Monday, August 6

The First Rule of Homesteading

Since I first read it, I have appreciated the wisdom of Titus 2 and wondered why it does not feature more prominently in the church. I didn't actually hear the verse until I was an adult and reading about homesteading. The reason I ran into there, I've found, is because it speaks to the very soul of the independent, self-sufficient lifestyle.

The first rule of homesteading is to share what wisdom you know generously and receive wisdom from others with thankfulness and modesty.

I believe this is why so many homesteaders, though up to their eyeballs in their own projects, are compelled to blog – to pass along what they've learned the hard way so others don't have to. It is why I am tremendously grateful to have neighbors down the road (who have kids my age) that have taken us under their wings.

We spent three hours yesterday morning tramping around in state forests, being introduced to orchards, deer trails, old quarries and berry patches. It's a bad year for apples here, unfortunately, but the black cap berries are ripening and a handful of hickory nuts are already dropping from the trees. We're learning to look for and identify these precious resources and scoop up what we can. God willing, next year we'll be able to skip buying bushels of apples and pints of berries, collecting them free from land no one else bothers with. It will save us hundreds of dollars – money that can be invested in garden infrastructure and other essentials.

We'll only know how because our self-taught neighbor took it upon himself to offer his valuable knowledge to the next generation. To others of the same mind, with the same values. And because we were willing to listen.

We are doing no favors to the current generation of children coming up through school with collaborative learning techniques and find-it-yourself teaching methodologies. We rob them of the understanding that their elders have accumulated wisdom from which they could learn if only they'd respect it, look for it and ask.

In the era of youtube and google, there's something startlingly wonderful about being able to walk beside another human being, seeing and touching the object you're learning about, asking questions and getting answers to your specific situation in real time. The longing for that personal touch echoes through the blogosphere, whether you read about homesteading, crafting, parenting or anything else.

We are all good at something, have lived through something or are passionate about something that someone else is trying to learn. We still have nearly a month before summer gives way to fall, school starts back up and the pace of life increases again (if it ever slowed down)... Will you consider looking around for opportunities to share what you know? Whether by blogging, inviting someone over for tea, or signing up to teach a course through your local extension/ continuing ed program, consider sharing what you know. Someone out there desperately wants to learn and would be so blessed.

(Note: Did you know that you don't have to have a degree in something to teach an extension/ continuing ed course? Usually a passion for your subject and a reasonable course outline is all it takes!)

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