This Life is In Your Hands
If Possum Living is the fun, beach read, Melissa Coleman's This Life is In Your Hands is a hard-hitting expose and
cautionary tale. The author writes about the joys and woes of
being the child of passionate organic farmers and homesteaders (Eliot
Coleman and his
wife) living next door to the Nearings.
"By the 1980s oil glut, jobs and opportunities would become so plentiful in the cities that few could resist the pull to return. Many families, like us, would succumb to divorce or separation, and as Helen [Nearing] had long ago predicted, those who stayed put were generally the homesteaders without children."
The sad truth is that homesteads are like a lover or child --- enticing, beguiling, but also oh so needy of your time and thoughts. If you can't mitigate your relationship to the land in some way, you're bound to end up breaking the human ties you also depend on.
While reading This Life is In Your Hands, I could completely envision what my homesteading journey would have been like without Mark's painstaking efforts to help me mix some realism with my idealism. I would have been hauling five gallon buckets of water from the creek to irrigate the garden by hand like my mother did, eschewing the idea of paying a neighbor for firewood, and generally working my fingers to the bone. In the end, exhaustion resulting from my passion for homesteading and permaculture would probably have driven me off the farm like so many other back-to-the-landers, leading to an overall harsher environmental footprint than the one I currently make when I allow us to drift away from the homesteading ideal from time to time. All I can say is --- I'm eternally grateful that the romantic lottery netted me Mark instead of Eliot Coleman!
Our chicken waterer keeps chicken chores to a
minimum so we have more time to enjoy our flock.
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