108: RAQ #5 – homesteading skills, family issues, snow removal, leaving Facebook, and crocheting

108: RAQ #5 – homesteading skills, family issues, snow removal, leaving Facebook, and crocheting

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It’s another random audience questions podcast episode (and blog post) where I pull five questions from my giant mason jar of topics you’ve sent in. Today I answer your questions about homesteading skills, family issues, snow removal, leaving Facebook, and crocheting.

If you’d like to add a question to my jar for a future episode please email it to [email protected].

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1 — Homesteading Skills

I have a random question. Like you, I’m increasingly concerned about what the next 3, 6 and 12 months are going to look like in our country. I’ve been a suburban/ urban “homesteader” for about 10 years with the goal of getting land and making a home for myself and my sons that is more sustainable, safer, and from where I can earn an income that’s not dependent on an office in a big city. I don’t need to earn my whole income from a farm. I can do consulting from anywhere I have an internet connection. My question to you is what skills would you focus on getting prior to moving to a homestead? Gun use and safety of course. Butchering? Animal husbandry? Carpentry? I should add I’m a 51 year old single mom of 2 boys in their early to mid teens and they are fully supportive of this move. – Wendy

It’s awesome that you have the freedom of consulting on the internet! I would just caution you—and this is obvious, but I’m still gonna throw it out there—when you’re looking for property make sure there is decent internet. There are pockets all over that still don’t have reliable internet, so if your work is internet related, that needs to be number one in your property search.

As far as the skills to work on, there are so many that you could start researching and working on, but it really has to do with what you plan to do on your homestead. “Homesteading” is a pretty huge word and means a lot of things. The skills I use the most often here would be butchering, carpentry/fix-it stuff, and gardening/preserving the harvest—and trying to use the equipment (skidloader, tractor, chainsaw, power tools)! 

I would say the first thing is to dig into “what” you want to do as a homesteader. You’re already a suburban/urban homesteader. What are the things you really absolutely want to have and do on your land? Do some dreaming and then concentrate on those skills. The great thing is that we live in a time where information is so easy to get, which makes learning what you want to learn much easier than it was for our ancestors.

Other links to check out: 

The Most Important Homesteading Skill

Smart Homesteaders Keep Learning

2 — Family Issues

Hey Amy! I wanted to submit a question for your mason jar. A little background first. My family was once considered to be close knit but, unfortunately, fell apart roughly 20 years ago due to disagreements I’d rather keep anonymous. Some members still speak but we haven’t all been in the same room for a very long time even for holidays. Without pointing fingers at just one person, we all could make a better effort in spending time together in my opinion, but there seems to be a problem of “I only want you in my life when it’s convenient for me, what you do for me, and as long as you live your life the way I do I accept you”.

My question is: Is it ever ok to cut family members out of your life, do I allow them to walk away, or is there any other way to handle this I haven’t learned yet? That being asked, anytime I try to set boundaries I won’t hear from them until they need something or I “apologize” for not jumping at their beckon call. I put the word apologize in quotations because I feel obligated to and feel like I’m just trying to keep the peace. On the flip side, it tends to happen to me the most, and they think it’s ok because I always go running back so ultimately I taught them how to treat me. What do you think? — Signed, Conveniently Included

In any situation, there is my truth, your truth, and what actually happened. That is important to realize, and understand that we are all operating within our truth, because that’s just how we see things.

Having said that, I think in any relationship you set the boundaries for what the relationship is and what it requires for it to be that. I also believe that the people who are in your life are there because you allowed them to be and that people generally treat you the way you allow them to treat you. (And it took me a good 30 some years to finally realize that. So take that for what it’s worth.)

I know there is the “family is family” argument, and I agree with that to a point in the sense that we need to learn patience with each other and be realistic that no relationship is going to smell like roses all the time. But I also think at some point the dismissive “family is family” is a really toxic way to live. It’s as if you’re saying family can do anything and I will put up with it when I wouldn’t take the same crap from a friend/co-worker/neighbor/whomever.

I tend to think that people who talk to you only when they need something are kind of like parasites. I don’t like them and I don’t care if we are related or not. I also think that people who only accept you if you live the way they want you to aren’t much worth your time or attention.

I think one of the truths of adulting that no one ever tells you about is that family ends up making us make some pretty tough decisions. Your options? You can have a very surface relationship where you’re cordial at holidays, you can have a really tough conversation and lay out some ground rules,  or you can just fade out of each other’s lives. You will just have to decide what option works best for you

3 — Snow Removal

What do you do for snow removal? We have been looking at tractors and everyone we talk to had a different opinion about what we should get and what brand is better, etc. – Melissa

We have a Kubota tractor here at the farm, I don’t know the model number. It’s not a huge one but it’s also not super small. I’m not a we gotta have this brand type person, I’m a what fits the pocket book and will do the job kind of person. We also have a skid loader. We also have a plow on the front of the four wheeler.  What you choose for snow removal should have more to do with who will be using it, how long your driveway is, how much snow you get in a year, and what you can afford.

Side note: I would say the bigger issue with snow removal is figuring out where to pile it all so you’re prepared for more snow to fall and it melts in a place that makes sense!

Today I answer random audience questions about homesteading skills, family issues, snow removal, leaving Facebook, and crocheting.

4 — Old School Blogging and Leaving Facebook

I heard you talk in episode 107 about going back to what you called old school blogging. I am really happy to hear that. My question is, do you think people will actually follow you to your blog away from Facebook? I hope you don’t take my question to be mean, I just don’t know if we live in a world where most people can go “back” to how things used to be done. Keep up the great work, Charlie

I think your question is honest, not mean. The short answer to will everyone follow me from Facebook to my blog is no, not everyone will, and I’m okay with that. But let me dig into this a little.

Facebook really changed the way we view and interact with blogs. Have you ever noticed that we find out about blog post via Facebook, click on the post to go to the blog to read the post, and then go back to Facebook to comment on that blog post? Instead of commenting on the actual blog at the website it’s written on?

Facebook also allowed us to follow a gazillion blogs, almost to the point of content overload. 

Facebook is fast, blogging is slow. Facebook is scrolling, blogging is stopping to read. On Facebook, one can almost become like that person who clicks through all the channels on television, click click click, and determined there was nothing to watch, but kept clicking through the channels.

Isn’t that kind of like our scrolling on Facebook? Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, and not committing (unless you call a thumbs up or a heart committing). Facebook allows you to be “involved” in people’s blogs without actually being involved in their blogs.

I’ve received backlash from deciding to leave Facebook. I can’t repeat some of the things that were said—yes, seriously—but there were a lot of comments like, I think your little experiment is going to fail and I don’t get what you’re trying to prove by protesting the biggest social media site in the world.

But then I get comments like your blog feels like a place of peace now or now your website feels like it’s genuinely you.

I don’t need the whole world to read (or listen) to my words. Just the people who want to and are touched by what I have to say.

5 — Learning to Crochet

What would you say to someone who wants to learn a skill that doesn’t necessarily have an end game payoff? I really want to learn how to crochet, my sister is willing to teach me, but I also know that I don’t want to be one of those people who makes 30,000 hats or dishcloths and then her kids find boxes of them in the basement when they clean out the house after she dies. I do however for some reason like the idea of sitting in a rocking chair and crocheting at night instead of mindlessly binge watching Netflix. It feels like a better use of my time. Thoughts? — Jemma

I think learning any new skill is worth it, and the fact that you think you would find crocheting relaxing means something. Maybe the end game is relaxation. You don’t have to be the woman with 30,000 hats or dishcloths in the basement. There are lots of different charity projects you can get into (if you don’t want to keep all the things you make). You can also try making a temperature blanket, which gives you the relaxation of crocheting, but also takes a year to make!

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7 thoughts on “108: RAQ #5 – homesteading skills, family issues, snow removal, leaving Facebook, and crocheting”

  • I think it’s amazing you left Facebook. I will be clicking on your blog often. I miss slow blogging😊 and may go back to doing it myself.

    • Its definitely a switch — Facebook back to slow blogging, especially when you’ve got m-a-n-y years of having done Facebook (talking about myself, here) but it’s certainly less stressful. It’s not quite the same as hopping on a bike again. More like riding a bike where the pedals don’t do the same thing that they used to but knowing that the scenery is better anyway. 😉

  • Hi Amy,
    I just found your podcast by searching for homesteading podcasts online. I listened to the most recent and immediately played this episode.
    I don’t find people on facebook and then find their other sources of content. Occasionally I will join a facebook group in order to connect with a community, so I am a part of 22 groups, most of which are local. I cannot believe that you will suffer from leaving facebook. I was on there mostly because my hair salon had a page, which I was very poor at posting on. Facebook is not the end all be all that so many have felt that it is. Now that I’ve found your blog I can follow along on your adventures and listen to your podcasts apart from the craziness of social media.
    I am moving from the San Francisco bay area to south western North Carolina and am very excited about buying some land. I’ve been an urban homesteader for years, limited to a front yard food forest as I have no backyard, and a couple of chickens. I can’t wait to have more land in addition to all the other reasons I’m looking forward to my move.
    The main reason, though, that I wanted to find your blog and this post is that I am beyond pleased and impressed by your response to the lady who is struggling with an unhealthy family situation. I agree with your answer to her query about the rightness of leaving a relationship with an unhealthy family behind. It’s always wonderful if relationship issues can be worked out and interactions can remain happy and healthy, but there are many times when that is not the case, and, unfortunately, most voices responding to that question would state, as you mentioned that it’s family so you have to make it work. When that’s not possible there can be a sense of failure and guilt. So thank you for addressing the emotional health of that woman and giving her the freedom to make choices on what’s best for her .
    I’m excited to get to know you through your blog and to learn from you as I, thrillingly, get to move into a much fuller homestead life.
    Take care and thank you,

  • I confess I was thrilled to discover this post. Kinda funny how all the questions hit on relevant points of my life right now. But the main one? Leaving Facebook. I cut the cord (you know, the cord plugged into the back of our heads like on Matrix?) on Tuesday of this last week. I felt a hundred pounds roll off my chest. But at the same time, it touches on qstn. #2–my kids have grown into adulthood thinking that all the have to do–concerning communications with the ‘rents–is post on FB and that’s it. The four of them, with our nine grand kids, live scattered all over the states–the closest is a three day drive. So while I LOVE the freedom and peace of escaping FB, I will have to accept that I may not hear how they’re doing unless I nag. And I don’t nag.

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