So, Forest, Walker, and I went for a playdate at the pipe fixing neighbors' and, as Forest kept saying while we walked back to their house from meeting their pigs and sheep, “This is a really fun day. This is a really fun day.” In addition to the sheep and the pigs, they have three kids under the age of six, chickens, cattle, a garden, a nascent orchard, grape vines, and, perhaps most importantly, a sandbox. Quite probably, there is more I don't know about. As far as I can tell, they are doing exactly what we want to be doing—sustainable, small-scale food production. And from what they said, it sounds like there are other people in the area doing the same thing. Community! What a concept.
Our whole homesteading enterprise feels more feasible knowing we are not going to be doing this entirely alone. How I'm feeling today stands in stark contrast to how I felt after meeting neighbors last week.
Our road has five residences on it, two are at the beginning of the road and are on-the-grid, three are about half-a-mile down and don't have utilities. Our across-the-road neighbors are a friendly, helpful young couple, but we hadn't met the other person. We had, however, been warned that he is fickle and runs cranky. Some days he'll say hi, some days he won't. Last week we saw him driving up the road as we were about to pull onto the road. (If we'd met him on the road, one party would have to back up to one of the few pull-off spots, perhaps all the way to a driveway, because the road is narrow and shoulder-less.) He was bouncing along in a beat up panel truck that says “Country Kitchen” over the cab in faded red letters and didn't pull to a stop until he saw that we were smiling and waving. We got out and went to say hi.
In the movie version, you'd be able to understand him much better despite the missing teeth and the accent. In the real life version, I can only give you the gist of what he was saying. But what he was saying holds for both movie and life, the grizzled old-timer to the eager, fresh scrubbed couple from the Big City: You're doomed. His kept coming back to two phrases: “They didn't last.” and “Good luck to you.” He left the “You're going to need it” unsaid. Listening to him talk reminds me of listening to people talk Finnish, I can pick up enough to understand the topic of conversation, but not enough to know what is being said about that topic. So I don't know what he said about all the other people who didn't last in this cabin, even though he said a lot. But his overall message was clearly communicated: Doom for all who have gone before. Doom for you.
Be he right?