Hello again from @SenorCoconut,
Building a community is about clear communication and the willingness to support one another. As Homesteaders Co-op (HSCO) grows, we must keep in mind that the complexity and diversity of its moving parts may also expand, so here we are helping this side of the free market stay running smooth together.
We found it essential for the good of everyone to highlight the vendors of the HSCO market place. Wouldn't be nice to know the individuals and families offering their goods and services a little more?
Every week vendors are featured on the web site. As a community, we thought that every week, we should feature these vendors here on the Steem blockchain (@HomesteadersCoop) to give everyone that much more exposure.
It takes a village to raise a child, because when people help eachother life is easier for everyone involved.
Without further ado, here are a few question I've conjured up... let's meet Pepper Family
SenorCoconut: So many times, when I hear or speak the words “Homestead Living” I think of the Pepper Family. You all seem to be so active, learning and trying new things everyday, tending to your animals, playing with snakes or other slithery creatures and living life to its fullest. Here goes my very broad question… What is your secret to happiness?
Pepper Family: My “secret” to happiness is enjoying life as it is, while working hard to make it easier and less painful. For me, as a “Papa,” I embrace my role as a husband and father, and to better fulfill what I believe to be required (or suggested) of me as a husband and father, I put in much thought and consideration into setting myself up to be free to focus on those aspects of my life. This is where “homestead living” comes into play. By choosing to avoid debt and combining that with what would be considered to be a “homesteading lifestyle,” I find the financial burden upon our family to be much lighter.
Avoiding debt removes paying interest from our financial obligations, and the self-sufficient “provide for yourself” homesteading lifestyle reduces a lot of the other costs of living. In all of my life I try to be intentional and “invest” my time, resources, and effort rather than just “spending” or “wasting” time, and I find that the longer you strive to do that, the easier life becomes (although it’s still a lot of work, LOL)
SenorCoconut: You have so many awesome and beautiful products in your shop, I can imagine how much fun some of them were to create and grow/eat, especially the wood burning or the African jelly melon and those giant snake gourd. I often ask about the intentions people put into their product, I think it's important to a lot of folks in this audience. Can you tell us about your intentions when you create, prepare and package?
Pepper Family: Honestly, in a lot of the products that we offer we are basically trying to “work ourselves out of a job.” The seeds that we offer are ones that we harvest and save ourselves, and after the initial investment in the original seeds or food that we saved them from, we haven’t needed to ever purchase them again. The goal is that other gardeners would not just try to grow some food, but that they would also learn to save their own seeds and reap a harvest for years to come, perhaps even decades, rather than just growing some veggies for a summer from the seeds. We view each order from our store as an investment in our family lifestyle, vision, and goals, and we do not take that lightly, so we desire to invest in the lives of others by offering quality products at reasonable prices. Each package is hand-packed and often we include a hand-written note expressing our gratitude. It truly is a precious thing for us, and the dream of selling items online finally came true because of the Homesteader’s Co-op!
SenorCoconut: The homesteading and self-reliance lifestyles seem to be on the rise, at least in North America. What led you to exit the “rat race” and live a homesteading life?
Pepper Family: It was a certain amount of thought and consideration. Many people live so “hand to mouth” and spend all day either trying to make ends meet or “amusing” (literally “not thinking”) themselves with distracting entertainment, that they never even consider a better way of living. When I embraced being a husband and father, I realized that I’d actually need to see and be with my wife and children. In America these days, the most common lifestyle seems to be having mom and dad gone at work all day when the children are at school all day, and everyone seems to spend many hours a day just to pay for interest on the things that they don’t really own (i.e. houses, cars, education, etc.) Truly, I believe that the average family has been divided and conquered, and that’s in direct opposition to my goals in life. Therefore, I tried to take steps to “opt out” of the rat race, and focused on reducing the cost of living to increase the quality of life. We moved 750 miles to a place with cheaper land and property taxes, less restrictions and zoning laws, and a longer growing season. I began to work hard to find potential sources of income that I could generate from home rather than leaving home, and we began to focus more on animal husbandry and gardening. Thanks to steemit we were able to purchase a mobile home outright, so we now own our land and house, which eliminates any need to pay rent or a mortgage. By growing and raising more of our own food, the grocery bill is also shrinking, and we are optimistic about the future. From some of the other homesteaders that I’ve talked to, a desire to actually be with your own family throughout the day seems to be a common focus in leading them down the homesteading path. For us homesteading was not the actual goal, but it seemed to be the best path to get us to the destination that we had in mind, which was simply spending time together as a family.
(I’d rather tend a garden with my Little-Peppers any day rather than leaving them all day to pay some taxes for earning some money and then spending the remainder on questionable food at the store.)
SenorCoconut: I think we can all agree that through all the pollution and destruction we create, we've put ourselves on a dangerous path, that could lead to human extinction if we don't change our ways. Without getting political, can you tell us your stance on “carbon footprint”? And if you don't mind talking about what you do to help reduce human impact.
Pepper Family: I’ve actually got a video planned where I talk about “being green.” Honestly, our lifestyle is incredibly greener than it ever was before, but that’s not even our goal or focus, it’s just a byproduct of our lifestyle. While I do want to be a good steward of the earth and leave it in as good of a condition as I can for future generations including my Little-Peppers and their potential offspring, it was not a conscious effort to avoid pollution or destruction that lead us to reduce our carbon footprint; it was the homesteading lifestyle. I think that to truly “be green” people must return to the land. When you compare purchasing a pepper (for example) at the store, it could have been grown in another country with the help of factory-produced chemicals, then picked and shipped to the US in a semi truck, covered in a thin layer of wax to make it shiny and prevent wrinkling, placed on a styrofoam tray next to two other imported peppers, wrapped in a layer of stretch film, and then trucked to a grocery store where someone who drove their five passenger vehicle alone to work stocked it on a shelf where you purchase it from a cashier who drove to work and gives you a printed receipt and plastic bag along with it when you check out… and contrast that to me walking out to my garden barefoot and picking a pepper that we’ve grown from our saved seeds….
You should be able to notice a difference. My actual goal in growing the pepper was to have a source that I could trust and to cut out the expense of needing to earn the money needed to purchase the pepper, but the byproduct is a greatly reduced carbon footprint.
It’s so much wiser to me to live simply and avoid costs, and using all that you can goes with it. Earlier this year I picked up the hobby of bow-fishing (as another example). I shot a lot of fish with my arrows, and filleted them to feed my family. But, the remainder of the fish was picked clean by my chickens who also got a tasty meal out of them, and then the skeletons were buried in the garden. Every last tiny piece of those fish went to use on our homestead, and I think that not only is a good way to show respect to the animals, but a very wise use of what many people would throw away. I know that plenty of filleted fish just end up in landfills after the successful anglers discard of them into the garbage can. For sooo many reasons, I greatly prefer what we do.
One last thing that I’ll add in my response is that we are currently a family of eight, since we have six children. Yet, the population density on our homestead is one person per acre. Moreover, when I can earn what we need to meet our financial obligations from home, there are days when no one leaves the homestead. By “making a living,” providing a good portion of our meals, and educating our children all at home, we are greatly reducing our carbon footprint. Even an “average family” with only one child often has Dad drive to work, Mom drive to work ,and the child bussed to school, which is really peculiar, especially since some of those same families may accuse us of destroying the world because we have “so many” children… It’s some good food for thought to consider anyway, if you know what I mean.
SenorCoconut: Lastly, here's one specifically for @Papa-Pepper. You seem to have a special relationship with snakes, could you please tell us what your fascination towards our slithery friends is all about?
Pepper Family: LOL - Well, I love all animals, but I just seem to encounter a lot of snakes. I’ve always preferred being outdoors and love plants and animals, and I’m more of a “hands on” student of life, so I pick up a lot of things. I think that part of why I share so much about snakes is because of all the irrational fear and misinformation about them. If people were known to try to kill every Cardinal or Gold Finch that they ever encountered, I’d probably try to educate others more about birds instead of snakes, if you know what I mean.
Honestly, the “reasoning” of why some people hate and fear snakes does become irrational if you hold it up to any amount of scrutiny. Seriously, the claim is that some snakes are dangerous and can kill you, so I just prefer to kill them all.” By that “reasoning” we should also kill all puppies, since some canines are dangerous and can even kill you. Now, the person with a Chihuahua in their doggy purse at the outlet mall understands that there is a big difference between a rabid pitbull, or half-starved timber wolf, and their precious little Fido, and so it is with snakes. The vast majority, especially here in the United States, pose absolutely no threat to people at all, and with just a tiny bit of education and understanding, a lot of fear can be replaced with knowledge and respect.
I’ve been bitten by a lot of wild creatures, and most mammals are far worse than most snakes. Squirrels and Muskrats can be pretty terrible, and once you’ve been bitten by Muskrats as many times as I have, you learn to appreciate a snake bite from a Black Rat Snake. It’s so much better!
I want to thank you for taking precious time out of your day to answer these questions! There's something about the way you say things that I really love... maybe it has something to do with the fact that I see the world in a very similar way. I couldn't quite put it into words when I tried to explain it, but you put it just right: Focus on reducing cost of living to increase quality of life! When I try to explain this to others, they look at me like I was completely insane. Here's to Freedom and Self-reliance!
I wish more people's byproduct had a green impact on our habitat... We're living off rain water in a 5th wheel trailer on raw land, building a homestead/neo-tribal village, and we're forced to be very conservative with water!
Once again, thank you @papa-pepper for letting us have a peak into your beautiful family life, I really enjoyed reading your answers... and I will probably try to avoid
handling muskrats 😁!
For those of you who would like to look at this awesome shop at HSCO here's a quick link: Pepper Family Homestead!
Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for next week's featured vendor... Same time, same place!
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