A lot of people wonder how we manage to do so much, why are we doing this and how did we learn what we have. They also wonder if it was hard to transition to this lifestyle. Did we have growing pains and regrets? Did we miss anything from our past lifestyle?
Well, the truth is, this was always my lifestyle and I have known nothing else.
A little human interest back-story for new readers:
I was born in Hokitika, New Zealand, and lived in Stafford,an abandoned gold-mining town from the former gold rush era, located outside of town in the “wop-wops.” My parents were greenhorn homesteaders and were living a life totally alien to them. We harvested rainwater from the roof for our water supply, had an outhouse, chickens, ducks and goats, no telly, no phone and some electricity. Our home was heated by a fireplace and we cooked our food on a woodstove and had a very fashionable wringer washer for washing our clothes. We hung our clothes out to dry. We butchered our own meat and chickens. Our water in our home was heated by the green woodstove from Ireland but there was also an outside fireplace in one of the outbuildings that had a huge copper pot that sat inside it where my mother could heat up hot water for bathing or doing laundry. At one time my mother had to do the laundry out by the creek nearby, pounding the clothes on the rocks. Our entertainment was listening to a huge 1930-ish radio at night. My dad was a beekeeper and we only went into town once a week for supplies. We had one neighbor, an elderly woman, so the total population in Stafford was 4, 3 of which were Dervaeses. I had the distinction of being the youngest born in the town in 100 years. So, it wasn’t I who had to change much but my parents, and that was another story. New country, new culture, new lifestyle, far from home…you get the picture.
My siblings were born in Florida on 10 acres where we continued our modern homesteading experience. Though not as isolated physically as we were in New Zealand, our family still “broke new ground” in many ways. There were the home-births of my siblings I assisted with and home-schooling for our education to add to our already nontraditional lifestyle. We relied on our faith for our healing and health and continued our homesteading ways. There are so many memories om our road less traveled, some inspiring, many humorous, but also some heartbreaking.
As the story goes, we came to Pasadena in 1984 to start over once again with dad enrolled in a theological school. We bought our present home which was in dire need of repair. Our extended family could only scratch their heads, wondering where this would all lead. Now living in the city in a neighborhood in Pasadena and dad attending a theological school made us appear to be traditional, but we kept our homesteading ways. We thought we were only going to be in the city for a few short years. But here we are, 27 years later. I think the hardest part we always had to deal with is explaining our choices to our family and friends. As for the lifestyle, as I said, it is the only thing I have ever known and, so , I didn’t understand why I had to explain at all.
For many years, people often viewed our lifestyle as “upside down” or “backwards.” We kept taking steps back wards while everyone was trying to go forward – progress. But, as time has shown, we were really only turning things “right side up” where they should have been all along.
Readers, what are your homesteading plans, hopes, plans and dreams for the new year, care to share?
:: Resources ::
Award winning short film HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION