I'm a 23 year old feminist, am unmarried, don't have kids, live in rental housing, and have no plans to 'settle down' any time soon.  Yet, I identify as a homemaker.

Call it urban homesteading, simple frugality, traditional skills... I like to call it radical homemakingI am creating home, wherever it may be, with conscious intention.

My version of homemaking often doesn't look like others' - mine is a bit more ragged, opportunistic, and environmentally focused.  My homestead is less fleshed out than others' - my home is rented and shared, and my gardening and fermentation projects are tucked away into corners and windowsills.  My motivations are my own, too - though I'm sure many of you share them:

 
 
  1. Make what you need.  If you run out of lip balm, make your next tube.  If you love yogurt, make some more.  You can make most of the things you would buy. 
  2. Learn to want less.  We need food, water, air, shelter, exercise, meaning, and love.  We want comfort, beauty, entertainment, sensuality, and so much more.  Control your desire to consume and learn that you can live on much less.
  3. Choose your projects based on need and interest.  Do you love eating tempeh?  Make some.  Always wanted to learn to garden indoors?  Do it.  A note on pretty DIY projects:  Yes, we all crave beauty.  Craft a home that reflects the beauty of your spirit, of your dreams and imagination.  Don't just start a project because you're bored and the tutorial online looks pretty.
  4. Use what you have.  Upcycle and re-use, don't buy new materials.  Be resourceful.
  5. Source materials that are used, free (gifted, traded, found, dumpstered), local, and recycled.  If you really need something you don't have, do what you can to avoid buying new and imported.
  6. Choose function and frugality over appearance.  Don't buy fancy fleur-de-lis contact paper to decorate your new plastic wall-hung organizers, no matter how well it matches the curtains.  That's just wasteful.
  7. Learn skills as you go.  Don't let inexperience stop you.  Read, plan, read some more, learn from others, and give it a shot!
  8. Ask others for help.  Other people are so smart!  Ask questions, work together, and build community.
  9. Teach others what you know.  Trade your skills.  Network, barter, organize skillshares - the more everyone knows, the better.
  10. Consume less, produce more.  Radical DIY returns the power of production to your hands; it doesn't lead you to consume more.  

 
 
Dear Earth,

Happy Valentine's Day. 
I want you to know how much you mean to me, and how blessed I am that you are in my life. 

Without you, I could not breathe.  You fill me with inspiration - with every breath, I am renewed. 
Without you, I would starve.  You nourish me with your endless generosity and abundant love.
Without you, I would stumble and fall.  You support me, and allow me to go wherever my feet and heart may wander.

Your beauty stirs my heart again and again - I've never seen anything so beautiful as you, and you show it in a million ways. 
Your presence awes and humbles me. 
You are my home and love and mother and guide.

I cannot express how grateful I am for your love.  Thank you.  Thank you a million times, it will still not be enough. 

Love.  Love, forever,
Me 


 
 
_"...keep our shape soft and our plans mobile..." 
~We'Moon 2012 Astro-Overview

Life has a tricky way of shifting shape, so we must stay ever fluid and change our shapes to suit.  Sudden changes in plan have led me to seek a live-in internship on an organic farm across the country.

My heart is pulled towards the land, and the I'm filled by the possibility of my own growth alongside young tender shoots.  Here are excerpts from my personal statement - I hope it inspires you to move towards your dreams.

"... Several years ago, I was a long-term guest at {an organic, off-grid farm}.  My time there was transformative.  {There}, I learned to move to the rhythms of nature, the cadence of the sun, the smell of wind across freshly turned soil.  I crave this immersion, the connection to the land that farming creates.  I’m called to simplify my focus and lifestyle - I want to sweat and get my hands dirty, to build a stronger community through shared work, and to learn the skills needed to better serve my planet. 

... I want to actively build a network of wonderful people, and I am drawn to those who are drawn to the Earth... I dream of building a homestead based in permaculture, where my family can grow in symbiosis with the Earth... Earth is the basis of all my future goals, as I believe that the health of our planet is of fundamental importance - all human acts of goodness and inspiration rely on a thriving home planet."

 
 
_When I was 20, I learned to knit.  This was hard for me, because I identified strongly (and still do, to a more mellow degree) as a queer feminist.

I don't know about you, but when I think of queer feminist radicals, I think of combat boots, hand-lettered zines, and fair trade coffee.  Not knitting.  And certainly not homemaking. 

Turns out I'm not suited to knitting (I'm an angry, impatient knitter, who makes very ugly crafts).  But luckily, I found out several important things along the way:
  1. Knitting can be bad-ass (check out Slave to the Needles, via Microcosm Publishing: knitted beer muffs and thongs, anyone?)
  2. Femininity is powerful, but only when embraced.
  3. Taking the means of production into your own hands (however clumsy) is one of the most radical acts in which you can participate.

Fast-forward three years, and enter Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers.
I got tickets to the Sustainable Living Fair in 2011, and while researching the presenters I came across Ms. Hayes' biography.  Something struck a chord, so I followed my gut to the library and to her book....

 
 
It started with a post-college-graduation crisis... I mean, 'realization':  my survival skills are nil. 

Great.  And with a supposed 2012 doomsday looming, 'real world' financial realities about to set in, and a sudden wealth of free time, my nerves got a little antsy.  I had been a student for 19 years of my life, and pretty well cocooned inside the ivory tower for the last 5.  Without a senior thesis to distract me, the precarious reality of my/our/the world's situation began to set in. 

Namely - I'm a highly trained dancer with little economic power and even less practical know-how.  My skill set, though a beautiful art, will not feed me.  I do make a little money through dance, but socioeconomic discussion of starving artists aside, I mean this very literally:
I didn't have the basic survival skills needed to provide myself with food, shelter, or health. 

That's pretty scary to realize, at over two decades of life, that you really have no tangible skills.

Enter the book that started it all, passed on by my awesome love:  Back to Basics, a Complete Guide to Traditional Skills

Contents include such amazing topics as: 
  • Building a log cabin
  • Developing a water supply
  • Solar energy
  • Gardening in limited space
  • Preserving produce
  • Baking bread
  • Woodworking
And so many more!  I was amazed, inspired, and most importantly, empowered.

So it began.


 

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