"The Covered Wagon of the Great Western Migration. 1886 in Loup Valley, Nebr." A family poses with the wagon in which they live and travel daily during their pursuit of a homestead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So what is homesteading? Without looking up the formal definition, I feel that homesteading incorporates many aspects. These include self-sufficiency, food production, preparedness, self-reliance, knowledge…
From Wikipedia: Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of simple self-sufficiency. The term may apply to anyone who follows the back-to-the-land movement by adopting a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle.
It seems to me that people who are defined as homesteaders tend to have some common traits.
Self-Sufficient: The first is the desire to live as self-sufficient as possible. Notice I did not state that they are independent, for in my experience homesteaders tend to have a very intricate network of similar minded friends and family.
Nutrition: The second trend is that they place an importance on nutrition. It seems that one of the main reasons that people begin down the path of homesteading is to provide healthy food for their families.
Environmentally Friendly: A third trait may be that of environmental awareness. Do not confuse this with being a tree-hugger or avid environmentalist, just simply that homesteaders tend to respect their land. At least the homesteaders that I have dealt with have a focus on taking care of their land by composting, cultivation, seed saving, and other friendly practices.
Family Focused: Homesteaders tend to have a tight knit family. Many forgo the modern day trends of television and the like to keep life simply and unconstrained. Also the lack of cable also provides a chane to save money. Many tight knit homesteaders homeschool their children. We also give our children “real chores” like feeding the animals. This goes above and beyond the common city chores of cleaning your room and doing the dishes. Animals are reliant upon us to take care of them. Lack of responsibility and provision results in lack of production and ultimately death (If care is extremely poor).
Organic: Some tend to be organically focused. This is may simply tie in to the nutrition thing as stated above. The concern about the overuse of chemical agents and insecticides tend to be a common theme that I have noted.
Conservation: A lot of homesteaders end up as conservationists, perhaps unintentionally. By this I mean that homesteaders will save seeds, preserving may heirloom and non hybrid types of vegetables. Also the focus on dual purpose cattle in some instances also furthers the preservation of heritage breeds (something we like!)
Disaster Preparedness: Homesteaders will tend to be preppers. This means that they are prepared for potential disasters on some level or another. This may be from canning, quilting, storage, seed saving, as well as many other facets involved in homesteading.
Connected: As I stated above, homesteaders tend to be connected to one another. There are networks that are established, as no one person or family can go it alone for every vital need. Blogs like this also function within that network. We have a network locally of about 6 families, which extends very loosely to perhaps dozens of acquaintances of one form or another.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Amish: This is just a funny, though the Amish are practically homesteaders by tradition. They may, in fact, be the ultimate homesteaders. I say it is a funny, as many of us joke and get teased about being Amish. It is a joke made with the utmost of respect.
Learners: It seems to me that those I have associated with are constantly wanting to learn. Whether it be skills or simply practical knowledge, I note the extreme desire to learn and the craving of knowledge.
Christian? This may be controversial, but I think that many a homesteader tends to have a deep faith in God. So whether that be Christian or not, I do not know, but it sure seems to me that God is a thread that runs deep within many homesteaders. We like to live a little outside of the trends of society.
To sum it up, Homesteading is an intricate plan to:
- provide for your family,
- prepare for the future,
- conserve the land that has been granted,
- preserve genetic of both animals and plants,
- live off the land, share knowledge and wisdom,
- and to raise a family that is focused on family and thrive.
Please share your thoughts below and perhaps even your definition of homesteading.
(I will note the website below as an inspiration for this posting, though I did not follow it to a tee.)