Our faith in Jesus Christ and His Word is foundational to all we do. It has resulted in our choice of this lifestyle, influenced by early impressions shaping our world view, our decision to live debt-free, and protecting family values. Another draw for us is appreciating and desiring to learn long-lost basic skills our ancestors grew up taking for granted. These reasons are only meaningful to us because of personally knowing Jesus and living out the dreams and visions He gives us.
Simple Living and Sustainable Life Skills
How many young (and not-so-young) people today are experts in social media and computer games, but clueless about the origin of eggs in an omelet (the Easter bunny, the store, a rooster)? Most live in a fake world with imitation foods and flavors (carcinogens rather than nutrition), polyester clothes, and silk flowers; synthetic leather, wood, stone, brick, precious metals and gems; imaginary money, manufactured entertainment, fake hair and skin tones, lots of fairytales (the media), and revisionist history; a false sense of security (“life will always be like this”) and good health (drugs masking symptoms), and no idea where they are going or where they really came from (monkeys?). Totally sheltered from real life, they are clueless about many simple things that used to be common knowledge. This fake “reality” can negatively affect our understanding of God and how we make decisions.
When the USSR came apart 23 years ago, Cuba, a trading partner, was suddenly cut off from fuel, medicine, and machine parts. Like most nations, Cuba had sacrificed local food production for commercial agriculture, depending on systems that have proven to be very vulnerable to such shifts in politics. Lowly gardeners and landscapers suddenly became sought after and highly valued. Those dependent on modern systems were in for desperate times. Most remembered too late that the basics are essential to survival.
One thing we have noticed about basic sustainable skills…children LOVE them. They get excited about animal husbandry, gardening, blacksmithing, basket weaving, herbal remedies, knitting, cooking from scratch (especially if they grew the ingredients), preserving food, building, sewing, and soap making. Especially when we do it with them!
How many younger children talk about the soap in their shower? Ours do. They think our soap is really cool because they had a part in making it. They love drinking kefir for breakfast made with raw milk from our own cow or goats. They take pride in wearing scarves or caps they made themselves, or healing an infection or soothing a wasp sting with medicinal plants in our yard.
This can all be practiced living ON the grid as well as off. Nevertheless, being off the grid may better fit the mindset and discourages dependency. We are not against modern conveniences, but resist being dependent on them. And of course tinkering with our off-grid systems and home-crafted goods takes time, which we prefer spending at home with the family over being absent to pay for more costly systems or store-bought goods that don’t have to be tinkered with.
Living Close to the Land
Another driving influence in our lifestyle is living close to the land. Someone once said something like, “The farther a man lives from the land, the less rationally he thinks.” I’ve probably misquoted them, but the general meaning remains (if you know who said that, please share). We think folks in Washington would benefit us all by taking that idea to heart. :) Furthermore, is it safe to say that the closer a man lives to the land, the more rationally he thinks, or the easier he can understand the ways of God?
There is something therapeutic (and down to earth, ha, ha!) about working in the soil; planting, weeding, cultivating, and harvesting. It is real LIFE. It draws attention to God’s infinite wisdom, diverse creativity, and His solutions to life’s problems. Working with God’s creation lifts the spirits, calms the nerves, clears the mind, and satisfies the soul. It’s no wonder counseling and rehab centers include gardening and working with animals in their programs. We prefer it as preventative treatment, encouraging a focus on Jesus.
I never thought I would enjoy plants and gardening. Once immersed in it you cannot help but enjoy it, especially edible landscape gardening (my opinion). To me it’s a practical way to worship and honor God in daily life. Gardening grows REAL food, and brings an awareness of our Heavenly Father’s caring provision of nutrients, remedies, and materials growing all around us. We have yet to learn of a plant He has created with absolutely no practical benefits.
It’s been said that food digests easier when you have a working “relationship” with it. And growing your own food means less GMO’s, drugs and chemicals (except the unavoidable ones in our country’s air and water), no prematurely harvested fruits, and real in-season local foods. That means fully developed, high-density nutrition…better than any expensive supplement…the way God made it, with humans managing as He directed (Genesis 2:8, 9, 15).
For over 30 years I was dependent on whole food supplements for energy and strength…but no more! We use no regular supplements anymore…don’t need them! One less major expense. And we haven’t used our medical sharing plan (health insurance) since the last baby was born (over eight years ago). Thank the Lord! Understanding and following God’s design brings many benefits, which glorifies Him.
I will not expound on the exercise gained working with the soil, digging, hoeing, weeding, scraping and pushing around loads of organic matter. Not to mention strong fingers from milking a cow (and calf muscles from kicking ornery goats eating each others’ feed…just kidding!) And many hands-on lessons in plant and animal biology, weather patterns, moon phases, sustainable cooking, and God’s design that naturally come with it.
The desire to be close to the land and grow our own food is one reason we live off the grid, and in a tiny house. It may not be God’s plan for everyone, and again, you can grow your own food on the grid, but since borrowing is not an option for us, we chose this homesteading dream over more expensive options. We would not choose connection to the grid if it meant dying to that dream, without the Lord directing us to. Our children wouldn’t either. So, off the grid in a tiny house it is, at least for now!
The Lord has graciously fulfilled a longstanding dream after many years. We can identify with Chris Dalziel at Joybilee Farm…“We forget sometimes, in our daily grind of gardening, cleaning,…and gathering eggs, that we are ‘land owners.’ How empowering that is. To own land – any land – no matter how dirt poor – is to have hope, to own the means of production, to have a future beyond indenture.”
Dreams inspired and fulfilled by the Lord are designed to bring glory and honor to Jesus. It is our prayer and intent that our homestead does just that, as it is otherwise meaningless.
More next time!
To receive future posts click here, or sign up in the column on the right.
Note: Credit must be given to Silver Oak for editing, critiquing, commenting on, and offering Scripture for what is written. This is his vision (shared by me), and he blesses me for taking time to write it down, freeing him to answer the many projects calling his name “out there.”
Linked w/Natural Living Mama, Barn Hop, The Art of Homemaking, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Down Home Blog Hop, Homemaking, Wildcrafting Wednesday, HomeAcre Hop, Old Fashioned Friday, From the Farm Blog Hop, Little House in the Suburbs, Farmgirl Friday, and Simple Saturdays.