Monday, May 6, 2013

Fresh Perspective.

I did not grow up on a farm.

While I did grow up in a family that thought about how our actions impacted the earth, raising our own food was not a part of the whole picture. 

We reduced our energy consumption, we recycled, we ate healthy, and we spent time digging and playing outside. 

Now, as we steadily increase our food production through our garden and animals, I am amazed at the change in perspective that comes from becoming more self reliant.  As we bridge the gap between consumption and production, I am increasingly aware of the real cost of our food and the small nuances that shift in our garden and animals from year to year.  Here are a few of my new perspectives as we move into this year's growing season:


  • When I sit quietly in my yard and look at the apple blossoms, I am now more interested in the number of bees on the blossoms then on how pretty they look
  • On the rare occasion that I buy eggs - I become obsessive about where they come from (crazy obsessive and willing to drive far distances to get my eggs)
  • The beauty of a garden is no longer judged on its composition, color and texture, but by its ability to provide food
  • There is nothing, absolutely nothing more lovey in the garden than a handful of dark, rich compost
  • The extended forecast is now more valuable for predicting my growing season than for planning outings, get togethers and vacations
  • A yard is simply an open space of potential - there are endless possibilities in a patch of open space
  • All those farms I drive past are no longer a meaningless jumbles of buildings, but an important learning tool for how to grow my own homestead
  • A $4 heirloom tomato doesn't seem all that expensive anymore - just a fair price for hard work.
How has homesteading or farming changed your perspective ?

14 comments:

  1. i come fromthe same background, we recycled, bought organic when possible and all those things. i can fully understand some of the shifts, even though we only have a balcony and live in a big city, we still started baking all our own bread, growing some things on the balcony.. etc. i will never look at bread the same way, or nudles, or most of the cleaning products... everything changes. slowly - but it does. http://wrappedtroubles.blogspot.com

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    1. Bread is a great example too! I get totally weirded out by bread that still looks good a month later!

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  2. :) I guess growing up on a farm made me more aware of these things from childhood on. But living in suburbia for many years gave me a fresh perspective too. I never realized, as a kid, how many chemicals are dumped on lawns, how obsessive people can be about having things look perfect, or how dependent most people are on the grocery store. It just never occurred to me that people would choose to live that way. So that experience reaffirmed my choice to move back to the country and have my own chickens and a bigger garden and fruit trees and...you get the picture!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Gretchen!

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  3. I really like your last point. We live in a society that that thinks cheap food is the king without realizing the work and risk that goes into growing that food.

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  4. Being able to grow my own garden reminds me that many of my neighbors do not have the privilege or ability to have fresh food. Last year I went to work for a 93 year old woman (a former farm girl!) that lives in a 'low income' apartment community. I provided fresh vegetables for Mille and her neighbors last summer. This year we are planting more and I am going to provide for her whole complex! I am excited and blessed....

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  5. what a beautiful post!
    I can't say its changed my perspective, I think to my core I always wanted to live this way. I've been an avid farmers market and organic buyer for many years, and always knew I wanted to have a garden. I didn't grow up on a farm but lived next to many farms in rural France. My childhood brought me to want to live that way today and create the same memories for my children. Right now we have no animals but are trying to grow food year round and see if we can cut our grocery bill in half (even with the 6 months of snowy winter!).

    I love the learning, and especially the mistakes as you learn so much from them and it causes you to expand your knowledge. Homesteading is much tougher than people realize and it's hard work, but I find it's a much more honest way of living. I don't want an easy cheap life full of cheap packaged disposable food or to buy a vegetable that came to me by planes and trucks being exposed to who knows what along the way. I would much rather buy something locally or grow it myself, and at the end of the day feel great about having such a close connection to our food sources.

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  6. We were just thinking about this the other day actually! Keeping bees has really changed how we look at things. Plants that we thought of as "just weeds" before are now prized possessions because our bees will gather pollen from them. Dandelions are a welcome sight now, not a nuisance. Our perspective on things has completely shifted over the past couple years and I love it.

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    1. I'm glad dandelions are a welcome site because that is all our yard is right now!

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  7. You mentioned when you buy eggs. I read an article about freezing eggs. If you do that, you will probably buy less. Haven't tried it personally but try said 1 cube of egg in an ice cube tray is equal to 1 egg. Also, scramble up 3, 4 , 6, 12 and put them in marked freezer bags. Squeeze the air out

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    1. Great point. We only buy egg a handful of times a year - at Easter we sometimes search out white once to dye - a few of our new chicks lay white eggs so I'm hoping we'll be all set this year.

      I would love to try to freeze them - especially using an ice cube tray.

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  8. Exactly! Well said! I am also seeing so many things in a new way! For example: I look at sunshine now as an energy maker and clean water from our well (without chlorine or fluoride) as an essential ingredient for sourdough starter!

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  9. I don't really need to comment because you said it all. But just to say I really love this post. It's exactly how I feel.

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