Can you briefly describe a “day in the life” of a homesteader? From sun up to sun down, what would be a typical daily or weekly routine?
Oh dear, it's all so different each day as the seasons change! For the most part, I wake up and let our chickens out. That's at around 6:30-7:00 AM. I briefly check the chickens for anything strange, like an illness or injury. Their food will need checking and a possible water change. Chickens need fresh water just like we do. If the coop is particularly dirty, I'll make a mental note to clean out later in the evening. I'll walk around in the garden to see what's ready to harvest or if any damage happened overnight. My son is rarely still asleep at this point, so I head back inside to make breakfast and figure out our schedule for the day. Depending on the season, it may be a day to make bread or can some preserves from the garden. The middle of day is usually up for grabs for us! We'll spend some time outside foraging or running errands, I try to get some work done during nap time, and then we head back out again to play. In the evenings, once the sun hangs a bit lower, I'll work on the garden. Our garden is shaded by a tree in the evenings, so I try to work then as not to get too hot. I'll gather, plant, and weed. The chickens are let out at that time, too, since we have close neighbors who probably don't want unattended chickens in their yards. If the coop is dirty, I'll clean it. If the compost needs turning, I'll do that. It's just basic chores that happen everyday and the occasional change that depends upon the garden harvest!
Merging modern technology with getting back to a simpler way of life: How do you reconcile the need for modern technology yet wanting to escape many of the stresses of the modern world and culture?
This one is a bit difficult to answer because I feel it can become so bashed online, yet we are there still becoming involved with it everyday. It's one of those things that I'll never understand: why we preach about hating the internet and sharing our stories, yet there we are, on the internet complaining about it! Ha! But I try my hardest to not be on social media when my son is around or needing my attention. Of course, I fail at this all of the time, and I try to not make myself feel lesser about it. It's just how life is now. As far as living a simpler life, I think that how "simple" you want to be is up to your own interpretation. For us, we still watch movies and television shows (we just have streaming networks, no cable), I still am on the internet to make my business work, and I still use social media to share my everyday happenings. For me, it's a way to connect with other people who share a similar taste of life that I do. It's also a way for me to make a living as a single parent. I have a passion for helping a movement blossom, and I love being able to further this backyard homesteading lifestyle in some small way, to help someone realize they can do these things themselves. I am kind of in the boat that simplifying life is to remove consumerism that our society clings to, to remove the items that we purchase just to throw away. I don't think that social sharing is something that can be thrown away; it's a resource to write my message out for others to read and hopefully to grasp. And if it were to disappear, well that'd be okay, too. I'd just write a book!
Your son, Tad, looks like such a sweet little boy! How do you feel this lifestyle will benefit him in the future vs a contemporary suburban upbringing?
Thank you so much! He's 2.5, so we have our good days and bad days - ha! You know, I am not really sure. If he is anything like I was as a teen, he'll be rebellious and act like he hates what I do. I used to tell my mother that I would never be an artist like her, and that ended up with opposite results. As for a contemporary suburban upbringing as you call it, I lived in a major city suburb for a few years before having him, and I absolutely hated it. Such conformity and consumerism happening over there! Where we live now has a lack of anything commercial to purchase, even our shopping mall is about 6 months behind everywhere else in the states, and I am grateful for that. We just purchase what we need and spend as much time outside as possible. I hope that he learns more about nature and plants than I did as a child, like the names of the trees and which wild plants are edible or dangerous. It's something that I wish I had known at a younger age - then it would have stuck better in my mind!