I Am Not Homesteading


DawnThe verb “homesteading” leads us to conjure up images of roosters crowing, the smell of freshly cut hay, jewel toned mason jars lining shelves stocked for winter, fresh juicy fruits dangling from a front yard orchard tree, and of course the quintessential porch adorned with rocking chairs to sit back and enjoy the country life.

Though this may be the ideal that we have in our minds, possibly crafted from one too many country lifestyle periodicals, homesteading can actually look quite different indeed. According to Wikipedia, Homesteading is defined as:

“A lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.”

Far too many of us have a desire to homestead. However, lacking the rolling hundred acres that we have ideally tucked into our minds, we observe others and discount our own self-sustaining efforts. Let me suggest that anyone can homestead, or at least begin that journey. If you live on a smallish plot, in a more suburban area, on a few acres or as first generation farmers jumping in head first to the lifestyle of our ancestors, you can be a homesteader.

I actually began this journey about 15 years ago when I planted my first garden, in my first home. The string of years that followed caught me learning the skills of bread making, home canning, sewing, seed saving, dehydrating, and from scratch cooking. I still didn't consider myself a homesteader. We had expanded from a 900 square foot home on a tiny little lot, to a larger home on exactly 0.64 of an acre. I still didn't consider that I was on the road to homesteading; after all, we had no livestock, no rolling acres and no front porch rocker.

Fast forward a few more years and we were able to move out a little ways. Our small farm is just shy of 6 acres. Though I was aching for those rolling pastures, we purchased what was in our budget. That homesteading ideal was still eluding me, I wasn't feeling self-sufficient. Though cooking most everything from scratch by this point, I had shelves of those jewel toned morsels in mason jars waiting for winter. I had learned the art of saving heirloom seeds and growing a garden from seeds instead of nursery plants. I could identify and use a number of easily procured medicinal herbs and weeds. I could make most anything I needed, including laundry soap. I finally got some livestock in the way of chickens and turkeys, but I still felt vastly inadequate when I looked around at what others were doing.

4/11/2016 10:53:27 PM

Nebraska Dave, As always thank you for not only taking the time to read my ramblings but also to comment. You are so right, it is a state of mind, I am committing to own it! Keep up your homesteading adventures too, the mindset is what keeps us experimenting.

4/11/2016 6:27:07 PM

Dawn, you have just described a state of mind. Homesteading is not about how many acres or how many animals are living in the barnyard. It's about the frame of mind. I have only wild animals at my vacant lot garden area that's located in the heart of the inner city. I have always loved farming since a child but just never was in a position to have one. Now I am a self proclaimed urban farmer. I may not have tractors or grain storage bins but in my heart I am a farmer and use the soil to produce a crop. I'm not much into storage and usually give most of it away. I look forward to hear more about your homestead experiences. ***** Have a great day on the homestead.

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