With 2018...being..well, you know, 2018, it's pretty safe to say that the world is in desperate need of change. I think the agrarian lifestyle that's been left behind is something that could not only benefit society, but the planet as well. While, physically exhausting and hardly a glamorous lifestyle, homesteading certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. As something each generation before us has done, there are reasons as to why it's something that very few continue to pursue. However, since coming to the realization that homesteading and self reliance is what allows me to function at my best, I have a feeling there are many out there who could benefit from something like this as well, and like me, weren't aware of the other opportunities to not be so involved with the rat race.
I didn't necessarily have the means to start living a homestead lifestyle so soon, with only a handful of knowledge about self sustainability, permaculture or construction, and being overwhelmed with the cost and time it would take to learn, had me feeling a little in over my head again. Even though confident I could learn how to… it would still take years to do.
I couldn’t let it go though, my therapist became concerned that I was a little too excited for farming. Spending many late nights watching energy efficient youtube videos, homestead diaries, and how to pour foundations, finally lead me to finding what is called, intentional communities. Confusing at first, but rather, communities with the intent to live with one another and the earth. How involved in a community you want to be apart of, is determined by you. There are quite a few different intentional communities, and if you are interested in looking through the various types you can do so with this link here: www.ic.org
I wanted a place where I could be more self reliant, learn permaculture and self sustainable ways before taking the plunge and doing it on my own. Something, that I realize now, would be insane for me to do. The cost and work could make anyone doing it on their own quit within the first year. A reason, many farms today have to shut down. Looking through the intentional community listings, I stumbled upon Earthen Heart, really, the only one of its kind in Michigan. So, I messaged Julian, the property owner, and he graciously invited me down to tour the homestead. Immediately falling in love with the property, vision and hitting it off with the current members there... I moved in two weeks later. It was unexpected, even for me. But something that I could feel was so right.
In short, Earthen Heart LLC is a co-operation of individuals who want to live an increasingly self reliant, low impact, and more sustainable lifestyle. While, Earthen Heart isn't a commune that shares money, but rather, individuals sharing space, resources and responsibilities to live a sensible and higher quality of life.
The most common question I am asked,
is what is it I do on the homestead?
Most mornings I wake up to a calm stillness, quiet, and peaceful... That is, unless I have a dog nudging me awake. However it is, I’m typically pretty dang excited for whatever I am doing that day, as each day is a little bit different than the last. I get to step out onto the 20 acre piece of property and live for myself, and the community, while giving back to the earth.
The cool thing is, those that are coming into a community homestead typically have some sort of skill, passion, or talent of some kind. Honing in on these attributes allows people to do what they love and provide to those within the community. Whether it’s tending to the gardens, building structures, upkeeping the property, collecting firewood, preparing/preserving foods, or taking care of animals, there's always something that can be done on the homestead. With opportunity to be physically active, creative, and outdoors at any point of my day. While each person who visit's here has their own story, and their own experience. This is from my perspective, and not a voice speaking on behalf of Earthen Heart...so, for me.. words can’t describe how thankful I am to be able to feel this healthy, while being apart of something so awesome.
To provide resources such as food, education, entertainment and natural resources to those that live within the community is no small task. Even though homesteading is incredibly rewarding and meaningful, there is still a crazy amount of work that needs to be done. The beauty and goal of Earthen Heart, however, is that these responsibilities are shared with the individuals here on the property (optimal 4-5 members) so we each can have the perks of self reliant and low impact lifestyle, but not be bogged down with doing all of the work on our own. With it only being Julian and I here at the moment, I am able to get to get a feel of each aspect of the homestead, while making my own imprint on the property as it develops.
Having the ability to create trails, gardens, and structures is honestly my favorite part. Because. Ughhh. 😍 You guys. The potential here, freaking rocks. it rocks my socks off. The future of Earthen Heart, ultimately, is up to the members that stay and treat the land as if it were their own. After one year of living here and paying the co-use fee, there is potential to move from visitor status to becoming an owner/member of Earthen Heart LLC. The opportunities are endless, ideas such as workshops, hosting specialty artists, and renting out airbnbs, float around from time to time, but the ability to build your own tiny home on the property leaves me swooning. But those decisions are for later, right now, we share the community house, which is an older but cozy house, with quite a bit of character and lots of areas calling for personal touches. 10 of the 20 acres of land are constantly being shifted as gardens and food trails are being put in place, the remaining acres relatively untouched and waiting for a little love. Being able to share the land, food, resources, and having rent/co-se fee (including utilities) only cost $250 a month allows for a more sensible way of living. While income is still very much so needed, here, a person wouldn’t be required to work multiple jobs in order to survive.
So, of course I will still be doing photography for myself, Earthen Heart, and the surrounding community. The bar has been set pretty high for 2019 and I am excited to see where it may take me. There are even opportunities to work and visit other homesteads in the area too, and while not guaranteed, having the extra supplemental income is something I love about the community surrounding Earthen Heart. With multiple homesteads in the area I have the ability to try different aspects of homesteading that aren't necessarily available on the property, and get to know some pretty amazing folks while I am at it. I have been able to visit quite a few over the past few months, and I will be sharing more about that soon.
There is a long list as to what makes me love this new adventure. This winter; changes to the house and property will be made as we prepare for the upcoming seasons. I'm excited to share all of the things going on and what I am learning here, with you. Check out the gallery here to see some of the reasons that have made me love being apart of this little community homestead.
Want to know a bit more about Earthen Heart?
Click on the link below to learn more!
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