When You Get the Homestead Life You Wanted
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Homesteading wasn’t always the life I wanted. But at some point after entering adulthood (and meeting a really tall guy who swept me off my feet) I started to crave a simple, self-reliant homestead life.
I wanted early mornings in a big red barn. I wanted to be surrounded by fields. I wanted to grow stuff. I wanted to work hard to fill my freezer with chickens and pigs I had raised. I wanted to live on a dirt road. I wanted romantic dates made of cutting wood or learning to drive a tractor
And now? Now I have that homestead life that I wanted.
But I’ll be completely honest with you.
Many times, I take this homestead life for granted.
The homestead life can consume you.
I often wake up sore from spending the previous day weeding and harvesting, cleaning stalls, moving hay, hauling water, shifting bags of feed, jumping fence. But it is a good sore.
I pull out a cast iron pan and fry an egg from my coop in lard we rendered from our hogs. I eat it with a piece of buckwheat bread I baked the day before.
This is the life.
The life I wanted.
And I am living it.
This life comes with small decisions and hard decisions and always decisions and upheavals. Sideswipes from things you don’t see coming. Sweat and blisters and slivers and dirt that doesn’t wash off. There are challenges—oh, so many challenges.
This life comes with an exhausting dailyness of things that could break your mind faster than your body if you look at them askew. The homestead life is hard.
And it’s hard work.
But it also comes with a quiet you can’t mimic.
A peace you can’t buy off a shelf.
And some feeling that’s kind of like contentment and yet not, because in this life, contentment feels like a cheap word that barely scratches the surface of what it really is.
And yet, we are human. And ungrateful. And always forgetting.
We forget how much we wanted the homestead life.
I prayed every single night for a piece of simple and then watched as it became my normal. And yet I missed seeing it.
Does that even make sense? I didn’t see it happen because it became my Normal.
Normal is good and comfortable and snuggly…until we forget how precious Normal is.
I don’t want to forget how precious this Normal is.
See, the worst thing that can happen is to finally get the life you wanted, and forget that it is the life you wanted.
And there is no font or way of typing these words that will emphasize this tragedy enough.
We cannot take the homestead life for granted just because it’s our normal.
I am walking through the front yard barefoot. The chickens rush me hoping I’ve brought a treat. I have, of course, because I always do.
I sit with my chickens. We hang out. Sitting with chickens is good for your soul.
I see more tractors and harvesters and gravity boxes than trucks these days, but today the gravel road is empty and quiet and safe for my boys to wander and think and plan and dream on.
They grab the paper from the box at the end of the driveway and read it at an arm’s length, sensing that what’s going on in the world is out there and what we have right here is so different.
I sit on the swing in the front yard with my guitar and play play play, listening to the call of the animals and staring at the barns and the woodshed and the red orange yellow covering my yard and think how lucky I am to call this mine.
And it’s almost not fair.
It’s not fair that it is mine if I forget how precious this normal is. It’s not fair if I toss it aside as just one more thing to do.
Because this is the life.
The life I wanted.
And I am living it.
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