What the heck is homesteading?

I’m sure some of you are wondering “What the heck is homesteading?”  Homesteading USED to refer to a piece of free or cheap land granted to an individual or family to work and farm.  That land would provide for that family almost entirely because store bought good were rare and expensive in areas where homestead plots were granted.  Wikipedia defines homesteading 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.”

Modern homesteading looks very different than the old days.  Now farms are smaller, and people are using the term to reference any attempt to live less dependent on store bought food, government utilities, and other commercial goods.  City people with a patio full of container garden plants are embracing the homestead spirit.   Suburban families are turning 2 acre yards into mini-farms where they raise small animals and big gardens.  Country families are running hobby farms and exploring solar energy and milking cows.    A lot of people don’t realize that the current trendy movement of backyard gardens and chickens was encouraged by the government during World War II as a way ease the demand on the national food supply and increase morale through “Victory Gardens”!  

For me homesteading means that we work to raise as much of our food as we can, we use what we have on hand before we buy new, we handle as many repairs and projects as we can ourselves, we make money through selling items we grow or raise, and we live in a thrifty way to make our dollars stretch as far as they can.  I’m working on embracing the homesteading mentality and dragging my reluctant husband along for the ride.  I am appreciating the skills I learned as a youth watching my Grandma more and more.  I wish I would have paid more attention as she was canning!  I picked up a lot of DIY skills from watching my dad and working on projects with him.  Thank goodness for YouTube, too.  Nothing strikes fear into my husband’s heart quite as fast as seeing me gathering tools for project and hearing “It’s ok honey, I watched a YouTube video!”.  Our new home and property has been a treasure trove of items to re-use or upcycle.  Keep an eye out for a post about my finds that led to building raised garden beds for free!
Leave a comment below and tell me what homesteading looks like for you!  

*photo credit to http://www.nationalww2museum.org


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