/or more than one fuel source.
  • Planting vegetables and fruits in different spots and different plantings.
  • Having a backup heat source for your home.
  • Having mozzarella and parmesan cheese 😉

The reality is… things go wrong in life. Plan on it! Tailor your life and resources to have multiple, diverse redundancies in place. This mindset, when permitted to permeate your life, adds good things to your life. Imagine adding these concepts to your finances, health, knowledge and more?

Careful though… one area this doesn’t work well is romantic relationships. In that case, the abbreviated cousin expression applies here:

“two is none”.

“If anything happens, we’re coming to your place!” – reality check

Homesteaders are often naturally prepared people and as such, have more infrastructure available to them than your average North American household.

Prepared people hear expressions like the above on a routine basis. Here are some other derivatives:

“If the [ SHTF ] [ Apocalypse ] [ world ends] [ WWIII ], I/we are coming to your place!”

“If the [ SHTF ] [ Apocalypse ] [ world ends] [ WWIII ], I/we know where to go place!”

“I/We aren’t worried, we know where to go!”

If we had a dollar for every person who visits our homestead and says such things, we could probably finance another entire homestead!

A lot of people must be expecting terrible times ahead because a huge number of people say such things! Let’s hope those days never come! Nevertheless, if they do, we need to examine some (harsh) realities, shall we? Some of these realities might be harsh.

Reality: If you’re saying these things… you might be a narcissist!

Most homesteaders we’ve met are generous and giving people, and quite willing to help others. Nevertheless, most aren’t spending their time, energy and funds to secure yourself or your family in some future times of trouble. Did you really think they were?

Sure, some (us too) might have their wider family in-mind should such a need arise. Most of us are investing in our homesteads to offer our own families a certain quality of life in the present, and if necessary, the future as well.

Obtaining and maintaining a homestead is tremendously involved and expensive. While many homeowners struggle to provide for the mortgage and utilities, insurance, etc – homesteaders are doing all of those things along with financing and building entire infrastructures to produce food, energy, and more.

Many assume that you just throw up a solar panel in ten minutes and boom! Power! They also assume that growing food is “easy” – you just plant seeds and water them, right? When you seek your own energy and food (among other things), you’re becoming your own grocery store and power company. If you’re also homeschooling or self-employed, you’re also your own educational institution and employer.

If you think your electric and grocery bill is high, try building your own electric company and grocery store, library, and school!

Homesteading is very knowledge, labor and equipment intensive. Many homesteaders have forgone luxuries like vacations, entertainment, rest and relaxation in order to establish and maintain their homesteading lifestyle.

If you are assuming that you should profit from those efforts and sacrifices – having never participated in them – you’ve probably got some narcissistic characteristics!

 

Reality: If you’re saying these things… you stand a very high chance of meeting your demise if such calamities occur.

By saying these kinds of expressions, you’re confessing your own lack of preparation for an uncertain future. That should be reason enough to make changes. Would you tell your neighbors “if our house burns down, we’re hoping your homeowner’s insurance covers it!”.  Try that sometime! How are they going to feel about such?

If you’re not prepared, like or not,  you’re hoping to benefit from the preparation of others – either the government or the good graces of family, friends, and neighbors. Hopefully, people always make an effort to help others, but relying upon that is unwise and irresponsible. It’s a big country. The government can’t possibly meet the demands of everyone at once.

If you’re counting on the blood, sweat, and resources of everyone else to see you through hardship, you’re not only foolish but dangerously ill-equipped for the realities that such hard times would bring. You’d be making some woefully ignorant assumptions:

  1. That you’ll have the opportunity, means, and freedom to move to such places during a time of hardship.
  2. That such places will be present, operational, and willing to receive you in times of trouble.
  3. That such places won’t be overwhelmed by other unprepared people such as yourself, thus having very little to offer you.
  4. That resources alone are enough and that the knowledge, wisdom, and experience to go with them will just magically descend upon you when you arrive.
  5. That prepared people aren’t going to expect something of you that you might not have.
  6. That someone will embrace the burden of someone who has contributed nothing and at the expense of others they love and value.

A “plan” to go where others have done all the thinking and preparing for you is not a plan for your well-being. It’s a plan for your near-certain demise.

Two scriptures come to mind for those inclined to receive them:

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. – Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)

and

Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NLT)

Reality: Most homesteaders aren’t entirely self-reliant.

Self-sufficiency/reliance – a goal of most homesteaders, is considerably difficult to achieve compared to most modern living. Most we know who are working towards such wouldn’t say they’ve reached it yet. Even the oft-referenced Amish who many assume to be totally resilient and who we relate to frequently aren’t self-reliant.

If the people trying daily – and some for generations – if they aren’t yet self-reliant, how far do you expect to get expecting those people to also care for the copious masses of ill-prepared persons like you should the need arise?

Reality: Some are unable to help themselves, but most can do so

Certainly, some are simply unable to do much for themselves to secure their own futures. The elderly and infirm might be an example. Though, most elderly folks we know are wise enough to be better prepared than most younger than them. What then is your excuse?

Nearly anyone can work towards making their lives more resilient. It is most often a matter of values.

We all tend to invest our resources into what we value. Many invest in their own pleasure while others invest in their own well-being. Why should you benefit from how your homesteading or prepared family or friends have invested?

If you have three months of savings in the bank but not three months of food in your cupboard – you simply value one above the other – and possibly to your own peril. You can’t eat your savings and you’re banking (no pun intended) that you’ll be able to retrieve your savings and use it in exchange for your material needs. History is replete with examples where that didn’t work out so well.

The logical person to best suited to look after your future well-being is…. drum roll… YOU! If it’s not important enough to you to look after your self and family, why on earth should it be important to others where you would plan on going in times of trouble?

Reality: Your best bet for receiving help from prepared people is now, not in the future.

The best help a prepared person can give the unprepared is encouragement, knowledge, and advice on how to be prepared before the need arises for such.

If you aren’t willing to receive that kind of assistance today, and won’t invest in such, it’s unrealistic and unjust to expect assistance later, once the train has left the station. Your opportunity is now. Take it or leave it.

Reality: You can have your cake and eat it too (sorta)!

Most basic needs boil down to this: calories, Watts, and BTUs  – all of which require much effort to produce or obtain. These aren’t any less expensive for prepared people than they would be for you.

We realize that not everyone can have a homestead, nor be a homesteader, nor would even want to be. We aren’t suggesting otherwise.

However, if you want to benefit from places where others have invested so that life would be easier or more comfortable in times of trouble, and you don’t wish to create such yourself, you can at least contribute to what others are doing. You can help a homesteader with their ongoing needs in producing those calories, Watts, and BTUs.

Rather than expecting you can just show up in a future time of trouble and consume, how about showing up now and pitching in? There are many ways you can help the homesteader and yourself form a more resilient future for one another:

  • Regularly visit your homesteading friends and inquire about what you see.
  • Offer to learn how things work, how chores are done.
  • Offer to homestead sit so friends can go out, get a break, or visit folks out of town.
  • Lend your time and labor to projects.
  • Build your own library and acquire knowledge useful to a homesteading operation.
  • Board your own animals on a homestead, go there and do the chores.
  • Join a CSA where people grow their own food and where you can participate in the labor. Learn how and where food is produced.
  • Where possible, purchase and stage your own provisions (ie: food, batteries, equipment) at such places. This way, if you need to go there in an uncertain time, your burden on such places is lighter and your contribution valuable.
  • Contribute your own resources toward things that help create infrastructure in places you might wish to go in times of trouble. This can be in the form of material goods, or your labor in helping things get established.
  • Procure resources and keep them at the ready that you could take with you to such places in times of trouble.

Certainly, someone who is well-stocked and/or has contributed toward the ongoing development and well-being of a homestead will be a welcome visitor if they arrive at the gate during a hard time. Those who haven’t would be at a great disadvantage.

Someone arriving with their own means of taking care of themselves or contributing to the greater good is going to be better off than someone with nothing to offer and no skin in the game.

Summary

Our intent here isn’t to scold anyone for making these statements or to express any lack of welcome or willingness to help others if the need arises. We’re quite willing to help others, as we are sure most homesteaders are.

However, since the majority of the population we encounter says things like this, it has occured to us how unrealistic and impossible it would be to help everyone who would need it. Truthfully, we ourselves are alarmed at how many people are inadequately prepared to meet their own needs and wrongfully expect that someone else will do so.

Bottom line: Take ownership in the responsibility for yourself and family, and at a minimum, contribute towards the lives and well-being of those you might wish to partner with during a difficult time.

Reconsider your food budget

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We don’t budget for food. Gasp!

We are of the belief that “we are (quite literally), what we eat”. Why then would we want to be frugal or even worse – stingy – with what we place into our bodies?

We are all about wisely using the resources we have available to us. However, we often scratch our heads at the concept of trying to feed a family for as little as possible. That can be somewhat self-defeating. Americans have one of the lowest ratios of food cost to income in the entire world. We spend less on food that nearly every other country on planet earth! Yet, we still often want to spend even less!

Consider this… if someone can go through all the trouble to feed you and make a profit and you only spend $.99, how good can the quality be? What value can a “value meal” have in such a case? The only “value” is to the producer. The consumer may feel full but is not consuming quality.

We raise (among other things) pigs. We feed them non-GMO feed produced by a local small producer.They can’t produce feed for the cost of feed from the local mills typically. Because it costs us more, we couldn’t sell a pig for what others who feed less-premium feeds could. We simply couldn’t sell a pig fed on premium quality feed and beat $.99/lb prices found in the grocery store. Fortunately, we don’t aim to!

So as both producers (for ourselves) and consumers, we want the best quality foods possible. If those cannot be obtained inexpensively, we will spend more for food before we will eat lesser-quality food.

We once heard it said “You make your healthcare decisions at the grocery store. You make your sick care decisions at the doctor’s office.” We couldn’t agree more. We live in a culture that is conservative on food spending but liberal with “health” spending.  We’ll think nothing of spending $500-$1000 per month on health “insurance” but half that or less to feed our family. Folks, good food nourishes far beyond the best medicines.

Food and nutrition should be a high priority in the budget – perhaps the highest. For some, all that is needed is a shift – spend less on sick care and more on quality nutrition. Raise your insurance deductible and use the extra funds on a bigger grocery budget. When we did so, we found our doctors visits dramatically declined.

We get it – some folks have little to no choice with their budgets. Nevertheless, most of us, with a change in our thinking, can find resources for the things we value. Place yourself and your family at the top of your list, not your insurance company or Physician.

 

Potential pitfalls of hyper-frugality

Frugality often seems to go hand-in-hand with the homesteading crowd. People naturally inclined to do things for themselves that others rely upon others to do results in such, or maybe it’s the other way around?

Frugality is great… but can one get carried away with it? This is what I would call “hyper-frugality” – being frugal to the point of working against yourself.

Has anyone ever said on their deathbed “it’s been a good life…I’ve saved all sorts of money!”? I doubt it. Saving money for saving it sake is kinda pointless. Frugality should lead to freedom from need, not delaying real needs to “save”. The latter doesn’t really accomplish anything and just robs from the present with some hope of future benefit that may or may not ever come.

So consider this, even if it feels controversial to do so:  Some things should not be waited upon until they are, or feel affordable. If you do so, oftentimes you’re not taking advantage of that thing when you need it the most! Here are a few examples:

The kitchen:

On our homestead, the kitchen is command central. Like many, we’ve used odds and ends for kitchen gear. Frugality has prevented us from investing in the nicer things we’ve really enjoyed. That is, until recently it occurred to us… if ever there were a time to have the best kitchen stuff, it would be now, at the time in life when we use it the most! When the kids are grown and on their own, we might be more able to afford those things but will have far less occasion for their use. That just doesn’t make sense! So, we’ve been investing in higher-quality kitchen items that hopefully will make the next twenty years of meal preparation, canning, and freezing much much better. That isn’t to say that quality cannot be obtained inexpensively, it sure can, but that is the exception more than the rule in our experience.

The workshop:

I grew up in a home we always had what I’d call “Big Lots tools” – the kind of tools that one finds in the checkout line at the drugstore. You know, ratchets that freely spin no matter what direction you attempt and hammers with handles the size of your pinky. We never had good tools!

While I’m on that subject… As a newlywed back in the day, it bugged me that people threw wedding showers for the ladies and showed them with every manner of implement for their new home, yet few men did this for the fellas. It would have been awesome to have a tool shower as a newlywed man. A time and place to give a guy the stuff he’ll need to look after some of the DIY needs he’ll encounter. Let’s start a new tradition of showering new families with all sorts of stuff they’ll need!

A while back, it also occurred to us… homesteading is a very tool-intensive, and resource-intensive endeavor. There is almost always something to fix or build. What sense does it make to choose frugality over quality when it comes to equipping your homestead with the best tools for those jobs? This is one of those cases, where hyper-frugality can work against your homestead. If you aim to be homesteading a long time, buy the absolute best tools you can manage and as many of the tools you’ll need as you can manage. Same goes for a good work area. We regretfully didn’t build a good workshop until four plus years into our endeavor. I’ve since kicked myself for making those four years exceedingly cumbersome when a work area would have really made that time much more efficient.

In summary, don’t be afraid to invest, even heavily, into the core operations of your home and homestead. It might feel really scary to plunk down some serious money on such things, but it will reap dividends.

Don’t forget beauty on your homestead

One thing that has often bugged us with many homesteading approaches is what we would call a hyper-practical approach that many employ. We sometimes refer to this as ‘pallet homesteading’ because of the widespread practice among this crowd of fashioning damn-near everything out of pallets. Pallet buildings, fencing, furniture, etc. Now before you flame us as being anti-pallet, realize that we DO use them!

Here is a pallet chicken coop (before we finished it) on our own property…

 

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Our pallet chicken coop

 

Like many homesteaders, we enjoy resourcefulness, upcycling, etc. – however… we’re not into a homestead that looks straight out of the Great Depression, especially so we can feel like some sort of hero for having saved $10. If we were living during such a time, and that is the best we could do, fine, but for the moment, thankfully we aren’t. Look for a separate post or two from us regarding our thoughts on hyper-frugality.

One of our favorite authors, Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms writes that farming and the production of food should be aesthetic pleasing, aromatic, sensual and even romantic pleasure. We would agree! We would summarize all those things as “beauty” and where possible aim to make our homestead as beautiful as possible. To some this is vain, for us, it’s about joy. We are here all the time and want to enjoy where we live. Investing in your home and property – even in what feels superficial, can be a very good and noble thing to do.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so for some, that may result in pallet homesteading, old tires for garden beds, and the like. If that’s your thing, go for it. Our point isn’t to discourage frugality or resourcefulness. Rather, our encouragement is: don’t forget beauty in the process of homesteading.

Hopefully, you’re going to be homesteading for a long time and live where you live for a long time. Someone will inherit your space after you. Don’t be stingy, invest in the beautiful on your homestead, even if it doesn’t directly result in food in the pantry or freezer. For many, this will be hard and may require revolutionizing your worldview, especially if you gravitate towards being stingy. In our experience, this can be harder for men than women. Men might want to give their gals a new casserole dish for a special occasion when their gal would much rather have flowers or an updated garden bed. Beauty is important!

Let us encourage you with this… beauty feeds the soul, first and foremost, the souls living on your homestead – including your own! Secondly, it will feed the souls of those who will visit your homestead. Beauty creates warm, welcoming, and hospitable places to welcome the weary, including yourself. A beautiful homestead delights your soul and brings health to your bones. It’s nice to look with pleasure on your land after a long hard day of working in the garden or orchard. Invest in it!