I recently spent two days at the Homestead Festival in Columbia, TN. It was glorious.
Events like these feel like coming home.
I experience a deep sense of relief when I get to to hang out with people just like me.
They don’t raise an eyebrow when I mention milking a cow.
They commiserate when I talk about animals dying or the struggle of balancing it all.
They share knowing laughs when I tell of my husband impulse-buying six piglets while I was gone (which actually happened over the weekend…)
They understand our family’s unorthodox choices and many are following in this same path.
For a brief period of time, I’m “normal.”
It feels good.
You see, I don’t have a ton of homesteading friends locally.
There are a few, but most prefer to live a more conventional life. And that’s OK. We still have plenty of common ground and relationship.
Yet sometimes when I’m attending homestead events, I find myself wishing we could all live in a farming commune of happy, comfortable sameness.
The thought is almost irresistible.
But as my imagination runs wild dreaming of a “Prairie Homestead Compound” (ha!), I can’t help but wonder…
Would I be where I am now if I’d only stayed around comfortable people?
You see, the impetus for the incredible journey I’ve taken over the last 15 years has been the tension.
A tension born from watching the modern world around me and craving something completely different.
The very friction that made me so uncomfortable is what prompted change. It gave me the oomph to forge into unknown territory and to live a life as counter-cultural as they come.
Would that have happened if I’d only ever lived around people just like me?
I don’t think so.
As I signed bookplates for my upcoming book and chatted with many delightful people, I ruminated on this.
I’m thankful for homestead events where I can soak in the sameness. I need the times to fill my cup.
Pioneers aren’t pioneers because they stayed in the safety of the herd. Or clustered with people exactly like them.
The pioneers of yesteryear capture our imagination because they ventured into the unknown. Into a wilderness of danger, and risk, and discomfort.
They held true to their vision and they lived legendary lives because of it.
Friend, that’s how I see you and me.
We’re taking these old-fashioned skills and ideas and bringing them into the wilderness of a culture adrift.
While it’s wonderful if you have camaraderie on the journey, sometimes you gotta be the Lone Ranger, too.
And even if there’s no one else in your area who “gets” what you’re doing…
You’re certainly not alone.
Know that there are thousands and thousands just like you— planting, growing, milking, crafting, cultivating, kneading, nurturing.
We’re scattered across this country (and the world) and our numbers are growing like wildfire.
And I can’t think of any other movement I’d rather be a part of. <3
P.S. My upcoming book, Old-Fashioned on Purpose, dives DEEP into this topic. I offered a pile of bonuses at the festival for anyone who preorders it, and you can grab them too!