Saturday, January 29, 2011


Community was a concept we were very interested in when we first moved to the farm. I thought when we first moved here we would get a visit from the area "welcome wagon" and maybe someone would stop by with some banana bread or some other treat, shake our hands and introduce themselves.
Um yeah, that didn't happen. Not to say we didn't have support, my family is the most supportive group you can imagine, and there are so many of them nearby, that maybe folks just figured out who we were through the rural grapevine and didn't feel the need to know more. Regardless, before too long our theory that we were pretty much out here on our own, (socially, politically, culturally) felt pretty well confirmed. (in all fairness, we didn't go out of our way to introduce ourselves to many of the neighbors either, figuring that local grapevine had already taken care of it.) There were a couple of exceptions here (thank you Ruth family!), but not too many.

It took a couple of years really, to start meeting some slightly more distant neighbors who were a little more like us. Doing more alternative agriculture ventures and conversant on subjects that we were excited by. This was promising! We have learned to stretch our physical concept of community to include not only the people with whom we share a mail carrier, but to all edges of the state and beyond to anywhere the internet can connect us with other like-minded folks.

Enter the Blogosphere! Through writing this blog and following the blogs of so many exceptional people we have become connected in a very real way to people whom we might never meet in the corporeal sense, but who undoubtedly know us better than many of our neighbors. We have learned new methods of gardening, cooking, animal husbandry, fiber processing, beekeeping and I could go on and on and on. It is so very exciting, and yet it has become so ingrained in our daily lives that we have started to take it for granted. (until the power goes off or it snows hard, since we are on satellite internet).

I was just reminded of this wonderful phenomenon by my amazing friend Cathy who did an interview for a local magazine on just this subject. You can read the story here. And thank you again, Cathy for including us in your list : )
The networking that occurs through these online communities is simply amazing. How all of these connections are made between this crazy electronic maze of people from all demographic genres is really rather mind-boggling. I think it was best summed up by our dear friend Malinda who said (in absolutely the most positive way possible), "Freaks Flock." And so we do!


Teresa said...

So true. I don't know a lot of my neighbors well even though I've lived here most of my life. I'm sure they think I'm weird with my goats and idea of sustainable agriculture. I've loved meeting people through blogging that don't think I'm a freak.

Stephanie said...

Your farm has been a matter of constant inspiration for my family, I just wanted to let you know. We visited your farm on the farm crawl this past fall. We attended the Healthy Living Expo yesterday in Des Moines and your name was mentioned so here I am! Can't wait to read more about your experiences!

BlueGate said...

Stephanie, thank you for the very kind words. It is always fun to hear the people we "meet" have been to the farm and enjoyed their time here. Thanks for introducing yourself and we look forward to chatting with you in the future.

Zev said...

Haha, I would never have thought of it as "freaks flocking" but that's such a great description! Glad you are finding community. I keep wondering if there is some kind of homesteading organization where like-minded people could, say, meet once a month to exchange recipes. Maybe we should start one!

Granny Sue said...

True words. I love my neighbors but don't have a great deal in common with them other than living in the same area. I'm sure they consider me a freak! which is useful on occasion as it probably excuses some things I do :) My online community is my go-to group, and has been since 1996 when I found the storytellers online, and then years later the blog world. Like your blog--love visiting here and catching up!