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Friday, August 01, 2008

Morning vent. Please Exit in an orderly fashion

It's foggy and hot. Of course while I was sick it was cooler out. Now I have 3 days of chores to catch up on in 100 degree weather.

I have been thinking (hold the chuckles down, the people in the back can't hear me) about this new blog. I have a few worries that I might tick some people off. Oh, I know I have never worried about that before, but this one isn't my blog. But I was asked to do this project by a person that reads me, and knows what a piece of work I can be.

One is this entire notion that homesteading = green living. Who concocted this little perverse lie? Homesteading is primitive, yes, but green? Don't make me laugh, my belly still hurts this morning. So, before I go over and introduce myself to their readers, let me break down this homesteading and green ideal in mine.

There are many things that we do that isn't Kosher. The 100 mile diet thing is ok for a lot of us, but then there are people that are in regions were this isn't going to be easy, take Sassy in Alaska for example. Alaska isn't the easiest place to homestead. The growing season is very short, you need to bring in your domestic farm animals, hunt, fish, gather, and have a quick growing garden if not a green house.

Reduction in utility vehicles isn't an option for homesteaders, unless they have no domestic farm animals, or have enough acreage to feed their livestock. Many of us have no more then five acres. I have done the math, and milking my own cows, plus the cost of feed, saves me $67 a month, versus buying it at the store ( this includes gas as well) And that is just the 4 gallons we go through every week, not adding in the surplus, which is currently 3 gallons and soon will be 10 gallons extra a week. I save $2 a day on eggs. Because of this, I will continue to use my big ole truck to haul feed.

We tear up the ground. For our gardens, we ripe open the earth, lusting for her deep, rich, dark blood. We grow non native plants in our regions so that we may feed ourselves and our families.

Everything we do is selfish, it benefits ourselves not the environment. We use glass, and rubber and plastics. We chop down trees for homes, fuel, baskets, and fences. We work animals in ways that certain groups would come out and protest for. ( milking, meat, fiber, draft) If we were to be labeled, we would be closer to survivalist, then green elitists. We don't want to government involved in trying to save us, take away things we need, tax the things they may think is bad to a point where we can't afford to use them. I have noticed some green people want the government to step in, to save us from ourselves. We want them to step back and allow us to live the way we feel is correct.

Most of us have guns, and those that don't will once their livestock has been attacked. Homesteading is a strange little world, mixed up and in between what the general population thinks it is. We are not survivalist, we are not green people.

I have said it before, and I will say it again and always. We are Salt. Big ole selfish Salt tablets of the Earth. We work hard, age quickly and die young all to live a lifestyle that makes us feel accomplished, loved, close to the Earth and our families. And if you have come here for something greener, I will be happy to point you to some excellent blogs about that.

Now that, that is out of my system, I can introduce myself tomorrow.


Kathie said...

I adore you, just in case you didn't know.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are honest. (((hugs)))

Phelan said...

Kathie, I would hope so! You wanted me to be in this :D I promise not to do anything too bad over there.

greedy. HUGS!!!!!! I miss you. and I am indeed honest, that's why I have hardly any friends (woe is me moment;))

Anonymous said...

Read it with a grin on my face and a tear in my eye! Your blog touches me and lets me know that I am not alone in my "crazy ways"!!

Sirannon said...

I'm not going anywhere, I love it here. I know I'm silent most of the time, but I'm fascinated by the way you choose to live and love every post of yours :)

FancyHorse said...

I've just recently started reading your blog regularly, and enjoy it. Tell me, please, what's the difference, if any, between homesteaders and farmers? Thank you.

Gina said...

You said that Really Well! If I could quit babbling (LOL ;-) I could have said something similar. I try to be "green", but I also drive a pick-up (can't afford two greenie cars) which I need for the hauling (and I like it!) I once did the carbon footprint test and failed it miserably and wondered why I even consider trying to label myself as green (the carbon FP test is for city people). I don't want chemicals in my diet adn I have yet to save money with this homesteading thing, but I like it and I don't want to spend $$$ for organic foods when I can do it myself. Maybe that makes us control freaks instead of survivalists or greenies. At least with that label, it will include all of what we do whether "green-living", homesteading, living or whatever.

You can count on me as one of your friends. I think you're perfect the way you are and I'm glad we "met" in this great, big Internet world.

Maya said...

Everything you just described doesn't in any way preclude you from being "green" in my book. Perhaps the city slicker who associates greenness with buying $50 hemp t-shirts would think differently.

Consider - you using your gas hog vehicle to transport feed for raising your own meat and vegetables most likely in no way compares to the passive fuel consumption of the average grocery store shopper when you calculate in the energy it takes to ship peaches from Chile in the dead of winter or strawberries from Mexico. Nor does it likely match up to the groundwater pollution caused by large feedlot operations churning out beef or pork for the masses.

Sure - you clear your ground to grow vegetables, but surely that is better than asphalting it and putting in another Walmart in it's place?

It seems to me the simple undertaking of homesteading gives a greater understanding and respect both for the animals you work with and the earth you live off of. And I am not talking about some romanticized version of back to the land. You gain a real appreciation for the rain when you haven't had any for months and your winter stores depend on it. Of course it is selfish, we all need to eat. But I don't see how the two are mutually exclusive.

I could go on and on. I suppose I get tweaked out when the reigning idea of earth friendliness or greenness constitutes just another sect of consumer culture (buy a new car, build a new green house) versus engendering a better understanding of the interconnectedness of it all (and the resulting realization that the more we screw with the environment, the more we screw ourselves or our children).

End of rant (thanks for the inspiration) :)

Kay-Rob said...

Well Spoken!

Just started reading your blog two days ago. I'm still here and look forward to more.

Kathie said...

One is this entire notion that homesteading = green living. Who concocted this little perverse lie?

I think it was Mother Earth News. Honestly, for the most part I love the magazine, but I was reading my current issue (I do subscribe) and a good percentage if not 100% of the articles had a very "green" slant. I noticed even the letters from readers were mostly green - one person expressing concerns over wood heat and pollution and deforestation for instance. I'm sure in reality its a mix of our sources, but I think Mother Earth News despite all of its wonders and good intentions isn't helping (that and they seem to reccommend buying instead of coming up with home solutions more often than I can ever remember before).

I imagine I might tick a few folks off with that comment ;)

Robbyn said...

I love you, Phelan! I hope you DONT tone anything down. There is such a difference between ACTUALLY taking things in hand to provide ACTUAL food from our own land for our ACTUAL family. Flash back 200 years ago and there was no worry about chemicals, zoning laws, government bail-outs, and genetic engineering.

I love the environment, but I don't believe a people-free society is the ultimate shangri-la. I think I'll have an ephiphany about a lot of things the first time I have to slaughter my own chicken, or go without chicken for dinner. We don't live in a Disney world, and I think the divide will become greater (as the economy does it death throes) between those who embrace Bambi and continue to eat green goo from a bottle and those who have to process Bambi to put on the table for a month's-or-more worth of family meals.

I'm in your cheering section!

Phelan said...

anonymous, :D

Sirannon, Nice to see you. And you should know I don't mind you rubber necking ;)

Fancyhorse, Sure, the difference is scale and money. Homesteaders rarely make the money off of their own land to qualify for Farm Statis by the state. Usually homesteading is a single family on under 100 acres (1/4 to 10 acres seems to be the norm) that raises enough things to keep their family feed, and maybe a little to sell on the side. Farmers tend to be larger scaled, over 100 acres, and stick to 1 or two things, livestock and wheat. Corn and soy. And sell it off for profit.

Gina, I took the test and fell off my chair laughing. My footprint was like a 37. Wow my side hurts thinking about it. I don't even bother thinking about that stuff anymore. Todays' post was just a need to clean the air a little bit. I am not green, at least not traditionally. You know what sent my footprint way off the chart, our mortorcycles. hahaha!

Maya, I was just a little frustrated. I had to stop myself from writting a couple thousand words on the subject. Yes, to many people we are "green" But be are salt. As I said. We know the land we live on, we know our neighbors land. We work it and tend it in the way it needs to be to be in excellent condition for ourselves. This is also were I get the statement that we are a selfish lot. I am not critizing the green stuff, I am just not it. There are many homesteaders that have said it themselves in their blogs, don't call us green. We work too hard, sweat and bleed too much to be labeled so simply, and almost nasitly when used by some people.

Salt of the Earth.

Yep, that's what we are.

Kay-Rob, Welcome!

Kathie, Mother Earth News...ok must stop there more ranting. grrr....

Phelan said...

Robbyn, a people-free society is the ultimate shangri-la. yes, yes it is :D

Stephanie said...

In my mind we are very green. I'd like to see anyone who knows how to get the more use out of an item than a homesteader. Who is more concerned about taking care of the land? Who is more watchful of their resources?

Yep, our 71 dump truck might not seem green at first glance, but when you look at the whole picture it fits in.

Maybe it doesn't fit the trendy description of being green, but it fits the description in my mind.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

My wife says it pretty well. I wouldn't tweak any writing either. just my two cents. That truck btw, 4 miles to the gallon....

Country Girl said...

I love your blog and your honesty.
We are not "green" either but conscious of our environment. I look forward to reading your intro in the group blog. Kim

Phelan said...

Stephanie, have you heard from Marta? If you have could you tell her that I have been emailing her, please? Thank you. I love the dump truck :D

Tim, agree

Country girl, why thank you.

Stephanie said...

Um no now that you mention it I haven't heard from her for awhile, like the beginning of July. I was just thinking today I needed to check for the next newsletter topic. hope all is well!

FancyHorse said...

I see what you mean, Phelan. Actually, when I wrote that, I was thinking of small family farmers of 100 or so years ago, like my grandfather, who farmed mainly for himself and his family, and also sold some milk, eggs, livestock, and timber from time to time. Back then, green was just the color of grass and trees!

Anonymous said...

It seems to me the meaning of homesteading has changed somewhat drastically over the years...back in the day...the government granted large parcels of land to settlers under the homesteading act. The porpose of this was to settle the west and to give hard working people who were so inclined, the opportunity to acquire inexpensive land to become farmers. I don't know if the government is giving away land anymore...guess it depends on where you live. Homesteading in the true original sense of the word doesn't exist any longer ...just like the days of pioneers, wagon trains, and wild west have disappeared. Parcels of land acquired for homesteading are called sections, which consist of 640 ACRES. A homesteader was expected to clear the land and build a house on 'the home quarter' section (160 acres). This is a far cry from homesteading on an acre or five??

I guess we are the New Pioneers in a changing world. It is our responsibility as stewards of the land to take care of it for future generations.

Phelan said...

The word homesteading has had a different meaning for many many years. In the sixties they called it the back to the land movement and modern homesteading. There are many states in which you can get free land from the government. Small plots only.

I know what the word means in the past and what it many in different countries. Modern Homesteaders is the best description of what we do. Soon I will be traditionally homesteading a farmstead from a private party.

Anonymous said...

Well...LOL. I've been out in the bush so long...been homesteading for ten years and didn't even know it!

budding gardener, aka sarah said...

I've been lurking for a while and finally decided to have my say, too. :)

"We work hard, age quickly and die young all to live a lifestyle that makes us feel accomplished, loved, close to the Earth and our families."

As far as I am concerned, that's green. I know too many people who'd love to call themselves that, but don't have the first damn clue where there food _really_ comes from.

Maybe green isn't even a good word. It's hip, I know. What you're doing is so much more meaningful, at least to my eyes. You're being honest, sticking to your guns, and living a life you've consciously chosen. I think that's fantastic.

Wendy said...

I get that you bristle at the idea of calling yourself "green", because it's so ... bourgeois. It's what all of us suburbanite homesteading wannabes call ourselves so that we can justify continuing to drive our children to soccer practice in our SUVs (many of which will never see a bag of feed ;).

I think, though, that the spirit behind the "green" movement is toward living a more "sustainable" life and that is one that can be supported without all of the modern accoutrements (like pineapple in Maine or lobster dinners in Kentucky). I mean, you could live and feed your family without electricity, and you could continue to do your daily routines if you didn't have an abundance of cheap gasoline - it may not be as fun, but you could do it. That's "green", and there are a lot of us out here who wouldn't even be able to meet our very basic, personal needs without lots of inputs, like electricity, heating oil, gasoline and grocery stores.

For all of our boasting about line-drying clothes and using CFLs, when it's all boiled down to jelly, you'd be eating, and we'd be wishing we were as "green" as you claim not to be.

Anonymous said...

Love the definition! I just found your post and will have to check in regularly. =) I recycle, reuse (my garden fence is made of old pallets from the landfill) and have an amazing garden. Hope to have chickens soon.
Anyway, you give me hope. Drive on!

Meg (from The Wardrobe Channel) said...

Don't take those carbon footprint calculators too seriously. They don't take into account many, many things that are "green" -- as well as many, many things that aren't.

Personally, I think homesteading can be very green. It doesn't take much to be greener than the perfect, golf-course lawn crowd. And I love that what I do manage to eat from my garden doesn't have to be packaged in plastic and shipped around the world.

But of course, it is all relative and it depends on one's choices. You can drive the SUV to the store to buy commercial pesticides, herbicides, and fertlizer from Wally World, or you can companion plant, compost, and generally worth with the land. Even doing a combination is a step in the right direction.

Of course, if you don't like the label green, then you don't have to use it no matter how 'green' you may be -- and I wouldn't blame you. Most of what passes for green is just marketing hype to affluent consumers. IMHO, being green isn't about what one consumes, it's about what one produces -- and doesn't produce.

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