When I bought my first set of chickens last year I immediately started dreaming of a homesteading life. I knew that God had called me out of the city because He had a huge plan for us, but homesteading sure was never part of my plan. But isn’t it funny how OUR plans are not always the same as God’s plan? For that I am absolutely grateful, but I need to start debunking the homesteading myth!
When people think of the word “homesteading” they envision a lifestyle that might be similar to the way that people lived way before the industrial revolution. And for some people they truly do try to live that way. I somewhat envy them as well, but I’m here to show you that homesteading does not mean you have to give up technology or conveniences. The term “modern homesteading” is making its way into many people’s way of living.
I buy groceries at the grocery store.
While some people may say that a true homesteader would never buy food from a grocery store, I’m here to tell you that they are wrong. Homesteading does not mean that I have to slaughter my own cow or milk my own goat. It doesn’t mean that I have to grow my own vegetables and store them in a root cellar all year long. It simply means that I CHOOSE to grow a vegetable garden to eat from for as long as I can. I enjoy learning new skills and creating things with my hands such as goat milk soap, cheese, and milk. But sometimes what I have isn’t enough, or I simply WANT something specific. So I am thankful for the modern convenience of grocery stores.
I live close to town.
There are some people who think I live in the middle of nowhere and live off the land. They could not be any more wrong. While I do try to live a life of sustainability as much as possible, I actually live just across the river outside of the cutest little historical town. Our little town receives TONS of visitors every year, because it is famous worldwide for its beautiful Christmas lights and Christmas festival. We have brick lined streets with art museums, historical landmarks, beautifully renovated plantation houses, and some of the most beautiful bed and breakfasts known to the hospitality industry. We are a very tight knit community with a lot of pride for where we live. And our little town is best know for where the movie Steel Magnolias was filmed. I am proud to live just outside of Natchitoches, Louisiana.
My children still have opportunities!
Our little community has so many opportunities for my girls to get involved in. We have softball teams, basketball teams, volleyball teams, and even competitive cheerleading squads. We have dance studios, gymnastics gymnasiums, and tumbling classes. There is even a bowling alley and a skating rink in town. We have a country club with a private swimming pool, a gorgeous golf course, and tennis courts with tennis instructors available. And if we want to drive 45 minutes, we have even MORE, including a rock wall climbing gym (which happens to be what my 12 year old is totally into). Some people who know us seem to think that when we left the city I took away all of those opportunities for my children. That just isn’t the truth. The truth is that my girls would rather spend time doing other things. And if they DO decide that they want to do some of these things, we just might have to drive ten or fifteen minutes longer than we would have before. They did recently discover that they love going bowling by the way.
I love technology!
Being a modern homesteader does not mean that I do not enjoy technology. In fact it is just the opposite. The one thing that I DO miss about living in the city is having high speed internet and 5G cell phone service. Out here where I live, I’m lucky if I get 3G service. And what the internet providers call high speed internet out here is kind of comical. But we make do, and we are happy! As a photographer in Louisiana I depend on high speed connections because I am typically uploading hundreds of high resolution images to my clients. When I have that many photos to deliver to my clients, I simply hit up the Starbucks at the college or our little coffee shop downtown. Guess what else I love!! My dishwasher, my washing machine and dryer, and my Kitchen Aid stand mixer are at the top of my list! I even have a subscription to Netflix and Amazon Prime!
I am a modern homesteader.
Being a modern homesteader does not mean that we do not have modern conveniences available to us. It simply means that we pick and choose which conveniences we use, and how. You better believe that if Ma Ingles had the luxury of an electric dishwasher, she would have used it! But I truly believe that using a modern dishwasher would not have altered the life lessons or the heart that her children grew up with.
Farm Raised Kids
My girls LOVE living out here where we do. That is not to say that they never enjoy going into the city. They love to make a day of shopping, bowling, and going to a movie. They love the opportunity to get ice cream at the ice cream shoppe. But there is no amount of ice cream that would ever be worth giving up our lifestyle. Baby farm animals to cuddle with, being outdoors, exploring nature, and growing food are actually enjoyable to us as well. I realize that this life is not for everyone, but for us it is exactly what we never knew we needed.
Watching these girls grow into the beautiful young women that I see them becoming is sometimes overwhelming. They are learning the value of hard work. They are developing hearts for caring for others every time they cuddle a baby farm animal. Sure! They mope and complain when they are told to put away their iPads or cell phones because their screen time is over. But it is not my job as a mother to provide them with constant entertaining stimulation. Every pediatrician on the planet will tell you the dangers of allowing your child to have too much screen time! Instead my girls have plenty of time to explore, to care for animals, to get outside and play and get exercise, and to even paint and do other arts and crafts. Childhood does not have to always look like a group of kids huddled together on a street corner down the road from the local mall.
I am embracing my own idea of what a modern homesteader looks like and I invite YOU to do the same. If you crave a slower paced life and have been dreaming of living a life similar to mine, I urge you to just do it. Don’t be afraid of giving up your curling iron. Take it with you! There is no homesteading rule book that says you can’t look cute while you collect the eggs from the chicken coop. Go live your best life and if that includes baby goats and #FarmRaisedKids, then we need to be friends!