Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Welcome to Haven Homestead

As we celebrated our one year anniversary of living on this land, we realized the time had come to christen it. We had thrown around ideas but none seemed to stick. There was no big rush anyway, we wanted to settle into the unique feel of this particular piece of land. The hope was to wait to give it a name that would perfectly suit its individual character, for no two pieces of land are made equal.

Recently we buckled down and put our heads together and came up with a name. It's been good, putting some of our "mission statement" into clear thoughts on paper. More on that soon, for we've found without a guiding mission we'd be running all over the place. I know if I didn't have a clear purpose I'd be buying up every heirloom plant and heritage breed animal I came across... luckily I have a steady fella to rein me in from my often too-wild ambitions.

Haven Homestead. This is our farm's name and in just a minute I will explain why we chose this name. I've been hesitant to make it official. It's just so... permanent. And permanence is something that I, having never lived in the same place for more than four years, still know very little of. It's something I hope to learn from our land. There is something truly wonderful about planting blueberry bushes knowing that they will yield little for the next couple years, but that after those two years they will bear fruit until my children are grown with little ones of their own.

Homestead: any dwelling with its land and buildings where a family makes its home

From the start, I liked the idea of classifying ourselves as a homestead rather than a farm. "Homestead" implies a small-scale, family-focused type of farming. Right now our main purpose is not to build a business, though we would love for our farm to be economically viable at some point. First, though, we want to figure out how to provide for our own family. That takes a lot of things, patience most of all -- which has very much been a learned trait for me (and I still jump ahead of myself almost daily).

Over the past year I have learned so much about caring for my family: continuing to pursue food that nourishes our body, learning about natural healing for our health, working our faith into more parts of our daily life, keeping our household relatively tidy. I've gained a new desire to nourish.  I have seen how the desire to nourish has roots that penetrate into my views of everything. Our little piece of land is giving us the ability to nourish ourselves in so many ways. As the homesteaders of old, we are taking a raw piece of land and building it into a place that will sustain our family both physically and spiritually.

Haven: a place of safety and refuge; shelter

The term "shelter" often gets a bad rap, particularly when it comes to parenting. We decry other parents for "sheltering" their children too much, but isn't providing protection and comfort one of the key vocations of a mother, of a family? To shelter your children does not have to mean living in denial. It can mean that we look into the eye of the storm, acknowledge that there is evil and injustice and pain and suffering, yet strive to offer an alternative in our own homes. We can provide a safe place for our children to grow, a place where they can test boundaries and gain confidence in themselves and still have comfort for when their hearts are bruised. God never meant for us to weather the storms of life alone. The family unit can be a beautiful example of His grace and comfort in a world filled with too much pain and too many hurt people hurting others.

Our hope is for our homestead to be a place of refuge for ourselves, for our children, and for all who spend time in our home. Our children will one day venture forth alone, but my own hope is that my children will never hesitate to seek shelter on our homestead when they need it.

So, Haven Homestead. It's a name with grand aspirations. Ones we hope to live up to, even as we falter and make mistakes on the path towards growth.

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