Why Do You Raise Your Own Food?
Why on earth do I spend half my life milking a cow who likes to get mastitis, taking care of pigs that want me to swim with them, and keeping chickens that try to get eaten by raccoons? Oh, and I’m also trying to grow food in the squash bug capital of the world.
Seriously? I could just go to the grocery then lay on my couch and watch Dr. Oz.
Why, oh why, am I making my life so complicated?
There are actually a couple of reasons.
Why We Homestead:
1. It’s fun!
Homesteading is a very enjoyable hobby or lifestyle. I like my garden, the land, the fruit trees, the woods and the animals. I enjoy living out in the country away from all the hustle/bustle and business. I am a “go-er.” I could run errands and “go” every day of my life. Having a homestead out in the middle of nowhere forces me to stay put more. It forces me to slow down. I also like the new challenges that present themselves daily & trying to find solutions. Like, how to get your dog to not “play with” your chickens and how to get your 300 pound pigs onto a trailer.
2. I have found that I love animal husbandry.
I didn’t even know what husbandry was 5 years ago. If you are me 5 years ago, husbandry is the management and care of farm animals by humans for profit. If I’m having a bad day and the world around me is crumbling, all I have to do is go talk to the cows & everything is better. The animals are a treat. Especially the baby ones. Sweet little pumpkins (that I will eventually eat – gasp).
3. The fresh air.
During Spring and Summer I’m outside all the time. Once the dreary, raining, freezing, horrible, miserable weather shows up and Kentucky turns into the arctic circle, I would be happy to hibernate on my couch watching Rehab Addict until Spring. And, I would except there are animals living in my front yard who still want to eat even when “outside is stupid.”
Since my animals like to eat everyday, I am outside. Every day. Every season. Every holiday. I wouldn’t change it. It keeps me active. It forces me to get fresh air and move when I want to lay on the couch until the crocuses show up.
4. I love that my children’s lives are full of opportunities to learn responsibility.
Instead of spending their day’s studying Pokemon Cards, playing minecraft and reading Percy Jackson novels, they are milking cows, taking care of chickens, and scooping poop………… Then they study Pokemon Cards, play minecraft and read Percy Jackson novels. Homesteading provides so many great lessons for kids. We work hard, but we have a lot of fun.
5. Family Time.
Oh boy. There is never a lack of projects to do or fun to be had on a small hobby farm. Everyday there is a reason to laugh, to work, and to spend time together.
6. I don’t want to diet.
Almost everyone I know is on some sort of diet. The Makers Diet, Paleo Diet, Gluten-Free Diet, Carb-Free Diet, GAPS Diet, The HGC Diet, Weight Watchers…….
I don’t like diets. I like food. I don’t like worrying about every bite I put in my mouth. I just want to eat. I don’t like counting calories. I don’t like trying to figure out how many “points” a food is worth.
I’ll never forget the day I walked into a room with a McDonald’s Caramel Latte and someone looked at it and exclaimed, “Do you know how many points are in that!?!!?” No. I don’t. I don’t even know what a point is, or what it is doing in my coffee.
I don’t diet. I am a failure at dieting. It’s like the Garfield cartoon where John says, “Great job on your diet, Garfield! You lost a pound.” And Garfield says, “It’s the same one I lose every week.”
I like to eat and not stress out about it. I think this is a benefit of choosing real food. You don’t have to put too much thought into every single bite. If most of the foods in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry are healthy, then when my children reach for a snack, I can relax and know they are probably getting something worthwhile. When I grab some porkchops, or a steak out of the freezer for dinner, I know it will be good for my family.
A lot of work goes into getting the food we eat. I know it would be much easier to just go to the grocery. Although it is not an easy road, I think it’s worth the sacrifice. The animals provide us with companionship, exercise, healthy food and joy…… at least they provide joy when they don’t have mastitis, aren’t trying to push me into a pool of sewage, and aren’t destroying my flowers.