Why We Chose to Homestead

This month is epilepsy awareness month and raising awareness for epilepsy is near and dear to my heart. It's also the reason we chose to homestead in the first place. Crazy, right?

 We used to dream about homesteading a long time ago when we purchased our home out in the countryside of Oklahoma. We never got around to really doing anything except getting a bunch of chickens, they turned out to be mostly roos, and we weren't there more than a few years before we ended up making the move to Oregon.

For those that don't know, epilepsy is a condition that is diagnosed when someone has seizures. In our case Mr Homestead is the one who has this condition. He was diagnosed almost 13 years ago and has been living with seizures ever since. It wasn't until the last couple of years though that it really impacted our life when he started having too many to work.

 Two years ago he started having so many seizures that he had 2 different seizure experts tell him he needed to stop working. Around this same time one of our daughters also started having seizures. These were a milder form but nonetheless it made us start thinking about our life and about our future.

We spent a year trying to figure out how to pay our bills. Anyone who has ever tried to live on disability will tell you it doesn't pay much. We cut our bills as much as we could. We canceled our contract with satellite tv. We focused on reducing our waste however we could. We talked about me getting a job in order to put a little cushion in our budget but realized that it wasn't safe for Mr Homestead to be home by himself where he could get hurt if he had a bad enough seizure.

 All that stress built and grew and before I knew it I found myself at the Dr with my own list of symptoms and ailments. I was pre-diabetic, my hormones were out of whack, I was having PVCs, and I was majorly depressed.

 I'm sure you're wondering what all this has to do with our choosing to homestead. All our health issues, stress, and the need to reduce waste and food costs made us realize that it was time to try homesteading again. We had a garden last year that produced so many tomatoes that we realized that if we did it just right we could grow some if not most of our own food. We might even be able to freeze or can some of it.

 We started to realize that if we were to homestead we could produce much of our own food through a garden. We could even raise a few animals for meat. Not only would it be healthier but it would be a more sustainable method of living.

 Living in the city means that we can only do so much as an urban homesteader but we know that the way code is written still gives us some leeway. We have our garden which we expanded this year and grew as much food in it as we could. We wanted bees to pollinate but couldn't have honeybees in the city so we built mason bee hives and attracted a single female to our yard who left behind a present of about 12 bee cocoons that we can use next year.

 We bought ducks in March because they could not only give us eggs but provide bug control in the garden without scratching the plants up in the process. Turned out they were all boys but that was okay. We kept 2 for bug control and sent the other 2 to freezer camp. We are now on the hunt for more ducks to replace what we had due to losses and plan to get 3 hens and a drake.

  I started stockpiling food over the summer so that we would have enough to get us through the winter with minimal amounts of food needing to be purchased. I canned up a storm, mostly from a local farmer's market. I stocked up on meat when I found good prices, and we enjoyed the vegetables of our labor over the summer months.

 Was it all easy. No way. Mr Homestead could only help out so much because of his seizures and some jobs are just too risky for him to do himself. Looking back on this year though despite the hard work I have seen changes in myself. I'm no longer on anti-depressants and I am happier than I've ever been. My hormones and pre-diabetes are still a challenge but I am making some changes to help fix those issues.

My family has eaten better because of raising our own vegetables and next year I want to really focus on eating homegrown as our primary source of food. Raising our own meat and growing a bigger garden. Over the winter, we will be maximizing all the space in our greenhouse to grow greens over the winter for our salads.

 Soon we will sit down and write our goals and our plans for 2017. We will plan out our garden, figure out what animals we will raise, and dream about the future. A future we may never have gone to if we hadn't faced health issues along the way. For that I am thankful. Homesteading as been a very rewarding decision. It hasn't been easy and I don't believe it will ever be easy because the things worth having in life are the things worth working for.

 Epilepsy was the reason we started homesteading in an attempt to simplify life and create a more sustainable lifestyle in order to feed our family. May we live long and prosper at it.
 Have a wonderful. blessed weekend friends!

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