The Rise of Catholic Homesteading (Guest: Jason Craig)

May 03, 2024 00:51:51
The Rise of Catholic Homesteading (Guest: Jason Craig)
Crisis Point
The Rise of Catholic Homesteading (Guest: Jason Craig)

May 03 2024 | 00:51:51

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Why are so many Catholic families looking into farm life? Why is homesteading becoming a popular alternative to the suburban and city life?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:11] Speaker A: Why are so many catholic families looking into farm life? Why is homesteading becoming a popular alternative to suburban and city life? That's what we're going to talk about today on Crisis point. Hello, I am your host, Eric Sammons, editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, I encourage people to smash that, like, button to subscribe to channel, let other people know about it. We always appreciate when you do that. Also, you can follow us on social media ricismag at all the social media outlets, and you can subscribe to our email newsletter. Just go crisismagazine.com, comma, put in your email address and you will get our articles sent to your inbox every morning. I think it sends it out at 09:00 in the morning eastern time. So you can always eagerly anticipate that coming to your inbox. Okay, so our guest today is Jason Craig. He writes from a small dairy farm in western North Carolina. Okay, I just have to stop. I don't know why I didn't think of this when I was reading this. Where in western North Carolina? That's where my mom's family's from. [00:01:05] Speaker B: Okay, well, I'm in, I mean, I'm in green Creek, but green Creek doesn't have post office, so Columbus is the closest town. But Hendersonville is. [00:01:14] Speaker A: Okay, I'm from Hendersonville. Okay, so. But how far away are you from Asheville? [00:01:18] Speaker B: Yeah, I'm right in between Asheville and Hendersonville, about a hour from, from, from char. I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry. Right in between Asheville and Charlotte. So I'm about an hour east of Charlotte and west of Asheville. Or vice versa. [00:01:32] Speaker A: Yeah, right. Vice versa. Right. [00:01:34] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:01:34] Speaker A: So my, my mom's side, they lived in the mountains of North Carolina, very close to Tennessee. Andrews, North Carolina, which was about, I think it's about an hour, hour and a half, something like that. From Asheville. So beautiful. Oh, my gosh. We go down there every year, usually twice a year, growing up, and I didn't appreciate how beautiful it was. I mean, you know, just, you're a kid. That's where your, your grandmother lives. You just go down to visit and everything. But as I got older and we'd visit, and I haven't been down there in a while now. Oh, my gosh. It's just some of the. The most beautiful country in the world, frankly. [00:02:05] Speaker B: Yeah, I think so. [00:02:07] Speaker A: Anyway. Okay, so, yeah. So you are the co founder of Fraternus, founding editor of Sword and Spade magazine, author of Leaving Boyhood behind, your most recent book. Let me pop it up. On the screen here is liturgy of the land, cultivating a catholic homestead from Tam books. And you have a co author, and I apologize, I'm blanking on who's your co author of this book. [00:02:27] Speaker B: Yeah. On the COVID I might call him Tommy because he's a friend. I'll call him Tommy on the COVID though. Thomas Van Horn. Okay. [00:02:34] Speaker A: We'll be very formal. Thomas Van Horn or Tommy. [00:02:37] Speaker B: Great. [00:02:37] Speaker A: So you co authored that book. You hold a master's degree from the Augustan Institute, and you are known to claim that your family invented bourbon. So. [00:02:46] Speaker B: That's right. [00:02:47] Speaker A: That's, uh. That's impressive. So, um. I mean, what else is there to say at that point? I mean, we have the. The man who's family invented bourbon here on the show. [00:02:56] Speaker B: My. My response is just, you're welcome. You know, I mean, you're welcome. That's right. As much. As much as it's for me to say that you're welcome, we all thank you. [00:03:04] Speaker A: We all thank your family. So, uh, those of us who imbibe at times. So adults. Of course. Only adults. [00:03:12] Speaker B: Okay. [00:03:13] Speaker A: So why don't we just get started by. Tell us a little bit about your own background. You live on a small dairy farm now, but kind of. How did you grow up? Did you grow up Catholic? Did you grow up on a farm? [00:03:22] Speaker B: Kind of. [00:03:22] Speaker A: What's your own background? [00:03:24] Speaker B: Sure. The answer is no to all of those. I did not grow up Catholic. I did not grow up any kind of practicing Christian, per se, although, you know, grow mostly in the south. Flannery O'Connor called it the christ haunted south. So Jesus is kind of everywhere and sometimes meaningless at the same time here. But conversion to the church, around 2006 or so, I came into church, and it was during I found my way working with catholic apostolates and actually in grad school, and I did grow up. Blue collar kind of atmosphere. My father's a plumber, so just working outside. Being outside was normal for me. Working with tools is normal. I had originally gone to school. I wanted to do horticulture, which is a fancy word for. I wanted to be a landscaper. And long story short, I found my way in working catholic, apostolic stuff, catholic apostolates, and going to grad school for that purpose. And I was working with fraternities. I still work with fraternities at that time, and which the. You know, the. The thrust of fraternus is that boys need men to become men. And I know everyone. Everyone nods and they said, we'll say boys need mentors. Boys need their fathers around. And the whole purpose of fraternities was just training and challenging men to just do that. But then slowly we realized, wow, the reason the men aren't forming the boys very well is that the men are very poorly formed. And so it's a. It's, you know, it's an apostle for men and boys is what it is. And that. But you start to ask these questions. You don't read about these sort of apostles in former times, like, why. Why is this obviously necessary? You know, and because some people say, oh, well, they didn't. You know, they didn't have men's groups back, and they. Yeah, they did. You know, they're called the Benedictines. And why is it so hard now? And why are we hemorrhaging boys so much? So eventually, you come up to, you know, just the hard facts of the industrial revolution, some of the other, you know, the sexual revolution, and even the technological revolution and their effects on the home. And we all, you know, we explore those in lots of different ways. It's common Catholics in certain circles to explore and, like, acknowledge these things. But my interest was really that, you know, for. For centuries and centuries, boys were formed into men alongside their fathers, you know, mostly working on farms. You know, in our country. You know, we went from a country of about 90% of the population being farmers, to now less than 1%. And that happened in short order. I mean, historically speaking, that sort of shift in a society is. It's. It's unprecedented. I mean, to go as a predominant occupation. And we know that those, like, the occupation of farming is. It's an entire way of life. So it's not as if everyone just changed jobs. You know, it wasn't. It's even bigger than a mass migration. I mean, this is a just unprecedented and often unexamined historical shift. And, you know, that book you mentioned I wrote called leaving boyhood behind, that's sort of a catholic understanding and anthropology of rites of passage, like how boys become men. Just, you know, the short end of it doesn't happen by accident. It is sort of done to them. You know, they are made into men. It doesn't happen organically the way it does for women and girls. And so, anyway, I'm struggling. I'm dealing with all those things. And it was an intellectual conversion that I have a suspicion that a farm is the place where we should be, because we were having. We started to have more children and sons. [00:07:01] Speaker A: And so you're living at this point, though, in, like, apartment suburbia. Suburbia. What. I mean, like, what's your status? [00:07:07] Speaker B: We were in an apartment in Denver, Colorado. That's where I was in, or from North Carolina, but I was in an apartment in Denver, Colorado, and I was holding my second born son. We now have five sons, three. Three daughters. And as our third child, second son. Right. So things are starting to teeter towards the boys at that point, which it continued for some. We had it. We were plagued with a decade of boys. So we. [00:07:30] Speaker A: That second boy, I have one boy and six girls. And the one boy is like the still, you know, he's out of the house now, but when he was younger, I mean, he's still the dominant force, you know, day to day because he's a boy and the girls are girls. So I can imagine five boys. I mean, even just with one, it was like that. So five boys had to be just, you know, insane. [00:07:50] Speaker B: Oh, it's savagery. It's savagery. It's amazing. And I. But I had intuited, we need to be on a farm if we're gonna. These boys are gonna keep coming in. So this was an intellectual that, hey, the family has not recovered from losing the sort of ecosystem of an agrarian life. But also boys just, they're, you know, I found a quote from Pope Pius XII. He said, you know, the farm just produces altogether different men. And living in the city, in the suburbs, it's like, that's the kind of men I want to raise. So for us, as a family, it very much was sort of an intellectual conversion. And then what happened was we moved in 2012 with Tommy van Horn, who's my co author. At the same time we're like, hey, we're going to start a homestead. We're going to be the new catholic land movement. And I don't know if you remember back in the day, there was a website, the new catholic land movement. Kevin? Yeah, yeah, it was kind of big around, like, 2012. And so I know there's iterations of the catholic land movement come every so often, and. But that was one back then. We were actually, we had a board. We were, like, founding a knot. We were going to start catholic villages. And, you know, all these ideals. And this book that we wrote is kind of twelve years looking back, realizing, uh, and talking about the move to to a homestead as being like a form of conversion from suburbia and that, you know, fish, if you ask a fish, how's the water? You know, the fish says, what's water? You know, and a lot of times it's not until you're out of the water, right? And in the homestead, you start to realize, wow, I am formed by an industrialized, tech saturated, busy, frenetic, consumer materialist culture. And to just say, I'm just going to overlay some chickens in a garden on top of that, and poof. Now I'm a catholic villager in Christendom. It's just sort of. It's delusional. And so we wrote this book because a lot of people, I think every family at one point goes, maybe we should live on a farm. I think everyone, every, especially fathers, maybe this would be easier if we were just on a farm and we wrote this book to say that that's true, because it is the natural place of the family, which we argue that man's nature sort of is that piece in creation where he put him in the garden in the first place, where God put us, but that it actually still requires a conversion. So that was a long answer. But no, didn't grow up catholic then. I didn't grow up a homesteader. So reconciling some of those things as conversions is what this book really revolves around. [00:10:29] Speaker A: Okay, so why don't we then take a step back and just kind of define our terms? Because we've kind of said, living on a farm. We said homestead. But I know in the book there's a. You make a distinction between the two. So why don't we kind of define, what do you mean by a homestead as opposed to, or maybe in conjunction with living on a farm? Because I think most people here from Homestead, what they picture is you're out in the middle of nowhere, you know, outside of the suburbia. You have a lot of property, you have a lot of land, you have cows, you have crops and all that stuff. So what exactly are you meaning by these terms? [00:11:05] Speaker B: Sure, you might just be describing something completely different from what's reality for some people. All right, so let's. Yeah, let's define them. A. The center of a homestead is a home. So a homestead is a place where the surrounding property is used and worked by a family for the basic substance of life. So food, shelter, warmth is outside. So it's a productive home. That is. So the big difference. Remember, this is a shift that we actually don't recognize. And I lean heavily on the book, on the research of Alan Carlson and the insights of Nisbet and the quest for community. I'm not sure some of these books is the overwhelming leak. The most common model of a household throughout history is a productive household. And that the distinction of a productive household. What do we put that up against? On the other side of the spectrum would be a suburban household. So a suburban household is completely consumer based unit, like as an economic and functioning unit, it's consumer based, meaning you make money and do things outside of the home, and you bring the money back to consume the resources in the home. Now, homestead also consumes. Right. There's no reason to grow food if you're not going to eat it. It's just that you're a part of the production of it. But a suburban home is primarily a place of recreation and consuming. Right. Is where you go to rest, to watch movies together, to eat meals together. But you, the home itself does not have a functional purpose or an economic purpose other than recreation and consumption, whereas. So when we say homestead, we simply mean a home that is engaged in some, maybe very little of the production of what it needs. So when you say farm, I mean, most of us rightly think of that as an occupation. So, you know, I have a friend. He was a conventional farmer. He's right on their own. He just retired. You know, he's doing in retirement homesteading, meaning he's spending his retirement growing food because he enjoys it. He enjoys the small flock of chickens. He enjoys growing his vegetables. But when you're farming, you know, it's kind of, it's a different business. And the purpose of it, and that's unavoidable, is that you're, you're making an income from the farm. So this is why a lot of people can say, yeah, I'm a homesteader. And people will dismiss like, oh, you're not. You still have a job. Yeah, of course. I mean, this is actually the argument of some of the great catholic leaders, like sort of our own american catholic land movement, is like Father John Rawl of the rural life. He proposed that every family should see themselves as needing, for the sake of sanity and freedom and holiness, at least a little plot to have some food, whether or not they have a job in town or not. So when I say homestead, I mean someone engaged in the direct production of food or maybe even warmth of something. So the same category could be used for a, you know, a home that's productive, that's also a workshop. Right. You know, this was very common in former times that a home was a workshop. But when I say homestead, I'm talking about this. This is kind of what you described, except not related specifically to economics in the term, as we often mean it, which is making money, GDP. I mean, in economics, meaning the household management. The household revolves around growing and living off the land. Okay. [00:14:37] Speaker A: So that, I'm glad that last part because that's what I wanted to follow up with. So you're, when you're talking about homesteading, you're, you're more talking about using the land to produce things, not money, but produce things that may, may produce money, may that you might sell them, for example, or you might consume them yourselves. So, for example, how about the guy who lives in suburbia? The family lives in suburbia and they homeschool. And then the wife, I'm sorry, the husband, he works from home. He's an it person, let's say. And he does. So he's producing something. I mean, whatever, whatever his job is, he's getting paid for it. He's doing all from the home. So he's not using the home just as recreation or whatever. But let's say they're not doing anything other than that. So would you say that's not really home saying because it's not producing something other than like, I mean, like you mentioned workshop, but I mean, like, it's probably a good example because there's a lot of people, probably people listen this, including the person you're talking to right now. I mean, I, in that sense, I'm not it, but I work from home. So how would you, what distinctions would you make there? And, and we're going to lead into course, why these distinctions matter. I know, but kind of, let's make sure we know what these distinctions are here for. [00:15:48] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, one, I think actually the relationship to homeschooling is much easier to recognize that the beautiful thing that homeschooling has done for thousands of families is to refunctionalize the home. Right. Because our homes have become a place not of like dysfunction, although we know that's true too, but of just non function. They don't have a practical bearing on our life. And this has been, I mean, I credit definitely Robert Nisbet for really writing about this and pointing out a lot about when families existed to help one another do something, meaning the families take care of one another directly. So this is caring for the elderly, caring for babies, feeding each other, like taking care of one another practically in a functional way, where you actually have practical need for one another, that families thrive in that setting. Historically, families do better when they take care of one another practically when the family becomes a place where everyone comes together to get updates on everyone else's individual pursuits of success and happiness. And then you give unfeigning support for whatever. My family really supported me in my endeavors. Right. Actually, the family suffers because the members learn to not need one another. So we tend to have strong communion and bonds with people that we actually need. And this is not about being utilitarian. It's just that God actually intended for us to, you know, take care of one another's needs as a sign and a bond of our love. So when St. Paul says, you know, he who doesn't take care of his family is worse than an unbeliever. He wasn't talking about call them on their birthday and offer emotional support. He meant take care of them practically. So what Nisbet says is that when the family went from functional unit to companionship only, like, we're just here as companions, and eventually it doesn't. And the way to do that and the way that that traditionally occurred is to refunction a lot, making the home a necessary part of the whole family's function, which is what the home school does. And as you know, I work. I mean, a lot of us, that's the great blessing. That's very ironic and paradoxical when people think this is contradictory. You can't, you can't enjoy the fruits of the modern economy and technology and claim to be a home stayer at the same time, which is absurd. And this, this shows that we actually just don't think about the family as an, as the center of economic activity, which. Absolutely, of course, I can have multiple jobs in homestead. Not that I just want to pile on more things to do that. That's another. Maybe we can talk about that later if you wanted to. How does that actually work? And the answer is no. And, you know, yes, depending. And it takes a lot of discernment. Right. But so sorry. I would say the homeschool. Yes. Is a refunctionalizing of the home, but it's not. It's engaged in education. I'm talking about the engagement of growing food and what, the effect of receiving the fruits of the earth directly and cultivating the earth and having that as a work of the family. What that does for the family is very good and very healthy and wholly because it's natural. That is our. I would, I would argue that it's the natural state of man to be concerned about where your food's going to come from and being engaged with, you know, growing and procuring and having some understanding because we, we all have a relationship. We're all agrarians. We all have a relationship to the land because we eat every day. Everyone has a relationship. It's just how distant is the relationship? And my argument is that it doesn't. It doesn't mean everyone has to be directly growing. Everything they eat is not what we're arguing, but that it is good for humanity and good for the family and good for the soul for a lot more of us to have an awareness and an engagement with the natural activity of growing. I mean, human culture is food, right? Even the sacraments are made from some things. We grow from the ground. I mean, growing, eating, cooking, enjoying, feasting, this is what we do. [00:19:56] Speaker A: So, really, while there are elements of homesteading in just homeschooling or in working from home, like computer job or whatever the case may be, really, you're kind of defining homeschooling to include some type of production of food. So whether that's, I guess it'd be both from the ground, but also, I assume, animals that you can consume as well. Okay. So I'm glad that we have that. So you've touched on it a bit, but I want you really to kind of explain to us why. Why homesteading is like something. I mean, it seems like you're advocating that most Catholics, I mean, most people, but we're talking to a catholic audience primarily, should at least consider this as a superior form of, you know, of living, frankly, than suburb like, traditional suburban life as we think of it. And so why don't you give us, you know, your. Your pitch of why that is? [00:21:01] Speaker B: Sure. I want to be very careful not to romantically say or flippantly say, homesteading is better, and more of you should do it, because if you could be like me and follow me on Instagram, then we would all know I don't have Instagram, so that would be ironic. [00:21:17] Speaker A: If that was your. [00:21:20] Speaker B: Well, I mean, the reason I say that is there's a lot of people in the city, and there's people on, online, on YouTube, on Instagram on these, saying they just. They're taking pictures and they're not telling the whole story, and they're just romanticizing this idea. And a lot of people, in the name of doing something good for their family, jump out selling all, buy a plot of land, and it crashes awfully. That's part of the reason we wrote the books to, like, actually say yes. I would say everyone needs to understand why the liturgy of the land and a closeness to the land and its seasons and its cycles is important for our souls. No, not everyone needs to sell everything and move out to a rural location instead. [00:21:54] Speaker A: But have you read, you haven't read, you know, Devon Rose is, he's a friend of mine. He's written a book on floppy for catholic answers. But also. Did the farm flop or whatever it is? [00:22:05] Speaker B: Yes, I read, yeah, I read that. Actually, I think I wrote an article a long time ago. I can't recall where I was published. And I emailed him because we corresponded every now and then. And I was like, hey, I'm making fun of you. Is that okay? He's absolutely. Oh, it's a great book. [00:22:19] Speaker A: Just because he's very self deprecating, very self aware. It just, you know, it just, you know, it takes a humble person and a good person to write a book like that. But for those who don't know Evan Rose, he wrote a book. I don't know if it was, I just read on a kindle or something like that, but it basically was. He, he attempted the farm life and let's just say it wasn't arousing success. And he writes about his successes, but mostly his failures in doing it. It's just, it's a great book just for. And I think I read it when I went through the phase. I mean, you know, you kind of go through, everybody goes through it. And some people, you know, it returns to them. That's what happens to me often. [00:22:55] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:22:55] Speaker A: Went through a phase. [00:22:56] Speaker B: Oh yeah. [00:22:56] Speaker A: Maybe we should live on a farm. And I read that, I was like, okay, slow your roll. Some of them, boy, you know, let's, let's take baby steps here. But go ahead. [00:23:03] Speaker B: I'm sorry. Yeah, yeah. I mean, most, most people, they, they go radical. They read some Chesterton, they read some back to the land stuff. They, they get out there, they buy a bunch of cows, they buy some ghosts back. Everything's getting out. They don't know what they're doing. Their neighbors hate them. They feel isolated. They're driving 2 hours to soccer practice and it's like, okay, this is why we wrote this book actually, because that's not an uncommon experience. And, but to hear to the question of what we are proposing to the audience, I guess the strongest challenge would be that the proposal we make at the very beginning is that the suburbanization of the United States particularly was not an outcome of free market economics. That the intentionality of removing productivity from the home as a consequence of policies, particularly of the government, is traceable. And I landed. The scholarship of Alan Carlson is just unmatched in this area. That the United States intentionally wanted the suburbanization of a farming populace and businesses, big businesses also. So, you know, big corporations, big business, big bad guys. They also benefited from the move to a consumerist and industrialized society. And that suburbanization was intended to shift our country to a more consumer based hyper mobile economy. And it worked. They did it. They did this. Our challenge, what we are proposing though is that this has been traceably bad for the family. That the family losing its needfulness for one another, its connection to place in tradition, its ability to be rooted. Just as the outcome of these things are rarely examined. But as an example, were always talking about in the catholic spheres, about cultivating catholic culture. We need a good catholic culture and strong bonds and local bonds and all those things. Yes, see we are, we have a homestead in practice, a functional home right now. [00:25:25] Speaker A: Right, exactly. [00:25:26] Speaker B: This is it. [00:25:27] Speaker A: In practice, baby. [00:25:29] Speaker B: Hold on, just edit this out. I'm going to. Katie, I'm going to forward this to you. Eric Samons is judging me right now. [00:25:38] Speaker A: I am. No, actually I'm saying this is like, this is how it works in a. If you were a suburban dad, this wouldn't happen. You'd have a nice enclosed space, you would have, it'd be all good. But now because you're in a homestead, you can't do that. [00:25:53] Speaker B: It's all integrated, all these things. That's right. [00:25:56] Speaker A: It's all integrated. [00:25:58] Speaker B: That's right. When people say, well, I just want to live the simple life, it's like, well, and we need to define what you mean by simple. If by simple you mean less things to worry about is not a simple life. If by simple you mean these things integrate with one another, with, you know, some conversion, then yes, that might be true. Sorry, where were we on the. So the proposal that the suburb is not a natural outcome, that it was sort of done to us as a people and that the result has actually been not very good. So I point, you know, as an example, when we talk about growing and cultivating catholic cultures, well, sort of the economic cultural reality for a lot of us is that we have these homes, we build them up, we pay our mortgages and we send our children to college. And with this sort of presumption that they like us, they start from zero, live somewhere else. It's very hard to sort of integrate back into a work together. Cause they've gotta go and find their own way and their own job and their. There's lots of. The family has a very hard time staying cohesive for more than one generation at a time, if that. And then the idea of having a culture that resets itself and disperses with every generation is absurd. I mean, if we keep, if every household disperses out into the broad suburban world and it's, you know, and your goal is to essentially try your best to plug into the global economy with the biggest, fattest plug you can get and find a good, comfortable suburb that you can at least maybe fly. To see these sorts of things, we try very hard not to flippantly criticize them or criticize people, but also, just as a bit of realism, say, what it's doing to us is not good. And we lean on, hopefully, I think, is recognized as pretty solid research and data that this isn't working well for our, for the family. So the family is not doing well under this moment. And so the idea that everyone has about maybe I should live on a homestead, the reason I think that does crop up regularly is that that is the natural state of man. I mean, God truly, and I, let's, let's just get out of like income and debt and payments and those things for a minute and just say, I think every man would say, yeah, when I read Genesis and God places the family in a garden and you work, that sounds wonderful. I would love to be in a greater harmony with God, my family and the world directly around me, and be occupied with gathering the fruits of the earth for the enjoyment of man. I mean, that is what I would like to be doing. And that our current economic model is keeping us away from that. And the ability to do that is becoming more obvious. As we're saturated in the artificial, we're just saturated in the media, we sort of don't know what to do about it because it's just everywhere we kind of feel that it's doing something bad to us and we don't know what to do. And when people have the response of, I wish I could just live closer to nature and the land, that's a reasonable response. A lot of us, you'll hear me say that's romantic and unrealistic, whatever, impractical, which is the same argument everyone uses against contraception, that's impractical, or anything that's hard and holy tends to get dismissed by the world as impractical. There is just nothing more practical than food growing out of the soil in your backyard. I just don't know what's more practical than that. Yeah. [00:29:36] Speaker A: So now the reality is, of course, as you know, for the past couple of generations, really, we all have been. Not all of us, but most people have been living a suburban life, have been living exactly as you described it, where you, you live in you grow up in the suburbs, you. You go to college, and then once you, you find your own suburban life to live and things like that. I mean, that describes my life to a t. I mean, it was funny because I mentioned how my mom's side, you know, they're from western North Carolina. My dad's from Appalachia in Kentucky, so very much farming and things of that nature, although my grandfather was a railroad conductor. But, you know, basically, I think. [00:30:19] Speaker B: I think that makes you a hillbilly. And I mean that a good way. [00:30:22] Speaker A: No, I definitely, like, when I read hillbilly elegy by JD Vance, I was like, these are my people. I mean, it very much is where I come from, it is very much hillbilly country. And I don't take it as an insult. I know people use it as an insult, but I'm like, okay, that's cool. I mean, I'm not a hillbilly, but that's not something I'm proud of. [00:30:41] Speaker B: I just. That's. [00:30:42] Speaker A: But that is definitely my roots, right? And, like, you know, both my parents, they left. They went to the suburbs in Ohio because everybody was doing that. Frankly, this is 1950s, and that was where you could make it, and that's what they did. And then, of course, so I and my siblings who grew up in the suburbs, and then our kids, you know, same thing. And so it's hard not to hear what you say. Play devil's advocate a little bit and do think, oh, that's just not practical because it's like, I have literally zero experience. I'm speaking my own, but I know a lot of people like this. I actually have a little because we've tried to do some stuff around here, here. But I have basically zero experience planting anything, you know, raising animals other than we had a cat and a dog. You know, I mean, just zero whatsoever. I'm not a handy at all around the house. Here's my confession, by the way, for everybody. My wife knows these weaknesses of mine. But, like, you know, if something breaks around the house, I try. I always give it a shot and I almost always fail, and then I have to get through somebody else to fix it. So, like, the idea of, okay, I mean, I feel like that's why I feel like Devin, what he did was like, that's what I would do if I would try this. I would just fail miserably. So practically speaking, and I don't mean to abuse that term, what are steps if somebody's like, I do have this feeling, though, that this is something I'm drawn to, but I don't want to be the story of the guy who just completely fell on his face. What are practical ways, then, that you go from living completely suburban, no real handiness like that to having a true catholic homestead? [00:32:25] Speaker B: Well, obviously, the first practical step is to buy this book. [00:32:29] Speaker A: Yeah, that's actually a good point. Yes. [00:32:32] Speaker B: The reason so, and the reason I say that is actually the two parts of this book. I don't know how much you've looked through it. The beginning is the philosophy, the way we think about things and how they're going to have to change the more. And we had. The book is kind of completely predicated on homesteading in suburbia, being sort of on a spectrum of a fully consuming household. I don't mean that in a bad way, just as a recognition and a, a fully productive household we might call self sustaining. [00:33:08] Speaker A: I actually printed out, because I have electronic. I printed out your four. [00:33:11] Speaker B: Oh, there you go. Okay. [00:33:13] Speaker A: And, yeah, I was going to bring up, but yeah. So let's go. Let's go kind of through practically, somebody's like, you know, I am interested in this, but I am completely afraid of it. I feel like I'm going to fail. I don't even know step one. So that's the, you know, what do we do? [00:33:29] Speaker B: The first half of the book is like, is how to think about it. Right. The second. The second part, though, is discernment. I think a lot of people, they lack, and I'm speaking from experience of failure here, they lack humility. They just presume that if everyone wanted to live off the land, they could. And as John Sr. Said, it takes about a semester to make a farm boy into a college boy, but it takes generations to make a college boy into a farm boy. It's just a different mode. And so we do want to slow people down to have some discernment. And I saw you printed off those four quadrants. We actually. So the second half of the book is in. Let's. All right. Say you feel this call. Let's put yourself realistically in a box. Because if you think you're going to go from incompetent, dependent, consuming household to self sufficient yeoman by with one, one move that you're delusional. So we asked, and we do this, we do these like, retreats on our farm or weekends on our farm that we have couples, like, fill out questionnaires. I'm like, do you know how to do stuff? What are you kind of a very, like, honest, like what you were just doing that's actually honest because there are people, there's a new homesteader and butcher across the street from me now. Catholic guy, great guy. And he's annoyingly competent. Like, he's just able to do stuff. And, and he also, he's the worst kind of neighbor because he like, finishes all his projects and like, it looks good. [00:35:03] Speaker A: He's making you look bad, Jason. [00:35:05] Speaker B: Oh, it's not, it's not hard to do that. So we, you know, measure those things. So part of the book is actually, I really hope couples and families read this together. Like, let's be realistic. And then we go through and we rate the many different enterprises that you can, that you can do, and we don't rate them on like income. Right. If you, if you're doing, if you're running spreadsheets on how you're going to make money from rabbits in the backyard, like, feels that easy, a lot of people would be doing it. You know, it's just, it's very unlikely that you're going to go from zero to making an income. And that's not. We're proposing first the homestead. Although Tommy, my co author, is a full time farm, he's a beekeeper full time. So we have kind of me who's a sideline supplementer, as we call him, and then he's full time. But we go through and we rate them based on time requirements, startup expense, family friendliness. Right. For example, if you want to grow a lot of food, get a milk cow. But you also are not going to do two week vacations if you have to milk a cow every day. So cash value. And by cash value, we don't mean what you can sell it for. Meaning does that save your family money? So potatoes are a lot of work, but they're also really cheap at the grocery store. So maybe you could focus on something that's would actually save you more money, giving you the less dependency on money. Learning curve. Do you think you can do this? So just how long does it take to actually do something? So, for example, beekeeping. Yeah, you can do that in your backyard in a little box. But the learning curve might be bigger than you think. You get a couple good years and your beehive leads you acreage requirement. So do you have a backyard or do you have land seasonal variants like Tommy, for example, has. He's the beekeeper. They like, they're the season when the bees are going or the honey is harvesting versus winter time when they're just sitting around doing nothing. Compared to my family, we're a dairy family. So our life like, never changes. We're like a monastic, like, milk them in the morning, milk and milk and milk, milk and milk them. Production expense, harvest requirement and bartering value. So. And then you, you saw, you saw in there, you held up. We do ask you put yourself in one of these boxes on what's actually reasonable, and then these are some things that you could reasonably do. So hopefully that'll help. If that all sounds like just another how to, I would just say we've looked, we've looking at this with a catholic lens, as a catholic economic lens, meaning that the family being the center of the economy and the purpose of it being the flourishing of the family, this might not be income. And you have to discern things like if you're really into soccer or you really want your kids to be a semi pro hockey player, then you probably shouldn't live outside of town and maybe just have a backyard garden or maybe a beehive. So we make lots of allowance for that variation and we try not to, don't create in your head an ideal that's unrealistic and you're going to fail at because there's too much to. Now, if you're a retired hobby farmer and there's not a lot of risk in you trying these things out, that's another story. But we're writing mostly for young families, or families for whom a change in their life in this kind of way proposes some risks, therefore requires real discernment and prudence. [00:38:19] Speaker A: Yeah, I like, you know, I like how my wife did it because, you know, like most women, as opposed to men, she didn't like, have grandiose plans to like, you know, change everything overnight. And, you know, all that. She just planted a garden, little vegetable garden that was probably, I mean, it was tiny. It we I camera what she planned for. And this was like maybe six or seven years ago. And every year we would add to it. She'd be like, okay, let's. In the fall, we put a tarp down to kill, you know, to. And put some fertilizer to kill the grass and all that stuff, and then we just add to it. And now she has a garden that is a hundred feet long by like 20ft wide or something like that. And she plants a whole bunch of stuff there. I can't even keep track. Everything she plants. But never every year it was just a little bit more. In fact, we didn't add to it this past winter because she said, you know, I think that's kind of the max I don't think I can. I don't think I can manage something bigger, bigger than that. But. So there was never this big jump, and I thought that was very wise of her to do that because it was like. And, you know, I'm involved in it, so I'm like, I create the fencing around it and, you know, stuff like that, which I'm slightly, barely competent to do, but I can. [00:39:27] Speaker B: I'm sorry, I've got a. I've got a challenge. Your theology here. You. You build the fence. You don't create the fence, but keep. Keep going there. Very good. [00:39:36] Speaker A: Very good. [00:39:37] Speaker B: Exactly. [00:39:38] Speaker A: So I created out of nothing. I said, let there be a fence. And there was. [00:39:43] Speaker B: But that's how we actually. Yeah, that's how we think. We're gonna start a homestead. We're just gonna. Where. We're just gonna will ourselves into a completely different way of life that took previous generations centuries to cultivate and build, and. And we're just gonna go back to it really easily. [00:39:58] Speaker A: It is funny, because even something, and I don't mind, like, I know my man card gets revoked for all this, but, like, even building the fence, like, I screwed up a bunch of times. I had to return to the hardware store and just, like, because I'd never done it in my life, how am I supposed to know how to do it? My dad had never, you know, he never showed me how to do. He might when he was a kid or something, but. So, yeah, so, I mean, I think these are things. But that's what I liked about this. This kind of. These four quadrants you have, because you have, like, the backyard gardener, the homey, the hobby homesteader, the sideline supplementer, and the full time homesteader. And so it kind of just built. And I think we're actually between, like, backyard gardener and hobby homesteader. Actually, I was kind of saying, okay, where are we on this? Ten years ago, we weren't even at backyard gardener, so. And I think that's another thing is, like, just over time. I really liked your point about don't look at his income, because I think that's what people do. They're trying to replace their income. And frankly, that's just hard to do. I mean, if you have an it job, for example, you're making, you know, decent money, you're not going to do that. Um, just milking some cows. I mean. [00:41:05] Speaker B: Well, I'll give you some anecdotal things with that, too. I mean, there's kind of a saying, like, I write down, so an 8th of a mile from me as a, as a vegetable farm, a vegetable gardener, market gardener. So that's, you know, your local vegetable supplier for farmers markets and local stores. So he's a full time farmer. And, you know, the thing that they'll say is, well, if you want a homestead, don't start a market garden, right? Because that becomes an income in a job. And Tommy actually had to really change his bee business. So he was a full time farmer with bees, but he had to basically get in, get out of the retailing, which is going to be in store, because that's the highest value. Because when we both started, we're like, how can we get the highest value for the product? So, well, of course it's retail. I got to be at the farmers market getting max value. So he actually had to go into wholesale beekeeping, which was more kind of bigger scale. Maybe not as small and boutique and quaint, but that allowed him to be homesteading more. So he had to scale back farming. And in my case, we, so we've been dairying since 2012. We've always had a dairy cow, and I don't recommend it for everyone, but it really is a wonderful, it's a culturally dominant reality of our family that we're a dairy family. And it doesn't matter if you have one milk cow or a thousand people who have a milk cow, know what that means. And so we naturally, I kept wanting to capitalize on this potential income. So we had a very pretty successful yogurt business on the side where we were getting Max value for these little twelve ounce yogurts that we were selling to coffee shops. I mean, like, oh, man, we're just in it. But it wasn't free profit, you know, and the work it took to get the bottle and the labels and the regulation and the grade a certification and the inspections, and me getting up at 430 to make it to a farmers market while I had a full time job. All of a sudden it, our farming was ruining our homesteading. And when I started to think about the milk cows in a true economic meaning, household management, what is it actually providing for our home and stop trying to make an income from it. I actually think I'm, quote unquote, coming out better money wise, because I'm making sure that nothing gets lost from the, I'm able to just focus on the art of the dairy and that, and that, I mean, that means manure and managing the herd better and maximizing our own. There was a ton of dairy products we were buying because we were selling most of our milk as yogurt. So what am I doing? And then also, I've started to use my milk a lot more. Bartering with my neighbors, which sounds romantic and quaint and silly, but it's really practical that. I mean, one, my butcher and I have worked out, he butchers my animals, and. And I give him milk. And I have another neighbor. I give him some of the meat from the butcher animals, and he gives me eggs. I know it sounds funny. We don't have enough eggs for our family, but we have a lot of kids. So I guess. Yeah. My point is, it's actually so many people begin with the money, now the money. I'm not saying be romantic and impractical. I'm just saying, actually, if you really focus on being good, like your wife, like you guys are doing great homesteAding, like, you should write a book that just starting simply with a simple backyard garden is just. We are not proposing a radical change now. We are proposing that it would be better for our country, our church, if more people did take a more. Because I don't know how far you into it, but we propose sort of aquinas vision of economics and the purpose of economics being for household management. If more of us were directly producing for the sake of our home, that is good for the country. But we're also not trying to guilt someone who has followed the proposed path of suburbanization, college degree, and, like, moved away from the parent. Like everything you just described, that was, in a sense, there's a reason people do that. Right? There's a lot of good to it. It's not as if everyone was rounded up in concentration camps and we're liberating them to the island and chicken run. Right. That's not what we're proposing, but more people can do it. But a lot of people could do a lot more than they are doing. And if they stop focusing on how can I make money in my backyard and rather perfect the art and the enjoyment of it, you'll find it is economically valuable. It just doesn't make money. [00:45:37] Speaker A: I think that's. That's a. I think that's a great. That's a really good point, because I know, like myself, but in others, you start crunching numbers, looking at spreadsheets and stuff like that, and that's actually ends up, like you said, it usually ends up doing the failure. I want to wrap it up here, but I want to return to kind of the theoretical, like the higher level. And that is the title of the book, is the liturgy of the land. And so the question is, what do you mean when you say the liturgy of the land? Because obviously as Catholics, we hear that term and we think of going to mass, maybe we think of the divine office or something like that. But you're talking about the liturgy of the land. So how do you tie that all together to say that? I mean, it sounds like you're saying homesteading is like a liturgical act in a certain sense. [00:46:23] Speaker B: Yeah. We are at the beginning of the book, we quote St. Augustine, who he's trying to describe to, I believe, like a pagan, somebody he's writing this letter to. He's trying to describe christian worship. And one of the words he almost uses is cultists. Right? And like, where we get the word culture from and he actually decides not to use it. And the reason he says is that it fits, because cultists refers, can refer to like looking up to the heavens and worship. But the problem is it can also refer to farming, like agricola, agriculture. And therefore, let's not use that word. Now, he was talking specifically of the mass, of the divine liturgy of the church. But that really does fit with sort of the normal act of man is that amongst creatures, we are the only ones that our work is always sanctified. Right. It's always holy. There is no. Because work is a. Is fulfilling a commandment of God. Work is good. God, as our Lord says, God is at work. Right. Jesus wants to be about my father's business. Like, work is good. It's always holy and always connected to God, or it ought to be. And that the man, you know, the beasts, they have their hands on the, you know, their paws on the earth all the time. Right? But their mind is not in heaven. Right. And the angels, their mind is in heaven, but they have no body to put their hands in the earth with, right. It's only us that can have our hands in the soil and our mind and our heart in heaven at the same time. And there is a work and a holiness and a liturgy that occurs when we're connected with that land directly. I mean, there is an unavoidable connection with the sacraments which require the goods and the cultivation of the earth and man. I mean, there is a connection between our feasting and our fasting, being matters of food, primarily, right there. So the. And this is part of that. This is sort of the natural and baseline occupation of man is the work of the land. And that God himself teaches us through the land and rewards us through the land. And the abundance and the fruitfulness, the fertility of the land. So it's very much is a liturgy. I mean, it is our work, and it has its own rhythms and cycles, which as most people know from reading. But you learn it more by experience that the liturgy and the rhythm of the church's liturgy and the seasonal reality of the earth are. They go hand in hand beautifully. So this liturgy that belongs to us in the working, that just as the liturgy of the church is a work for God, the work of the people for God, and that we are formed by it, so, too, the liturgy and the working of the land is also for unto God, and we learn from it. [00:49:15] Speaker A: Yeah, I think that's a good way to put it, is that we know as Catholics, we go to the liturgy and we do something. You know, we're there, we're praying, whatever the case may be. But really what's happening is we're being formed by our actions. [00:49:29] Speaker B: By our actions. [00:49:30] Speaker A: Because the liturgy changes in Lex Credendi, Lexar Indi. You know, that we were changed by it. And what you're saying is working on the land. I mean, technically, you could say any work you do, forms you. [00:49:40] Speaker B: I mean. [00:49:40] Speaker A: I mean, for good or ill. I mean, working at computer all day. [00:49:44] Speaker B: Every day, that's going to do something. Yes, it's doing something. [00:49:48] Speaker A: It is forming you, but working on the land is forming you in a much more natural state of kind of how we were created. Like you said, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden. And so that's what makes it, like, really a liturgy. So. Okay, well, so the book is liturgy of the land, and it's from tan books. I will put a link to it so people can purchase. Can ebay. Is there anything else you want people to know about other than the book? Like they can find out more information or anything? [00:50:16] Speaker B: Absolutely. I mean, if they're related, this kind of stuff. I have a magazine that you mentioned is the sword and spade.com, but related to homesteading and the liturgy of the land. You can go to the liturgy of the land.com and you can purchase the book there. But you can all. If you purchase it there, that'll help. We'll be able to alert you. We're going to have a conference in December for families, and it's going to be, you know, I know there's a number of different conferences, you know, Mother Earth News and Catholic. They're really good. Ours. We're really trying to focus on this. I think what you and I have been discussing, this discernment, you know, why should you do it? It's pretty easy to, yeah, we should all just live on the land. But how and what's realistic for you and your family? We're going to have a lot of experienced homesteaders and full time farmers there to get the kind of mentoring and reality check that you need and gather around the idea. That's great. But actually make it a very serious matter of discernment. [00:51:15] Speaker A: So it's liturgyoftheland.com. [00:51:17] Speaker B: Yep. [00:51:18] Speaker A: Okay. I'll put a link to that as well. So people can go that and they can get, and so they'll be able to then find out when the conference kind of gets scaled, scheduled and all the info, how to register and things like that. [00:51:27] Speaker B: That's it. Perfect. [00:51:28] Speaker A: Well, thank you, Jason. I really do appreciate you being on the program. [00:51:31] Speaker B: Thanks, Eric. I appreciate it. Okay. [00:51:33] Speaker A: Until next time, everybody. God love.

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