In February of 2012 I had a massive heart attack. Well, how’s that for an opener? It changed my life. I don’t mean in just the obvious physical ways, although those changes will affect your outlook on things, but in deeper, more personal ways. After the feelings of gratitude to still be alive, and the anxiety of having been through a personal disaster, and the guilt for having put my family through it,and the guilt for causing financial hardships,and the constant nagging anxiety about the uncertainty of the future, and the realization that we are living too ‘large’ for our current economic status; after all those feelings and more, came the anger.
I’ll admit to being the kind of person who wants more out of life than a punch in/punch out gig with no time for anything else.This event was just one more set back , one more roadblock to doing the things that give me purpose and a sense of order and position in life. I had to wrestle with the idea that the universe doesn’t owe me anything and that the philosophy I had always held, that life is elementary at best, applies to me as well. We are after all just another living collection of stuff trying to make more out of our time here than simple existence. I felt ashamed of myself for expecting more, or that this wouldn’t happen to me, yet still, I was pissed off and resentful. For reasons deeply personal and far too complicated to explain here , I have spent most of my life stressed, anxious and pissed off .Hey, have you met my best friends; stressed, anxious and pissed off ? My docs began warning me about the effects of my anger. Now, after the heart attack , I could feel my anxiety and anger in the form of palpitations and angina . I always knew the kind of trouble that stress related chemicals can do to a person, but have always had trouble ‘letting go’ of that mindset. How ,after all these years, do I become the kind of person who just doesn’t let things get to him? Little by little I’ve been able to chip away at my old ways, with constant vigilance and a host of reminders from friends and loved ones, or from information I have searched for. One good example is the day when my family physician said,”you’ve already had the heart attack, what makes you think you won’t have a !%$#@^& stroke!!??” Enough, enough,enough!! I became determined to change my mindset and find peace ! So, what does this have to do with homesteading? Everything. I have always loved the idea of simple,self-sustainable living. As a kid I dreamed of homesteading in Alaska. My wife, Debbie and I live on a small acreage where we planted a small orchard,keep an herb garden for cooking, and raise veggies every year. She pickles and cans and dehydrates ,and has made soap . She is a lover of quality fiber and is a top class knitter and felter. I am an avid outdoorsman and put venison in the freezer every year. We have laying hens and find that enjoyable and rewarding. I have ,however, always wanted to raise some livestock and had plans to begin sooner than later. Most days after work I would drive a round -about way home just so I could stop and watch the sheep on a local farm,particularly the ‘babies’. I always feel peaceful watching the sheep on pasture and my desire to have that at home and as a lifestyle was increasing quickly. It was watching several documentaries on the food business and learning about the differences between grass\pasture raised livestock and what we have been sold from the grocer , that really lit a fire under my ass. I became determined to raise my own meat and dairy and do it before any more time was wasted or ‘junk’ food was consumed in my family household.
This blog is about using our acreage to enjoy a better and more meaningful way of life ; where sitting on the porch and watching the livestock in our fields is more enjoyable than any vacation. On our homestead we treat the dirt and everything on it with care and respect, and give our best to all, and, in return, we get the best that mother earth has to offer. I am not a carpenter, or a plumber, or an electrician, or a welder. Nor do I have heavy equipment ,veterinary knowledge or any experience raising livestock. I don’t have a barn or even a plow. I do have vision, desire and determination. In this blog I will share my venture into raising meat and dairy on our acreage, from my very humble beginnings, to where ever it takes me. I will share my victories and my failures. I will share all the funny and meaningful things that happen here. I will pass on what I learn along the way and you are welcome to respond and contribute . PEACE