In which #1 ends up singing about Dunning Kruger Homesteaders

#2:  My FIL watches a reality television show where this guy from Alaska goes around and saves people who tried homesteading but are doing a horrible job at it

#1: I’ve seen commercials for that. It makes me want to laugh in Schadenfreude.

#2: He recounted one of the episodes with a TSTL* couple for us. It was a bit astonishing. They’d planned like Pa Ingalls, which his to say not at all.  [*too stupid to live]

#1: I have spent enough time on a farm to know the daily slog is NOT for me.  (I hope they get Lyme disease) [ed:  not really]

#2: Even if they’d been doing everything perfectly, their land wasn’t big enough to homestead on, and they were not doing anything right. I don’t understand people who would want to homestead. It takes up so much space and it’s so much labor. Economies of scale! Comparative advantage! Efficiency! Gains from trade!

#1: I mean, you CAN build your own house but you should be some sort of engineer first. And some sort of agricultural specialist. And an herbalist. And a veterinarian. And, and, and….
“Flush toilets exist but we’d rather play house in the backyard until we die of dysentery.”
Let’s make soap! First, lye…(ugh, lye soap)
When ur animals inevitably die, you can boil their hooves for glue….
Also, I wonder if they know what poison oak looks like…
Did you know that goats can get polio and pigs can get rickets? If not, u shouldn’t be homesteading….

#2: How do you know so much about homesteading?

#1: I watch a lot of shows about veterinarians in rural areas.
If you have cows, you gotta know the right (and wrong!) way to pull a calf out alive.
Can you properly sterilize and stitch a wound? If not, don’t homestead. Can you set a simple broken bone? If not, don’t homestead.

*whistles nonchalantly off to my appliance-equipped kitchen*

Also if you hire labor, you’d best know your tax law!

*whistles another tune about rabies and tetanus combined*

This song goes, “Would you like to drain an abscess in an animal’s hooooooof?”

dum de dum, giardia doot de doo….

33 Responses to “In which #1 ends up singing about Dunning Kruger Homesteaders”

  1. jjiraffe Says:

    “They’d planned like Pa Ingalls, which is to say not at all.”


  2. Katherine Says:

    I got a homesteading memoir for Christmas, and a lot of it was pretty entertaining, but a lot of it was stories about lessons the author learned when she jumped in with both feet totally unprepared for raising chicks, angora rabbits, and honeybees. Those just made me sad and upset. It’s one thing to hurt yourself by being unprepared, but when your ignorance and stupidity leads directly to the deaths of the first two batches of three different kinds of animals (mostly because this person couldn’t see far enough ahead to realize that she needed to keep her big dogs away from small animals), it’s really not okay.

  3. Bardiac Says:

    I’m pretty much overwhelmed by my tiny little side garden…

  4. CG Says:

    I knew a camp song way back that went, “Giardia, giardia, doot doo doot doo doo doo. Giardia, giardia, doot doo doot doo doo.” Perhaps you did too. :) Also, did you ever watch that PBS show with the people who had to live like pioneers and the one family totally cheated and left and got snacks? Being a homesteader is rough.

  5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Homesteading SEEMS neat in the abstract when done by the people who know what the heck they’re doing and also don’t have livestock if they don’t know how to deal with them yet. But then again I think I only read homesteaders who plan carefully or farmers who do their research. It’s definitely not for me. Incompetence is boring in all areas.

    Also I’d forgotten how thoroughly racist the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were until recently someone on Twitter did a livetweet of the newer books. Whew, they’re bad.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    Homesteading is even less appealing to me than hiking the Sierra Crest Trail. The amount of attention required to keep the average house-plant alive should be sufficient deterrent to armchair homesteaders. It does seem as if some people go into it in a state of complete ignorance. … The idea of fresh eggs means I do contemplate chickens someday, but not while I have a full-time job.

  7. What Now? Says:

    This whole post made me laugh out loud, in part because I have a fantasy (that mostly springs up when I have tons of grading to do or when I’ve been reading E.B. White’s Maine essays) about quitting my teaching job and buying a goat farm in Vermont. But in real life I would be a terrible goat farmer. I don’t like going outside if it’s too hot or too cold or too rainy. I like doing a bunch of work one day and then nothing the next day. I’m supremely incompetent in most physical matters. But at least I understand that my goat farm is a fantasy rather than an actual life plan.

  8. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Real homesteading means dying of dysentery while you pretend you’re not part of a complex economic supply web!

    I read something recently that waxed nostalgic about Ye Goode Olde Days When Everyone Grew Their Own Foodes and I just wondered if they had ever heard about the exciting Roman (and, like, thousands of years ago in China) innovation of cities. Or market days. Or anything else.

  9. Debbie M Says:

    Your description of the show immediately made me think of Pilgrims. But after being saved, the homesteaders probably don’t gang up on the Alaskan guy who saved them and try to run him off his land, etc.

    I’ve never thought of Pa as a non-planner, but then I haven’t read those books in many decades. Interesting.

  10. First Gen American Says:

    I am a big fan of homesteading activities while solidly tethered to my town water and sewer system. I have chickens, make maple syrup, garden, have a cider press, can, etc. as my mom was a real farmer it’s sorta in our blood.

    The one thing it taught me is the value of community. Wow…now I know why it costs $16/pound for really good cheese…and it takes a lot of practice to get good at certain crafts and even more time. Most of the ones I do annually don’t require much skill…wash apples, chop and press.

    I have a profound appreciation for artisans. It’s hard to make really great bread without a Ton of practice. Same with cheese and beer and many other things. Although I do many of these things ok, I don’t do them as well as my local artisans. (My bread guy was on Michael Pollans food documentary cooked and has special ovens. My sourdough bread can’t hold a candle to his.) The thought of trying to learn a dozen or more new all at once is unrealistic even for a handy person like myself.

    I do love me some off the grid PBS documentaries though. I could watch that stuff all day. I like watching smart people doing that stuff, not totally dumb made for tv train wrecks. Who doesn’t like seeing someone whittle a hinge out of wood? But I think that guy was a carpenter/mechanic/hunter for 20+ years before he went into the wilderness.

  11. Lisa Says:

    Reminds me of the “raw water” craze – have you seen the articles about this? It is amazing how quickly people forget why we treat water in the first place (as well as why we go for economies of scale and reward folks for specializing rather than trying to do everything).

    I suspect that many of the early pioneers/homesteaders weren’t the best planners, but at least Pa had some mad skillz. I’d be hard pressed to build a log cabin or smoke my own venison.

    Speaking of modern day homesteaders, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral was a good read. Not exactly homesteading, but some info about the planning and work involved in farming.

  12. SP Says:

    You know what poison oak looks like in the winter? Like sticks, like any other tree. Ask me how I know…. (I AM SO ITCHY THIS WEEK!)

    So, I like camping and backpacking, but I don’t know about full on homesteading. I can see the appeal, but I’d never dive into it without tons and tons of research, and a trial period.

  13. independentclause Says:

    Dying! (of laughter, rather than dysentery; I live in the country, but am way too lazy to homestead)

  14. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    My brothers live in a nice house in the suburbs and somehow, about 5 years ago, they both got giardia. They missed almost a semester of school! For real, nature will kill u.

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