Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Permie Homestead Blog Turns Three

Sixteen days ago, on July 2nd, the Permie Homestead blog turned three years old.  This is a milestone for me even though I have been brutally neglectful of posting.  It seems each July, once I realize that another year has passed since I had the idea to start writing about my homesteading goals, I am reminded of how long this has been my driving force in life and it sparks a brief flurry of posts.  This post, like its anniversarial predecessors, is a very meta summary of some of my shifts in thinking over the previous year.  I am also hoping, as I have in years passed, that it turns a new leaf regarding my vigor for writing.

In late 2008, I first learned about the word "permaculture."  I didn't really understand what it was.  I started where most people start, and where permaculture itself started... thinking that it was all about how to grow food sustainably and permanently without the need for all the labor that goes into annual agriculture every year.  As I learned more about it, I was simultaneously learning more about homesteading, and began to develop a plan of how I could use permaculture to help make my homestead more self-sufficient in the food arena.  I hadn't yet understood how permaculture encompassed more than just food.  I didn't really understand how far down the rabbit hole I was leading myself (to quote myself in my first post) by choosing "to make this my life's goal and passion."  I had had several moments prior in my life when I had expressed similar "I've found my niche" sentiments.  None of them had lasted much more than a year, and so my friends and family nodded their heads tolerably, and understandably waited to see what my next hair-brained idea would be.

Except it hasn't changed.  Sure, I've had many hair-brained ideas since, but unlike my wild ideas of the past they've all generated from my desire to start homesteading sooner rather than later, rather than having no relation to each other or a common goal.  I have several hair-brained schemes I'm working on right now.  Each one, since my Permie Homestead was conceptualized, has been with a focus on striving towards this passion.  This is a new thing for me.  Never before in my life has an interest in what I want to be "when I grow up" lasted so long.  And it's not as if I'm just barely clinging to the idea either.  My passion for it has been growing ever since.  I'm consuming and digesting more information on this than I ever have before, and it grows each day.  My trains of thought surrounding my goals have evolved from "live frugally and avoid taxes" through to "be healthier and an example to others of simple but good living" and all the way to "I can help save the world by living in a way that will take care of the earth and my next seven generations and show others the same path."  That may be a conceited and lofty goal, but I feel that in this age of environmental, economical, political, and other "-al" catastrophes, we need as many people thinking that way as we can get.

So, in this beginning of the 3rd year of The Permie Homestead Blog, and as I personally approach nearly 4 years of thinking about how to achieve liberty and freedom from oppression (now not just for myself but for others, for my children and theirs, and for the earth as a whole) I will again state that I want to start writing more.  My track record has been poor, so I'm going to have to work hard to turn it around. I feel as if I'm finally at a point where people might read my blog not out of curiosity about a newcomer, but to learn from someone who has experience in exploring this space.  Recently, I have taken to likening my experience over the past several years to equipping myself with a "college education" in permaculture and homesteading.  I have been reading and studying intensely, and have probably learned more about this in the last few years than I learned about political science while pursuing my actual Bachelors in it.  As is the idea behind a college graduation, it is to be followed by application and/or teaching of that subject in their lives and the lives of others.  With this in mind, I am rededicating myself to share what I have learned through the medium of this blog, and to begin putting it into application in every way I can possibly conceive.  I will try my best to share my progress on the latter in this blog, as well as document my own not-yet-applied knowledge here for others and for my own later use.

As seems to be the case each year, I slightly change my goals for what I'll be writing about in this blog. I hope that this year I'll finally find the mix that keeps me motivated to connect frequently.  As I write this post, I believe that it will be a mix of all of the things that I have promised to write about before as well as some new things.  So I'll be sharing and including plant data, goals of my own, random pictures of things that strike me as interesting, stories from my life, things I've learned from the books I'm reading, and on and on.  I also plan on including some of my own spiritual thoughts in the realm of nature and our place in it.  I believe that I will need to express these ideas via my blog not only to share them and hear the thoughts of others regarding them, but also just as a release.  I am occasionally spun into very dark places when I explore this space, and I think that sharing my thoughts via this blog may offer me a kind of support network.  As I write about this topic, I ask that people remember that these usually are just my opinion, and I want anyone reading this to know that I take the definition of the word "opinion" very seriously.  If yours differs from mine, I wholeheartedly respect that, and ask that you offer the same kindness.  At times, I may describe something as more than opinion.  In these times,  I am still very willing to accept that people will still disagree with me, and please feel free to disagree with me openly as it may help me to learn and grow.  I do, however, ask that you disagree respectfully, as that will make me far more likely to consider your opinion and/or facts and incorporate what I learn from that consideration into my own worldview.

This is also a good segue into a space that I'm slightly uncomfortable with.  I'm motivated to include a bit more political commentary in the blog at this point.  Although I wanted to avoid it in the past because of its divisive nature, I feel that it is an important space to delve into sometimes.  Many of the reasons that I am motivated to homestead stem from the fact that I believe it offers more real solutions and opportunities for change than the political arena, and I am often powerfully compelled to express these opinions.  Doing so via this medium may save my girlfriend some headache since I may not need to discuss it with her, and saving her headache is something I am more and more motivated to do.  Should my political opinions (I'll repeat here... opinions) ever cause any angst in the life of any of my readers, I ask only a couple of things.  Please treat each other with respect if there is debate or discussion in the comments.  I am thick-skinned and stubborn enough that if you speak ill of me and my opinions I can handle it, but if you speak ill of each other I will delete the comments.  In the words of Paul Wheaton, one of my personal heros, please "never suggest that anyone [here] is anything less than perfect."  The other thing that I ask is that even if you are speaking ill of me in your comment, please simultaneously try to contribute at least something of value to the discussion.  As stubborn as I am, you still might change my mind, as I am acutely aware of the fact that there are many, MANY people in the world who are much smarter than I am.  Trolls, on the other hand, will be censored.

If you are still with me at this point, thanks for taking the time to catch up with me.  I look forward to sharing with you much more frequently in the future.  In my next post, I'll try to document a bit of what I've been up to, what I'm currently working on, and then after that maybe I can get into the "meat and potatoes" of what I'm hoping to achieve with this blog moving forward.  Thanks again.

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