This time of year, I generally find myself nesting. Cleaning the house, putting away Christmas decorations, puttering in the kitchen… anything to keep myself busy. While I’m working, I like to listen to YouTube videos on topics ranging from home organization and homesteading to spirituality and history.Today, it seemed that YT was steering me in the direction of “4 Season Gardening”. As interesting as it was to hear the great ideas and tips from most of the presenters, there was one in particular that really rubbed me the wrong way. This person said, point blank, that any homesteader who didn’t have a 4 season garden was nothing more than a lazy wannabe. With all due respect, I call bullcrap.To underline my point, allow me to direct your attention to the 3 feet of heavy, packed snow outside my door, with at least that much more still to fall over the rest of the winter. Also, consider the -14*C temperature – which is actually mighty warm for a Canadian January day. Sure, I *could* build a large greenhouse and heat it, just to grow a handful of vegetables and herbs. But really, considering the huge cost of construction, and the complete waste of resources it would take to heat for 5 months of the year, it would hardly be worthwhile. That’s not lazy – that’s employing common sense. So instead, I’ll just stay indoors and plan my gardens for the coming growing season. I will respect the natural cycles of the year, and work within those limits. Homesteading is not about overpowering nature and working against her. It is about getting back to basics, learning the skills our great-great grandparents used everyday, and making changes in our lives that will allow us to be just a little more self-reliant.I don’t know about you, but I’m fairly sure that my great-great grandparents didn’t have a 1000 square foot, temperature-controlled greenhouse in their backyard when they settled here in Canada. Nope. Instead, they worked within the boundaries of nature, preparing for the long winters by preserving food, stocking up on firewood, and focusing on caring for their livestock through the frigid temps, praying that spring would come early.One other note to anyone who looks down their noses at all those so-called “homesteader wannabes”. Most of them were never taught how to establish and manage a homestead, or any of the skills needed to do so. Cut them some slack, and offer support, not criticism. One small step in the right direction is a monumental achievement, and deserves to be celebrated as such. We’re all in this together, and its about time we started acting like it. “A wise man never knows all. Only a fool knows everything.” ~ African Proverb

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