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What is Homesteading
When you hear the word homesteading, you might imagine the original pioneers in the 1800's or earlier making their mark on the new land. Well, that is true. But we are in a new century and that term has taken on a different meaning over the last few decades.
Beginning in the late fifties and early sixties a move toward a simplier life led many to abandon the city life and get back to their roots. Many people jumped all in. They sold all they had, bought some property, either built a home or fixed up the one on the land, and tried to work the land. This worked for many people and for some who were not prepared for the reality of it it did not.
Today, some people are still following that model of homestead which includes your own garden, plowing the land for crops, raising bees, maybe even going off the grid totally and living with no electricity. For others that desire that simplier life, that might be too much. So, on the other end of the homesteading spectrum are the urban homesteaders. They are the ones still living in the city and still managing to touch base with the simple life. They are managing to raising small gardens, make their own cleaning solutions, and washing clothes by hand.
No matter where you live, a version of homesteading could work for you.
So Why Homestead?
Why would anyone want to homestead?
There are a multitude of reasons for this.
- Economical hardship
- Desire to get out of the rat race
- Go really green
- Prepare for worse times
- Love to make things with your hands
- Better environment for children
- Looking for more out of life.
Because of the various reasons a homesteader could give you, you never can tell what could be calling you.
The homesteader out there could be classified as follows:
- All Out Homesteader - these have decided to forsake all modern conviencies and go off the grid - very much like the Amish
- Mostly Homesteader - I see these as more like my parents were - farmers trying to earn a living off the land and making do with as little as they can.
- Sort of Homesteader - Those that periodically take a stab at it thinking that next will be easier.
- Gradual Homesteader - Or the Beginner Homesteader - this is us. We are going about it gradually. Might not end up as an "All Out" one, but we want to see what we can do and do it slowly.
Homesteading has several benefits:
- Going green - many feel like this is the only way to really go green and help the environment.
- Home grown Values - if you have children, maybe homeschooling and raising them on a homestead instills strong values.
- Money - not making money exactly, but saving money - so many thing we can do the old-fashioned way to save that hard-earned cash.
- Money - ok, maybe to make money - make your products and sell them.
- Fun - a few of us nuts think that this kind of thing is fun.
How can You Homestead?
To answer that question, depends a little on where you live. You can jump in with both feet or do it gradually as you understand it.
Here are some ideas of what you can do:
- Grow your own vegetables - you can do that about anywhere even on a patio. Don't let that be an excuse.
- Wash you clothes by hand - doesn't cost much and can make you feel good to see those clean clothes flapping in the breeze.
- Use hurricane lamps - keep the electricity turned off and use those lamps - it is much cheaper and gives a relaxing feel to any room.
- Take up beekeeping - if you do enough research, this can be a lucrative pasttime - if you are not allergic (which means I will never do it).
- Making your own soaps -another fun hobby that gives you an artistic outlet while supplying a need to your family.
- Making your own cleaning supplies - better for the environment and your pocket.
- Raise chickens - many homesteaders do this even in the city!!!!! Check your local laws regarding this.
- Grow and use your own natural remedies - where do you think that the original meds came from? Scientists now are seeing value in those old foolish remedies.
- Raise goats/sheep - you get your own milk, make some cheese, and keep your lawn mowed. What more could you ask for.
- Spinning - take your fibers from your livestock and spin some yarn. This can go for high prices.
- Angora rabbits - easy to raise and the fur off of them is the softest thing I've ever felt.
- Worms - yes, worms. Worms eat your garbage (ok, the non-proten organic garbage) and give you a present back in vermipost. Give them your coffee grinds, egg shells, yard waste, newspapers and they give you some of the best nutrients for your garden. And you get to go fishing totally free once in a while.
- Cook on a wood stove - nothing says getting back to the pioneer days than cooking on a wood stove. People are doing it. It is not just a legend.