starting at the beginning, part 1: take dominion

Since I vented a little last week, I’ve been struggling at where to begin my newly acquired, long list of posts. Today I just decided I would start where it makes sense: at the beginning.

As homesteaders and Christians, we turn to the Bible to instruct us on what we should do in all parts of life (or at least we should). So what does the Bible first say about homesteading? To the very first man and woman, who he created in a garden full of vegetation and animals, He gave this charge.

Genesis 1:27-28 (ESV)

“So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Then God destroyed the earth with a flood, preserving one man and woman and their progeny. Again, He charged them,

Genesis 9:1-3 (ESV)

“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”

Later on, the Psalmist, David, would sing in praise of the mandate God has placed upon mankind.

Psalm 8:3-8 (ESV)

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
 all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.”

The prophets prophesied about what manner we are to respond to the creation, fellow man, and the Lord.

Micah 6:8

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

What can we learn about homesteading through these verses?

“…subdue it, and have dominion…”

When we think of the words “subdue” and “dominion,” several thoughts may come into your mind. You may be thinking of “dominance,” which may in turn cause you to think of “abuse” and/or “slavery”. I believe this is a very toxic way of viewing this mandate. God did not charge mankind with abusing and enslaving the earth, men, and animals. However, since sin entered the world, it seems as though that is exactly what mankind has done.

We have seen how barbaric some of mankind has been. Over the course of history up until present time we have seen slavery in many forms, and toward many people groups, along with various kinds of abuses including prostitution, human sacrifice (both child and adult), fighting to the death, warfare, etc. Testing, fighting, and other kinds of abuses in the name of both science and entertainment have been inflicted upon animals. Finally, there is earth abuse which we can see plainly from landfills, oil spills, air pollution, radiation, nuclear warfare, etc.

This is not dominion. This is sickness.

Christians should be the remedy instead of contributing to the problem.

Dominion comes from the latin dominus, ‘lord, master.’ In other words, humankind is to take charge of the earth and all that dwells therein. Furthermore, God destroyed the earth with a flood when men became corrupt and wicked, preserving the one man, Noah (and his family), who still obeyed Him. God wants His people to obey his mandate; to be benevolent caretakers of the earth He created. “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly…

It’s sad to say that the tree-hugging hippies and environmentalist pagans are doing a better job advocating for “mother earth” than the Christians who were given this charge.

Jesus told this parable:

Luke 12:35-40

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Do you think Christ, at His return, will be impressed at that you were waiting at the door of your house reading the book of Revelation? Or do you think he would rather return to His people who are working hard at obeying all the commands of His Father who sent Him.

Love God above all (obey him, not man)

Love others (do justice, love kindness)

Take dominion

Be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth
(have sex and babies! make sure there are more babies than parents – this is how multiplication works in case you forgot. if you can’t make babies, adopt!)

Make disciples of all nations (not just witnessing, but training)

more to homesteading.

So far as this blog has been concerned, I haven’t talked a WHOLE lot about my spiritual beliefs. For the most part, I wanted to keep those kind of things off the blog to make it more accessible to to the masses. I haven’t shied away from talking about my faith completely (I did have Thursday Thanks going for a while), I just chose not to make this the forum for talking about faith.

I didn’t want to offend people by my beliefs and get hate/controvercial comments. I was afraid I would end up making enemies of the people who like me based on what they don’t know about me.

I believe this was a mistake.

For a while I was able to make this blog work. Talk about farmy things, talk about family things, talk about kitcheny things. Blah, blah, blah.

The problem is that my faith is the essence of who I am. The way I look at farming, family, food, my entire world is based on what I believe (or don’t believe) about God. Without connecting my life with my faith, my world seems duller to me; uninteresting. When I connect my life to God, my world becomes beautiful and alive. By disconnecting the two, I ran out of things to write, and the motivation to write.

My apologies to those who like to read my blog. I will be writing more, and the content will become skewed to my moral biases. You can continue to read if you like. If what you read offends you, makes you mad, and you don’t like it, well… 3 things. 1) You can talk to me in a kind way about it, and my mind may change, 2) you can talk kindly to me about it and my mind may not change, but we can agree to disagree, or 3) you can stop reading this stuff that upsets you so much.

The things I will talk about:

  • This is a homestead blog after all so I will write about the earth, and what we believe our responsibility is to it from our Christian perspective
  • The home, and what we believe our responsibilities are there. Homeschooling, housework (cooking/cleaning/playing),
  • Marriage
  • Gender roles, which I believe are equal in importance, but different.
  • Eschatology (how we view the future)
  • Probably other related stuff that I can’t yet think about.

People will get a good look at how abnormal of a person I am. But you know what? Who wants to be the same?

is it really 2014?

Well I’ve decided to crawl out from under my rock and once again give this blog thing a go. I mean, I really do love my blog and want it to work out. 2012-13 was so uninspiring.

Well…not totally uninspiring.

I had my beautiful baby, Bridget, last March and now she is almost a year old.

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How can that be!?

Being mom to two kiddos is both entirely rewarding and such a blessing, and also entirely demanding on a mother’s time. I have knit very little (I try, I try…I still have overdue Christmas gifts. Yikes!), read almost nothing, and it seems only now is my home getting cleaned.

Here’s what’s new on the “homestead.”

  • Things are changing for this little family. Joe has started a better, full-time job commuting to Boston to work construction, and this summer he may even have construction jobs closer to home which means he may have much more time to be in the garden!!
  • One of 6 pigs has been felled and put in the freezer. Hoping today to put some of it in the meat grinder for sausage.
  • Joe and I are another year older (birthdays were celebrated) and as I mentioned above, Bridget is on her way to being a year old.
  • Joe will be starting barber school, hopefully at the end of the summer, and so I have taken up my old “hobby” of couponing to try and stock up on food and non-food essentials for when he’s not employed for those few months. We should also have veggies from our garden and meat from our pigs. Fingers crossed that it all works out perfect!
  • I’ve lost 10ish lbs since Christmas…well…New Years. I’ve talked about Trim Healthy Mama (THM) before, and I’m hoping to start posting my progress. Medic ally I was overweight by about 26 lbs, and I’m just trying to get to what medically is a healthy weight for my size. And I’m not “dieting.” I’m changing my eating lifestyle. I want to talk about the way I’ve tweeked the way I eat, because realistically, not much has changed at all. It was just a little tweeking.

I want to have a plan for writing so I can motivate myself to write, but honestly I’m just going to write what I want. because I can.

And I finally got my pegboard (EEE!)

pegboard

a little harvest

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We were able to pick some green beans and peas from the garden this week. I have to say it’s very exciting to not be pregnant and have the energy to put up food this fall. Piper enjoys being outside, and there’s a little Baby Led Weening on and off with Bridget (she still can’t sit up on her own, so I’m really waiting for that to happen before I commit to solids) while I get things done.

The pigs are getting bigger, and I am looking forward to the meat we will have in the freezer again. Which reminds me, I must CLEAN OUT the freezer to make room!

It’s been getting colder here in Maine. We had such an unseasonably warm week last week with climates in the 70-80’s, and then this morning I turned on my heat because it was 34 degrees outside! Oh Autumn, you are here.

 

failure happens

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IMG_2366Joe and I feel like homestead failures lately. Both of us for different reasons.

  • We got a late start on planting seeds.
  • I have a new baby and Joe is working different hours. Add on the amount of rainy days we’ve had, and less time in the garden this year and we have found weeds choking out our plants that were coming up! Ugh.
  • We no longer have our own animals as we no longer had the time to devote to them that they required. No rabbits. No goats. My parents still have their chickens and I guess the pigs belong to both of us. So there, we are raising pigs…successfully.
  • I’m barely staying on top of the housework.
  • I’m being very lazy about potty training.

I find myself currently grabbing at whatever I can to make sure that whatever harvest we do get out of our garden this year doesn’t go to waste as it has in years gone by. We believe in being good stewards of the earth, but I will admit to not doing a very good job of upholding my beliefs in reality. I have become overwhelmed by abundance of food, while having a lack of time, and a lack of knowledge, plans, and creativity for preparing and storing that abundance.

We know we need to dig a root cellar.

I know it’s not fair to let Joe be the only one doing all the research and planning. But where has all the time gone?

I truly respect, and am in awe of Pioneer women, living in one-room homes (as I do) with young children, no indoor plumbing or electricity, and getting so much accomplished from season to season. On top of that they relied very little if not at all on the convenience of towns and cities for buying wares. I am so frustrated that I was born into a generation that has been stripped of its knowledge of living with simple means and independently.

Now I am going to knit and read about fermentation.

around the “homestead”

Well, I thought I would catch everyone up on what is going on around the homestead lately.

Chickens…

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this is what happened to the chickens my parents hatched last summer! they ended up with 6 hens and 2 roosters, so 1 of the roosters had to go. the hens are laying eggs now and are averaging 3 dozen eggs a week. great job ladies!

Goats…

we are done with goats. unfortunately we realized that it was more work at this time in our lives than either Joe or I could put into it, especially while I was pregnant. thankfully we were able to pay forward the kindness of others by giving goaty gifts to others we know who are raising dairy goats. we feel horrible because of the kindness others showed to us in their giving and we are just unable to follow it through. thankfully others will be able to reap the benefits of their generosity.

Pigs…

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last years pig raising endeavors began and ended quite a bit later than usual. we got our pigs in May ’12 which was much later than normal (we usually get them in March or beginning of April), and they didn’t get slaughtered and butchered until February. thankfully though, we now have freezers stocked full of pork, and home made sausage, bacon, and rillettes.

Joe also was able to hire himself out as an amateur butcher this year. a person he works with raised pigs with friends and they’ve hired him to butcher, brine, and smoke for them. he is currently in the process.

Garden…

I’m really looking forward to our garden this year! our plan is to buy (very soon) a couple of apple trees and start an orchard for our parents. hopefully we/they can purchase a couple of trees a year, and it should take no time for a small orchard to become established.

we are late, as usual, with getting our seeds started. thankfully this year Joe was able to get himself a grow lamp and if that can be set up in the next week the seeds will be underway and not too late. i’m not entirely sure yet of all the plants we’ll be growing this year, but I know I can be sure we’ll have potatoes, garlic, and hops. we have our priorities.

more about the garden as the season progresses!

note to self 1.11.13

Oh, hello 2013. Where did you come from?

Hello often neglected blog. I’ll try to do better in giving you some attention in 2013. I’ll try.

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IMG_1347A portrait of my child. once a week. every week. in 2013

Happy New Year everyone out there. So far this year, our little family has been sick, sick sick.

New Years resolution : to be more faithful to this blog.

Topics to cover in the coming…month or 2

  • thoughts leading up to the new baby
  • piper’s birth story in hindsight
  • my breast feeding story
  • more self-sustainability for everyone (bartering, being culturally informed,…)

New features to add

  • weekly knitting (so not to make everyone gag all at once)
  • monthly knit-a-long
  • siblings
  • baby led weening(?)
  • posts by Joe (barbering, gardening, primitive skills, hunting…)

Continuing features

  • Thursday Thanks
  • From the Kitchen
  • animal/gardening posts

In other news

  • we no longer keep rabbits – they became food for our tummies
  • pig butchering is just around the corner (anytime…anytime…)
  • I turn 30 this month. Yep. A wife. A mom. 30 and officially can’t pretend to be a kid anymore. *sigh*

YOU give some feedback! What on these lists will keep you coming back for more??

self-sustainability for everyone #8

passing on our values / /

Something I’m learning is very important to the self-sustained lifestyle is to pass on our values to the next generation. There is so much knowledge and skill that for the most part has been lost within the past two generations, and now as adults we are trying to relearn things that most people learned as children a hundred years ago.

My grandmother was born in 1913 and raised in a home, like all of us. Unlike all of us, she knew how to get by without indoor plumbing and without her family having to run to the grocery store every week. As a child, her family didn’t even own a car. Her father was a butcher and when she grew up she married my grandfather, who was also a butcher. However, her father was the sort of man who raised his own meat, while my grandfather butchered meat off a truck in a grocery store. My grandfather didn’t want his children to learn butchery because he wanted them to get a “good job” and make “good lives.” In one generation so much had changed! Not that there was anything wrong with wanting a better life for his kids, but society’s idea of what defines a “good life” had shifted.

When Joe and I talk I know for the most part he feels like a lot of the stuff we do, or that we have desires to do, that he should already have learned as a child. He is frustrated that the country boys of the 1800’s learned woodworking and animal husbandry and farming as children from their fathers. Young girls were taught very young how to cook and plan meals based on what was grown and fed in their yards, they knew how to sew, mend, knit, embroider, clean, and make a lovely home with very little. Now we live in an industrial, materialistic, hoarding, money hungry, rat race that has left most people feeling empty and unfulfilled.

Joe and I talk a lot about the things we will teach Piper as soon as she is able to put her hand to the task. She is already helping me make the bed by passing me the pillows. Soon I will teach her to bake and cook by measuring ingredients and chopping vegetables. Eventually she will have indoor and outdoor chores. She will be taught to milk the goat, and help plant seeds and then transplant the sprouts. She will one day be allowed to go out hunting with her father when she has developed the patience to be still and quiet. We will teach all our children these things.

But teaching skills isn’t enough. We have to teach them why it is important. If when they get older they see it is easier to push pencils than to till fields, they may abandon the things they are taught as children if they do not have the foundation of values to show them why it is a better life to be self reliant.

the values we teach / /

Everyone pursuing a self-sufficient lifestyle will have different reasons for doing so. I assume health is probably the big one, but the rest of the reasons may vary from person to person. Whatever your values are, explain them in detail and often.

Joe and I believe it is God’s call on our life. We believe that God created the world and left humanity with the responsibility to care for the land, plants, animals and environment. We will teach our children that it is God’s call on their life to continue to carry out that responsibility.

We also believe that parents have the greatest influence on their children. Good parents will have a positive influence and bad parents a negative influence, but either way, it is a strong influence. The more time a parent spends with their child the more lasting the influence. So we plan to school our children at home and keep enforcing the positive influence of our own values. We plan to teach them about the world, but we also plan to monitor the influence that society would have in causing our children to be influenced contrary to our values. Once they reach the age to be able to reason for themselves and make their own life decisions we will let them go. If they choose to reject our influence at that point, it will be their decision, but by then at least they will hopefully have skills and values to fall back on. Or maybe they will choose to carry on the legacy we have fostered for them.

thursday thanks

7 of 8 chicks that have hatched…several more eggs remain unhatched

Taking time to reflect on God’s goodness, no matter the circumstances.

Thanking God for:

  • the opportunity to see chickens hatch. It is such a cool experience.
  • not being able to find my canner. There must be a reason I shouldn’t make dill relish today?
  • P being able to poop again, and for the wisdom to figure out it was a [cows] milk allergy.
  • being out of the woods with my morning sickness. Now just waiting for the burst of energy that comes along with the second trimester.
  • getting to meet with my midwife on Monday.
  • the wisdom imparted to me by my parents.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God concerning you