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Just do it!

More than a year has passed since my article was in Countryside, Vol. 75 No. 1. Since then I have had calls and letters from wonderful people with questions and a desire to share hopes and dreams with someone who might understand how they feel. Most of these folks were young, and the things that impress me most are the fears they have expressed.

Society is not kind to these dear hearts! Most have been raised in town or city, by parents trying to give them more than they had when they were children and who themselves depend on manufacturers to supply their sweetness of life. This in itself is not a fault, but it makes trying something on your own very difficult.

I was born in 1937 and my husband in 1934. Raising a family then was not easy. We lived in a small town, and we shared the lot in back of our house with the neighbor for a garden. It was a lovely big garden. Stanek's half and our half. The competition between them was keen. Who could raise the biggest and best? But if something didn't work out for one, it usually did for the other, and a trade was made. There was always plenty for the relatives from the city, and I can remember Dad setting a bushel of tomatoes or something else out by the road and selling it for $1.00.

Our fruit cellar was a thing of beauty with all the canned fruits and vegetables and some meat. No freezers then! We were proud of it and always had more than we needed. Things were exchanged with friends so the variety was huge.

Mom was a wonderful cook and taught me well. I guess precious few families do these things anymore, so who will teach the young folks?

As I am writing this, I wish I could put my arm of encouragement around the shoulder of each one who is having cold feet about buying some land and jumping in. Really, the only thing to fear is what lies in the hearts of men. Nature will usually forgive your mistakes. Believe me, I am an expert when it comes to learning by trial and error!

I have great admiration and gratitude for people who do everything with a precise, scientific eye, but I am too eager to try just about everything to be able to do it that way. If you use common sense, stick with it, even when everything goes wrong and you want to give up in the worst way. It usually comes out okay.

Ah, but the good times when your heart sings like a meadow lark at the sight of the stars, or the sunrise, or the sweetness of the air, or the song of the bird!

Large animals are strong and can be a bit overwhelming, but if you keep a cool head and a gentle hand and voice, the most savage beast will soon learn to trust you. You will not be afraid if you approach them this way the first time and everytime thereafter. Know you are the one in charge, and you will be!

If large animals are too overwhelming, forget them for awhile and prepare yourself for them by working with small ones. Regardless of size or kind, they all respond to your care in the same way.

The same with the garden. A well-tended 30' row of beans will give the two of us enough to last all year. Six tomato plants is way more than enough, and 25 seed potatoes cut in four pieces will be enough for a year, too!

Murphy's law usually applies for me when I set out to do something and it probably will for you, too. So what! If you expect it, you can be cussed enough to beat it!

One of Gene's favorite foods is black raspberry pie. I have the lovely red ones in the garden, but I consider it my labor of love to plow through the wild thicket to get the black ones. Yes, I know the ticks are there, as well as numerous other nasty beasts, but I wash down with pine tar soap, tuck my long sleeved shirt in my pants, pants in my boots, and wear a hat. When I finish I check over and leave my clothes outside for awhile. The reward of the smell of fresh black raspberry pie makes it all worthwhile.

Life is full of danger no matter where you are. Please just learn to stick out your chin, hit it head on, or go around it.

What will become of the land?

When we look out over the land in our area there are so few farms going on to another generation. The young people aren't willing to accept the responsibility and regulations and taxes and the high costs and low returns of farming. Who can blame them? What will become of all this wonderful land, we wonder. If you can have a little piece of land to call home, love it, nurture it, treasure it. Nothing will give you greater reward, sense of pride and well-being.

Don't be afraid to write to this great magazine. People who really know how to do things the right way share their know-how and will help you gain the confidence you need. All of you who have had some success and fun from country living, please share what you have learned with someone who needs encouragement. It's too precious a way of life to let it die!

Most of all, trust in your own ability. Go slowly, one step at a time. You will never know how proud you can be of yourself, or how much you really can, do, unless you just DO IT!
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:beginning homesteaders
Author:Boyce, Pat
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:Some encouragement for those whose lives are not perfect.
Next Article:Why we posted our land.

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