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Where are all the homesteaders? Could it be that the outhouse blues have struck?

I never thought I would write, but I have to add my two cents worth. I read in the Nov/Dec 03 issue about homesteaders in short supply. I agree with it. My husband is 70 and I am 58. We have lived both in town and in the country. Most of our 40 years of marriage have been what most call a homestead life. My husband was raised on ranches and farms. I wasn't. What he taught me was from the ground up including how to start from bare land, grow gardens, build, live with no power, use an outhouse, keep meat cooked down and stored in grease, hunt, can, fish, use car batteries for lights, cook on woodstoves, etc. This was all done because that is just the way it was to survive.

Today I believe too many people think it is just a hobby or game for something different to do. Yes, there are many people who really do want this type of life and really do make a go of it. It is also true that in long years past it was a "have to" case, it was easier to get land with no money and survive on very little. State and county laws were not like they are now with codes, codes, codes, all requiring money.

For years many people didn't want their kids growing up this way so they moved to towns and made more and more money, bought big homes, more cars and everything from a store, so how can you blame the young people for not understanding the old way of life? You even see this in our Native American Indian people. The old ways are a dying breed.

I will give you an example of things that have happened to us. We have five kids, and 18 grandkids. One daughter loves the country life but wants the easy way. She is a very hard worker but likes the electric, indoor plumbing, etc. Her kids don't really want anything to do with the country. My other daughter lives in the country but raises hardly anything in her gardens, is busy with a job and getting more education. Her daughter is going to school to be a doctor. Yes, I am proud of them. I know it's hard to live in today's world without an education and jobs that make money. My kids think we are crazy and too old to live like this.

We bought 20 acres in the mountains--bare land--three years ago. With all the health problems we have we have gotten a two-bedroom older trailer with a nice woodstove. We have hog pens, chicken pens, ducks, rabbits, did have two cows and calves but due to arthritis I couldn't milk so the cows went to my daughter.

We have a 3/4 acre garden and fruit trees from a man who sold his five acres last summer. But I had to get them in August as the county was going to tear them up, so I sweated and dug and planted about 50 trees. I hope they grow.

We have strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, herbs and a large garden with 300 heirloom tomatoes, beans, corn, squash, etc. We put up a 12 x 32 foot stock panel greenhouse we read about in COUNTRYSIDE. We dug two wells by hand. We have tried to find someone who has advertised in COUNTRYSIDE to work side-by-side in partnership, help with the market garden and live here. My problem comes with people who want to play games.

We had one woman with two teenagers. I told them what I wanted and expected beforehand: no drinking or drugs. Ha, they would get up at 10-11 a.m., piddle around for an hour or two and quit! Then I found out they were doing drugs. Out they went!

Another woman really wanted to go back to the good old homestead life until it really came down to it. I guess the no electric, outhouse blues hit and I never heard anymore.

Then there was the family who really wanted to come, and even told me they were coming before bad weather set in. Well, I haven't heard from them since. I wrote them a letter and they didn't respond to say "I'm late" or "I've changed my mind" nothing. People can talk the talk but not walk the walk.

If and when this country really gets bad there are going to be a lot of hungry people. Large farmers and ranchers are going out of business. They are importing food that you don't even know what is in it. Towns are so overcrowded. Kids are couch potatoes with tv games. In my day as a kid we had to work or we didn't eat. Now you pay your kid to take the garbage out. Yes, there are a lot of good kids but they are losing a lot of common sense.

I want to teach people who really do want to learn. It truly is a dying breed. It's hard work, daylight until dark. No one said it would be easy, just worth it. And when the older people are gone who is going to teach the younger ones? We have a fifth wheel for someone to live in. I don't know how to truly find people who really want this kind of life and are willing to work and learn. I know they are out there, I guess I just don't know or haven't found the right way to find them. Lord willing I will.

LINDA B.

WASHINGTON
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Title Annotation:Country neighbors
Author:B., Linda
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:932
Previous Article:Nightmare in the Ozarks: they thought they were living their dream, until they lost a loved one to a cougar attack.
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