Ohh, the dilemmas of the modern homesteader.....
The internet is one of the best things ever invented and if Laura Ingalls Wilder was here, she would most whole-heartedly agree. Where else can you find how to videos for knitting, articles on tomato crop rotation strategies, and addicting blogs about sheep. Of course, learning "knit 1, purl 2" around the hearth would be more satisfying and probably warmer, the heat that the laptop produces is comparable.
So if we are striving for the true homestead experience, how can we justify using the internet - is it not a vice of the modern age? A time wasting, energy using endeavor that grows from just getting on line to quickly check the email to staying up until 1 in the morning harvesting your farmville crops and looking up why my knitting "curls" and I have a scarf that looks like a tube sock?
Should not I be spending my time pouring over seed catalogs by the glow of lantern light?
I would love it to be so. But it is not. Like it or not, (I have one vote for like right here), we live in what will soon be 2010. Not 1910. Not 1810. Not even 1940 for Pete’s sake. (who was Pete anyway?). And I am not mad about this. I love indoor plumbing and electricity and my computer. I love my digital camera and the internet and I love modern refrigeration.
But that does not mean that I don’t want to have a homestead. I like the modern homestead. I like solar electric and crank radios and sewing. I like growing tomatoes and peas and I like planning for my future barnyard of chickens and goats. As much as I would like to experience living in 1880, I have to admit that I would much rather live in 2009, or 10 and try to carry on the ideals, skills and way of life that makes me happy. A little bit of 1880 in 2010 will go a long way and I am looking forward to it.
So if I have to take a side, I say that the internet is essential to the modern homestead. My compromise is learning knitting from YouTube, relaxing on a blanket in the yard with Wi-Fi and using it to learn - just like any book I could buy or get from the library. I think that learning is what it is supposed to be about in the first place - no matter what time you live in and if you are learning the skills to survive on the prairie or to build a fulfilling life in the suburbs.
But, don’t leave the TV on every night. Have a campfire or two.