My husband and I have a dream. We would like, within the next 8ish years, to produce around 80% of our own food, and within 10-12 years be completely energy independent, probably via solar. A large garden to grow almost 100% of our produce (and living in the South, banana and avocado trees are possible), can and preserve both veggies and ready made meals like taco meat and black beans, raise and butcher our own hogs (and maybe a steer), and have a cow for milk. Husband wants goats, but we don’t like goat milk and aren’t huge fans of goat meat, so I don’t know why he wants them, other than because fainting goats are amusing. Husband is also very interested in aquaponics and wants to get a tilapia pond going. All this, and a private gun range, on 10+ acres of land.
I didn’t say it was a small dream.
Simple, maybe, but not small.
There’s a lot of reasons for this, and maybe I’ll go into them at some point, but the simple honest truth at the heart is that growing things makes me calm, and pretty darn happy. It makes my husband really happy too. So we have our dream of a 10+ acre homestead. A dream I can’t even share with a lot of people I know, because they just go “That’s stupid, go to the grocery store” (thanks dad!).
I watch these amazing homesteading families on youtube – Big Family Homestead, Fouch-o-Matic, Deep South Homestead, Hollis and Nancy’s, Justin Rhodes – and I feel like, we’ll never get there.
I feel like I’m behind.
I look at my friends who don’t want a homestead, and they, mostly, at least own a home. We do not. Finances have been hellish for us since ten minutes after we got married until very recently. It’s just the way it goes. And yes, some of my friends are older, which I forget, and some married much older men, partly to have that insta security of owning a home and a good job. I made different choices.
But still, I feel like I’m behind.
All my friends, literally, have two children. I possibly will not. I love my daughter with all my heart, but getting her here, during a high risk pregnancy and then having a csection, and finding out her cord was in a true knot? It was terrifying. On top of that, there are other very serious reasons I can’t go into here. I love being a mom. I’m absolutely in love with my daughter.
But compared to my friends? I’m behind. I’m half the mom they are, literally.
I know that, logically, comparison is the thief of joy. I’m also pretty damn sure none of my friends think I’m only half a mom compared to them, or that I’m a loser because we still rent. But in the dark little places of my heart, *I* feel that way. I feel like I will run out of life before I get to these things I want, or that they just may be out of my reach forever, like a second child may be.
And some days, I am so consumed with this “being behind”, not just on these things, but on my writing, on spending quality time with the kiddo, on cleaning the house, on spending time with my husband, that everywhere around me, all I see is a pile of failure, of being behind, of life moving faster than I can keep up. I think of a Homestead of our own and feel like it’s an impossible pipe dream that we’ll never get to. This feeling permeates everything I do until I feel like nothing I have to offer will ever be good enough. For the people I love, or even myself.
This is fucking insanity, by the way. Were I to hear someone I cared about, or hell, even a random stranger with a small child say this shit, I’d buy them coffee and tell them to chill the fuck out.
God told Zerubbabel to rebuild Solomon’s temple. It took a few years to build the foundation, and then, because of political crap, it just sat. A foundation. For 17 years.
17 years is a long ass time to be behind, guys.
Zerubbabel was sleeping one night, or probably not sleeping, because he was WAY BEHIND ON A GIANT PROJECT FROM GOD, and God sent him a message, in the form of a terrifying messenger, as was his way (Zechariah 4):
9 “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
I do not have a Homestead, but I do have a few small beginnings. I have taught myself to make bread. We eat out far less than we did a year ago, in fact I cook most nights unless it’s payday. Later this year I hope to get a waterbath canner or pressure canner and start canning some of our own stuff. And we do have a garden. A small, stubborn, completely-above-ground-because-our-soil-is-crap, garden. It’s small, but it’s a beginning.