In New Portland, Maine there is “the Wire Bridge”. It may come as a surprise, but I often think about that bridge when I think of Homesteading.
I admit I take pride in my Homesteading journey, starting with only four sheep, and 3 acres of land, and increasing it to the point where eight years later, I was able to take the farm to full-time farm status, with no off-farm income at all.
To this end, I think some people think that I crossed a rickety wire bridge, and that somehow through mazing fortitude, and extenuating circumstances, I was like some stealth homesteader that just happened to make it across the other side of this big ravine, with boulders below, and a fast current to the river even; one of very who did…or even could “make it”.
I like the imagery of the Wire Bridge because it represents homestead reality.
Yes, there are huge rocks below, the current is really fast, and there is a real danger of falling from the bridge if a person does not pay attention. But there is another reality too. That bridge has been standing a long time. It has inherent strength despite seeming to have very thin supports. In short, I did nothing miraculous, and many, many others can cross the same bridge, if they just realize they just have to chose to make the crossing.
Sure, on the journey across; from homesteading to full-time farming; the bridge sways, and there is definite movement, which is what we call "change", but there is still solid footing. History says the bridge will hold, just as farms have been around since antiquity. And there is support; in the form of government wanting small farms to increase in number, and even prosper, along with the people supporting small farms.
And so in the end, the ravine from homesteading to full-time farming is not some tight rope that only a few select few of us have somehow managed to cross, but instead a rather substantial bridge.
The real question is, are people looking at the bridge spanning the chasm, or are they looking at all the perils in the river below?
Travis Johnson wrote: The real question is, are people looking at the bridge spanning the chasm, or are they looking at all the perils in the river below?
Or are they walking up and down the river bank and failing to see the good solid bridge that is right in front of them?
Good analogy Travis! I like it.
Sometimes I wonder too, if people do not even try to look for away across. By that I mean, they do not even think they could turn their little homestead into a full time farming venture. They see the river as you mentioned, and just think where they are, is all there is.
It is tough, people cannot expect to farm full-time and have romantic picnics in the back pasture every week, but there are people who have far less land then I do, who make a lot more money than me; farming.
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