I’m not the best homesteader.
The blackberries spread themselves into my garden each summer, the geese escape to forage from the neighbors whenever they can, and every winter I find an uncompleted list of “foods to put by this summer” at the bottom of my book pile.
I have big plans, weak follow through, and a tendency to forget everything while writing to do lists. My greatest skill as a homesteader is probably my ability to enjoy it all: winter, summer, spring, & fall – each season feels ideal as it’s approaching, glorious when it begins, and natural as it continues into the next.
The truth is, there are no ideal homesteaders. There might be a few awful ones, let’s not pretend, but most just approach life with different priorities.
I’ve met grim puritans working day and night to wrest a living from the unforgiving land; daring pioneers building fortresses of independence against an intrusive state; and hippies weaving baskets and absent-mindedly pickling watermelon rinds. It’s a fascinating collection of individuals.
Our little house is full of joyful bohemians, reveling in our homemade cyganeria. The land is a moody-but-ultimately-indulgent sponsor, shaking it’s head as it hands us another bottle of wine: “you really should finish some of these projects”. We will finish them, but only when the time is right.
But almost all homesteaders, no matter how grim, are changed by the land. When we live close to it – outside of the distractions of cities and towns, with limited media and the firmness of the natural world pressing in on all sides – we can’t help but become something a bit wilder than we were. We’ve ‘surrendered to the earth’s intelligence’ as Rilke writes, and ‘rise up rooted, like trees’.
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Exquisite capturing of the homestead experience—as it runs the gamut of personalities! I’d like to join the hippies for a bit, try those watermelon rind pickles, and savor life from such a place of absent-mindedness. (I heard a lecture this AM on the “weather” or atmosphere of a book beyond its plot—a C.S. Lewis forte.)
May we bask in joyful atmospheres of gold—in all seasons.
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Ooh.. I love the sound of the “weather” of a book! what a perfect word for it!
Hi there! Your page is beautiful. I found your post from a few years back about winterizing your yurt in a google search for “can house plants survive winter in a yurt”- haha! I am wondering, did yours survive? I just moved into a yurt in Arizona, and although the winters are pretty mild, it still freezes every night. We will have a woodstove, but I am a little worried about all my beloved house plants (which I will be moving into the yurt this next week) during the wee hours when some of the heat has worn off but before we are able to make another morning fire. How did your plants do? Thank you!
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Most of my plants did fine! We did lose a few though. I ended up scorching two that were too close to the stove, and chilling an aloe that was too near to the door. I don’t have anything too fragile though! Do you have insulation at all? We ended up putting most of our houseplants on a little shelf up under the dome (where it does stay a bit warmer & they have more light) and most of them survived. Good luck!!