Well, we live in super-weird times. If it isn’t a bizarre natural disaster, it’s a terrorist attack. Or alligators dragging children off into lagoons. Or a president who won’t identify a mortal enemy.
It’s all just too much, sometimes.
When the walls close in for us, psychologically many of us “go somewhere else in our minds.” A mountain lake. The woods. A serene beach.
Then we go back to the urban-suburb grind and keep our heads down.
But what if it were possible to actually change your life so that serenity and a move toward a simpler lifestyle were actually possible?
Written by a couple and their kids known as “Wranglerstar,” a new book, “Modern Homesteading: Rediscovering the American Dream,” is one of the most fascinating titles to come along in decades. Having decided to leave their chaotic life behind for a new life homesteading in the Pacific Northwest, the family is a throw-back, learning to chop wood, raise a garden, and a thousand other things based on self-reliance.
From the book jacket: “Cody [Dad] and the Wranglerstar family decided to leave a comfortable city life several years ago and start their adventure in the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Now popular pioneers among a growing movement of people seeking independence from debt, freedom to raise their family with values and faith, and the peace of a simpler, more meaningful approach to life, they detail their journey on the Wranglerstar YouTube channel to hundreds of thousands each week.”
In the book’s introduction, Dad Cody relates a small story about working with his wife in their new garden, pulling weeds and such. He states that he realized then, with his hands in the dirt, that he was fully aware of his surroundings for the first time in his life!
It’s a brilliant moment, and paves the way for what follows in the book: chapter after chapter of illumination to a new life. The book is stuffed with tips on living off the land and coping with such a radical lifestyle change.
For example, in Chapter 4 (“Chickens Come Home to Roost”) you’ll learn how to raise chi… well, not exactly. This valuable chapter is about how a city couple finds and develops a homestead property in a remote location. It is about resourcefulness, keeping your head during stress, and a commitment to hard work. Here we learn how looking for just the right property is much more important than jumping in to something before you’re ready.
At the end of this very interesting story of how the family found their dream homestead, they have several tips on how to cut firewood. That’s why this book has virtually everything you need to make a decision of this magnitude: not only does the family provide the nuts-and-bolts info on how to live such a life; they are transparent with their fears, setbacks and triumphs. It makes the reader feel that if this Portland city family could do this, so could many of us.
Chapter 8: “Building Things That Last” is also fascinating. It’s like the old Foxfire books, but with full-color, easy-to-understand pictures. The reader then discovers a plethora of benefits to this kind of life.
For example, if one has a building project that requires a drill, we need electricity, the work can be noisy, and when you return, the dog is still waiting for you to walk him. That’s one of the reasons this family normally doesn’t use power tools, but looks for antique tools in flea markets, etc. A 20-minute walk into the woods, 45 minutes hand-cranking your drill into a log, then a leisurely walk home with your dog.
This is a family that seemingly has thought of everything!
Although the Wranglerstar family is Christian, their ideas and techniques are universal. Any family wanting to save themselves and find quiet can do this. Again, there are tons of the most specific tips, including Internet and cell phone service (“cell phone works best in an upstairs room”). These tips can help a family decide (a) if this is feasible at all; and (b) if so, how do we pull it off?
This book is beautifully done in every conceivable way.
“Modern Homesteading” is a tremendously thrilling read and enthusiastic book recommendation.