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What is Homesteading?

Updated on June 15, 2009

Have you heard the term "homesteading" lately? It seems to be becoming more and more popular. Webster's dictionary defines homestead as "a tract of land acquired from the United States public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract." Think Laura Ingalls time and how her family homesteaded the prairies of South Dakota. Homesteading back then was a family living on the land and being pretty much self sufficient. In Laura Ingalls case they were given the land by the government for free, but they had to live on it a certain amount of time each year and grow a certain amount of food on it.

Homesteading has changed over the years, but more and more I see a push for the old ways. People are striving to become more self sufficient. Either they are moving back to the country, buying land and growing and raising as much of their own food as possible, or they are turning their city lot into an urban homestead. Urban or suburban homesteading is becoming more popular all the time, and honestly I long for my own homestead.

To me homesteading is relying on yourself as much as possible, growing your own food, raising your own animals (if you can) and doing things in the old fashioned way. Many of these things are very frugal. Not only will doing these things yourself help you to save money, there is great satisfaction in raising or growing your own food and preserving it to see you through the winter. Chopping your own wood for the fire, sewing a quilt for your bed, hanging your laundry on the line, canning jam or tomatoes, raising some hens and gathering eggs, eating a meal where everything comes from your land, and many more things all mean homesteading to me.

A century or two ago people had to be mostly self sufficient. Now it might not be a necessity anymore, but people still want to do it. There is even free land still being offered in the United States for homesteaders. Probably not where you want to live, but it is there. There is a movement in the US to get back to the land. People want to homestead again. Me included. Our garden gets bigger every year and I can't wait to raise our own meat chickens. We are looking into getting a wood stove and I want to tap our trees for maple syrup. Life is good on the homestead.


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    • RiaMorrison profile image

      Ria Bridges 8 years ago from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

      Homesteading is something I've been interested in for a while. My roommate and I have a plan to buy a small plot of land out in the country someday and live on it. Have a garden for vegetables, some fruit trees, maybe some dairy animals (I don't think either of us could stand raising animals for meat, really), and live in the great outdoors, away from city life.

      And until then, I do my best to live frugally in the city and to make the most of what I have. I may not be growing many vegetables on my porch, but I'm taking steps toward frugal living, and that's a good start, I figure. :)

    • mayhmong profile image

      mayhmong 8 years ago from North Carolina

      I would'nt mind living a homesteading life, as long as I have help!

    • Smart Dad profile image

      Smart Dad 8 years ago from Northampton

      Love the Hub,

      Living the life you love .. loving the life you life

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I think a lot of peple long for that kind of life - me included - but it is hard. On the other hand, it sounds so rewarding and you get to be outside a lot. We'd all be healthier too! I wonder where that free land is.