Day Two With “The Custom Homestead”

So, today I continue to share with you my journey with www.theprairiehomestead.com and the author’s book, The Custom Homestead. Today’s activity has me trying to define the reasons for our pursuit of a homesteading lifestyle.

We didn’t really start out thinking that we were “homesteading”. We actually didn’t even know there was such a thing. However, a few months after moving to Colorado, a friend of mine asked me if that was our goal. I quickly said no thinking of homesteaders as those that were isolated from civilization, wouldn’t use modern conveniences, and more. Sure I wanted some horses and some chickens. I wanted to learn to can, to quilt etc. but HOMESTEAD? NO way!

However, as time wore on, the more comfortable I got with living in a rural setting, the more I thought about the heritage that my family had in ranching, farming and homesteading. Quite the heritage throughout the generations. My great grandmother came to western Kansas in a covered wagon and grew up on a farm. My grandfather and many of his 15 siblings had been farmers and cattle ranchers surviving the dustbowl and more. Many of our extended family still farm and ranch although that number seems to be dwindling as do many of the skills in the areas essential to homesteading.

As we began to study the heritage of the area in which we live in Colorado, we found a rich heritage of homesteaders and ranchers and alot about a forgotten lifestyle and heritage right here in the South Park area and I will admit, a chord was struck in our hearts. We weren’t just surrounded by the beauty of the Colorado Rockies, we were surrounded by a heritage, skills and traditions that would soon be forgotten if someone didn’t help us remember.

So, when we moved to this ranch to manage it, we felt like we had the opportunity to do something with this “song in our hearts”. For years we had talked about living a rural lifestyle but now, we had more of a purpose behind it.

– We wanted to be more self-sufficient.
– We were ready for a new adventure.
– We wanted the chance to eat better and more organically without paying the cost seen in stores?
– We wanted the quality of life that a rural and homestead lifestyle would give our family.
– We wanted the opportunity to share the experience of life cycles and the responsibilities of living on a ranch with our kids.
– We wanted to share the heritage of our ranching, farming and homesteading heritage with our own family.
– We wanted to share the heritage of our ranching, farming and homesteading heritage with others, especially young people and their families.
– We wanted to carry on a tradition to be passed down to the next generation.

Sounds a bit lofty I guess! If you would have asked us when we moved out here to Colorado, if this “homesteading” lifestyle was what we were after, we would have and did say a resounding NO. BUT, when I look back at my journals from that time, the list of things that I wanted to do, learn and experience once we escaped from the city, it was evident that homesteading was what I was after, what WE were after, we just didn’t know it yet.

So, today, Jill Winger, in her book The Custom Homestead, had me detail out why we wanted this lifestyle. We had done this before but only verbally. Now, it is written down and will go in a prominent place in my Homesteading Binder. Kind of like “beginning with the end in mind”…….and for those of you who know me, that is a concept I should have put to use in this arena as well.

See you tomorrow……looks like that one may take some time and some thought!

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