I was recently Insta-scrolling during my lunch break when I saw someone I follow post a blog post on homesteading as an art form. What got me instantly drawn in was the start of the second paragraph which I quote below:
I think it is safe to say that most of us weren’t born on a homestead. We were raised in a pretty typical North American life that included suburbia, college, and corporate jobs. But somewhere along the way we found that the typical North American life is unfulfilling, and we yearned for something different. A return to nature, to self-sufficiency, and the comparative solitude of turning in suburban neighbors for ones that might be miles down the road, but are twice as helpful nevertheless.Mark & Agnes, https://www.hobby-homestead.com/post/homesteading-as-artistic-expression
This really sat with me because this is very much the reality in Australia. Rural Australia is a wild and unforgiving place, and there’s definitely a difference between rural as in, those who run cattle stations so large they need helicopters to go around and find their stock, and those who live in a big country town with relative access still to most amenities. And whether you chose the life in remote rural Australia or just the bush as we call it (which means any country town), you are still part of a homesteading ideology – a life that continues to push the boundaries.
Ever since I’ve been a homesteader, I’ve had conversations with friends and family about why I did what I did. Why we moved out into the bush, why we live on a farmlet, why we have chickens when we can buy eggs from the supermarket, why we’re not connected to town water or sewerage, why we have water tanks, how do we gather water, why, oh why, oh why….why do we live the way we live?
We live the way we live because, as I’ve said many times, we align ourselves with the lifestyle and ideologies around homesteading and self sufficiency. We want to raise and grow our food, why? Because we don’t want to pay corporate giants money to steal profit from farmers. Because we want to eat food that is not genetically modified, or sprayed with pesticides. We want to buy Australian grown food.
We want to have hens and ducks and geese and guinea fowl. Why? Because hens and ducks are natural bug and weed eaters and excellent in permaculture setups. They also provide eggs and are wonderfully funny and incredibly loving. Guinea fowl are known for being protective of bird herds and also keen snake killers, and geese are wonderful alarm systems for predators.
If we look just at these two things, which often times forms only some of the lifestyle choices made, it really shows that these choices made toward a homesteading lifestyle are more like life statements rather than simple acts. Or, as our friends at Hobby Homestead suggest,
Just as an artists sculpts or paints their life’s work, so the homesteader works the land to create sustenance from it.Mark & Agnes, https://www.hobby-homestead.com/post/homesteading-as-artistic-expression
Living life where you embody your statement is important. It lends itself back to that question by Simon Sinek, what is your why? Why do you get up in the morning? This question will always commence being answered with the most obvious and tangible statement: To feed the animals, to water the garden, to continue your project, to go into town to get something from the produce store, to work, to attend a meeting or commitment…
But why? To support yourself, to have fulfilment, to bring in money, to learn or upskill…
These are the basic statements we could probably all come up with when asked what is our why, but those deeper statements that emanate from the soul are the ones we should be working out. These are those deep inner questions that drive what we do and why we do it. When I said we live on a farm so we can produce and grow our own food, its but one of many reasons we could give for this choice. Some of those are simply such as, wanting to be independent and free of the mainstream and our dependence on it, and wanting to be ecologically and environmentally friendly in a way that agrees with our values.
The more and more I write for this blog, and the more and more I think about the last 10-ish years of my life, the more I realise so many answers to so many questions I had were right in front of my eyes. And it’s taken lots of different jobs and moving agencies and states and coming home and seeing that the world I was part of was not the world I wanted to be part of that has had the most profound effect. Like with many things, the purposeful slow down of covid has had a profound impact on many lives, mine included, and has seen a total shift in priorities and reinvigoration of zest for something entirely different.
So, homesteading as an artistic expression or as a lifestyle philosophy will no doubt resonate with you in any number of ways. Whether you’re here reading this as a new homesteader or one with that can wear the many hats needed, there is one thing we all have in common – we are all on the journey to discover our why.
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