Many people ask me why I homestead… well here is my explanation:
I was a solder for many years and had the opportunity to travel the world and see many different places; got to see many different cultures and how people lived and never really thought too much about it, I was just out there doing my job to the best of my ability and watching the backs of those around me.
Now today, I have served my country honorably and am carving out my existence just like everyone else with an 8-5 job, a house, and a family to support. But all too often I am asked by friends, family or others with whom I speak on why I homestead; why I push myself so hard to convert my land, harvest my crops, and tend to my animals. Sure I can say what every other homesteaders says such as “to create a better life for my family” or “to provide a healthier option for my family” and I would not be wrong and there is nothing wrong with that explanation at all.
However I feel there is far more to it than just that, sure I could be relaxing and enjoying my life even more, after all I have served my county as all veterans have, heck I have earned it. So why do I homestead? And why did I start up Floyd Family Homestead and struggle everyday to build up its community?
Well I will answer these questions for you now; but first I need you, the reader to do something and I need you to be 100% honest in doing so, do not just read it and move on, but seriously do this.
I would like you to get up from your computer, ipad or whatever medium you are using to read this and go and just watch your child, or spouse just for a minute or two… just really watch them, don’t say anything, just take them in and search in your heart just what they mean to you.
I’ll wait here for you……
Welcome back, did you do it? Good now your heart is filled with love for your child or your spouse correct? They mean the world to you and you would do anything to protect them, correct?
Good as all human beings we protect and love what is ours, especially our children. Now I want you to picture your child like this:
How would you feel if your child was staring up at you with begging and pleading eyes and crying because they are hungry, and you have no food to feed them? And there is no food at the grocery stores. Could you bear to let them go hungry? Most people would say no. It is not in our nature to let those go hungry, or to stay sick or to suffer because we want to give them a better life than our own. So on that premise, you give what food you have to your children and you go without. Days pass in doing this, you are now so weak from the lack of food that you cannot even go out and look for more food, now who is going to feed your child? What will your child do if you perish during a crisis like this?
Would you want them to have to go and do this?
Ok, but there was no food to give out anymore, or there wasn’t enough? You know what people will do when they are desperate to feed their families, do you want your child to live through this?
Well as most Americans and the majority of the civilized world believes, This cannot happen here, we are the greatest country on Earth, the land of Opportunity, let me ask you this: Did you think Tornados in Moore, OK couldn’t happen to us? Did you think Superstorm Sandy couldn’t happen to us? Did you think Hurricane Katrina couldn’t happen to us? Did you think 911 couldn’t happen to us? Do you think Pearl Harbor couldn’t happen to us?
The fact is that almost every single person on this Earth, no matter where you are from, no matter what race, religion, gender or age thinks that nothing really bad will befall them in their life time until it actually does.
Now, let me tell you about Melek. As I said I have been an Army grunt for many years, and have had the opportunity to travel the world and see many places to see how the world lives. Places like Bosnia Herzegovina, Europe, and the Middle East some of these places have suffered many many years of war, disease, and devastation.
I have had the unfortunate opportunity to see things that no person should see, like hundreds of mass graves in Bosnia, war shattered buildings in Macedonia, and parentless children in Iraq. These are the images that most civilized countries do not get the opportunity to see, especially here in America. I met Melek in one of my many deployments; she was an 11 year old girl who lost her parents in the war that destroyed her home, her town and everything that she came to love. Melek is an angel on earth; no I am not referring to me sighting a biblical angel that roams the earth helping those in need, but rather an angel in heart, and mind. Ironically her name translated in Arabic is literally “Angel.”
I have never spoken to anyone of Melek, not my family, not my friends, not anyone until today. As I said she was 11 years old, parentless and taking care of her 2 little brothers in a country and town that had nothing left but disease, famine and grief.
Everyday, while we were on patrol we would walk through this town and many of the children would come up to us and beg us for food, or want to sell us some black market items, or anything of that nature. Well on one of our patrols, was the first time that I saw Melek. She did not come up and beg for food, or try and sell us anything, she just simply held up a simple small cup and asked for some water. Well on one of those days I filled her cup up with water from my canteen and didn’t think much of it as I watched her walk away holding that cup like it was made of gold, I watched as she disappeared around the corner.
Everyday we made that patrol, and everyday she came up and asked us for nothing more than just a simple cup of water. Well on a particular day we had gotten orders to do a house by house search as we had gotten some Intel that we needed to verify. During this patrol, we came to a ramshackle of a house, barley standing on what was left of its foundation, as we entered the building, we could tell that no-one lived there from the way it was in ruins, until we came out to what we would consider a court yard, and in this dry and desolate place surrounded by disease, death and decay was a small but very organized garden, small enough to not be noticed from the outside and small enough to not attract attention and there was Melek, her back against the wall, her little brothers behind her, she was holding her little cup tightly. As my patrol secured the house, I walked up to Melek, who recognized me from days past and I poured water into her little cup, she walked over to her little garden and begun to water her little plants.
Amir was one of our translators and I asked him to ask Melek, if she did this all by herself. Her loosely translated response was “yes, my parents taught me how to provide, so now I provide for my brothers.” This little girl in a war torn town who had no parents, and no one to care for her, who should be playing with Barbie’s or with her friends, was growing what she could for food to feed herself and her brothers.
Sadly my patrol had to leave that night; we had our orders to move to a new location. I never saw Melek again, however a little time later I had heard of rumors of her passing due to the worst thing that could happen to a woman.
That vision of the garden nestled just outside that war torn home has stuck with me throughout all of these years and until recently it has never really sunk in on what it meant to me and how it would change my life.
Folks, homesteading is not just about gathering our crops, feeding our animals, canning the leftovers, and farmer markets, it is about building a better life for ourselves and all those that are in it. Families, parents, children and angels like Melek are all over the world living and surviving on what they sow. We the ones who are fortunate choose to live the homesteading life, while others have no choice but to live it to survive.
We are not just building better soil, or healthier animals and food, but we are building a better way of life through community, through humanity, through our own selfless actions to help others live a better life. Families in worn torn countries work together, parents, children, neighbors and friends to build a better life for them and their children.
Their children are not just labors when they want the trash taken out or the lawn mowed, nor are they working because they are being punished. These parents and families are teaching their children skills on how to survive, how to thrive, how to take nothing and grow something, they are working to build a better life for them.
We are blessed to live in prosperity, in secure homes with the freedom to choose to grow food or raise animals to better our lives, but are we teaching our children the skills they may need to survive? Melek did not consider that her country, her town would be destroyed in a war; neither did the families in Bosnia or Afghanistan, the fact is no-one knows what the future will hold for anyone; no-one knows when even a small tragedy may strike close to home.
So friends, to me homesteading is not only about growing crops, canning food, raising animals it is also about raising our communities and most of all raising our children with honesty, integrity and with all the skills that they need to survive; Our schools teach them math, science and more, and we as parents teach them about morals, honesty and more but we should also be teaching them how to be a better person, how to reach out and help others in their community, about skills to help them live a healthier life, about how to provide for themselves not only in a 1st world country but how to survive if a tragedy has stuck.
Folks, this is why I homestead, to teach my children not only how to survive but to hold on to what is good in this world, to know what morality is, to know what decency is, to know what respect is, to reclaim what this world has lost. I homestead not only to fill their stomachs and minds but to fill their spirits, to fill their souls. So if tragedy of a war, a natural disaster, or even that of a personal disaster happens in our lives that we all know that those around us, our friends, our children, our loved ones will be able to survive and carry on and together we can all reclaim our world… and leave our Homesteading Legacy
I hope you have enjoyed; I would really like to hear what got you all inspired to start homesteading so please leave me a comment below, I really look forward to reading your responses.
Until Next Time.