I have an obsession with history; the ways of the past and how the people of the past lived their lives. How did they do it? I have always been fascinated with historical landmarks, old cabins, abandoned mines, and rusty machinery. I look at a derelict homesteads deep in the woods and want to know who built them, how they built them, what did they have to do to make these places their homes. I admire their hard work and struggles and their utilitarian lifestyles.
The problem is I’ve always grown up in a suburban environment and not until the last few years have I been able to pursue these interests. I have had the opportunity to be a historical interpreter; trying to live life like my pioneer ancestors. I have portrayed numerous characters some real and some fictionalized. I’ve been a Swedish immigrant logger in the year 1914, a gold prospector in 1875, a gold miner, a railroad worker, an Austrian homesteader in 1907, a traveling snake oil salesman and more. Each of these roles were mainly in an education capacity for teaching others in a living-history type environment, but through my experiences I have learned so much about the skills needed to sustain the self-sufficient lifestyles of the past. I want so badly to keep these practices in my daily modern life, but the requirements of my college life, and suburban home have kept me from being the homesteader I want to be. I wont be able to bring my burros, cows, chickens, goats, garden, gold panning, and logging tools to my small apartment in a busy college town, but I don’t want to lose that connection I have with the past.
I want to share my stories and show that this is more than just a brief sojourn in the woods. It is for this reason I want to be as self-sufficient as possible and try to mesh a homestead life with my city life. How can I “homestead” in a 700 sq. foot 3rd floor apartment?