I am distressed by impending environmental calamities and too impatient to wait for the awakening of global eco-consciousness. Thus, my environmental activism is occurring on the home front. A pre-fabricated industrial structure that is made of recycled cars serves as the exterior of a super-efficient home. It is heated geothermally. Stone, timbers, bark, and twigs gathered from the site comprise the interior structure and finishes. Besides a typical complement of pets, a coy fish pond and finch aviary animate the living areas. This home is surrounded by eleven acres of rocky hillside that I am coaxing into productive habitats: meadow, woods, gardens, stream, pond, and pasture. Habitats that offer diverse nesting and feeding opportunities welcome a variety of wildlife. The stream on the property is an ongoing experiment in aqua-culture. Gardening on the homestead emulates the ancient system of terracing. It creates specialized zones of fertility for herbs, vegetables, berries, mushrooms, and fruit. These crops grow in soil I create through intense composting. Chickens, ducks, bees, lambs, pig, pheasants, turkeys, and geese are raised for pleasure and nourishment. My family’s diet is supplemented by wild turkey, venison, wild mushrooms, and foraged greens. In sum, my environmental philosophy is made evident in these lifestyle decisions. I believe that the widespread neglect and abuse of the environment would shrink if humanity’s deep-seated yearning for rapport with the non-human world is fulfilled. This fulfillment is optimized by activating functional relationships with eco-systems. Digging, stacking, raking, weeding, watering, foraging, and pruning all attune sensibilities to growth patterns, life cycles, and interspecies rapport. While it is difficult to describe the profound satisfaction that these activities provide, it may be revealed in the following fact – my quest for adventure, exploration, companionship, and celebration are all fulfilled by staying home.
Update 2021: The homesteading lifestyle described here has been temporarily suspended while my family relocates. We have returned to the visioning-and-imaging stage, which precedes the research-and-development stage, which prepares for the designing-and-constructing stage, which will create the context for a new and expanded homesteading agenda.