Sunday, March 26, 2006

A friend pointed out to me that it's been a long time since I posted a blog, so here I am.

I suffer from the bad habit sometimes of getting too into whatever reasearch I'm doing for my latest book/story. For the past number of years, I've been captivated with the idea of homesteading. My family and I did try some sort of self sufficency many years ago, in Northern Ontario. I was teaching myself how to trap and track, grow vegetables and herbs, we started to raise chickens for eggs (although, truth be told, they made me nervous). I learned how to make a stone wall, how to make my own bread, how to preserve and scads more. But my one regret was that life dealt me a deck of cards that took me away from all that. True, I am happier these days; in a new relationship with two great kids and a pretty good job...but it seems that my heart really wants to just get back to the land.

Last year I joined a urban homesteading mailing list, pleased as all punch that there were others out there who felt as I did. I am now a co-owner and still thrilled that so many of us share the same enthusiasm for being a little more self sufficent. I have found so many sources for information that it can be mind boggling, it's hard not to dive head first into it all.
You might be wondering why this fascinates me so, well, let me explain.

When Hurricane Katrina made such a mess of things in New Orleans, it became clear to me how dependent we, as a society, have become. So my housemate and I started talking what if's. Not to far from here there is an old, mostly abandonded farmhouse, and it was my idea that if something were to happen, we would go there. The property has an older, but neglected garden, nearby running water and is on a main road. I thought (and still do think) that if a disaster strikes, I'm going to think of my family first and deal with the trespassing and squatting laws later. I have enough foraging skills that I could keep us from starving; but then I got to wouldn't be enough. We would need to know how to provide for ourselves. The government would be too slow, it would up to us to keep us alive. Now, you might be thinking that this is an alarmist atittude, and maybe it is; but I am sometimes jolted awake at night by the knowledge that if disaster happened; I'm not ready.

I'm not going to run out and build a bomb shelter or stock my spare room with "in-case" food (although I do know folks who have done this), but what I am doing is learning the skills necessary to not only survive, but live in eventual comfort. I can sew quite well by hand, I'm learning all about eco-friendly building techniques (more on that later), re-learning how to make a fire the old way, and doing my part in trying to get a community garden running. There's more too, but my point is that I'm doing and not just worrying any more. I still want to get a piece of land and do things our way; but I recognize that I will probably have to keep working at my job to put enough money by. I'm a realist.
An impatient one, but a realist.

Next time, I'll tell you all about those eco-friendly building methods I mentioned earlier.