It took me a few minutes to realize why some of it sounded so familiar, and then realized that the homestead was less than an hour away from where I grew up. It's highly likely that somewhere I heard about it, especially the billboard they speak of. For those unfamiliar with the homesteading movement, the idea was basically to live as close to Little House On the Prairie as possible. We knew families who sold everything and bought as much land as they could with the proceeds, and lived in campers/barns/tents/makeshift buildings as they constructed a house debt free from the timber on the land. They usually had animals, large gardens, fruit trees eventually, and lived off the grid. My dad still subscribes to "Backwoods Home Magazine," which is one the bibles of this movement, though it advocates living off the grid for secular reasons. The families we knew who fell into this
I only wish I was exagerrating.
We are adults now. I am not in touch with many of the people I knew, but sometimes through the grapevine I hear stories. Stories of adult children of this movement who found that their limited education was difficult to overcome out in the real world. Stories of anxiety disorders. Stories of women--strong, capable women--trying to discover who they really are. Stories of adults who may be able to cook over an open fire, build a house of trees they cut themselves, raise chickens and raise many little children, but who struggle with daily life and social skills.
It's not a pretty picture.
I find I want to talk about this movement. Though my family lived in the middle of nowhere for several years, cramming a lot of children into a trailer, homeschooling and subsisting from paycheck to paycheck with only one vehicle, my parents never bought into the homesteading movement. They were frugal and tried to be a self-sustaining as possible, but we were not sheltered, overworked, and education was a top priority. It is still very different from how I am raising my children, but I was never once told that women couldn't pursue higher education or work, and my parents have never expected any of us to have large families(though my mother would never turn down grandchildren). But I knew families for whom this wasn't true, and for those children of fifteen years ago, I want to examine this over the next couple weeks.