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What is your WHY?

 
pollinator
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I am not sure this post fits in the Cider Press... but couldn't find anywhere else to post it that talked about philosophy...
So for the moderator, if you can find a better "home" for this post, I will be eternally grateful.

OK...

A couple of things I learned along the path of permaculture, food forest, homesteading:

1. It’s not the easy path - there are easier ways to live life than homesteading, permaculture or creating your own food forest….
2. It’s not the quicker path - permaculture, homesteading and food forests seem to be taking an awful lots of time…
3. It’s not usually the most “acceptable” lifestyle among “normal” people (often those we love the most)…

Of course, I also learned along the way that:

1. I can’t think of a more satisfying lifestyle (and I already lived quite a few different ones)
2. Although there is pressure involved in this lifestyle - it’s nothing like the chronic stress in “normal” life.
3. I never felt as healthy, vital or alive as I feel now - although I’m older and have a lot less of the luxuries that supposed to make life comfortable and easy.

Now… here’s my question to you?



WHY the heck are you doing it?

  • What’s your motivation?
  • What’s your philosophy?

  • What’s your vision? (see my vision here: Permaculture, homestead, food forest VISION)
  • 
What makes you get up every morning and say, “yes”… this is what I want?

  • My ideas is to make a long list of reasons, motivations, and philosophies - so we can all come back to it, in moments of doubts, setbacks, or other challenges…

    I can’t wait to learn from you…
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 1940
    Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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    Why? Guess I could lots of little reasons, but the bottom line is that I have an ingrained passion for agriculture even though I was raised in a big city. As a very young teenager I knew that I wanted to live an agricultural lifestyle, but never was able to achieve that until my mid 50s. 2001 I took the plunge and have never regretted it.

    Via my passion, I love watching livestock eat, watching seeds germinate. I enjoy making plant starts. Love the smell of good soil, fresh cut grass, horses and other livestock.

    So passion in my number reason.

    Challenge. Once I made the plunge, I wanted to see if I really could build my own house, create a farm out of neglected land, provide for my own food, and be reasonably self sufficient. I’m willing to plod along and don’t give up easy. I like to experiment and figure out alternative ways of achieving a goal. So the sense of challenge kept me going.

    Self reliance. I’ve always been the type of child that didn’t like working in groups, being on a team. I prefer to work alone, something that couldn’t be done during the career phase of my life. Now on my homestead farm I work solo 90% of the time. I’m much happier.

    Passion, challenge, and self reliance are my main motivations.

    Philosophy? I like to live life in cooperation and harmony. That means that I feel better when I get along with my community, live in harmony with my land. I avoid discord, avoid waste, avoid needless destruction. I’m a practicalist, a realist....very strongly.

    Vision? I’ve pretty much attained it. Now my vision is to share what I’ve learned with others, and to help my community as I am able.

    I wake up every morning glad to be alive, to be able to go out and work on my little farm. I’m glad to help others. I’m glad to give away much of my surplus. I’m content to live a simple life of poverty (according to government standards and my friends), which I find is making me far happier than when I lived a mainstream lifestyle. I think that according the Paul, I’ve become a Gert. I’m in my 70s now and have a body that is having medical issues. But it’s been a good ride so far.
     
    N. Neta
    pollinator
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    Su Ba wrote:Passion, challenge, and self reliance are my main motivations.


    Thank you so much Su Ba for your detailed and very inspiring answer.
    I started a few years younger than you (I’m 53 now and living this life for 6 years now.
    Hope to acquire similar wisdom to yours when I’m your age.
    Make it an awesome day, and thank you for sharing.
     
    master gardener
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    Simple. It is what fits.  Everywhere I have lived, except on a homestead, I have felt like I was visiting and didn’t belong.  I belong here. It fits.
     
    N. Neta
    pollinator
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    John F Dean wrote:Simple. It is what fits.  Everywhere I have lived, except on a homestead, I have felt like I was visiting and didn’t belong.  I belong here. It fits.


    Thank you for sharing, John.
    I think I know what you mean.
     
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    Self reliance is my main reason. I love the idea of being able to do for myself instead of relying on others. Wild edibles, solar cooking, solar energy, and the off the grid lifestyle are amazingly empowering things.

    Once you start saving lots of money and go through a power outage without it changing much in your daily routine, you won't ever look back. Plus, if you learn about wild edibles and how to preserve them, a food shortage won't concern you nearly as much as it did before.

    When you don't need as much money to survive, you start to relax and enjoy life more.
     
    steward
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    For me it is the easy path...my mind just forces me to do it.  Somehow I'm just mentally drawn much more into planting perennial polycultures and maintaining and nudging these plantings along.  It feels much more caretaking I guess...?  I struggle much more with planting an annual garden every year and trying to maintain soil fertility.  With my perennial plantings the system pulls itself forward with so little effort on my part.

    Why do I do it....I just wouldn't feel good about myself otherwise.  For me it's about Earth care.  I just think we're in a big evil hole that we created and we need to dig ourselves out of.  Too much damage, too much destruction.  I do it because I think we need to demonstrate the smart way forward and have little time to do it.  I don't do it for me, but I admit that I LOVE the benefits!!!  So many new delicious experiences, so much peace from being in the edible landscape, so much drive to enlarge and enhance the systems.  I'm not sure I could ever be satisfied without my edible landscape.  
     
    gardener
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    WHY the heck are you doing it?

    What’s your motivation?
    What’s your philosophy?

    What’s your vision? (see my vision here: Permaculture, homestead, food forest VISION)
    
What makes you get up every morning and say, “yes”… this is what I want?



    Motivation--
    1. It's frugal. Not buying chemical fertilizers is a biggie. Also, the obvious reason that growing food means I don't have to visit the grocery store as often. I can't afford organic everything, so I grow as much as I can in an organic way. What I can't grow, I can now afford better quality at the store.

    2. I want to "stick it to the man." I don't want to be dependent on other people if I don't have to. If the supply chain breaks down, I would like to have as many systems in place on my humble half-acre that it's no biggie.

    Philosophy--
    1. I'm probably more of a mix between permaculture and homesteader than I am full-blooded permaculturist. That is, I try to implement as many permaculture practices as possible where I am, but things being as they are, I have to just make small changes in a positive direction.

    2. I want to live as gick-free as possible.

    3. We are a religious family. We want to be good stewards of God's creation. Yes, He gave us dominion over it, but we are to teach our children diligently about His laws. I believe that includes His Laws of Nature. The more we learn about how God's creation works, the more we are in awe of His power and care.

    4. I want my kids to inherit a piece of property they can be proud of. They help out a LOT with our homestead, and they will hopefully someday have something tangible, with skills to sustain it. My kids know where their food comes from. They've helped harvest chickens, they regularly plan crops and plant seeds, they mow the lawn, they pick the blueberries, they feed/water animals, etc.

    Vision--
    1. Kids ask, "Mom, what's for dinner?" Me answer, "I don't know, what's ripe outside?"
    We're getting close with that. Our goal when we bought our property in 2019 was for half of our veggies at dinner time to come from our garden. Then 2020 happened, and we upped our game considerably. We want ALL our veg to come from our backyard, and most of our fruit. That will mean growing more, and adapting our diet to eat what grows here. (Goodbye, avocados...I couldn't afford you anyway...)

    2. Me in my old age not having to do too much in order to sustain the systems in place.
     
    pollinator
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    WHY the heck are you doing it?


    Based on my world view, I believe it is an ethically good and appropriate decision.
  • I believe it will increase long term resilience in sustaining my family, friends and eventually strangers.
  • I believe it will add beauty, joy, and fun into the world.
  • I believe it will decrease suffering.


  • What’s your motivation?


  • To love and glorify God my Creator.
  • To live according to his son Jesus' commands.
  • To help others, if they are willing, to do the same.


  • What’s your philosophy?


    I ascribe to a traditional Judeo-Christian worldview:
  • I believe God created this world, and it was amazingly good.
  • I believe we were created in God's image to have dominion over plants and animals, not as demanding slave masters, but as faithful stewards, servant-leaders, enablers, and co-designers.
  • I believe there is evil which has left its mark on mankind, as well as the earth itself.
  • I believe spiritual redemption is available for mankind through faith in Jesus the crucified and resurrected Messiah.
  • I believe his followers will bring healing, freedom, and glory to the earth as well.  It will be worth the temporary suffering and inconveniences to achieve lasting freedom:


  • Romans 8:18-20 wrote:"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God."



    What’s your vision?


    A peaceful, loving, and hard-working life with my loved ones, enabled by a beautifully designed, maximumly diversified family farm.  The farm provides for our basic needs in a beautiful and regenerative way.  It quietly offers a place for others to join in and find solace, seek understanding and truth, heal, turn from destruction to freedom, and leave transformed and empowered to live according to God's good design.  It serves as a place for me and my wife to take care of aging family or those in need.  It provides light cottage industry, food, and potentially jobs and safety for others.  It is filled with thankfulness and hope and it grows community.  It is resilient against surrounding turmoil -- whether natural or manmade -- and it serves as a mission field and home base for sharing goodness and good news.

    What makes you get up every morning and say, “yes”… this is what I want?


    I think you can guess my answer.  Not what, but Who.
     
    pollinator
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    WHY the heck are you doing it?

    What’s your motivation?
    What’s your philosophy?

    What’s your vision? (see my vision here: Permaculture, homestead, food forest VISION)
    
What makes you get up every morning and say, “yes”… this is what I want?



    Permaculture is fun. It's relatively easy to do if you just pay attention to the natural patterns. It's like it evolved that way or something, as we did, so it's natural for me to think of going with that particular flow and designing things as those mechanisms have evolved over time to work.

    I mean, I have always thought the idea of asserting dominance over a global living system that predates our evolution by, what, hundreds of millions of years, a little arrogant; look what we've already done to it in our ignorance.

    In many ways, for all the earthworks and hydrological control elements, permaculture is something of a humble approach, one that most ideologies would embrace. If judeo-christian belief hadn't come out of the oral traditions of pastoralists and nomadic herders, but out of those of early horticulturalists, instead, I'd wager the parables and mythos would concern gardeners tending and nurturing, and by extension, planning, rather than shepherds guarding, tending, and sacrificing sheep.

    Basically, I want to go out into the country to live on about a hundred acres of Ontario boreal/temperate hardwood transitional zone forest, away from corn and soy agriculture, and if it doesn't have that level of biodiversity when I get there, it will eventually. I want that because of the freedom it would mean: mostly, freedom to proceed as I see fit, unburdened by what I consider to be the irrational choices of others. I want to be free to grow and eat my own food, and free from the noise and crowding, and the smells and toxicity, of living in close proximity with millions of other people, some of whom hold truly disturbing (in my view) positions on what is healthy, and even what is considered "food."

    I want to be a horticulturally-minded land steward, setting up food systems that provide rude abundance for human and animal, wild and domesticated, even in the worst years. I want to be a stay-at-home dad while my much-better-half continues to pursue her art career. I wish to raise children in permaculture as I see it, which admittedly leans heavily on concepts of Regenerative Agriculture, but also many of Salatin's ideas, and those of J.M. Fortier.

    I want on-contour swaled rows of food forest 3 trees (at least) deep, with nut trees in the middle row spaced for their eventual maximum growth, with fruit trees, basically all the pomes and stonefruit that will grow in my climate, and berry shrubs, in the southmost row, and mulberry trees, hazels, and Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust, for nitrogen-fixing bacteria) filling in the back row, along with other understory trees and plants, and rows of cane berries planted between. I would alternate between species and variety to produce a drawn-out harvest with constant pollinator support in mind.

    Between food forest rows, I want alleys suitable for either garden beds, field crops, or pasture. I would space them as the terrain allowed, but the idea would be to service everything with a small electric, possibly two-wheeled, stand-on tractor, and to size everything to that scale.

    On the family end, I want laying hens. I would love a quick, humane way to caponize male chicks, because that would mean those male chicks that I don't choose to keep as roosters become my meat birds, and I don't have to keep others. This, though, is just an idea, and I will keep meat birds if I need to.

    Guinea fowl are high on the priority list, because where we've narrowed our search is in the path of future, and potentially current, tick territory. Guinea fowl are used by friends of ours living in tick country to keep the numbers down on property.

    As our meat needs are just going to be familial, I want two sows, mostly for social reasons. I was thinking about american Guinea Hogs, but specific breed choices will wait until we see the specific conditions.

    I have no real want to go into larger meat production. I am much more likely, I think, to go in on a small herd of meat cattle with some neighbours and share out the grazing than I am to get a small herd myself. Hell, if I don't need to keep cattle for meat myself, I would be happy to buy beef on the hoof from a neighbour whose practices I trust and pay someone to come by to take care of the harvesting and butchering.

    The only exception to this is a dream I have. I would love to start a group in an appropriate place, partnered with at least one First Nations community, to sponsor the rewilding of an appropriate area with Bison bison athabascae (Wood Bison). It could happen in conjunction with, or separate from, another First Nations partnered rewilding program concerning Castor canadensis (North American Beaver) and their introduction and management as food source and ecosystem engineer, and their utilisation to turn beaver-constructed wetlands slowly leading to the ocean into highways for the reintroduction, or just introduction, of Salmo salar (Atlantic Salmon).

    The bison would be managed with a seasonal cull when appropriate, harvesting all but the necessary male breeding stock, at a ration of somewhere between 15 to 20 females to every male. This would be used to feed the families and communities of all involved, as well as covering operational costs. The management of the beaver population would likely be left in the hands of the hosting First Nations community. I hear that the meat is delicious, and that beavertail is apparently traditional pregnancy food in some regions, especially in winter, but I have no personal knowledge of this. Introducing healthy new salmon runs would have environmental benefits far outweighing the rejuvenation of wild Atlantic Salmon stocks, but managed annual harvests would work to cover operational costs and feed people in the same way as the bison operation.

    Going back to the homestead farm, I am thinking that, if it works out, I might try a small dairy herd, no more than two of the smallest jersey milkers I could find, and that mostly for social reasons. I still need to know how much time I would need daily, not only for the actual milking, but for making things out of said milk; if the jerseys were too high-yielding, I would definitely look to other heritage A2 breeds. Perhaps a Guernsey. I think I read that they can yield around eight gallons a day on grass when not nursing a calf. I think I remember reading that Jerseys produce something like 20 gallons a day. I love the 5% butterfat content, but I don't think that I could deal with 40 gallons a day between two cows. That's more cheese, yogourt, kefir, and butter than I can make in a day.

    Wait. Ice cream. I forgot about ice cream. Hmmm...

    My much-better-half's mother is a knitter of some note. I love the socks she knits me. We would definitely be looking to keep some alpacas, a llama, a donkey, perhaps a peacock and a peahen or two, and probably a small flock of sheep well-suited to our specific terrain and climate. I want merino, for the wool, as a merino alpaca blend can feel heavenly on the skin, but there are other options, and context is king, in permaculture as all things.

    To cap the security system of llama/donkey/peacock, I want an LGD puppy girl, probably something huge like a Caucasian Mountain Shepherd Dog, who would be my personal companion puppy girl. When she was ready, we'd introduce her to whatever working LGD mix or breed that was favoured by our neighbours. My money is on Great Pyrenees, but I have seen Komondor in the area we're looking. Lovely dreads on those dogs, but apparently some can be so family protective that special caution is required with stranger children. Great Pyrs might bark at night to establish sonic territorial boundaries, but at least they're up there with Newfs as being kid protectors.

    I still want to look to the shelter system for rescues, but I also acknowledge that specific breeding and heredity are required to achieve specific goals sometimes. If I had the room and time, I would probably open a piece of the property to rescues I would host and rehabilitate from trauma. I would definitely have the inclination, but there are a few things I want to do other than this.

    I want a minimum of two, but hopefully more, distinct ponds or small lakes on our property. I will dig them myself if I have to. I want them to be connected by raceways that run the water from the top to the bottom of the system, where a solar and/or wind pump moves the water back to the top of the system, where it is ejected in a jet fountain that aerates it as it falls onto a chinampas-style filter bed built for the purpose, growing species good for reed bed filtration, as well as the waterfowl we'd have, probably runner ducks and geese.

    My pond system will be stocked from the ground-up with local species. I will establish the flora first, of course, and the filter-feeder fauna might have settlement ponds all their own in-line with the system, but I want brown bullhead catfish if the system is tiny, and possibly something larger, up to the size of channel cat, if it were larger. I don't know the local species of minnow, but it looks like what you get at a bait shop for ice fishing. I would probably contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and avail myself of any natural restocking plans or programs they keep up. If I could get lake or rainbow trout, pike, walleye, smallmouth and rock bass, and some panfish, I would catch-and-release until my fishing intervention was actually needed, or the counts and individual weights were high enough to warrant harvest.

    The potential for freedom from this rat race for me and mine gets me up and working towards this every day.

    -CK
     
    We should throw him a surprise party. It will cheer him up. We can use this tiny ad:
    "Permaculture Now! - Desert or Paradise?" movie by Sepp Holzer
    https://permies.com/wiki/137395/Permaculture-Desert-Paradise-movie-Sepp
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