The definition of homesteading is a little fuzzy. At least it is to us. We’ve been reading a lot trying to come up with a definition. Mostly so we can decide what this experiment means for us.
Wikipedia says, “Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of simple self-sufficiency. The term self-sufficiency is usually applied to varieties of sustainable living in which nothing is consumed outside of what is produced by the self-sufficient individuals. Examples of attempts at self-sufficiency in North America include simple living, homesteading, off-the-grid, survivalism, DIY ethic and the back-to-the-land movement.”
Modern Homesteading Today defines it as, “Homesteading today means any home that practices the similar skills found on the early day’s homesteads such as growing crops, keeping livestock such as goats, and producing basic furniture and clothing at your home. Possibly you have heard someone describe the way they live as simple or 1″back to basics” and what they are really talking about is homesteading today. What you may think of as the usual homestead tree farm or small family farm is the most frequent usage of the word homesteading today.”
And when I read more, most often I see that this can mean any or all of the following:
1. Keeping Chickens – for meat or for eggs
2. Raising Turkeys
3. Gardening and preservation of the yield
4. Raising Pigs
5. Trying to make a living from your products
6. Smoking Meats
7. Keeping bees for honey
8. Attaining milk from goats
9. Making your own soap
10. Making your own cheese
11. Scratch cooking
12. Living off the grid (i.e. producing your own energy-eek)
13. Building simple furniture for your home
14. Sewing your own clothes, napkins, curtains, etc.
When I look at that list, I start to think we can’t successfully homestead in a suburban environment. After all, I’m pretty sure I can’t have chickens, turkeys, pigs, bees, or goats in my neighborhood. I can already hear what my neighbors would have to say about that! So, how, exactly, do I homestead again? Am I actually just going to have a big garden (if I don’t kill everything by over watering). And is that technically homesteading?
It would appear that creativity is in order. Again.
On another note, we met a family that has been homesteading for four years. They invited us to come take a tour of their property and see what they’ve learned along their journey. We’re really excited to go see them! And of course, we’ll post about that experience too!
Until next time…
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