The picture above is
the view from our front porch on a fall morning in 2005. The barn is no longer standing, having been blown down by a near-tornado the generic photo that came with the updated version of this theme. No matter, because we no longer live on the farm with the front porch that used to be shown. Updates are called for …
Welcome. My name is Rick Saenz, and I’ve kept this weblog about our family adventure since March 2000. The adventure got interesting in May 2001, when I volunteered to be laid off from the internet firm I worked for. We moved to Bristol, Tennessee and spent four years thinking about what we wanted to do next. The answer—homesteading—surprised us, as well as a lot of our friends. We looked around for affordable land, and in summer 2005 we moved onto thirty acres in south central Kentucky, about two hundred miles west of Bristol. For three years we have worked to turn our acreage into a farm that will directly supply the needs of our family for generations to come.
Although I sometimes refer to myself as a farmer, I think of myself primarily as a father and husband who has surveyed the cultural landscape and then scrambled to create a context in which his family can survive and even thrive. Our homestead is really a training ground, a place where we and our children can learn to live life as we think it ought to be lived. We are not only farming, but trying to discover exactly what it means to be a proper farmer, and that involves not only tilling the ground and raising animals and preserving food and making the things we use, but also looking to farmers in times gone by to understand the things they did that strengthened their families and communities, as well as the things they did that destroyed them.
Despite appearances, the stories I tell and observations I make on this weblog are not meant to promote any particular approach to life, but only to encourage others to approach their own lives thoughtfully. If you do what you do because you’ve thought through the alternatives carefully, then I applaud your choice—and if it is different than mine, I hope you will write down your own story so I can learn from it. But if you do even some of the things you do because you are being carried along by cultural forces you don’t fully understand, I encourage you to take a closer look at those forces so that you can either embrace them knowingly, or begin to look for alternatives that will better serve you and your family. That’s what we’ve tried to do, and I hope our example will be helpful to you.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.