Do you consider yourself a “modern” homesteader? Do you desire to be self-sufficient? Are you ready to return to the ways of your great-grandparents? Where do you begin?
Or, have you been procrastinating?… afraid that you’re just not ready yet?… guess what?... there has never been a better time to get started – NOW is the perfect time to begin. So what if you don’t have everything you need to become a homesteader… all you need are your hopes, your dreams, some goals and a desire to take control of your life. The rest will come…in time… and you will, most likely, experience set-backs. But, set-backs are only a learning curve when it comes to accepting a life of self-sufficiency. Dive in with your boots on and embrace the adventure.
Instead of a weekly trip to the grocer, what if you merely ventured out your back door and harvested fresh fruits and veggies for each meal? As more and more people become aware of the dangers of gmo-foods, pesticides, fertilizers, added sugars, added gluten, added chemicals that you can’t even pronounce, and the inability to assure that your food is clean, natural and fresh, growing our own organic foods makes perfect sense. When food is trucked to your local grocer, who knows how many days have passed between harvest and your table? Even the most beautiful piece of fruit or vegetable immediately begins to decline from the moment it is gathered. Before it reaches the grocer, it loses nutrients, vitamins and moisture and begins to metabolize its own essence – i.e., it begins to rot.
When you plant your own garden, you decide what varieties of each fruit or vegetable you grow. There are now several seed catalogs available that offer strictly organic, non-gmo, heirloom seeds, ensuring you a “clean” beginning to your produce and, ultimately, to your harvest. Each season, you have the opportunity to try new varieties, new shapes, new colors and new flavors, many with a long historical (heirloom) provenance. And, at the end of each season, by saving your seeds, your begin to create your own seed vault of produce that grows well in your area, is a family favorite and can be planted the next season and beyond.
There’s something to be said for “digging-in-the-dirt” and, at the very moment we get our fingernails dirty for the first time, we are transported back to an intimate connection with the earth – the cycles of nature – and to our ancestors. Organic gardening assures that our families will consume a healthier and more diverse diet, loaded with a wide assortment of fibers, minerals, vitamins and strong antioxidants. Eating food in its most natural, freshest, purest form not only tastes so delicious but it is nutritionally beneficial without the addition of chemicals, additives and preservatives thus providing us with a deeper appreciation of the miraculous path from the garden to our tables.
Homesteading allows us the ability to be independent and self-sufficient. This is often the main reason people are drawn to the lifestyle. It affords a freedom from relying solely on the grocer for your food. If, like us, you choose to follow an off-grid path, it also offers you freedom from the governmental public utilities and more. Celtic Acres Farm has twenty-eight solar panels. We also have lithium-iron phosphate batteries for our backup system, with an estimated life span of 25-30 years, unlike standard marine batteries that must be replaced every 2-3 years. Our property is also blessed with natural artisan springs that supply all of our water needs. In researching the history of the property, for over 150 years (the records available) the springs have never run dry, even in times of some of the worst droughts.
If you choose to raise your own livestock for food, that is your personal choice. Here, at Celtic Acres Farm, we do not eat our animals. We do consume the eggs produced, but our chickens are free-range, organically-fed “pets.” All of our animals (with the exception of the newest chickens that have been hatched here) are rescues. This includes our goats, our pig, our ducks, our original chickens and all of our dogs and cats.
Homesteading provides us with a sense of security in that, by growing our own foods, we can preserve the surplus (whether by canning, freezing or drying) for times when gardening isn’t an option. By stocking our pantries, basements, freezers, cupboards and root cellars with our surplus, we assure a steady supply of food, regardless of the situation.
The decision to embrace homesteading as a way of life has truly changed our lives for the better. Yes, it is hard work. And, yes, it has altered our outlook on life and the world we live in. I feel more in tune with nature and the natural cycles of life. We exist in our own utopia, surrounded by the fruits of our labors. “Some call it the middle of nowhere. I call it the center of my world.”
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