Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Pressure and the Definition of Homesteading

I would like to say thank you to the website Construction Management Degree for including us in their list of the 50 best homesteading blogs. You can see the list here.

I am so flabbergasted that we are being included since I haven't been very diligent in blogging lately. I mentioned the 'press' to Husband and he harrumphed with a "We aren't homesteaders why are they mentioning us?"

I guess we envision 'homesteaders' as people who have carved out a little niche in the big woods, built a log cabin and are living off the land (self sufficient) with no outside influence. But, as I mull over the definition of homesteaders in the era of 2010, I have come to realize that perhaps we are 'modern homesteaders'. This is what we have done:
  • Bought acreage
  • Cleared the land
  • Built our house to be as energy efficient and green as we could afford (and Husband did most of the construction himself)
  • Landscaped and put in flower beds
  • Built gardens - we have three; for vegetables, berries, and crazy growing things (such as mint, rhubarb, horseradish, lovage etc)
  • Built 2 greenhouses
  • We eat very healthy (compared to most of the population) and don't purchase preprocessed foods or eat fast food
  • We can, pickle and preserve food from the garden
  • We have chickens and ducks for eggs (roosters for meat) with extra eggs being sold
  • We try to recycle what we can and compost
  • I like to try doing different things and learning new skills as I am always afraid of what could happen in the future and want to be able to self sufficient if ever needed
  • There are no free rides in our household and the kids pitch in with chores and also learn to do things on their own
  • Husband (and now son) hunt

So does that make us homesteaders? I think we still live an affluent lifestyle, but I know our friends and work colleagues don't quite understand our lifestyle as they have no focus on food/gardening, butchering, animals etc. To me, I can't understand that how a person can have no idea about where food comes from, or anything about the natural world. In fact the other day I had a lady ask me what a dandelion was! "Is that the yellow flower that grows on my lawn?" Now that I find frightening!

So what do you think? What is your definition of homesteading?


Everett said...

I asked a very similar question on one of my blogs awhile back and got a tremendous response. Apparently "living off the grid" means as many things to as many different people as homesteading does:

For me, a self-proclaimed wannabe homesteader, the word "homesteading" means something different in this day and age than it did back when it meant getting free land in remote areas for settling on it. It means just trying to do as much as you can for yourself, especially when it comes to the three necessities in life (if you didn't count friendship/love, which I do) and those would be: Food, Shelter and Clothing.

Food is simply about growing or raising your own, as well as growing the food that the animals you raise will eat.

Clothing is about making your own clothes, bargain shopping at thrift stores, repairing clothes when they get ripped/torn, and not being a slave to fashion. But I wouldn't expect anyone today to make their own clothing from start to finish, including raising the sheep or picking the cotton, carding the wood, spinning, knitting, etc... although some people do this for part of their wardrobes (I've yet to wear knitted pants).

Housing is a little more difficult for me. I don't come from the type of background (I worked in a cubicle) that would facilitate the knowledge and skill necessary to build my own house. But I do know how to work hard and get dirty, so we bought an old farm house and have been doing all of the unskilled labor ourselves. To me the "shelter" thing just means paying off your house ASAP and living mortgage free.

If we don't have a mortgage, grow all of our own food and cloth ourselves on the cheap - how much money do we REALLY need to survive? That is what homesteading is for me.

Chris_Ian-Banz said...

And then living them, making a real and concrete difference in the ways that we value, that matter to us.

lifestyle definition