Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and some close friends made a return pilgrimage to the Homestead Fair. I use the term “pilgrimage” intentionally, because that’s what it always is to me. It’s a journey that honors the traditions and enduring values of our past; what America used to stand for. And it has much to offer us in re-training for a different kind of future.
The first time I stepped foot in this community, my soul responded immediately. I recognized what America has lost, and what we need to regain if we are to make it through the tidal wave of massive change headed our way. I also realized that these people had much to teach me, and I’m soaking it up like a sponge.
They have determined to stand for something, and have defined their goal as “dedication to recapturing and perpetuating a sense of intentional community, which includes rediscovery and perpetuating the knowledge and skills that can provide for essential human needs (both socially and spiritually, as well as materially) on a sustainable basis.” Did you catch that last part? Essential human needs ….and sustainable basis. We’re going to need both of those components when… I don’t even say “if” anymore …. when all that we’ve taken for granted no longer exists.
Still need further clarification? It means a community of people who recognize the value of hard work, learning a skill, and honoring shared principles. Whether it is farming, furniture-making, quilting, cattle raising, canning and preserving, weaving or cheese-making, they know that true craftsmanship requires more than skill; it expresses a care and concern, and a personal investment in everything one does.
Oh yeah, they also realize that a community of like-minded people results in a productive, respectful and profitable populace. And you know the best part? They’re willing to teach others!
It didn’t take me long to see that learning some of these long-lost skills would come in rather handy when everything starts falling apart. So I have since spent a glorious day measuring, and kneading, and learning the joy of being up to my elbows in dough.
I took a bread-baking class, and now with my 5-gallon buckets of hard red wheat and white flour (uncracked), I won’t be standing in any bread lines. There will be no shortage of delicious and healthy whole wheat bread, crescent rolls, tortillas and cinnamon rolls (OK, maybe not so healthy) in my household. When the price of a loaf of bread skyrockets, I’ll just pull out my beautiful red, hand-crafted wheat grinder and fill the house with the aroma of homemade bread.
Besides this class, I have immersed myself in demonstrations on soap-making, tasted their out-of-this-world aged cheeses, examined easy-to-build chicken houses, and was amazed by the solar systems they’ve engineered to run all their modern household conveniences. These are all skills we would be wise to master.
The smell of freshly plowed earth as they demonstrated their farming procedures (using horses and mules) made me proud of my own family’s agricultural heritage, while at the same time I felt sadness that we’ve lost our connection to the land.
But I’m afraid we will soon be forced to become re-acquainted…especially if we want to eat and survive the re-building of this once-great nation. I have much faith that there will be those who pull together and reclaim these traditions and principles. Not only will we plant and grow, but also we will flourish and prosper, and once again know the joy and fulfillment of returning to the art of work.
Necessary Steps to Sustain Essential Human Needs
--- Connect with a community of like-minded people
--- Learn a skill that will make you a valuable asset to the group
--- Seek out these Homestead communities in your area. Take advantage of their knowledge and their willingness to share information. It could prove invaluable for you and your family.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 …. “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you.”