Fake it ’til you make it

sunset on a hay bale

I’ve read a lot of books on farming and homesteading. Previously, I talked about my favorite authors, but now I want to talk about the content.

Nearly every book says to start slow and to think small. Our homesteading forefathers weren’t starting slow or thinking small when they were settling new land out west.

Today, homesteading is becoming fashionable, except now, many of us are trying to learn the things our homesteading forefathers took for granted and discover how we became so distant from the very fabric of our life and existence … food.

At a time when society seems very distant from the source of its food, and when the average food product travels more than a thousand miles before it is consumed, it is not a surprise that there is a homesteading movement.

I’ve met adults who think boneless chicken comes from boneless chickens, specially bred for the fast-food industry. Nowadays, people don’t know how a hen lays eggs, how cows produce milk or what lard is, let alone what to do with it. It isn’t uncommon to meet someone who doesn’t even cook their own food or eat leftovers.

When my wife and I told family members that we wanted to homestead and try to grow most of our food, they thought we were crazy. I’m not really convinced that they were wrong in their assessment of our ideals, but it only fueled my passion.

I usually try to keep the man that I am in my head from meeting the person I am in reality. I think one of them will be really let down if they got to meet the other. I find it useful, especially for planning purposes. I’d hate to let my hubris stop me from making a poor decision.

It all started with a simple dream. In between sewing our clothes, homeschooling our kids, growing and canning all our food, we would forge a new life for ourselves. We wanted to breathe the fresh crisp air that the country has.

I read a book about going back to the basics that inspired me to abandon modern conveniences. I planned to build a house, perhaps a small cabin, from trees that I cut down myself. Then, perhaps, I could build a small barn, large enough to contain a few necessary pieces of equipment and livestock and hay.

Somehow, despite my best of intentions, all my dreams came crashing down. How could I build a house and barn if I couldn’t even start my antique Ford tractor. I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was doing when I climbed into the seat, but I didn’t let that stop me.

I tried to hide my internal self from the real world by wearing a blue jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat when I went to the tractor dealer; the outfit was a blend of “Bonanza,” “Little House on the Prairie” and the “Rifleman.” All of which were shows that were instrumental in fabricating the vision of myself that I adorn internally. Unfortunately, my life looks more like “Green Acres.”

You don’t learn a language one word at a time, you’re immersed in it. So, we immersed ourselves in this, and we’ve made it past the first couple of years.

In my head, I feel like Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson learning to hunt and live off the land. But in reality, I think Mother Nature wears the britches in our relationship.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!


  1. I am not sure how I could just ‘decide’ to homestead. Especially when the first thought I had whenever I moved (from young adulthood ) was…how close is the nearest Walmart. So I truly give you kudos for not only trying, but succeeding and sharing your stories of lessons along the way!!!


We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.