To begin with, a disclaimer. The child’s name is not mentioned. I will not mention it either. In addition, I am not talking here about the opinions of this child. I do not know if the child in question actually has expressed any desire about anything, or if this is just more of Nicole’s bullshit.
Regardless, it’s beyond ludicrous and if the child actually said this, repeating it for her “45,000 followers” is a terrible thing to do.
Of course he has no desire for college. He doesn’t even have a junior-high-school education. He would be very hard-pressed to even get into college.
But more to the point, “homesteading” is not a career choice.
Nicole and Joe are not “homesteaders” or they would know that. You can’t make a living doing that. Nobody can.
The actual definition of the word is above. Many years ago, the US government gave away land to anyone who would live on it and farm it and make it productive. Called the Homesteading Act, the last land that could be obtained that way was in Alaska (and you can no longer do it there).
This was all back when America was largely agrarian and small farms could actually more-or-less make it. Those conditions are long gone.
And here we have part of what Wikipedia has to say about the word. This illustrates quite graphically the weakness of Wikipedia. The article is pretty terrible.
The problem is that it’s vague. That which is too inclusive says nothing at all.
It’s a “lifestyle of self-sufficiency.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but hardly anyone in America is self-sufficient. The closest I have ever seen to that are rural residents of Alaska who see a mail plane a couple of times a year. And even they need some money to buy the things they cannot make themselves.
What the Nauglers are doing doesn’t even begin to resemble that. They rely totally on income derived from a real, actual business, and not any sort of “sustainable” business, but a completely foo-foo business that is dependent on people hiring Nicole to do something they could do themselves quite easily – give their dogs a bath and cut their hair.
Granted, they might not look very good when the owners were done, but believe me, if finances get tight, dog-grooming is one of the expenses you ditch first.
Dave and I would come far closer to fitting that description above than the Nauglers ever would.
We raise farm animals, we garden, we preserve a lot of food right here. We have taken major steps, far in excess of what most people would do or tolerate, to reduce our carbon footprint and our reliance on fossil fuels.
And we are not self-sufficient or even close to it. We do not use that silly term “homesteader.”
We have a little baby farm. We dabble in farming. Because we are both retired, and because we have retirement income, we don’t have to have jobs off the place.
But our neighbors do.
They farm, of course. A lot of people around here do. And most of them work off the farm.
In fact, the only place I can think of close to us here that doesn’t require off-farm income is the dairy where we got Frances. It consists of 400 acres of land. They milk about 90 cows twice a day. They have at least that many more who are either dry, or too young to be bred yet. And they also raise Angus beef cattle. It’s a full-time job for two men.
Dave and I realize enough on-farm income to pay for our taxes and insurance on this place. Because there is no mortgage, this farm basically is “free.” I have actually crunched the numbers.
We raise young bull calves using the excess milk from our cow. We make some profit on them when we sell them. Once they are weaned and put out in the pasture, they cost us very little until it’s time for them to be sold. The intensive part is the first three months.
In addition, we raise a pig generally every year, which provides us with pork and bacon and sausage. The milk is a large part of the pig’s diet but we do have to supplement that with purchased pig ration. Our pork generally costs us well under $1/pound. Ditto beef, as we usually keep a steer and butcher one every two years.
We have all the dairy products we want, of course, including milk, butter, and cheese. None of this magically appears. Milking the cow and caring for the other animals requires that we are here on this property twice every day no matter what. Chores typically take two of us about 1 1/2 hours in the morning and again in the evening, so three hours a day.
Our hourly “wage” is laughable, but we’re retired and don’t care.
Regardless of how many veggies we grow, we can’t grow all the food we eat. Theoretically, that would be possible, but people get very tired of a monotonous diet. I want rice. Sometimes I want oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies. I don’t grow oats and buy chocolate chips. Growing and harvesting dried beans is very labor-intensive and not worth the effort, frankly. I know how. I just don’t do it.
If we had to grow all our food, we would very likely accomplish exactly nothing else.
And that’s the way it has always been. When mankind learned to quit with the whole “self-sufficiency” nonsense and share the burden of work, we began to make progress as a species.
Somebody in the tribe was really good at making arrowheads. So the others let him do that. The more he did, the better he got and the faster he made them. Others began to go find the rock that he used for them and kept him supplied. Still others gathered food and shared it with him. He traded for arrowheads. Free enterprise was born.
There’s a guy who supplies our local feed store with corn. He has giant fields planted with nothing else (and he alternates soybeans, as most everyone does). He has a big machine that harvests the corn, husks it, and shells it all at once and then he pulls a lever and it goes into a truck. He sells it to the feed store. They grind it and add some soy and some vitamins and other stuff and then they sell it to us for our cow. It’s called “dairy ration” and our cow thinks it’s the best stuff in the whole world.
I couldn’t grow enough of that to feed her if I tried. She would die of starvation.
And that’s just one of the difficulties.
The people on Nicole’s pages who ooh-and-ahh at their supposed idyllic lifestyle and say things about how the “real world” sucks are people who romanticize this stuff in their heads and who have never grown more than two tomato plants in their back yard and have no idea what is involved in real, actual farming.
The only way you can earn a living “homesteading” is if you have some sort of outside income that enables you to 1) buy the land (good land, not bullshit land), and 2) build the infrastructure necessary to get started, and 3) buy the animals/seeds/equipment that you will need, and 4) get the experience that you will need so that you can come up with some sort of niche product that you can actually sell out there in the sucky “real world.”
The difference between where the Nauglers live and where I live is that my world is real. Theirs is imaginary.