Zen In The Art of Homesteading

Have you ever wanted to get back to the land?

Have you ever attempted to follow the movement, jumped on the bicycle and pedaled straight as an arrow  into the homesteading headlights?

Have you at last  found yourself flat broke, destitute, without a hammer, a nail or a single live chicken?

Did that one last trip to the feed store break your bank and your  back, both at the same time?

Did you give up on the free and easy way of living and run, tail tucked between your legs, back to the city life, content to frequent farmers markets and road side fruit stands, never to complain again about the outrageous prices of non factory-farmed meats?

What a  glorious day I’m imagining that was for you.  No more manure to shovel, no ten thousand waiting mouths to feed morning and night, stuffed between a full time job and twice a day milkings….and who has time to make cheese or separate cream after all the “work’ is done?

After sweating a long month and then some to buy that beautiful saddle, finally, I’m just too tired to ride.

And after spending hours and hours removing label glue from recycled jugs with paint thinner so I can pour my home-made laundry soap into them to sell,  I realize that my profit will be a mere $32 dollars for all my labor, labels, measuring, stirring, mixing, and love.

I decide they are better suited to sit forever on my own laundry shelf.  A nice decoration for an otherwise dreary room.

About that time of an evening, any evening, just before the goats start to call and then impatiently jump the plastic electric fence, knocking it over again, and I find them waiting for me on the front porch for  milking, I realize that I can not find the Zen anywhere at all on my homestead.

It’s lost, and the peaceful, blissful, easily sustainable life I thought I’d found here goes flying out the open barn door.

And I become, for a moment, very sad.  But in the sunshine and country air, sadness does not last like it can in the city.  The dull ache of being surround by a million people who don’t give a whit about you, does not exist on shaded country roads, where your “neighbors” are ten miles away and everyone you meet on the road waves you by.

And all is not lost.  We’re still here, scratching our Zen life out in the dirt, bit by bit.  I’m determined the goats WILL stay in their fences without me having to rush madly to and fro to turn the electric fence box off and on.

And of a morning, any morning, right about the time the first rooster starts to crow,  the Zen I’d lost the night before comes wandering home again.  And the soft shades of a sleepy dawn remind me that I’m in charge of the Zen around here.  And if I say it stays, if I say WE stay, we and it and all of ours will stay right put.

And we will “plant our own garden and water our own soul” and insist on the life we want, and make it so.


One thought on “Zen In The Art of Homesteading

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  1. Well said Anita and we all go up and down in these cycles. Nice to read this as we look out each window and see a year of labor beckoning. Thanks for putting words to this drama we all participate in. I think that is why I grab the camera so often – to that I can isolate the beauty so it impacts more forcefully and to pull it out of all that is screaming for us to do. Keep on scratchin…the alternative is not worth it. 🙂 Sending not very Zen hugs your way.


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