This is the part in the movie where we say, “We know the secrets of the fire swamp, and we can live here quite happily for some time.”
We thought we would need to bring in power to our homestead before the first winter. But here we are, halfway through the first winter, and living without electricity is working fine. I thought it would be a problem to have no phone, but we’ve gotten used to that, too.
And it’s practically February, and the outdoor shower is still okay. (Although I’m glad of my short hair!) We have plenty of wood. We have plenty of clean water. We are warm.
This is working.
We’ve been living off the grid since last April. And the new plan is: we’re going to stay off the grid, for [at least] another year.
But here’s the rest of the new plan. We have to place a higher priority on income earning. This winter (read: right now) we got backed into a financial corner. That’s no fun for anybody, anytime. It means that Nick is about to go away to do work he doesn’t love in a faraway place.
This economic rebellion thing, it seems, is a messy mix between the practical and the radical. It is our goal to leverage our privilege to build a more sustainable lifestyle. It is also our goal to live with free minds, expressing our highest priorities – creativity, authenticity, integrity, compassion – in every moment of our daily lives, even in the way we draw sustenance from the world around us.
But miracles like these don’t happen overnight.
Simply put: we ran out of money. Our financial needs are greatly reduced, since city life, but they are not reduced to zero. And we are unable to move forward on projects, including the timber-frame cabin, until we have a little more capital to work with. I already told you that next month, Nick is flying away to an exotic island to work for a famous stranger he doesn’t know, leaving me solo homesteader (and solo parent). Not wanting to repeat that move very often, we are also planning ahead.
For the summer Nick has accepted a position working summer theatre, for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. The kids and I will tag along as much as we can. I am thrilled for several reasons.
1) I miss theatre and theatre people, and summer theatre is like summer camp for grown ups.
2) If we have to work (and, apparently, we do) it is a blessing to work in the arts.
3) The Colorado mountains are just as beautiful as ours. (Or nearly, anyway.)
But I am disappointed for several reasons, too.
1) We will be away from the homestead for a big chunk of time. That means no more animals this year, and boarding the animals we have.
2) We will be away from the homestead in May and June. Last year these were the two biggest months for gardening. (Also two of the most beautiful months for living in the woods!)
3) And, although this plan provides capital for important projects, it also feels like it loosens our bond to the land. It is a little less radical. It’s a little more practical.
In my encouraging ebook, Unleash Your Wild, I divided the creative/authentic path into three parts: 1) The Leap. 2) The War. 3) Flight. In this story of building our dream life in the woods, we have done the leap. And it was fun. (No, really, you guys, remember? IT WAS FUN.) This next part is the war.
This part is no less an act of faith, but it is also an act of endurance. This is the part where things take longer than I want them to, and they cost more than I want them to. This is the part where our greatest task is the work of keeping faith alive: keeping the vision fresh and flexible…not giving up.
And, hey, as always, thanks for coming along with us on our homesteading journey! It wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun (or as feasible?) without you.