My husband just said, “Who would want to be a homesteader? It’s so much, stinkin’ hard work!”
He had just, almost single-handedly, stacked 70+ ton of small square bales. Taking care of livestock through summer, winter, and all-weather in-between is hard work.
Working in the garden means fighting off the weeds trying to take control, scheming how to keep the robins from eating every last strawberry, and fending off every unwanted bug and worm from the broccoli, tomatoes, and beans. Oh, and of course, a chicken or two will always feel the need to scratch up the straw mulch…completely covering entire rows of veggies. And after all of that, there is the harvesting of all the vegetables so carefully planted and tended.
But it doesn’t stop there! Cooking and preserving all the food from the garden is no easy task. And baking all of the homemade bread and healthy treats for your family is no small feat.
Ooohh…you have to keep the house clean in the middle of all of this???
You probably know all of this for yourself. Homesteading, becoming more self-sustaining, living a healthier, more wholesome lifestyle takes so much time and effort.
And money, if you have any.
It’s hard work. It can be grueling and may knock you around a bit. But with the right spirit, it won’t defeat you.
Speaking of spirit, there is one person I think of who was a spirited, spunky, grab-life-by-the-horns kinda gal: Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone with the Wind”.
I think we can learn a lot from that raised eyebrow, tart, black-haired beauty.
- Never let one “no” discourage you
No one could deny that once Scarlett got a notion into her head, it stuck. She quite literally couldn’t take no for an answer. That drive for a yes, kept herself moving ever forward towards her goal.
And while this is a notable trait in some situations, my only suggestion would be to turn that “go-getter” attitude towards more productive things than pining after an unattainable lover.
Find your passions, work out those desires, and write down your goals and go after them. Don’t take no for an answer.
- There is always a way around a tough situation
The timeless adage “where there’s a will, there’s a way” could have been coined by Scarlett. She most definitely plowed through any difficult situation that arose. How many husbands did she have? And she got out of several pickles because of these marriages as well. She never let a tough situation get the best of her.
I cringe at her ability to never shrink from marrying men she didn’t love. So again, only adopt her attitude. Always be looking for a way to make things work. You just can’t sit down in a puddle when things get tough.
There is always a way. It may be a better way, a different way, or even a never thought of way. So think it, dream it up, and do it.
Don’t let any tough situation you are facing have the last say.
- There will be losses, but life does move on
The losses in this one very long movie would set anyone back on their heels. The war strips Scarlett’s ideal world right out of her hands and by the end of the last scene she has lost both parents, and her one, and only, friend. The love she clawed and fought for finally appears, but that only sends her true love walking right out into the fog without her. She bandages and comforts dying soldiers, the horse bringing her home doesn’t make it and the lives of the handful of men she cunningly marries, come to untimely ends. It’s a story of one loss after another.
I find this to be the hardest part of life. To think that life truly does move on after we die almost makes the living part meaningless. Loved ones will die, beloved animals will pass on, the cycle of life continues to rotate. The trick, it seems, is to remain tender and moldable even when losses occur and to realize that our legacy, our heritage left behind is so very important.
Make every day count in living and living well.
- Get down and dirty
Scarlett had never seen a day of work in her life, but when it mattered she was willing to get down and get to work in her own fields to bring in the harvest. She realized that the only way it was going to get done was if she bared down herself and went to picking.
There are never-ending tasks as a homesteader: endless areas to work on, and in, and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done. But that doesn’t stop the progress.
No matter how grueling, how hard the circumstances may be, get to work and get it done.
- Being creative and thrifty
Once again, Scarlett sees a need and a lack of a decent dress doesn’t stop her. She takes stock of her surroundings and makes what she needs out of the materials around her. She designs…and asks her Mammy to sew…a beautiful dress out of the long curtains hanging from her windows.
There is a thrifty bone in almost every homesteader. It’s brilliant and God-given. It’s amazing what can be done and accomplished by using and reinventing the material on hand for any needed problem.
Look around you and begin to see everything around you as potential solutions to your problems.
- Willingness and wisdom to protect what’s yours
Ok, so Scarlett shoots and kills a bad man willing to rape women and steal their precious goods. She steps up and faces her fear and does an act that would turn anyone inside out. Thankfully she had Melanie there to ground her and keep her on task to clean up the mess.
Now, of course, I am not advocating murder. But there is wisdom in knowing how to protect what’s yours. Whether that might be investing, and not putting all of your proverbial eggs in one basket or keeping animals contained and safe in the areas you have available for them. Taking care of property and tools is also a way of protecting what’s yours.
You do have a right and responsibility to protect all that you have been blessed with and working so hard to put together. Protect it wisely.
- Being frugal in business dealings
Scarlett certainly had a way of coming out on top. Usually, it was because of an uncanny ability to walk all over anyone in the way. But she saw what needed to be done and had no fear in going where no woman had gone before.
There seems to be an evident trend emerging to do as Scarlett does but not how she does it, so don’t decide now to walk all over the people around you. As you conduct your business dealings, think long-term and think of ways you can expand frugally, wisely, and as quickly as possible.
Work together with other homesteaders and be willing to trade for items, labor, and tools. This is a great way to expand and grow your homestead without walking all over the people around you.
You may say that Gone with the Wind has nothing to do with homesteading but I say fiddle dee dee.
Scarlett was obviously a homesteader at heart. It just took a war and hard times to bring it out of her.
I believe that there is no better time than now to become a homesteader, even if you live right in the middle of the city. These attitudes have to become a part of you before they naturally come out of you, even if you aren’t actively homesteading.
Start now to invest in becoming a hands-down, all-out, spirited homesteader. These suggestions are a great place to start.
There may be obstacles, you may live in “next year country”, you may have losses and heartache but don’t let that stop you.
Look into the sunset each evening and with one eyebrow raised, passionately say,
“After all, tomorrow is another day.”
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