I thought moving to the outskirts of the city would make me into an instant homesteader. Ok, I will remind myself here that it is winter after all and it is fine that my garden is….well…some land covered in leaves underneath an inch of snow (at present). But I quickly noticed that homesteading (full on with animals and a thriving garden) takes an input of resources. The couple of straw bales I purchased didn’t get me very far. I had to think about fertilizer, garden plastic, fences, something to take care of those slugs I wasn’t thinking about until they ate my radishes and beets, and beans. As well as coops, cages, or ponds, if I was going to have chickens, rabbits, or ducks. And what about the sheep I was imagining and the loom I would then learn how to work, and the sheers I would need to figure out….ummm…anyway let’s not go on. Homesteading as it turns out, is a lot more than just living in the outskirts of a city and having a little land available to dream on.
Since we haven’t become a family of homesteaders, we can at least be a family that is present to what already exists on the land. We can listen for the owls, crickets, frogs and coyotes. We can watch the geese travel across the sky. We can collect caterpillars, splash in puddles, climb trees, and ride bikes.
And for the days we are too cold or too wet to be outside for long, we can read about wetlands and prairies. We can explore our world through stories. We can play the cooperative board game Wildcraft and begin to make sense of the wild plants that surround us. We can listen to a favorite song tell us “how the woods were made” and “how the mountains were formed”. We can watch a video over and over of a woman making pottery out of fresh earthen clay.