How to Break the News You are Going to Homestead
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge, move to the country, grow a garden, milk a cow, or maybe just get a couple of chickens for your backyard. Chances are many people will think you are weird, crazy, or have gone off the deep end. It’s OK. I went off the deep end years ago – it’s good down here.
Eventually, you’re going to have to tell your friends, family, and other random people who drop by why you moved to the middle of no-where; or why you have chickens in your back yard.
I thought I’d offer up some suggestions as to how you can respond when everyone asks you, “Why?”
- Why you would want to move to a county that no one has ever heard of (except for during tornado warnings)?
- Why would you grow your own food when you could just buy it at Kroger?
- Why would you spend a year raising a cow to eat when you can buy meat in pretty little plastic packages at Walmart?
- When exactly did you fall on your head?
- Are you mad?
Here are some tips on what to say, and what not to say. The first rule is you have to be careful what you say, because they may hear something else entirely.
When you say: “We moved to the country so that our children could have a better childhood.”
They hear: “Your kid’s childhood sucks.”
When you say: “We’ve decided to grow our own food and eat healthier.”
They hear: “You’re eating pesticides and chemicals.”
When you say: “We want to raise healthy meat that is free from antibiotics, hormones or medications.”
They hear: “You’re on drugs.”
When you say: “I enjoy canning.”
They hear: ” I hope you have good Alzheimer’s coverage to offset those aluminum cans.”
When you say: “It’s not for everyone.”
They hear: “You’d never make it.”
When you say: “We milk a cow so we can have raw milk.”
They hear: “You’re gonna die.”
You expect family and friends to ask what you’re up to. Of course they’re intrigued. It was the folks we’ve never met that caught us off guard. We have random people ask us the most amazing questions.
I have had people pull over at our place just to see who we are and what we’re doing out here. Little old ladies come to our house and ring our door-bell to ask us if they can meet our cows. Our vet (who we adore) sent a sweet lady from his Bible Study group and her grandchildren out to our homestead to get a tour and learn how to milk. We get stopped by the locals around town all the time. They want to know what we are doing with a petting zoo in our yard. And that’s people we don’t even know.
It’s so funny. I’m constantly amazed.
We were in the cow field stretching fence last spring when an older guy stopped by and walked over to my husband and me. He introduced himself, shook our hands and said:
Guy: “Are you the crazy people who got that Jersey cow?”
Guy “Why’d you get a Jersey cow?”
Husband: “To milk.”
Guy: “You milk that cow?”
Guy: “What do you do with the milk?
Husband: “Drink it.”
Guy: “Do pasteurize it yourself?”
Husband: “Nope. We drink it straight from the tap.”
Here are some suggested responses to give if you don’t want to offend anyone while defending your move to the country:
- Change the subject. When they ask you why you moved to the country. Tell them about all the fresh air and ask how their family is doing.
- Confuse them. When they ask if that’s a milk cow in your yard ask them if they’ve ever incubated eggs and what’s the expected hatch ratio.
- Surprise them. When they ask you if your kids have anyone to play with tell them your kids have been properly socialized by cows, chickens and pigs.
- Flatter them. When they ask you if it’s hard being so far away from town talk about how cheap gas is, and tell them how sweet and considerate they are for asking.
- Distract them. When they ask you why you would want to milk a cow every day just tell them the cow is great and ask them what their favorite flavor of ice-cream is.
Many Talk. Few Do.
Congratulations, if you are one of the few. It is a beautiful life. No one else may ever understand why we are weird, why we do it, why we live this way. But, we do.
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