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Imagine… As you wake up in the morning, you open your eyes and find yourself in your beloved homestead surrounded by sun light and lush greenery. You take a deep breath of sweet clean air and leisurely stretch in your comfortable bed made from organic and healthy materials listening to happy chirping of the birds nearby. You grab your big towel and walk outside barefoot on the green carpet of your lawn covered with clover, thyme, and other aromatic plants lining the path to your natural swimming pool.
You gently and gratefully brush your hand through the special aquatic plants growing at the edge of your pool that attract beneficial microorganisms at their roots, continuously cleaning the water in the pool. You say hi to a cute little frog sitting on a leaf of a blooming water lily before jumping in the pristine water and swimming a few laps.
Wrapped in your big towel, you walk by your berry bushes and eat a few handfuls of berries, herbs, seeds, and tender greens that look good to you at this moment. The busy bees and butterflies are already hovering over your butterfly bush and bee balm flowers nearby. You look at the bee hive in your orchard remembering how great the honey tastes in the winter, especially with a few flowers and herbs mixed in. Your kids are up by this time and running to you to have fresh breakfast in the garden. The bunny and a couple of squirrels hurry away spooked by the noise. On the way back to the house, your older kid climbs up the tree that your semi-domesticated quails chose for their nesting and picks up a few eggs leaving the rest for the bird families to raise. Your other kid helps you pick a few ripe vegetables for lunch and dinner in your permaculture patch.
The solar oven in your outdoor kitchen has already warmed up in the morning sun. While your kids get ready for school, you rinse the picked veggies, chop and season them before tossing into your solar oven for cooking. You add a separate pot with water and bags full of fresh herbs to brew some delicious tea. Your solar oven setup works on the overcast days too with electric heating elements for backup.
After a quick change, you call on your dogs and go for a jog in your own mini forest at the edge of the homestead. The healthy look of it reminds you how happy you were a few years back when you planted the tree seedlings – about 7-8 of them for each family member – enough to produce all the oxygen they would use during the year.
The slight down slope on the path to the garden area employs the natural gravity to help the rainwater and grey water from your house slowly trickle through the sand, compost, and other organic matter that contains the microorganisms purifying the water before it reaches the fruit trees in the orchard down the stream.
All your composting toilets use very little water – just enough to sustain the composting action. The disinfecting compounds in the pine shavings or pressed pellets used for flushing in these toilets provide additional safeguards for neutralizing any odors and pathogens. The final fully composted earthy material is then completely safe for moving and spreading around. For extra precaution, you take this earthy compost to the mini forest and away from the edibles in the garden and fruit orchard. You are glad that you have to do this only once a year!
The size of your solar panels over the roof of your shed and garage has been carefully calculated to produce as much electricity as you need for your homestead. You walk back to your office, connect your computer to the internet and immerse yourself into your work project for a few hours.
When the lunch time approaches, you take your veggies out of the solar oven and go to your cold pantry a few steps down the ground level to fetch some cool drinks and sauerkraut that you made from the cabbage crop earlier in the season. Several crock pots and barrels neatly line up the lower shelf of the cold pantry. Majority of them are filled with fermenting veggies almost all the time – depending on what is ripening in a particular season. You also make your own yogurt and kefir with the milk from your neighbors. The cool temperature in this pantry slows down the fermentation process but is still warm enough to allow it to keep going without spoiling for several months and sometimes years. The labels on the barrels, pots, and jars indicate the ingredients and dates when you started the fermentation or did the canning. You store your fresh produce and many other “refrigerator” type foods in this pantry as well and use electricity mostly for your freezer.
Your house further saves energy on heating and cooling with geothermal and climate adaptive designs that hold indoor air cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter – with the help of a special roof design and circulating of the indoor air through underground pipes where the temperature fluctuates only slightly around 55°F throughout the year.
You are able to compost a lot of your homestead waste directly on your land because you purchase organic and earth-friendly materials that are easy to recycle. Your plastic and toxic waste collections depend on the projects you are doing but rarely exceed the capacity of your 5-gallon trash can that you deliver to the town waste center every other month or less.
After your afternoon project session and dinner, you and your family again dress in your comfortable workout clothes and walk over to your subdivision’s club house for a meeting with your neighbors. You are assigned to bring an apple cider from your pantry that you made from your apples in the garden and serve it at the meeting and after.
Your town hall gatherings rotate the presiding leader every time, allowing each member of the community to be a homeowner association president for that day and then appoint another neighbor to this position for the next upcoming meeting. This is not a burden for you since most of the neighbors are happy to volunteer for various community projects and engage their kids to help. Today the town hall has a few representatives from neighboring subdivisions to discuss a project on the other side of the community lake.
The most fun part of the evening begins right after the town hall. Your children are already on the playground with other kids, some parents join them for a game of soccer, basketball, or tennis. Some go fishing on the community lake. Several couples can’t wait to start their dance, music, and art classes, and some gather as a group for a mindful yoga meditation.
Mosquitos and other pesky bugs that always bothered you in other areas where you lived, mysteriously disappear in your subdivision. You guess this is because the pools and lakes are completely organic and support a lot of critters that are feeding on the mosquito larvae and don’t let them multiply – so nicely presented in this experiment by David Pagan Butler in a short video.
At the sunset, the families leave for their homesteads and share with each other their experiences during the day and intentions for tomorrow on the way home…
P.S.: Do you see anything missing in this image of a sustainable homestead that could be easily added? Or, would like to make a sketch/paint a picture of it? Please feel free to leave a comment below or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a completely different vision, please consider submitting a Contest entry and listing the Vision category on it.