This seems to be the new buzzword going around lately, so you may be wondering, “What is homesteading?” Let’s talk about what modern homesteading is.
The dictionary says the definition of homesteading is life as a settler on a homestead. Let’s do a quick history lesson. During the civil war, the U.S. government passed the homestead act. An adult citizen could claim 160 acres of federal land, as long as they lived on the land and improved it. Fast forward to today, the modern-day homesteader is a bit different.
What is Homesteading?
While modern day homesteaders have the same type of spirit inside of them as the US citizens looking to get their own property using that old homestead law, we are living a different homesteading lifestyle these days. For most of us, this is not a life or death situation, but rather a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. There are so many different types of homesteading.
Today, there are people living in apartments in New York City, full of urban life surrounding them, that are doing what they can to live their version of the homestead lifestyle. That is what’s wonderful about living in this day and age. Homesteading is not an all or nothing thing anymore.
Homesteading is moving away from the rat race of today. It’s learning new skills that are full of hard work full of great rewards. This can be many different things for different people. However, most people would call a modern day homesteader as one who owns a few acres of land in rural areas. They probably grow their own food, preserve that food, possibly homeschool, don’t use the medical system like most folks, have solar power for water and/or electricity, and take care of different types of animals.
Different Ways to be a Homesteader
Let’s look at some skills that homesteader’s work on.
Growing Your Own Food
Taking control of your own food is probably the most common reason most people decide to become a homesteader. Young people are reading labels and seeing all the horrible things being put into our bodies or they are getting sick, being forced to change to eating healthy food. Whatever the reason, having a small garden that provides wholesome local food is one of the best homestead projects.
If you have never had a garden before or are looking to step up your game, it all starts with planning. Check out this post on how to plan a garden for a year’s supply of food.
Growing your own food can be overwhelming, but learning how to start a garden from scratch doesn’t have to be overly complicated. It just takes time and willingness to learn. It can be more difficult when you have a family to take care of. Gardening with kids around can be stressful, but it takes some mindset shifts to realize it is a good thing.
Raising animals for meat is a great way to improve the food you eat. When you raise your own meat, they are raised according to your standards. Usually, this starts with getting your own chickens. To start with getting chickens, figure out what breed of chickens work best for you. Here are the best dual-purpose chickens for a homestead.
Many people call chickens the “gateway animal.” After that, you might move up to goats, sheep, meat cattle, or even your own dairy cow!
What do you do when you have all this wonderful food production going on? It’s time to learn how to preserve the food. This is done many different ways. If you have the freezer space for all your food, great! However, eventually, homesteaders usually move up to learn how to can. Whether that is pressure canning or water bath canning, the home preservation of food can be a never ending experience!
Not all homesteaders are homeschoolers. However, many are. There are different reasons for every family on if they homeschool or not, but many of us take the concept of homesteading and turn it into a way to teach kids that isn’t sitting in a classroom all day. Living on a homestead is full of educational experiences.
Electricity Or Water
While living totally off-grid is a whole concept on it’s own, homesteaders do usually take into account electricity and water. Some have solar panels to get their electricity. Maybe there is no internet connection at your homestead. The ways of using less energy are different for all.
Digging a well or catching rain water are different ways to get water. The problem with water is never knowing how safe it is to drink. Whether you live in urban areas or rurally, a Berkey Water Filter is a great filter to use to ensure you are drinking clean water.
How to Become a Homesteader
In most recent years, many people are looking for self sufficiency. Seeing people fight over toilet paper and not being able to get food has caused people to make wiser choices. That is great because we all need to work together to be the strongest we can be!
In order to become a homesteader, there is no reason to run out and buy some property. Start practicing skills now. Bake some bread. Start a sourdough starter. Grow a garden. If you can’t grow a garden, join a CSA and preserve the food you get from outside sources. Learn to sew your own clothes. Think of anything you might want to learn and just start doing.
How do people make money living on a homestead?
Unfortunately, many homesteaders still have a full-time job outside of homesteading. However, here are some ways to make money homesteading.
What are the disadvantages to homesteading?
This lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. It takes guts. It takes grits. There will be many, many failures. If you have animals, there will be death. There will be days that you just want to give up. However, if you can keep going without giving up, the benefits far outweigh the hard work.
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