Greg Scott suggests that after three years at this project, it might be time for me to write down some reflections on the journey for the sake of those embarking on similar ones. I think he’s right; it only took a few minutes of jotting down lessons we’ve learned and conclusions we’ve reached to create an alarmingly long list of them, most of which I haven’t yet written much about and many of which merit full-length posts. So as time and inspiration permit in the days ahead I’ll be adding to this new series.
I dithered for awhile on what to call this series. “Lessons learned,” or even “lessons learned so far,” The primary lesson we’ve learned—or, maybe better, premonition we’ve had confirmed—is that given the scope of the three years is not a long time at all but a very short one, barely time enough to justify saying that we’re on our way down the path. So I’m only willing to call the topics in this series “thoughts,” no matter how lofty or settled or strongly held they may appear as I write about them. I don’t offer them as any sort of guidance, but only as anecdotes from our ongoing journey that we’ve found instructive; my hope is that some readers will find them helpful in stimulating their own thinking.
Whether these are actually thoughts on “homesteading” is something I will leave up to each reader to decide. I don’t know exactly what to call the kind of life we are pursuing here in Kentucky, and a true homesteader might reasonably object to my calling it that. But the other possible names—”agrarianism” in particular—carry even greater baggage with them. So I’ll use the word “homesteading” here to describe what we do, meaning an attempt to live a rural life in which most of our labor is devoted to meeting our needs directly.