Friday, December 28, 2012

Escape to NY

I have been accused more than once of escapism. That my life here is a place to hide from the world, hide from my problems. I wonder if anyone else out there with a farm has been accused of the same? Do you think the homesteading movement is an escapist reaction to society? I have my own thoughts and will share them later, but I am curious what you folks think. Please post your thoughts.

90 Comments:

Blogger QuilterMary said...

I do believe that if where you live is truly HOME then of course it's where you escape. On a farm, in a big city apartment or a suburban development - home is where you should be to hide from the problems of the world. They're still out there but you can be safe for a time, regroup, refuel and get back out there to tackle whatever comes.

December 28, 2012 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Shoot, I would LOVE to just stay here on my farm! But I also love going to farmer's markets and meeting all my great customers that buy from me and come back every week. And delivering my fresh goat milk to my milk customers. So I do get out but it sure is nice to get back home again! It's so nice to live near a great city like Chattanooga, Tn. But I really love the drive back home. Because I am usually the very last vehicle on the road. And it's really quiet way out here too. So yes, if I had no where to go I would just become a recluse here. And be VERY happy to do it!

December 28, 2012 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I am lucky to say that I have two homes...so I have two escapes! Unfortunately, between my jobs and my life, I don't get to spend enough time at either!! :(

December 28, 2012 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Rita said...

My favorite place to be is home. I can cook and clean at my leisure and not have others telling me. I seldom watch the news. In fact, I have found that I really like to read library books of evenings, play with my animals and go to bed. I sleep better without the TV hype before bed. I am even spending less time reading blogs which I must admit I have an addiction to and have found that sometimes if someone is spouting their case it is just as bad as the news. I love the animal, home type, and craft blogs and videos. So that's me and I'm so glad I found myself I'm afraid I was about ready to have a breakdown and now I can rest, eat veggies with other good foods and recover.

December 28, 2012 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

Escape? From what? Life? I can't think of a more real life than growing your own food, bartering with neighbors, helping others when the need arises. Being part of a community, working your ass off and apreiciating the natural world around you. Maybe it's an escape from what we have been brainwashed into believing we want, bigger cars new bigger homes designer clothes bigger boobs, etc.. But I would not call it escapism. Just a change of perspective.

December 28, 2012 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Deltaville Jamie said...

Being able to "escape" at your own home is rare, mostly I want to escape to Bora Bora. Seriously, I don't think being self-sufficient can be called escaping. Being able to live your life in a way that allows you to provide the things you need (food, heat, shelter, etc) without having to rely on outside sources isn't an escape, it's empowerment.

December 28, 2012 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Marci said...

We live on a farm. It is not to escape anything. It is because we are different and do not like the hustle and bustle of city life. We want to raise animals and enjoy it. We enjoy the quiet. We enjoy the beautiful scenery. We enjoy raising and growing our own food. To say that people who homestead are just escaping is like me saying anyone who lives in the city is not comfortable with themselves. They have to have constant noise and change around them. Neither is true. We are all different.

December 28, 2012 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger LauraB said...

I don't know who is telling you that your life choices are 'escapist', but I would take a moment to think about what if anything positive they bring to your life and if you can't think of anything I'd take a break from them. Life is short. You need positive supportive people surrounding you, people who although they may not understand your choices, they RESPECT them. And respect you.

December 28, 2012 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Escapism, to a degree is alive at my farm! I can "escape" from a moneyed society. I can "escape" non-dreamers and 9-5ers. On my farm I can create the reality that pays the bills...hard work! Escapism exists in that I don't have to deal with bs and negativity but choose to be positive and be assured that by hope, physical work, and prayers the farm will exist day after day.
I too have faced the escapism tag...farming has fallen so far down the occupation list that people assume that it is "only a dream" not a job and way of life. Each of us who pursues farming reminds me of Horton's Whos..."we're here. we're here, we're here!!" And us 1st generation farmers are thriving under the challenge and responsibility of farming. So I'm toasting escapism with my coffee mug this morning as I head out to my farm. So called escapism on the farm is nourishing my spirit and I finally feel that I am on the path I was born to pursue.

December 28, 2012 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I disagree with that thought of escapism by focusing on homesteading. I think you deal with reality every day at the farm! Also, today's society highly overrates being busy and involved in every breaking news story/celebrity...you'd be crazy not to escape that. While being neighborly is very needed in today's modern world, I think there is much more to be said for being alone than we give thought to.

December 28, 2012 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Diane Munson said...

I haven't written here before, although I've been following you for a while. But this hit home, more than anything else because I am always appalled at how easily people feel they can tell others how and why to act and behave, especially when it's over the Internet and relatively anonymous. I have to break down the comments, because I think they each have separate meanings. Escape from society - hmmm...aren't you just choosing your society? I do that when I choose what college to go to, what city to live in, what friends to hang out with, what news shows to watch and what magazines to read...what's the difference but a different choice? Hide from your problems? That one makes me laugh the most - our problems are in our heads, and who can leave their head behind, no matter where they go or what lifestyle they choose. Problems change and evolve, but there is no "utopia" where they miraculously disappear. The homestead movement as an escapist reaction to society? I'm not a homesteader, but again, that choice is just a different choice from what I might make. I would suspect that the reasons for that choice are as different and as myriad as the people who make them. Thank goodness we are all different, with different goals, and as the person above says, different perspectives!

December 28, 2012 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Diane Munson said...

I haven't written here before, although I've been following you for a while. But this hit home, more than anything else because I am always appalled at how easily people feel they can tell others how and why to act and behave, especially when it's over the Internet and relatively anonymous. I have to break down the comments, because I think they each have separate meanings. Escape from society - hmmm...aren't you just choosing your society? I do that when I choose what college to go to, what city to live in, what friends to hang out with, what news shows to watch and what magazines to read...what's the difference but a different choice? Hide from your problems? That one makes me laugh the most - our problems are in our heads, and who can leave their head behind, no matter where they go or what lifestyle they choose. Problems change and evolve, but there is no "utopia" where they miraculously disappear. The homestead movement as an escapist reaction to society? I'm not a homesteader, but again, that choice is just a different choice from what I might make. I would suspect that the reasons for that choice are as different and as myriad as the people who make them. Thank goodness we are all different, with different goals, and as the person above says, different perspectives!

December 28, 2012 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger SusieQT said...

I'm not sure I would call it an "escape". After all, we never worked so hard before! It's more like a feeling of getting it right- living the way we feel like we ought to. I suppose it's a feeling of satisfaction- even though it's not perfect, it sure is better than the alternative!

December 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Eileen Hileman said...

Our home is our refuge. I don't think its an escape. Having a farm is work. However, its also a choice. I think those who choose to homestead/live on/work on the land make a conscious choice to reconnect with nature - to me that isn't escape. I think maybe there are those who read your blog and others and dream of having the same type of life without realizing the real work involved - getting wood, feeding/caring for the animals in all types of weather; making a living from being on the land - the life is not without its struggles and demands. There is a huge difference in creating a refuge for yourself doing something you love and "escaping". You worked hard for years building your brand and planning your farm to get to where you are today as did most who are doing the same. Thats hardly escapist.

December 28, 2012 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

Most times I think that most people in "western" society are escaping the real world, including me most days,lol. My job involves me sitting in front of my computer for 8 hours a day and confirming customer addresses to mail out a modem battery. That's all I do.I could quite easily do nothing else. I choose to garden, cook, can, spin, knit and make music. I choose to engage with my friends and family. THAT is the real world for me. It's not an escape. The other 8 hours a day, that is how I fund the rest of my life...for now.

December 28, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Interesting question. The homesteading life appeals to me in so many ways. But I stop short of making it my personal ambition because it does seem to me like it has an element of escapism to it.

But I think that has more to do with the person than their location on a farm or in a suburb. You can enter purposefully into relationships and address with compassion the need in the world from anywhere; or you can focus on yourself and the pursuit of "personal peace and affluence" from an office or a barn.

There's a lot of good stuff going on in the small farm movement with a lot for everyone to learn.
Whether it's escapist in a negative way seems to me to be largely up to the farmer.

December 28, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

I applaud you for having made yourself happy early in life. The way I look at it is ~ it's ridiculous to live a high-speed lifestyle working 60 hours a week for what????? When do you find time to enjoy life the way that you want to? Work, work, work so that you can buy a new car to get you to work and so that you can take expensive vacations which run up your credit cards so that you have to work more to pay them off. You buy a Mcmansion which takes 3/4 of your pay each month for mortgage payments, heat, electric, etc. What's the purpose of this lifestyle when you long for a simpler life but can't afford to make the transition. So sad.....Jenna, you did the right thing ~ keep enjoying life & don't worry about what people think.

December 28, 2012 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

I applaud you for having made yourself happy early in life. The way I look at it is ~ it's ridiculous to live a high-speed lifestyle working 60 hours a week for what????? When do you find time to enjoy life the way that you want to? Work, work, work so that you can buy a new car to get you to work and so that you can take expensive vacations which run up your credit cards so that you have to work more to pay them off. You buy a Mcmansion which takes 3/4 of your pay each month for mortgage payments, heat, electric, etc. What's the purpose of this lifestyle when you long for a simpler life but can't afford to make the transition. So sad.....Jenna, you did the right thing ~ keep enjoying life & don't worry about what people think.

December 28, 2012 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger DarcC said...

I read something fascinating some years ago, about building a life that you don't want to escape from. So rather than live a "normal" suburban life and job that you can't wait to leave while you spend a week in Disney or tropical fantasyland two weeks a year, build a life that is your happy place. That is what my farm is to me. I'd rather be here than anywhere else. It's not about escaping, it's about truly enjoying and being fulfilled by. Anyone who can't wrap their minds around that is probably a very unhappy person, for whom it's easier to find fault in others than question the reasons that they are own their own particular path.

December 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

My impression is that you are taking responsibility for your own life!

December 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Ken Newman said...

Escapism? I think not. More like a saner, less materialistic, self sufficient way of life. Today more and more people are seeking to return to an agrarian existence. Why? I think it's a combination of several factors. Rejection of mass media driven materialism,( voluntary simplicity ). Loss of faith in government,( brought about by a bought-and-paid-for congress ), that sanctions just about anything the large corporations need to increase their profits. We all read about peak oil and the impending collapse of society, the potential effects of our crushing national debt, ( there's that congress again ), and the growing realization our food system is corrupted, ( GMOs, factory farms, an unsustainable distribution system ). Society evolves, we evolve. I think the merits of our past, simpler, decentralized way of life have come full circle and the realization of those values are gaining recognition. It's not escapist to live a life that makes you happy and it's common sense to live in a way that makes us all independent, secure and healthy.

December 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger damnyankee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 28, 2012 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger damnyankee said...

Home is where the heart is....

December 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Debra Timm said...

That is a hard question. Do you feel it is escapism? I know I would love to escape to the country and do what you are doing. But after I "escaped" then I would be just living.... hopefully in a way that made me happy.

December 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Stephany said...

Of course, we are trying to escape. Society as it exists is a broken, unsustainable construct.

I prefer the idea that we are trying to recreate a different paradigm, rather than just get away from what is out there.

In days long gone by they used to call the wise women "edge walkers" because they needed to understand the wild woods, the land and the village.

I understand the village and I want no part of it.

December 28, 2012 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger time4trees.mb said...

I guess it is escapism if you are trying to escape the BS of society and live a real life. It is certainly an escape I would like to try...still figuring out a way to make it happen.

December 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger MIB said...

Well, I suppose your reason for choosing anything--whether it's homesteading or online gaming--ultimately determines whether or not it's "escapism." For example, if you've chosen to raise your own meat because you educated yourself about what factory farming entails, that's far from escapism, in my book.

I think that part of the root of the problem with such a criticism is that there's a growing societal attitude that you *have* to engage in *everything*--you *have* to be on Facebook, you *have* to know all the Black Friday deals, you *have* follow the Sandy Hook shooting, you *have* to be worried about the fiscal cliff. If you don't, you're missing out on information in this information age.

The reason I think this is a problem is that there's too much information out there for any sane person to process. You can't read every news story or watch every "must-see" movie, and you shouldn't feel obligated to. Sometimes you have to make a conscious choice about what you engage in--and that is not escapism.

December 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Kimberlee said...

Your post has a feel to it like escapism is a bad thing. Anything that you love and that is good for your body, mind, and soul is good, escapism or not.

December 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger MollyKnits said...

To a degree, yes. I am confused by modern life. I don't understand working a hated job to buy useless plastic crap made in China. I refuse to live that life. I do not have a farm. I am an urban homesteader. If I had a farm, I would bow out of more of "modern" life. I happily have a job that makes many of my choices easier. I am a teacher.

December 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Well, it IS escapism regarding mainstream society, because, sadly, society is now defined as consumerist. Homesteaders, by our very occupation, are creators. We avoid mass-produced products, for the most part, preferring to make/grow things ourselves, small-scale. But it does make us profoundly different from mainstream society and so on that level, yes I suppose it is escapist.

December 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger BrightMeadow said...

Escape? I love the idea of "refuge," but what kind of problems do you have that they won't find you?

I chose homesteading as a response. I can't do much about food prices, but I sure can grow my own. Maybe that is escaping but it is an active choice not to participate rather than a passive choice to hide and fear.

Along the way, there are so many other benefits like not funding the factory farm system which doesn't seem to be helping our planet or truly nourishing it's people. I also receive the health benefits of the organic foods produced on my own little plot of land.

This isn't an escape, it's a revolution. We may be escaping but it is to something better. The next time someone tries to accuse you of "escapism" give that person a big fat raspberry from me.

December 28, 2012 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger bookkm said...

I have worked in libraries for decades. Have I escaped from the business world? People who work in the business world - are they escaping from the realities of where their food comes from? You pay your bills and your taxes. And you are a model of what life can be for those who hope to be self-sufficient.
If you have escaped, may we all be so lucky!

December 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Marianne cas said...

You didn't escape from life, you ran to it. I believe you live more of a real life than most people. You know what is important, and it's not the latest phone, car, etc. You also know where your food comes from. I enjoy reading about your life, and am looking forward to the day I can live a " real life". I can only do so much right now, but look out future.

December 28, 2012 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I don't find myself to be escaping, but instead to redefine what is important for me and not swallowing what society has to shove down our throats. There is no right way for things to be done. My best tactic in this world is my own judgment. From what i saw at Antlerstock Jenna, you are not escaping but instead identifying what is important to you. All the other crappy, unnecessary parts of life tend to fall away when this happens. Some people think it is escaping reality, but not me.

December 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I think the notion of escapism is made up by people who feel they have to choices.

December 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger JoAnne Schnyder said...

I think those that label others' life choices as "escaping" are actually envious that they can't do the same thing.

December 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Ab said...


Yes, I do think the homesteading movement is an escapist reaction to society in general or consumerism and/or big business specifically but escape not as an idealization but as a reaction against big farm, big pharma and/or what you “should do with your life” (which too often nowadays is buy stuff) and move towards individualism. That is one of the things that interests me about it (I also like hearing about the workings of a farm, the animals, etc.).
However, I find many in the movement mimic each other in their individualism if that makes sense. I find this particularly glaring when I read books about the movement. It’s gotten to the point where I can tell you what will happen before cracking the spine; creative person who may or may not also be a hipster rediscovers a simpler life...that turns out not to be so simple after all (!) and the curtain falls after the first year on the homestead. I wish more bloggers/authors wrote about sustaining such a life over time. What are the goals of a homesteader—personal or business—if any? Have they changed from when they were in “mainstream society”? How does day to day life compare to what you imagined it would be like? What happens if you have second thoughts? What is the impact on relationships with family, long time friends? What happens when there is a falling out the small communities most homesteaders seem to live in? One of the reasons I enjoy reading your blog is that you offer some answers to these questions, although not as much on relationships; I respect your privacy but I also wonder about this issue the most.

December 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

How nice if our farm WAS an escape. Long distance hiking on the AT is closer but still an illusion of escape. Life is quite real when one grows most of their food, provides most of their own wood heat, sews, quilts, knits, ect. The nearest grocery is 15 miles away. My husband is very skilled with wood and makes, refinishes, reclaims our furniture. He is also proficient with a chain saw.
We work part time, too. Sometimes that is the "escape". Ideally, our living would come from the farm.

Enjoyed reading other's comments.

The Phony Farm, Middle TN (wish we had snow)

December 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

The world seems to be increasingly crazy and to be bent on destroying all that makes it good and beautiful.

You, and I as much as possible at 75, have chosen to live a REAL life--knowing where your food comes from and that it is good and wholesome; developing transportation that is not fossil fueled; knowing how to produce wool and yarn and clothing; creating and joining a community of others also productively engaged.
It is those who cannot tear themselves away from their iphones, video games, and TV shows who are escaping from real life--it is you and those like you (and me?) who are living it.

Forge on!
Mary

December 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Lydia Behar said...

Why is that when we want to live our lives in a way that someone questions, it becomes a problem for them and then they attack us. I was once told that I am in self emposed exile. Sh*t on them. Jenna, do what you love and live the way you want as long as you're not hurting anyone else.

December 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Perhaps those that think you are living your lifestyle as an escape are jealous because they can't.

December 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger kbrow said...

I see what you're doing as the ultimate engagement WITH the world; you sustain yourself, as well as other lives with your efforts. In your case, since you're offering workshops, blogging and reaching out to all of us, you are even more connected.

December 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Raining Iguanas said...

You aren't running from anything. You pointed yourself directly at life the way you wanted to live it and ran as hard as you possibly could right into the middle of it. While others paint a sunny picture of their lives for the rest of the world you have boiled yourself down to the bone. You live life by the armful regardless of what it hands you on any given day. Your energy and outlook inspires me to embrace anything and everything that comes my way. I can't wait to see all the things you escape to in 2013--not that any of us could keep up with you. "Live it like you own it."

December 28, 2012 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

Ha! As if doing things like raising and butchering your own meat is an "escape" from reality! I'd say it's the other way around....
-Jaime

December 28, 2012 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

P.S. On a related note, I just got asked yesterday (in a condescending tone by someone who likes to brag about his travels) when I last went on vacation. I answered that I'm on vacation every day, with no need to escape anywhere else ;)

December 28, 2012 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Josh and Haley said...

I just loved reading all of the comments for this post. I think our homes should be an escape from things outside the home. It is our refuge, where our loved ones are, where we can be cozy and with our families. So, I think in that sense it is an escape. And I also think that farming is as real of a life as one can come by. It is truly living and sustaining ones self. It is a life that I want myself and my children to live to the fullest. So, I don't think you are escaping - you chose a life that is best for you and that makes you happy. But, I will say- sometimes I think that society is worth escaping. What is it doing to us, to my children? Teaching them to work nonstop, unhappily just to have more $$ and more stuff? Teaching them what "NORMAL" is. Teaching them consumerism and greed. I think that escaping society could be a good thing, when society has gone bad. I dream of homesteading - we have a small garden and plans for chickens in the very near future but I would love to have a full fledged farm. My husband and I often talk about, and plan what we call our "forever home" somewhere in the country where we can hunt and farm and raise our children in the society that we decide is proper and more fulfilling.

December 28, 2012 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Crisy said...

I don't know but all I can say it tht when it comes to the thought of FARM - growing my food, keeping animals, living by the ways of the natural realm...I don't feel like I am escaping or running from anything - I feel like I'm running toward a life and existance I believe in with every fiber of my being :)

December 28, 2012 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Crisy said...

I don't know but all I can say it tht when it comes to the thought of FARM - growing my food, keeping animals, living by the ways of the natural realm...I don't feel like I am escaping or running from anything - I feel like I'm running toward a life and existance I believe in with every fiber of my being :)

December 28, 2012 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Brenda London said...

Interesting question because I have never considered it. For us living out here on our farm is just what we do, what we want. others don't accuse us of anything, at least not to our faces (I think age is in our favor here). so if you folks make you feel defensive about the choices you make know that it is not a relevant issue for you and eventually they will either come to realize that or will just talk behind your back, either way, you wan't have to listen to it anymore. Anyone who thinks we are "escaping" something has no idea how hard we work and what kinds of things we stress over.

December 28, 2012 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger J.D. Collins said...

I think as a writer one must find that space that truly inspires. Escapism? Not in the truest sense of the world.

To leave a place for a better life, for a vocation, demands a larger measure of courage.

December 28, 2012 at 1:59 PM  
OpenID alewyfe said...

Hardly! The farm IS your world, your problem, and the answer to all your problems rolled up into one... and it's far from an isolating place- it's a place that connects you to who and what you are, and also to all of us who love to read about your journey and share in the struggle in whatever way we can! Naysayers gonna naysay, after all. I sometimes dream of "escaping" the city and going back to a more rural life... maybe we will, maybe we won't... but we'd only be trading one set of problems and opportunities for other ones. There's no such thing as escape. We're here, and we've got to make the best of it! Good luck Jenna... it's gonna be a great year.

December 28, 2012 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger barnowl1702 said...

There is no real world to escape from, it's all the real world and it just boils down to choices. What is right for one person may not be right for another. And to me, growing your own food, raising and slaughtering your own animals, and making a living independently will thrust a person right into the real world in a way not much else could. Most people select their pork chops packaged in plastic from the supermarket, buy their eggs nice and clean in little cartons, get milk in a jug, and have never killed an animal they knew or possibly even loved for food. Many of us don't even grind and make our own coffee(thanks Starbucks!), much less grind wheat for bread. So who is really "escaping" life? Life, and death, is right in front of a farmer every single day. Not everyone would want to live like a farmer and even less could and that's ok, but to say it's escapist to live outside what's considered the norm of society is silly. And no, I am not a farmer but I do know quite a few and from what I see, they really do have their finger on the pulse of real life, they aren't escaping anything. It's all perspective as kwdiving said and that summed it up perfectly. How anyone chooses to live is that person's business.

December 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

Just read this on Facebook: " I put on my special clothes and get into a car and drive to work so that I can pay for the special clothes and the car, and a mortgage on a house that I leave empty all day". Whom would not want to escape that? They criticize because you are pointing at the escape hatch they are too frightened to take. If everyone is miserable then the charade can continue. No one is allowed off the hamster wheel.

December 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

Just read this on Facebook: " I put on my special clothes and get into a car and drive to work so that I can pay for the special clothes and the car, and a mortgage on a house that I leave empty all day". Whom would not want to escape that? They criticize because you are pointing at the escape hatch they are too frightened to take. If everyone is miserable then the charade can continue. No one is allowed off the hamster wheel.

December 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Linden said...

Who cares if it is an escape?

December 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger WillowBrookFarm said...

Escapism?... More like Reconnection!

December 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Big Sky Chicken Ranch and Victory Garden said...

I think the homesteading movement in general is a solution-oriented reaction to society vs. an escape. I think the physical distance between cities (society) and farms, could make it seem like an escape. Overwork can distract from problems temporarily, but I know there is no escape - where ever I go, there I am!

December 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger The Village Queen said...

interesting idea... I think we are born with a certain affinity to a type of life, the need to be more in nature or not, to be with people alot or not, and the rest of our preferences are conditioning, training, experience. It takes growing up to find our true affinity and I think by then most people arent able to change their life to fit their longings. A few people can and do, like you. Just because the 'modern' world exists doesnt mean we have to approve of it, of its pace, values, conditions. I just watched a tv show where a bunch of people live the 'vintage' lifestlye, abit in a rose colored glasses sort of way but they dressed 50's, home was all 50's, relationships and values they tried to recreate their perception of what the 50's was like. Escapisum? perhaps, or just shaping their world to be something that better pleased and delighted them. Few people find mucking around in sheep fields fun but you do. Are you escaping? Sure the high rise, pantyhose corporate world. But if you like either of those places then more power to you. Another thing about growing up, you relize that there are so many ways of being, so many people out there, that who you are and what you like, want and care about is really only important to you. And that keeping yourself content and happy is fine and the heck with anyone else.
Frankly I wish I had countryside to live in, but Im not cut out for farm life, but not happy in the city either. Oh well. Ignore anyone who has anything critical to say about your life, deep down they are just envious they cant or wont change their own. You have done something for others to use as insparation, it takes courage to change and follow your heart and affinity. Rock on Jenna.

December 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

As some others have already commented, I think the "standard" Western lifestyle is the height of escapism. I'm amazed at how entirely removed we are from nature, the weather and seasons, the basic elements that make up this planet we live on. You are closer to all of what is real than are people with healthy (electronic) bank balances, reliable power connections and hi-speed internet.

I think with both you and Jon, people read your lifestyles and commentary as a prescription, as if everyone should live that way. So they take offense at what they see as an authoritarian declaration of how they should live.

Now, you do often say, "If I can do it, so can you." But that is not the same as saying "This is the only correct life for everybody." Personally, I realized a while back that while I think what you're doing is fantastic, it's not what I want for myself. And there's no contradiction in that.

December 28, 2012 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Bethany Nash said...

"Oh, gee, I can't handle reality... I think I'll become a farmer!"

Riiight... that makes sense. People.

December 28, 2012 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Joleen said...

I believe that your home, whatever or wherever it is, should be your sanctuary. We all need a safe place to escape to.

December 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

The only naysaying I hear frequently is "you are making your life harder by taking on all this other responsibility". Which I am. Holding a full time job, being a single parent to 2 kids, AND taking care of the farm is a lot to do. But I chose to do it, I love it. I just have had to put up a mental wall against negativity.

The more I ignored the negative commenters, the more positive ones have emerged in my life. People at work bring me their old egg cartons, failed cooking efforts, and stale bread, grateful that they are keeping just a little bit out of trash the landfills. I tell them stories about how much the piggies loved their stale bread treats or show them a picture of a mob of fluffy butts devouring some overcooked cornbread, and everyone is happy.

Most of the time if you really listen to what your most vocal opponents are saying you can HEAR their own fears about their own lives in their words. Once you realize that it's THEIR fear talking, it's very easy to twist your own reaction into something positive.

December 28, 2012 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger kaelak said...

Escape from the fake hamster wheel of modern life that's completely out of touch with Nature and all the real things that allow us to exist? Probably not a bad thing.

Plus, when the zombie apocalypse comes, all the naysayers are gonna come running to your farm for food and shelter.

December 28, 2012 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Stephen Andrew said...

So what if you are? Other people point fingers at things, people, customs they don't understand. I embrace my yearning for so-called 'escapism'. Otherwise what do we have? No artists, musicians, writers, inventors, even doctors! I think one who sees escapism as negative is one who is unable to escape him or herself.

December 28, 2012 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger karen said...

I had to laugh at the thought of you escaping from anything. You run pell mell towards your passions, engage fully with the people in your village community and the community of friends you have made online. You are one of the most alive people I know and I admire you so much for your honesty when things are not going well for you. You face your challenges head on and let us know when you fail as well as when you feel you succeed. Who ever is making these accusations has a problem that has nothing to do with you-the problem lies with their own unhappiness.
As far as the homesteading movement goes, why not turn to a life that offers clean food, clean air and a chance to live a more connected life? Karen from CT

December 28, 2012 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...


My thought is that anyone who thinks farming is an "escape from society" has never worked a farm, had farmer friends or paid attention while visiting a farm! A farm doesn't work without a community of people to support it (you've proven that on this blog, Jenna). And just because someone has chosen the hard, rewarding life of homesteading doesn't mean they are out of touch with the world around them. There are certain people that I don't talk about homesteading to because I just don't want to see the eye rolls anymore.

December 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger just look said...

Just this week in the Washington Post, George Will wrote a piece about the origins and history of the Homestead Act of 1862 which in fact was the model established for the massive move "to the land" that took place in this country over the last 150 years. Basically, Congress passed that bill as a way to encourage immigrant populations of the 19th Century to inhabit lands west of the Mississippi, displacing (sic. wiping out), all the indigenous peoples who already lived in harmony with the land. We are an ironic society, eh? I think there's not a whole lot new going on. There was a great movement in the 60's and 70's to get back to the garden, (thank you Woodstock and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), and that's when my generation seemed to have the same sometimes romanticized notions of what it all meant that lots of folks here have been expressing. Ours has often been a quixotic society. On one hand we want to be the rugged individualists, the captains of our own ships, but no one will want to spend $8/gallon for milk next month if Congress doesn't pass the Farm Bill. (shoveling manure in an apartment would be a challenge). I grew up on a farm, my father ran a dairy that got forced out of business due mostly to new regulations of how milk had to be handled, most of my generation went off either to a factory or college, and raised children who now are growing gardens in the suburbs, and spend vacations and weekends hunting, fishing, and shopping Gander Mountain, Amazon, and Costco. If I asked any of them if they'd abandon their corporate jobs for a horse and wagon, or for shoveling manure daily, they'd at least laugh. They're comfortable with their own version of success, because they did have choices. They're not the people who concern me. What does concern me is the way our culture has chosen to pit those who have more (money, education, computers and internet connections), against those who simply haven't the same level of opportunities to choose. Maybe it's time to re-visit the Homestead Act of 1862 and treat our own poor as the new immigrant population. They are the new "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The rest of us have honed our escape hatches...er, refuges.

December 28, 2012 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger bookkm said...

Awesome discussion, everyone. Awesome question. Jenna.

December 28, 2012 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger enchantedhollow said...

For me it would be escaping from a lifestyle or "society" that I don't wish to adhere to . Any like minded group of people living in a community constitutes a society. And the society I would love to be a part of is the one you belong to. I would not be escaping, I'd be making a choice. Moving to a farm is not escaping your problems. Unfortunately there's no hiding from this world. But the peace and contentment of your lifestyle helps you to cope with the continual assault we are under.

December 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Everyone's "reality" is different, and while some insulate thenmselves from it with money, comfort, power or simply by not exposing themselves to anything that scares or discomforts them, you've turned that on its head - if anything, you're escaping TOWARD your chosen reality. I think of "escapism" as avoiding the difficult or unpleasant parts of life, and you meet all that head on.

I hope the people saying these things aren't people close to you; like the guy who didn't want your dog in his truck, they're not your tribe, and don't deserve to be.

December 28, 2012 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger KellyV (Kelly the Fifth) said...

Thoughtful and articulate.

December 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger K9 Chaos said...

What's wrong with escaping from society. Looking at the values, etc of a lot of our 'society' I think escaping is a good idea. But I don't think moving into the country is escaping, you are not a hermit, you are just making your world a little more intimate....special. But then what do I know, I grew up on a ranch (farm if you prefer to call it that) and I can't stand too much hustle & bustle, congestion, or traffic.

December 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Cristhiano said...

I am saddened by the accusations towards you....Taking your LAND unto your hands and following your dreams... traveling "the road less traveled." That is not escapism; it's simply a synchronicity between soul and body that many yearn for it in various ways, but very few attain. Picasso, Da Vinci, Einstein, mother Theresa, Wayne Dyer, Joel Salatin are few who have.... Even though I might not personally agree with every decision you make on YOUR farm and how you run it, I must say that I greatly admire you for pursuing your dreams the Jenna Way !!! It's your life, your farm, your dream.... I am just an spectator...

December 29, 2012 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Cristhiano said...

I am saddened by the accusations towards you....Taking your LAND unto your hands and following your dreams... traveling "the road less traveled." That is not escapism; it's simply a synchronicity between soul and body that many yearn for it in various ways, but very few attain. Picasso, Da Vinci, Einstein, mother Theresa, Wayne Dyer, Joel Salatin are few who have.... Even though I might not personally agree with every decision you make on YOUR farm and how you run it, I must say that I greatly admire you for pursuing your dreams the Jenna Way !!! It's your life, your farm, your dream.... I am just an spectator...

December 29, 2012 at 12:19 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Our home is our safe place and haven. You should love to be at your home. I stay on the farm to escape, and to get the peace and quiet I crave. I have plenty to do here. Others may make judgments based on their values. It has nothing to do with homesteading. Do not let them bother you, Jenna.

December 29, 2012 at 1:31 AM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

Nah. They're aren't accusing you of escapism. They're jealous that they cannot make their own leap. They are uncomfortable that you are choosing to make a different plan. Its easier to say that you've "escaped" rather than look to themselves as to what they are sacrificing (or unwilling to sacrifice) for the sake of being trapped.

December 29, 2012 at 6:25 AM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Absolutely. This is a bad thing? See, this is why we need to escape... :)

December 29, 2012 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

The last few times I tried to post anything here, Google went haywire, asking me to log in and then wanting me to do more there, and when I declined, my post went away. So, I'll try this once.

Jenna, what you are doing can't ever be called escapism. You are experiencing something I did too in rural NY and VT. You meet many new friends, you barter, you are mentored and you mentor and help others. Life is full. And yes, it can be lonely. You live there. I am usually happiest when I am not in the country more than four days, unless I really planned to be there for a couple months, which I've done too.

In short, it is not escapism. As an earlier poster said, escapism is with the individual, not the home. There are many recluses in the city, and in the country. And in both places, people living abundant lives.

Okay, let's see what Google does with this post!

December 29, 2012 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

It happened again. Google screwed up. My comment disappeared. I had to go through four pages to POST my comment, it said at the beginning, and then what did it do? Bring me here to start over.

But I am holding off to see if it is just in a pipeline somewhere and that was not made clear anywhere.

December 29, 2012 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

Nope, I don't see it as an escape. It's a lifestyle choice, just like choosing to live and work in the city is a lifestyle choice. Now, it may feel like an escape, in that it relieves some internal pressure felt when not living that life (and I think we've all felt that at one time or another), but I think as long as the choice resonates with you at your core, then you're doing the right thing :)

December 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Indio said...

This has been an interesting discussion but I think the context for what is meant by "escaping" is missing. If it was implied that you are "escaping" from social interactions by isolating yourself, I would agree that farm life can be lonely if you don't have another human for companionship. While Gibson seems like a wonderful dog and you have lots of people that interact with you online, it doesn't replace face time. But not every person is wired the same way and we don't all need 7x24 relationships to make us feel complete.
If the escape was from being tied to an office, you have selected a different career choice where the income stream isn't routine, but it's there nonetheless.
If the "escape" was from seeing family over the holidays or being involved in family traditions, well you have become an adult and carved out your life and that means making your own holiday traditions. Anyway, I'm just guessing at what the person was trying to convey and who it came from. I'm sure it wasn't from any of your neighbors or friends because they all seem to be like-minded and know the allure. The bottom line is that only you know if you are "escaping" and then you have to ask yourself if it really makes a difference in your choices. My guess is that it won't change the path you've chosen and it probably isn't worth your time to explain it to the comment maker because that person seems to think their view of the world is the "right" one.

December 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger kj said...

so i guess then the people in the city with manolos in the fridge and no idea where their takeout comes from are escaping ruralism,right?

December 29, 2012 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

You can run but you can't hide, ha ha. You are everywhere, in books, websites including your own, in hearts and minds. You can not escape, unless you want to. You have intimate interactions with your hometown, Mother Earth News fair, your friends in person and online. You have a full life, doing what you want. You have only escaped tedious corporate chains, and that is highly beneficial to you and everyone that knows you.

December 29, 2012 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

That's crap. And those who accuse you of it are being ridiculous. Most city people, (i can say this because i know many,) hurry everywhere all the time, are always on their precious 'deadlines', and are constantly trying to make more money so they can buy more stuff that they just get bored with like children with new toys. It's like they're afraid to live. Who's trying to escape again??

December 29, 2012 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Linzleh said...

Isn't everyone's home their world? I don't understand what these judging accusers mean? You are never more in the world than when you are a productive human. Just because you don't clock hours with some employer does not mean you are hiding away. I think those who prefer the sterile office world insulated from the real life challenges of food production, warmth and dealing with the excitement of weather are more the ones with escapist issues.

December 29, 2012 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

Are you kidding me? We all see how hard you are working. To me, escapism is what I do, dreaming online about a life I don't see a way to yet. If you wanted to live a life of escape, you'd keep on droning away in a cubicle. If your daily life involves real blood, sweat, and tears, then you're not escaping. you're living. Keep on doing it.

December 30, 2012 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger CheshyrCat said...

I don't know if someone has said this yet or not, but if it is escapism, why is that bad?

December 31, 2012 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger CheshyrCat said...

I don't know if someone has said this yet or not, but if it is escapism, why is that bad?

December 31, 2012 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

I think this word "escapism" is over used for many different reasons. I have always been accused of escapism because I wish to live a more imaginative creative life. A life connected to nature, and the spirits of nature and friends and family. So what if I want to "escape" the "hamster on the wheel" life that most of us have to live? I am a daydreamer, I am a doer, I want to escape the bits of reality that don't fit with my spirit. Nothing wrong with that.

January 3, 2013 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger karen said...

Jenna-here is a post from Ben Hewitt who ends his post with the sentiment that I think sums up this conversation. Thanks by the way for recommending him. He is awesome.
http://benhewitt.net/2012/10/22/the-downside-of-freedom Karen from CT

January 3, 2013 at 9:35 PM  

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