Follow My Journey from Weekend Warrior to Full-Time Homesteader
Building a homestead is hard work, especially when holding down a 40 hour work week. Most of the work I put into our homestead happens on the weekend or in bite size chunks throughout the week. I am still discovering my path when it comes to building a homestead. My path is small right now but I am going to expand and connect pathways with many other people throughout the homesteading community. A common theme among my site is connecting and building pathways. Which is why I included pathway in the name of our homestead. Pathway Homestead was created to help myself and others to discover new pathways to living a simple and happy life.
My Life Story
My journey of becoming a homesteader began not as an adult but when I was little guy. The seed was planted during Easter, when the Easter bunny brought me gardening tools and seed packets. I was eager to get to work. Me and my Dad began to work and planted our garden. I have fond memories of going out to the garden and tasting mint and harvesting other goodies from our garden. Our garden lasted for that season but the memories lasted a lifetime. Little did I know that this would help shape my future, but after that I never picked up gardening until years later.
I grew up with a deep appreciation for nature. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the woods. Me and my friends would build forts, bike trails and ramps to launch ourselves through the air. We would wade through creeks leaving not one rock unturned. Under those rocks were crawdads with minnows and turtles lurking near by. Upon dusk, fireflies were lucky to escape our grasp as we collected dozens of the glowing insects. Some of the happiest times of my childhood were spent in those woods. This love of nature that was evident in my youth was appreciated in my many forms as I became older. One of those ways was going on backpacking trips with friends. I’ve been hiking in Honduras on three separate trips. two of those were mission trips and the other was a six week stint learning Spanish and doing some humanitarian work.
I followed the status quo after high school and I went to college. At that age, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I started working at UPS part-time through college and many years later I am still working there. Wasn’t exactly part of my plan. Like many others, I made the mistake of acquiring debt to go to college. College wasn’t all that bad though, I met my future wife in 1998. After college we lost contact and years later we reconnected. More on that story later!
Finishing What I Started
I went to college for three years and quit. I tried a few other paths and nothing panned out. I went to Cincinnati State and became a certified EMT. The first day of firefighting class, my Dad went to the emergency room with chest pain. The next day my Dad passed away from a heart attack. I dropped the firefighting class and never picked it up again.
I am a believer in finishing things I start, my wife might tell you otherwise due to all the homestead projects that are unfinished! I was still at UPS and working another part-time job in information technology and quit the tech job to finish my degree. I acquired more debt and a bachelor of arts degree in Biblical studies and a minor in psychology.
College Degree, Now What?
I had that magic piece of paper, that was supposed to grant a clear path and a new career. Nothing in my life changed because of finishing my degree. It did not help with getting interviews in the tech field. Companies like experience not always a piece of paper. I needed to make a change. I was still at UPS and growing more unhappy with the direction of my life. My relationships began to suffer due to the odd hours I worked. I still do not know exactly what direction my life will take. I do know that a pathway was started with a shovel, seed packets, and a boy and his Dad working together to build something memorable.
Building Something Memorable
While I was in college, I built a blog titled Among the Realm. A journal of my life or my realm. I enjoyed writing and chronicling what was going on in my life. It gave me some purpose in my life. At the time I did not realize that I was creating something memorable. Someday I will be a memory to family and friends. This blog will be something for them to look back on my life.
I was introduced to Tom Brown Jr.’s work through a movie, titled The Hunted. There is a scene where the main character is teaching a girl how to track an animal through the woods. That scene captured my imagination and piked my interest. I did some research and discovered that Tom Brown Jr. was the consultant for all the survival skills that were used in the movie. I never made it to his survival school but I began reading his books to learn from him. In his work, he shows a deep reverence for nature and teaches his students to do the same.
It wasn’t till I was married and bought my first house that I started learning about gardening again. I got my hands in the dirt, reminiscent of the time when I was boy and built a garden. I stumbled upon The Survival Podcast and learned about self sufficiency, lifestyle design, herbal medicine, permaculture and many other topics that have set me on the path of becoming a polymath or a modern day renaissance man. I read Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture and Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of Edible Garden Oasis in the City. Wanting to know more about permaculture, I signed up for a PDC (permaculture design course) in Cincinnati and after 72 hours of instruction and hands on training I received my certificate. This was just the beginning of forging my pathway into becoming a homesteader.
A Modern Renaissance Man
This is a journey that has a beginning but has no end. That is because there is always some new skill to learn or refine what has already been learned.
How do we define what a modern renaissance man is? In order to do this we must look back in history. Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase, “A jack of all trades and a master of none.” In other words, he is saying that I can do a little bit of everything but haven’t taken the time to be a master of any. This is where I have to disagree with his quote. As a modern renaissance man, we can be a master of some and we can never know a little about all things. The quote by Jack Spirko, that accurately describes a modern renaissance man is, “a jack of many trades and a master of some.” I will explore this subject more throughout the blog. In the meantime dig deeper into this by listening to Becoming a Modern Renaissance Man.
The Benjamin Franklin quote that makes more sense to the lifestyle of a modern renaissance man is, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”
Leaving a Legacy
Other than chronicling the process of building my homestead, this blog will preserve my legacy. I want my kids, grandkids and future generations to be able to read about my life. I want to leave a legacy for them to go back and read about my life when I am gone. I will leave specific things among this blog for each of my kids to find and engage in. A trail of bread crumbs for them to follow as they build their journey and discover their own path. Lessons I want them to learn and carry with them for the rest of their life. Maybe I will leave clues for each kid or a portal for them to discover. Time will tell!